Hahaha, and you thought it was Christmas! NO - it is NOT Christmas!
It is homeschool convention season, and it is gearing up!
It seems odd, to have them this early in the "school year" - I am going to one in Memphis, TN the first week of March,
local ones are end of March and middle of June (which seems more reasonable). But, all over the country, March and April are big homeschool convention/conference/expo months.
I know you are wondering (if you don't homeschool), "Why on earth do you need to think about next year, when you are only in the middle of this year?"
Good question. The best answer I can give it - because hope springs eternal!
Halfway through a school year a homeschool mom knows A)what is working and B)what is not working. At this point in the year, though, you really don't want to ditch the science program you are halfway through and start something new. You feel like you should give it your all and finish it. But....as you are proceeding along, you can start to dream of how it will be different next year. Of the things that you like and don't like about what you are using, and start refining in your mind what you want to use next year.
Personally, I also think the convention planners schedule the conventions for when most of us are getting our income tax refunds, too, since a HUGE portion of the conventions is the vendor hall/sales.
Anyway, even though I am only a little over halfway through my year (we run our year July 1 - June 30, with breaks as needed) I too, am already dreaming of what I would like to buy. Fortunately, I don't need much. And, I am NOT (do you hear me, NOT) buying a bunch of stuff at the conference in March. I am not buying anything until this summer, closer to when I really need it. But I do plan to spend a whole lot of time in the vendor hall, looking at all the goodies.
There is an axiom about if you sit in a barber chair long enough you are going to end up getting a haircut, but I am sure that won't happen to me (again) this year.
I mainly need stuff for my oldest, Tony, the middle-schooler, who will be in 8th grade next year. He has now reached the point in math where I cannot teach all of it to him without having to learn it myself. Can I help it if I didn't need to take geometry to graduate in 1984? Why did he end up with it in 5th grade? We are learning it together, but I think he could use further assistance (ie, someone who doesn't have to do all the assignments herself before teaching it). So, we are going to move into either Saxon DIVE or Teaching Textbooks, both or which are video-driven. He needs a new science as well. I think Apologia General Science would be a good fit for he and Ben (who will be in 6th grade) next year. And for social studies, I am leaning towards a semester of Notgrass's "Elections" curriculum, followed by economics with "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy", all interspersed with US Geography. We still have plenty of language arts stuff here. We go back and forth - we will use Daily Grams for a little bit, then back to BJU for a while. I tend to jump around with what topics I want to teach, and mix that in with creative writing and journalling. What that means in English - it takes forever to finish a textbook, so a purchase is good for 2-3 years. For the younger boys I don't need anything except BJU for Joe (3rd grade). At their age (1st and 3rd next year) we do reading, handwriting, math and they "tag along" with the older boys for history, Bible and science, and they read their own level books - junior bios and science books, that sort of thing. Everyone needs the next level math workbook, and that is about it. This year we are doing a structured Bible curriculum, but I don't think we will next year. Between daily Bible reading, Bible discussion and videos, AWANA, Sunday School, church, weekly Bible studies and whatever else I toss into the mix, anything else might be an overload. I don't want it to become burdensome to them, I want it to be their joy.
As I add in more kids - and look at all the stuff I "over-bought" in years past - I have gotten more relaxed in our schooling structure. We've never been ones to do pages of workbooks, etc. For years we were Sonlighters, which means a ton of reading aloud to them and them reading on their own. As the boys have gotten older, though, they have lost interest in this. Every year is something different. That is one of the best things about homeschooling, getting to tailor their learning experience to suit their learning styles, personalities, desires, and our family dynamics.
It all goes back to the lifestyle of learning I keep trying to promote here - that all of life is learning, it doesn't all take place in the schoolroom, it doesn't all come from the pages of a textbook. God has so blessed us with this incredible world to explore, so many resources to choose from.......
And a lot of them are free.