If you read "Part 1" of this blog series, then you might remember my first 3 tips:
~ Sort Books As You Finish Them
~ Update Your Older Student's Transcripts Right Away
~ Make a List of Books You Have and Books You Want/Need
As you move closer and closer to the end of this academic year, and as spring begins to become summer, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on planning for next year. Now, maybe I am the only homeschool mom who has this problem, and all the rest of you amazing women are able to plan for next year while folding laundry and cooking a gourmet dinner and the sounds of spring outside the kitchen window don't create a distraction for you. If that's the case, I'm probably blogging to myself today :)
Since spring is here and summer is right on it's heels, I really do have to force myself to focus on wrapping things up in a tidy fashion so that I'm not in a panic when August arrives. Okay, I am Type A, I admit it. I do like all things to be done in a fitting and orderly fashion. I don't do well in the midst of chaos and if it weren't for my amazing husband, I would live a life void of spontenaity. But I STILL have to force myself to focus on the big picture at the tail end of each school year. Type A or not, I am just plain tired by the time May rolls around. Here are my next 3 tips for finishing well in preparation for next year:
Shop the Spring Sales and Conventions
You know that list of books you've been working on? Now is the perfect time to use it! Many curriculum companies have fantastic sales during the spring months. And homeschool convention season is in full swing! Take your list with you as you walk through the vendor hall at your state convention. Reference your list as you shop online or browse catalogs - see what's new and what fits your "Want/Need" list. I have 2 simple rules when it comes to curriculum shopping: #1 ~ When shopping online, look around for the best price OVERALL (consider shipping fees, and buy as much as you can from each website). #2 ~ When shopping at a homeschool convention, buy directly from the vendor whenever possible (homeschoolers work hard creating products that work well for homeschooling families - it's kind of tacky to look over their product & then walk 3 yards away to buy it for $3 less...)
Choose to Honestly Evaluate Your Science and Math Programs Now!
Okay, you may be wondering why I feel you need to honestly evaluate math and science curriculum now. We tend to look back and remember things a bit differently than they really were (ever heard the phrase "grandma's cookies"?). By honestly evaluating your math and science programs at the end of each school year, you give your children the best possible learning advantage come next fall. What did you love about science this year? What did your kids love? And what did you NOT love? Ask your kids what they disliked. Do the same with your math curriculum. If you use different programs with each child, then honestly evaluate each one. Write down your honest opinion (and that of your children), set it aside, pray about it for a few days, and then read over it again. Let the Lord speak to you about your curriculum choices (if you are willing to listen, He is willing to guide you). Then move forward - sell what you no longer want to use, update your "Want/Need" curriculum list, and put away any books you will keep for future use. Remember, this truly is the ideal time for an honest evaluation!
Get Rid of the "Junk"
Rather than putting all the eraser-less pencils and dried out glue sticks into the school supply drawer and leaving it for the fall, go ahead and toss the "junk" right now. If you know for a fact that you are not going to use the last bit of tacky glue in the bottle, throw it out. That notebook with 4 pages left in it? Go ahead and toss it. It's a simple but profound truth that you will have a better start to your school year if you have a clean work space & a few new supplies (like notebooks, pencils, and crayons). Take a few minutes now to get rid of the "junk" and you will save yourself the headache of doing it later on when you are ready to begin the new school year.
Those are my 3 tips for today - I'm not certain how many "parts" this series will contain when it's all said and done, but I am pretty sure I have a few more tips to share before I'm out of words :)
Make the most of this season in your homeschool because by doing that, you are paving the way for an excellent new school year come fall!
Day 92 done :)
Jan L. Burt