Our “March Madness” or what I personally refer to as “March Madness” (not basketball- just the crazy of March) has finally passed. March is just an extremely busy month for us that eventually pours into another busy season of wrapping up homeschool for the year and prepping for the upcoming school year.
I’ve mentioned before that I like to have at least one full month off with NO schoolwork to think about or prepare for, so I try to get most school-related “work” done by the end of June. Personally, I need the break, not just my kids.
Homeschool Mental Break
AS a homeschool mom, I go about our daily life with a homeschool kind of mindset. I even utilize vacation time
April is For Planning
This time of the year (April) is my planning time. I have usually caught up on grading at this point and have evaluated what our kids are doing well with and what might need to be changed. I take this month to evaluate, research, and get a basic idea of what or how I want to tackle the next school year.
(What classes my kids will take? Is the curriculum working or not? What areas are my kids still struggling with? What I can do next year to help them? What areas are they excelling at? and Can I change the curriculum or add something to give them a boost? ).
May and June- Get ‘er Done
May and June are spent narrowing down my choices, buying the curriculum and getting it all prepared to start in August. So that I can have a very much needed month off from “thinking” about any and all school related things.
This has worked well for me for two main reasons: 1.) I begin the new year with some revived enthusiasm. And 2). IT’s not toooo long that I forget what I had planned before the new year begins. (I’ve done this before by planning and prepping way too far in advance because I had a baby on the way.)
What I liked and What I Plan on Changing
With all of this presently on my mind, I want to share with you what I liked about our current curriculum and what I plan to change for the next year.
- Video Lessons- I am planning on giving a more in-depth review of what I like and don’t like about using videos for teaching. There are many positive uses for video lessons, but it’s not flawless. I have been using video lessons for all subjects with all of my kids for a second year in a row. I’ve used them in previous years, but only sparingly for select subjects and select kids. I definitely plan to continue to utilize them, but I am planning to change a few things next year regarding them. Keep an eye out for a separate blog post if you are interested in reading about what we liked or didn’t like more specifically.
- BJUPress- I am planning to continue on for most subjects with BJU, however, I would say that BJU is a more difficult curriculum than some others. They are designed to really push your child, however, even though they require a lot of work and more advanced work, I believe they do so to help encompass all kids. You are fully free to change and assign work according to each individual child. They don’t HAVE to do everything that is suggested. This is something that will take extra time to go through and plan out for your kid. If your child struggles to keep up, this is not a plug in and go curriculum, so you will have to adapt it for your specific child.
( I believe BJU needs to be tailored specifically to your kid. I have one child of four, who can keep up without difficulty, the rest must be adjusted. However, I love BJU’s curriculum and believe they do a great job, so for now, I plan to stick with them.)
- Math-U-See- We started using this curriculum half-way through the year for our oldest in Algebra I. I believe BJU is a good curriculum and I am continuing to keep my other kids on BJU currently for math. However, for this particular child, it was a struggle to move between concepts so frequently in BJU.
Math-U-See focuses on mastering one concept before moving on. It has drastically helped our son in math. He still struggles, but he has been less frustrated and thus my husband and I have been less frustrated. We have been quite happy with it thus far. (I say “we”, because my husband has taken over with teaching my son Algebra so I can spend more time focused on the other kids.)
- IEW– Institute for Excellence in Writing. So far this year we have been using this as an “extra” on top of our current English and Writing classes. It has definitely benefited them, even though we only started half-way through the year. I am planning on continuing this next year, but I haven’t decided if I want to use this as a complete replacement for BJU Writing.
It definitely makes writing easier for my kids. It helps them by giving them a story to rewrite themselves so they focus more on actually writing rather than trying to come up with a story and then trying to write it perfectly. It reduces anxiety with writing, and yet still allows for some creativity.
I have been pleasantly surprised so far, but I am not sure that it requires enough work for my kids in this area. It almost seems TOOOO easy and doesn’t address grammar as much as
- AOP Monarch– Keyboarding, Small Business and Office. – Our older kids are taking these as electives. They are doing ok with them, but I’m not certain I will continue on with AOP. Not because of any serious issue with them, but I just don’t think my kids are really picking up much with them. The work is getting done, and basic concepts are being learned, but I think they may need something better suited for each child. I am looking into some alternatives for their electives.
- Golf/Piano/Guitar Lessons – Our kids have been taking golf lessons for over a year or two now and Piano and Guitar started this spring. These are done with outside instructors and So far, it’s been working well. They are practicing and doing as asked so we will continue on.
Changes are Coming
This next year will have a few changes. Some of those changes could change again as the year goes on. There’s always something new that pop up and needs adjusting. But planning is for me, the best way to handle the inevitable “issues” that always come up.
AS I pray about the upcoming year, I’ll keep the rest of you homeschoolers in my prayers as well. It is a task, but I am so thankful that there are sooooooo many options now to choose from, even since I first started homeschooling! Choose what works for you. I used to solely use Abeka. I still LOVE Abeka, but we’ve had to adjust for different seasons of life. There are plenty of great options out there! And if it’s your “time” too- Happy Planning!!!