When I started the journey of becoming a home school mom I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea the amount of information I would find and the amount of resources. It was and is so overwhelming. I found it really easy to get overwhelmed and then give up until I realized that there is no one ‘right’ curriculum. The advantage that I have homeschooling is that I can tailor the curriculum to fit my child’s learning styles.
Before I write this I want to state that just because this works for me, doesn’t mean that it will work for you! I took what I wanted from different sources and have made them my own.
The first thing I needed to do was find the lesson plan that would work well for me. One that would allow me to be as detailed as I wanted to. As you get to know me you will find out that I am a bit OCD about schedules and plans. This lesson planner from Living Well Spending Less is what I used.
As I was filling the binder I found that I needed a way to separate the work sheets I was using and the schedule paper so I put the worksheets that will be done that day in a plastic page protector. This will also allow me to move worksheets around really easy if we don’t get to them that day or need more practice.
Another part of my OCDness with schedules is I like calendars. I like to see things written out. I found this one at Target that I love! I really love that it has the small entire month at a glance and then a week at a time.
As I said at the beginning I am taking bits and pieces of other home schoolers ideas and adding my ideas. I am using 2 different books for the worksheets that we will be doing. I found them at our local book store but I have also seen them at Target and Wal-Mart.
As I am building my curriculum I do get overwhelmed. It is easy to do! Between watching what other moms put on Facebook to browsing pinterest you can find more ways to do one thing then you ever knew existed. When I find myself getting overwhelmed I turn my computer off. As my dad has stated many times, I have a good imagination and I am creative, why do I need a computer to help me with that? That advice seems to be helping. When I turn off the computer and just look at the work sheets or think about words that start with a certain letter, ideas for sensory play and crafts fill my head.
There are a couple of things that I think have helped me the most to not lose my sanity. First, I searched Facebook for home school groups in my area. Once I found some I made it a point to stay active with them. Through doing this I found a home school Co-op in my area. This is a group of home school moms that volunteer their smarts and time to hold ‘school’ once a week for home school kids. The firefighter attended that for the first time on Friday and loved it! He woke up Saturday morning asking if he could go to school again.
I have decided to do a letter a week. I am also doing a study with them about Montana for the month of September. What I am learning is there are so many ways to learn the ABC’s. It goes deeper than the simple song. Tracing, reading about the letter, shaping them with play doh, tissue paper shapes and the list goes on and on. I am sure that we will sing the song but the other ideas are endless! I am so excited about the week we are studying the letter D and F!
In sharing all of this I have learned several things that have helped save my sanity in all of this planning.
- Don’t let the ‘perfectness’ of others on pinterest or Facebook make you feel like you can’t do it.
- Turn off the computer! You know what you need to do and how to do it
- Ask questions
- Find a support system of like-minded moms/dads that you can lean on when it all seems to just be too much
- There is no right curriculum. No kid learns the same