For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Planning Summer Series - Week 11 - Planning Our Homeschool Year

For our last post in the Summer Planning Series, we have Kemi Quinn talking to us about how she plans her homeschool year around her DVD curriculum.

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Planning Our Homeschool Around our DVD Curriculum

We’ve been using Bob Jones University Press DVD Homeschool program since our daughter was in preschool. We're getting ready to enter the 4th grade and through the years I’ve experimented with ways to fully use this great program while not overdoing it for the family. I say overdoing it because BJU Press makes sure you get a COMPLETE homeschool program for your child. They basically try to accommodate every learning style from visual to ESL and more. And make sure that anything you may need to overcome in teaching your child is addressed in the program. Phew! I think it took me two years before I realized I didn't HAVE to do everything. That I needed to take note of my daughter's learning style and customize her learning experience. I also noted how they said to combine the classes if you need to work the program a little faster.

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The BJU program is a KJV Bible based Christian curriculum and I think it’s worth every penny. It’s visually appealing, informational, and very effective. When I was first reviewing their catalog all the elements they said she would learn in preschool I guffawed and said “right!” I thought surely there was no way my teeny tiny peanut would learn all that in the space of one school year. Well she went on to learn that and more. Her reading and writing took off like a shot and she just keeps excelling. Math, a notoriously scary subject for most children, has given her a few anxious moments but the difficult items are always re-addressed later in the program and their summer worksheets help her to move into the next school year with ease. And yes momma has also learned plenty with this program. From science, to history, and even some grammar. It's two for one!

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But although I speak the wonders of this great homeschool program doing absolutely everything suggested in the Teacher’s Manual and in the order suggested can cause big burnout in my family. Remember I didn't realize I didn't have to do EVERYTHING! So now this is how I go about planning our homeschool year around the BJU press DVD homeschool program.
  • The absolute first thing I do is browse through the included Lesson Plan Guide as soon as our package arrives. This is a day by day course by course guide with basically everything you will need for each day’s class. I’ve worked through different ways of using this but as my daughter gets older the way to use this changes. In the beginning I would read the week’s lessons in advance and prepare all the materials Sunday night. This was because there was so much cutting and setting up for all kinds of crafts and whatnots. Now in the 3rd and 4th grade not so much. It’s more of maybe print an extra worksheet or add in a book also included in the package. or pull out the encyclopedias (which are all online now). So now when I read through the lesson plans it’s mostly to see how the day is organized. We actually take a very relaxed approach to the Bible lessons because my husband does those and is not always able to complete the year’s work. Since we also have Sunday school lessons from church and regular Bible study that our daughter attends along with morning devotions those lessons are more of something fun she does occasionally with dad.
  • Next, because we have a 4 day school week I merge some classes .
  • We start our school year on the same day as our school district. That’s because I need a method to my madness and it helps to keep me on track. After that our schedule doesn’t really stay on schedule with the local schools except for holidays.
  • Since I also do homeschool reviews another thing I may do is swap out our regular course with a program we need to review. Depending on how well it works out for us I may add it in as a supplement program throughout the rest of the year.
  • As we go through the school year I read about a month ahead to know what’s coming, what I may want to leave out or what I may want to add. 
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Do I write all this up? I keep two schedules in addition to the highly edited Teacher's Manual. First we post our daily schedule on the wall. My daughter likes to do this so I let her at it. Next I also keep track of our days in my planner. This lets me know where we're at so we can take vacations and such. Each year is a learning experience not only for our daughter but also for me. I’m learning how my daughter learns best. I’m learning not only how to manage our time but that I need to get better at it. And mostly I’m learning that I don’t have to follow a lesson plan to the letter to get the most out of it for our homeschool year. 

Kemi Quinn is a Christian, stay at home, homeschooling mom. Formerly of the library world until 2005 when she came home to care for the Sweet Peanut. Together with the Nicest Man on Earth she spends her days learning, playing the piano, cooking for and with her family , and making home a comforting place to be. She feels strongly about a clean home for family AND guests. But understands that this stuff is not intuitive for everyone, not necessarily easy, and not easy to find time for. Homemaking Organized is a place to find tips to keep the home fires burning.She blogs over at Homemaking Organized.

In This Series:
Week 1: Who Plans Homeschool?
Week 2: Planning an Eclectic Homeschool School Year Type A Style
Week 3: Planned Unshooling . . . Why?
Week 4: Meal Planning Made Easy
Week 5: Managing Your Home When You Have an Irregular Schedule 
Week 6: Block Scheduling in Your Homeschool


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