Just as homeschoolers are breathing a sigh of relief because a year of hard work is almost over and summer vacation is about to begin, it’s time to make plans for the next school year. Thankfully, most of us regard this as an exciting time because we are happy to be able to educate our own children, and we are grateful for the abundance of curricula choices due to the popularity of homeschooling.
After doing this for more than 20 years, I’ve got planning down to a science. I know exactly what we’re doing and when, and I already have my favorite publishers and books. When we were just beginning, however, we relied on product reviews from a few trusted sources: Cathy Duffy’s reviews (visit http://cathyduffyreviews.com/), Dean and Karen Andreola’s (visit http://www.homeschoolhighlights.com/) and Rainbow Resource (visit www.rainbowresource.com). We buy most of our materials from Rainbow Resource because they sell almost everything you could ever need, at a discount, and offer free shipping for purchases totaling $50 or more.
Either while you’re working on plans or when you’re done, I urge you to find ways to refresh yourself over the summer, so that you are prepared to take on the challenges of a new year. Karen Andreola has written extensively about “Mother Culture,” which is a term she coined to refer to homeschooling mothers needing regular spiritual and mental nourishment. Please visit her website (mentioned above) for more information. In addition, I highly recommend her book A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning because it is chock-full of great tips from education pioneer, Charlotte Mason, and because Mrs. Andreola’s soothing writing style and wisdom are a balm for the soul of a tired, exasperated mom. I felt so strengthened and rejuvenated after reading this book the first time, that I reread it every summer after our first several years of homeschooling.
Finally, although many appreciate a looser, more relaxed schedule during the summer, learning should never stop. Make sure your children spend less time using electronics and get outside more now that the weather’s good. They should also keep reading great literature, either on their own or as a part of your library’s summer reading program. In addition, you could pick one excellent book to read aloud. You might also include your children in your gardening plans, perhaps even giving them a plant or two that is theirs to care for. Relax, and have a safe and fun summer!