Sunday, August 18, 2013

Simplify...The Saga Continues

I didn't know if I could get myself together in time, but we are starting school tomorrow.  I've been sitting at the computer so long I have pain in my hip when I walk from sitting in a hard chair.  BUT...I'm done. Do the happy dance with me! I have the first semester planned out for our 18 year of homeschooling.  Did I just say that?  Have we been doing this 18 years?

I still don't like it when moms ask me how I do things because I still feel like I have no clue.  I'm still figuring it out.  Yes, I am a slow learner. :)

This is our second school year living together in my in-laws house.  Bless their hearts. Our junk has taken over their house & I hate it. But they never say a word about it.  No matter how much I try to keep the level of junk to a minimum it sneaks in anyway.  And so the challenge to organize our school materials remained my biggest accomplishment yet.  In our house I had 11 bookshelves completely dedicated to school books & materials.  I had a huge filing cabinet packed full. There is no room for that here, so I had to learn quickly how to simplify & reduce.

I am excited that I have learned to simplify our school "stuff" tremendously.  The majority of our school books are still in storage even though I did bring some more here a few months ago. I pulled out what I thought we would need this year.  After I finally figured out who was using what & what I needed to buy I then packed up what we were not going to use & those boxes are in the garage waiting to go back to our storage unit.

I now have one and half bookshelves instead of 11. :)

 This is where our readers & History & Science books are kept.  The smaller shelf to the right is where I am keeping my books (Teacher Manuals, Solution Manuals, etc..).

My mother in law had this amazing piece of furniture made years ago. It is in the Dining Room which is also Scott's office (on one end of the table) and our school room (on the other end of the table). It is solid wood & beautiful & my school stuff kinda crept up on it & gradually took over the bottom part. She graciously offered to take the rest of her dishes off so I could have the space, but I told her no.  I'm making do just find with what I have.

Below is a plastic drawer unit I brought from home.  At first it stayed at my parents house when the younger kids & I stayed there more of the time.  When we moved here I brought it & it definitely keeps things more organized.

The four younger kids each have their own drawer.  In their drawers are their books, folders, pencils, and any other supplies they want to keep.  The top drawer are our art supplies that I do not want them to be able to get to.  I keep boxes of colored pencils, crayons, markers & pencils out on the buffet.  But misc type stuff is in the top drawer.

It isn't a perfect system, but we are making it work.  For years I knew I needed to simplify our school,  And the Lord has helped us do that.  Not exactly the way I would have chosen to do it, but that's ok.

Since we are short on bookshelves, I have learned to utilize technology.  Scott has a Kindle Fire & I have an iPad with the Kindle app on it so many of the books the kids will read are a Kindle download.  That saves on bookshelf space tremendously!   I'm also using some iPad apps for phonics practice, math drills & geography.

Another new thing for this year is I'm using a blog to post my oldest sons assignments.  I have 8th, 10th & 12th grade boys who would rather use a computer than a piece of paper any day.  I'm also trying to eliminate all excuses for not getting work done (I know you are shocked any of my kids would avoid school work).
So far, I have scheduled 5 weeks worth of assignments on the blog.  Each Sunday their assignments for the week will show up in a post.  For example, Collin's assignments will be in a post titled, "Collin: Week 1".  He had to subscribe to the blog so he will get an email.  The beauty of this is that when he is on break at work, he can pull up the blog on his phone & find links to his Bible, Science & History readings for the week.  He is so excited. **insert sarcasm HERE!**
This is an experiment, so we will see if it really works & if they use the blog like I hope they will.  If not, I will go back to my paper plans.

One more new thing this year is our Bible curriculum.  I have never really used curriculum for Bible, but since I am simplifying that meant less planning for me. Last year I really dropped the ball on Bible. This year I am excited to use Bible Road Trip by Danika Cooley.  She is writing a 3 year survey of the Bible.  She is still writing the 3rd year.  The first year covers the books of Law & History.  Year 2 covers Prophets and Poetry & Year 3 is covering the New Testament.  I spent many weeks pouring over this & the deeper I got, the more I loved it.  I'm so thankful for Danika's hard work on this & especially for offering it for free!  I went through 2 reams of paper to print all of this out & the more I printed the more grateful I became for her hard work!

So, I have spent all of this time planning & printing & creating.  But we all know what will happen.  I can plan all I want to, but if I have planned away from God, his plans will succeed, not mine.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart (and on a mom's lesson plan page), but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 {emphasis is mine}
I'm excited about our new school year.  I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.