What Curriculum We Used This Past Year & How I Organize It All!
It’s “The End of Our School Year” time! Time for summer fun is just around the corner. Usually at this time of year my kids become highly motivated to start working extra hard and double up on their work to finish the year early. Well, this year we had something unique happen. One of my sons finished 3 weeks early.
Yes, you heard me right, just one. 🙂 I had given the boys permission to “go for it” and do extra work — & he went for it! Not that my other boys aren’t working hard. They just didn’t get quite as obsessive as their older brother.
Since I’m closing out the school year with one of my boys, I figured it was a good time to show you: what we do, what records I keep, & what curriculum we used.
Different states have different requirements for records that need to be kept. So, know what your state requirements are!
In the state of CA, there are various types of records that need to be kept (you can click here for a list). As to what school work is required, HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) recommends that records be kept to show that learning took place. Basically, some sample work from the beginning, middle and end of the school year for each subject. Check with your local homeschool support group or HSLDA to see what is required in your state.
Honestly, even if I lived in Texas — one of the most homeschool-friendly states in our country with no requirements for sample work — I’d be keeping most of the same work as I do now. I’m a bit of a saver of our school work. I am getting better though. I do toss out most of the day-to-day work.
The Curriculum We Used This Year:
& what I do with it all after we're done with it!
- History & Bible: My kids keep all history and Bible work in their work binders-in order. So, I simply grab that section of work and either put a binder clip on it or have it bound nicely as a little keepsake. (See more below & the video)
Curriculum Used – My Father’s World: Year 3-Rome to the Reformation
- Writing: I usually only save the final drafts of any papers they wrote and the grading checklist for each paper. However, my son decided he wanted to keep all his rough drafts & the workbook. (I also usually toss the workbook).
Curriculum Used – IEW: Ancient History (for my 6th grader), All Things Fun & Fascinating (for my 5th grader), & Primary Art Language: Writing (“PAL”: for my kindergartner).
* I highly recommend IEW!!, especially any of Lori Verstegen’s workbooks!
- Math: Realistically, I just need to pick out a few tests from the beginning and the end of the school year, since I have a master grade sheet that lists what their grades were on each test. But I save all of the tests & toss the daily work.
Curriculum Used – Math U See: Pre-Algebra finished & Algebra started (6th), Delta finished & Epsilon started (5th), & Alpha (K)
- Grammar: Same as math, I only keep the tests. Unlike math, I only save a few tests from the beginning and a few from the end as samples of their work for the year. I do record their grade on each test before tossing the test. 🙂
Curriculum Used – Growing with Grammar (grades 5th & 6th)
- Penmanship: I save only one or two of his handwriting pages and several of the Scripture pages that were written out.
Curriculum Used –A Reason for Handwriting: Book F (6th) & Book E (5th)
- Science: Science is one of my favorite subjects. This year we had a lot of different science happening. Both older boys had science notebooks that they worked their way through. We will save those.
Curriculum Used – Apologia: General Science & Student notebook (6th), Elementary Chemistry & Physics (5th), & a science co-op for my kindergartener (We also use Answers in Genesis science books to supplement our studies)
- Spelling: I created covers for composition books which we use for our spelling work. We only used about half the book, so we'll continue using it for the next grade level. See my books in the video below and in this post.
Curriculum Used – IEW: Phonetic Zoo for spelling (5th & 6th) & All About Spelling (K)
- Vocabulary: Same as with spelling: we'll continue to use it next year, then store it with next year's material.
Curriculum Used – English from the Roots Up & whatever vocabulary list was within their writing workbook (IEW).
- Copy Work & Memory Verses: Same as with spelling & vocabulary. 🙂
- Latin: We didn’t finish Latin this year. My oldest did get through half of his material. So, we are keeping all his work for the year in his Latin binder. We'll store it next year.
Curriculum Used – Latin for Children: Primer A
- Reading: I have space on my boys’ weekly checklist where they write in what book they are currently reading. So, this checklist goes in the box as well.
Curriculum Used – Just books! I have a book list they can pick from. We do use many of the read-alouds that come with our MFW's curriculum, too. MFW has a booklist in the back of their teacher’s manual. Honey for a Child’s Heart has excellent lists as well. However, my kindergartner is learning to read so we used IEW’s PAL: Reading, Explode the Code workbooks, & Primary Phonics Workbook 1.
Storage for Finished Books:
Since I have multiple kids, we’ll be using most of the books again. So, I store them in my “subject boxes.” I basically have 5 boxes stored in the bottom of my IKEA Kallax bookshelf (this is the new version of their Expedit bookshelves-LOVE THEM!!!). Here’s the 5 boxes I use to organize our re-usable school books: (The video shows this clearly. See below.)
- Pre-readers & Phonics
- Preschool & Kindergarten
- Language Arts
My Father's World has a 5 year “Family Learning Cycle” for 3rd-8th grade. It's essentially a multi-aged rotation for history and Bible. For all my MFW core books, along with any additional books or workbooks that can be used again, I store them in their own box. I have 5 boxes: one for each year of the 5 year rotation of MFW (broken down by periods of history).
*What's great about having a separate box for each segment of history we study in the 5 years is that as I find other great ideas or books for that period, I just store them there for future use!
Our History Notebook:
We keep all our notebooking pages for history in order within the kids' “Work Binders.” This makes it easy to grab at the end of the school year. Some years I have the History Notebooks bound, sometimes I just put it together myself (hole punched and tied with yarn)
Tips for Storing All the Rest of the Material:
Basically I clean out our completed work from the Work Binders. I do leave key terms and basic vocabulary lists that can be used from year to year (like in math, writing, & science). I also grab the completed work from our hanging folders. I completely empty these files out so they are all ready for next year. I'm pretty much left with all my core subject minus history in this collection.
After I have all the work collected, I purge! I toss almost all of their daily work (as mentioned above), and keep most of the tests (sometimes just a few). I make sure that all grades go on my master checklist for the year (again, I'll cover this later in how I organize for my homeschool year).
With whatever is left, I separate all the subjects with sticky divider tabs. Then I simply throw a HUGE binder clip on it! Not fancy, but effective! 🙂 I do add the cover page from the work binder so that it notes the child’s name and grade level — & it makes it prettier.
I label my banker box with the kids' names, grades, & main curriculum used (i.e. “MFW: Yr. 3”) — & I'm done!
Art Storage Tips:
Many people wonder what to do with all the art their kids bring home. My best tip is to take photos of their work! Better yet, take a picture with them with all their art work from the year. Once I’ve downloaded the pictures to my computer, I add keywords (I have iPhotos) like: school, art, & their name. This makes it easier to find. Smaller art I will file. & we definitely save our favorite pieces in an art portfolio.
Report Cards & Evaluation:
I’m almost always behind on grading for grammar and math tests. This is one reason I’m considering using Teaching Textbooks next year (but we really love Math U See so much!). Once I’m done grading, I calculate out their grades and tell them. Their official report card and end of the school year evaluation comes right before the next school year begins. This is when we review how our school year went the year before and discuss goals.
- “Get to Know Me” Forms: They love filling out their “Get to Know Me” End of the School Year form! They love to see how much they grew and how much weight they’ve gained (unlike me!). I like to see what subjects they thought they'd love, and which ones they ended up loving. (Here's the link to the “Get to Know Me” forms I created).
- Special One-on-One Lunch: This is a great time to get my kiddos alone and get their perspective on what they liked about our school year. What curriculum they liked best, what changes would they make, what they found challenging, etc.
- End of Year Special Dinner as a Family! Once everyone is done, we will plan a “Family Fun Night” and do something special to celebrate all the hard work from this past school year.
MORE ORGANIZATION POSTS & VIDEOS TO COME…
- How I create systems that create independent work for my older students
- How I organize all our “stuff” – paper, files, books, binders, etc.
- How I put together my Course of Study (& what that is & why you need it) 🙂
- My evaluation forms with their goals for the next year.
- — Plus I’ll be sharing my awesome “Weekly Checklists” that I create for each child (and a master one for me). You won’t want to miss that one!
These posts (& videos) are all coming soon!
HERE'S THE VIDEO!! BE SURE TO WATCH!
Check out this video to see what all this looks like. You can see all the curriculum first hand & see exactly what I do with it. (I'm trying to make this post come to life for you.) 🙂
(Please subscribe to my vlog, too.)