Friday, September 9, 2016

the less stuffed school shelf

 I am so pleased with our school bookshelf this year! 

Every year at the end of summer before we start back to the books, I haul all our material out and sort through them.  In the past, I have made lesson plans around what we have.  

Most of the time that worked because we tend to collect the things that interest us. 

But all the extra stuff we had collected over the years of homeschooling was getting overwhelming and a bit distracting.  

It also seems that as Beach gets older she gets more focused in very specific areas.  After years of happily covering a huge spectrum of subjects her interests are obvious.   

So this year I approached planning very differently.  Before we started back to school we sat down and created a school wish list.  On it, we had books, passes, events, subjects, etc that we wished to have/do this fall.  

Using our wish list as my guide I sorted through our school materials.  Like any good decluttering the items/books/games that we don't use, no longer love, or love but aren't working for us for one reason or another were taken away.
This was a lot harder than it sounds. Giving up perfectly good multiplication workbooks or science texts about sharks & weather was hard! 

Well, at first it was then I started seeing all the space on the bookshelf we had opened up for "new perfect to us in the now" books. *Which all together don't take up even half the amount of space the collection of old materials did!* 

Based on our list I purchased a few new books like the Human Anatomy Coloring Book, our Math Curriculum, and her Art book. 

 Honestly, it was probably cheaper too to simply bite the bullet and pay for the one "best" book for us and forget the months of hunting and gathering mix-matched sources.  

WOW! What a difference it makes to have just the right amount of wonderful materials at hand. 

Lesson planning and staying on task is a MILLION times easier.  

Bonus: I can carry all of our core books in one trip.  That is important because we move from upstairs to downstairs about 3 times a day!  

I guess I always figured a good home school family = book hoarding. 

Turns out it doesn't have it be that way.  If we need something we don't have there is a library and a local thrift store within walking distance from our house.  

This last week we were able to pick up 2 more books from our wish list: 
Write Your Own Story Book and Human Body Reference Book.

Both are from Usborne (WE LOVE USBORNE for homeschooling!!!)  

The Human Body Reference Book, we have already jumped into using it along with our human anatomy text.  We adore this book!!! It had me at "The structure of DNA was discovered by three scientists..." Yeah, not just the 2 boys who usually get the credit it included Rosalind Franklin.       

The second book, the Write Your Own Story Book is intended to be something Beach can do independently.  It replaces a perfectly good Writing Guide Book I gave away because Beach "hated" it.  WYOSB is far more creative and a much better fit for Beach. 

Since I am talking about books I have to mention the BLUE RIBBON book of our school year so far, the one she has been using (a lot) is the Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists.   From the moment I found it I knew she would love this book!  It was her biggest wish on the list: an Art Curriculum.  

It is proving to be a huge hit! Not only is she reading the artist bio's and the technique sections as she goes along, she is also producing piles of great artist-inspired artwork outside the books interactive pages.

So far so good! Less stuff, more room for learning <3 

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