Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Preparing for Next School Year

I went and paid off one of the vans yesterday, so we've got one less monthly payment now. I've already gotten my state and federal tax refunds, so now I'm planning my curriculum purchases for the upcoming school year, which for us, begins at the end of June.

For Hayden who will be going into 6th grade, here's what I've got planned:

Sonlight Core 6
Sonlight Bible 6
Sonlight Science 6
Saxon Math 8/7
Saxon Grammar & Writing 6
Houghton Mifflin Spelling & Vocabulary 8
Wordly Wise 3000 Book 7
Switched on Schoolhouse Elementary Spanish
McGraw Hill "Our World" (6th grade Social Studies we use as a supplement)
Silver Burdett Science Horizons 6 (we use this as a supplement)
Abeka Art C
Nine-Note Recorder Method for Alto
Science World Magazine

For Haylee who will be going into 1st grade, here's what I've got planned:

Sonlight Core 1 with Readers 2 Regular and Readers 2 Intermediate (at double pace)
Sonlight Science 1
Sonlight Bible 1
Silver Burdett English 1
Saxon Math 2
Saxon Phonics 2
A Reason for Handwriting - Transition
Wordly Wise A & B (at double pace)
Complete Book of Spanish for Grades 1-3 (1st half)
Harcourt Health & Fitness 1
Silver Burdett Science Horizons 1 (we use this as a supplement)
Houghton Mifflin Spelling & Vocabulary 2
Silver Burdett Music 1
Abeka Art Projects 1
Scholastic News 2

For Holden, who is now 2, I'm planning to continue taking our time working our way through Sonlight Core PK 3/4, plus adding in the Abeka Nursery Curriculum for 2's, which I've already purchased. He just turned 2 after Christmas, so we're just reading some of the stories in PK 3/4 and singing some of the songs right now. He's really eager to be read to right now, so I figured it's a good time to ease into his own special "school." It's so cute when Steve comes home and asks him if he's been busy doing school. And if you ask him "so, watchya been up to today?" he answers with "nuh-in much!" That kid cracks me up with his talking these days. He'll say just about anything. :)

I've been busy perusing the Sonlight website to try to figure out how Core 1 and Science 1 have changed since I last used them in 2005. It's nice that I only need to purchase the books that have been added and get that nice 50% discount on upgrading my teacher's guide. It looks like Core 1 mostly dropped some books and added a required resource, and Science 1 has changed quite a bit since they revamped all the science programs last year. I'm looking forward to the upgrade there. I have been busy ordering all the supplements (old PS textbooks) that we use online. I discovered I could print the activity book for her Harcourt Health & Fitness program for free, so that was good news (, and includes grades K-6). I also printed Hayden's workbook for free for his McGraw-Hill Social Studies program, too (, and includes grades 1-6). And if anyone is interested, you can also print off free workbooks from McGraw-Hill Language Arts (, and includes grades K-6 in 3 levels - remedial, regular, and advanced).

I was able to get the teacher's manuals and student textbooks I needed for just a few dollars each this year, so that was a relief.

Overall, I feel like I'm in a good place with my planning and preparations. I need to start making copies and scheduling out my supplements as I receive them. I model my schedule after the Sonlight schedule so it all flows together in my binder. I always schedule out everything we'll be using for the whole school year so there's little to no prep work once we're ready to start the new core. The copies, though...ugh! I dread the massive amounts of copies that are required. Sheesh. I've already started on some of it. It takes me a couple of months of doing it in my spare time to get it all ready. It sure makes my life easier during the school year, though, to have it all ready to go.

I'm so glad we were off school this week. I've been sick with what I fondly call "the plague." The kids have milder versions of it, but I've been totally wiped out with this thing for the last week straight. I am just starting to turn the corner in terms of getting the congestion loosened so I can blow/cough it out. Gotta love real Sudafed and Mucinex for working their magic!

The kids and I went on a field trip to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra's Young People's Concert. It was really nice. The kids were well behaved and really seemed to enjoy themselves. I was suprised that Holden started out so calm, but I guess he's not feeling all that well himself. We had front row seats, too!

I'm looking forward to my last VSO concert in April for the season, and I'm thankful I'll be renewing my season ticket for next season. It's like my respite away from the kids and the chores of home, and I feel so peaceful when I leave there. It's like my "Calgon, take me away!" moment. You know what I mean. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Not so bad...

Happy Valentine's Day! I paid the bills for January, and although we still had a whopper from the holidays, we made it through with some leftover, thanks to the overlapping severance and new payroll from Bay. We now have health insurance, though we don't have cards yet, so I had trouble utilizing it, but at least we're covered.

I'm getting ready to pay the February bills, and I'm proud to say I cut our credit card spending in half from what it was over the holidays! I'm pretty happy with that. I've spent most of my free time clipping coupons and shopping at a myriad of stores to get the best deals on groceries. It's exhausting, but it's got to be done!

I sent off our taxes last week. We should be getting back enough to pay off the blue van and get us down to only one van payment, order the kids' school curriculum for the new school year, and replenish what we had to use from savings last year. So that will give us a good starting point for trying to get a new budget going. I still have no idea what it will be like from month to month once we no longer have the excess in the account, but I'm feeling more confident that we will be okay...I just can't go anywhere so I don't spend anything! LOL.

I'm headed off to the symphony with a friend after church today. Aaaaaah. I have so enjoyed the symphony this season. I wasn't going to renew, but Steve says I should because it's the only time I get out to myself without the kids, and that's certainly true enough. If I renew by early March, I get to pay last year's rate, which would save some money, too, and I'll get to keep my same seats. My friend is going to buy the other seat with me so we can go together. That will be fun! Luckily, they offer a 6-month payment plan of about $17/month, so I'll probably pay that way.

I'm looking forward to the spring opening of Busch Gardens next month. We go the most in the spring on Fridays while other kids are still in school. It's so pleasant outside, and it's wonderful to be able to get on rides without a long wait. Thankfully, I renewed our passes in the fall for 2 years, although I opted for the monthly payment plan. There's no way out of it now!

But all in all, I think we'll be okay. We'll just have to see how it goes. I'm feeling a little less anxiety about it, though I'm sure there will still be some things that have to be cut out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Aftermath

Well, all told, I heard we got about 9 inches of snow here. WOW! That's really something for this area. The kids' basketball games were canceled on Saturday. Church was canceled and so was the symphony performance on Sunday. Local schools are all closed today. It's a homeschool day for us, though! There's so much snow out there! It never got above freezing all weekend, so it's just sitting there. Today is a high of 38, though, so there's some melting action taking place now. We canceled basketball practices for tonight, too, because parking lots and a lot of local roads are still bad, at least in neighborhoods and parts of main roads.

So it was a pretty quiet weekend overall. I got some scrapbooking done (take a peek at my scrapbooking blog at I had a lot of fun with that yesterday, as I was working on a contest where I had to follow a sketch.

I need to upload photos from my camera, but I'll have to post some snow pictures. Crazy!

The upside of today being February 1st is that we are now officially covered by health insurance once again! Hooray!