If you have just started homeschooling or you can't seem to get a handle on it-maybe something here will help you out. For those out there that are can do this with mind-boggling precision, then perhaps this is not the article for you.
Now, I know that some folks are all super organized with everything done all computery like-but I do not go that route. Too old fashioned I suppose. I like the ole pen and paper approach. Only after I have that done, I will go ahead and click the goodies onto the 'wish list' for both Rainbow Resource Center and Amazon. Mind you-that doesn't mean I will actually purchase it all there or even buy everything noted on it. I do that so it gives me a good visual of what I need to be on the look out for (of course, I can add to it as well) so that I will be ready to order when our pocket book is willing and able. Plus, having it finalized (in loose terms) I have a list I can cherry pick from when I am out at local garage/library book sales, local shops and such. I will also scan the resale online sites before paying full price on most things. Not workbooks tho-I almost always buy those new unless there is a sparkly, spanking new one with the set. I also make my book list (at least for the first semester) so that I can cruise the library website to see what I can find that way to help save money, then note what I cannot get and just order those books.
One thing I have learned over the years (mainly it's our funds for purchasing which have played a major role) is that you do not need to get everything new! Seriously-unless you have a lot of kids coming up behind where you know for sure the program will work [for all] then a new item purchase would warrant forking over the larger sums of cashola. Less spency things are not necessarily in this category-I am talking the big bucks stuff. Of course the exception to that would be if it were a new program that just came out on the market. But you get my drift. I have also swapped books/materials with good pals from time to time to help save too. But beware. You should be sure they are responsible and loving toward your stuff (same goes for you) so that it isn't returned damaged or worse-destroyed or not at all. Know who you trade with.
Here (finally) is my super simple but effective for me way of doing this.
Step 2: Take paper-fold into three sections with paper's long side horizontal-write out list. This one can be modified or just scribbled over as you double check and clarify. This is the messy, preliminary list that will be pitched once I am all done spending/creating and organizing this stuff. It's after all that when I make one final (nicely printed) list of the subjects and main curricula/materials needed (sans the have/order list) to refer to throughout the year.
Here is my chicken scratch list-made quickly.
I went back to it later and noted a few changes
as you can see with the pink pen. Again, it isn't
super detailed. I don't even have the artists/musicians listed yet.
First up: list each subject and main curriculum choice
and various other little additions.
Do this off the top of your head and don't worry until you get to the have/buy sides. Just list away. Sometimes when you over think it-you forget or miss stuff that the 'flow as you go' method catches. You can go back over after to find gaps or make corrections.
Middle-list what you already have.
Third-what you need to buy in each category.
Once completed-go thru your stuff! I found I had listed a workbook I actually purchased last year that we hadn't used yet. I would have re-purchased it-not cool. Actually-I saw I had a couple repeats on it! Yikes! So double check every nook and cranny first before finalizing
the wish list on your favorite sites.
the wish list on your favorite sites.
Seriously, that is it! Nothing too complicated. Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts.
*When I had more than one student I would simply jot down each child's name at the top of the page and list what was needed for that year. Then I converged all the 'to buy stuff' onto one big order list.
Step 3: Once you feel you have the things you want to purchase noted, head to your favorite sites and start your wish list. I didn't say 'buy list' because sometimes you can find them cheaper somewhere else or you may decide you don't want that item after all. For example: I am still on the fence at this point for our Bible studies. I don't need to decide right yet-so I listed two curriculum choices that could work. I have a noted list so I won't forget and I can pick one of those when I go to order or go with something completely different. It just gives me a visual and frankly, it's a reminder that I need to spend more time figuring out that subject.
**I use Rainbow Resource Center mainly because they seem to have the largest selection and I can make and print a wish list quite easily. Then I hit Amazon. But there are plenty of other merchants that offer this as well-so the choice is yours.
Possible Step 4: If you plan on attending a convention then have your list ready to go. BUT for all that is good and gracious-save yourself the "UGH! I could have bought that for $$$$ less!" scenario. List the things you want to look at and or buy at the convention but only after you spent some time online/catalog researching to compare prices. WRITE the lowest price you found next to the name of the source selling it with some sort of key like A for Amazon, or SL for Sonlight or RR for Rainbow Resource, so you can refer back to it later when you finish your shopping. AND for extra good measure, walk the circuit a couple times and 'window shop' jotting down prices as you stroll about because you may find things cheaper at other vendors or by ordering online later. Most vendors usually have convention sale prices/deals so watch for those as well. That way you know who has the best price for whatever it is you are looking for. DON'T panic if you come back and it's gone. They usually give you the sale price on an order you can place right then and there which will be shipped to you. That way you don't come home having overspent. Also beware of the 'bug eye' convention syndrome. You DO NOT need every cool and dazzling thing out there. Write down the name/brand/price and who is selling it. Get catalogs. Think about it! Then after the fuzzy haze of convention wears off you can make a more informed purchase. I have some books that are pretty much door stops now because I was careless (at first) and didn't follow that plan of attack. Money gone for something that was an ill fit for us, that we never even used.
Possible Step 5: Now for giggles-I make another paper where I denote anything I need to make/put together for the coming year and that just simply helps me during the summer break. I will pick and choose my point of interest and work on it as time allows. Again-nothing elaborate or too detailed. I don't need to drown myself in the nitty gritty but just give my ole brain a quick reference from the 'do it woman' list.
And there you go. That is how I figured out a simple and easy way to plow through the planning of curricula and materials we'd need for our schooling. I tried the super organized, super detailed way and all it accomplished was to kill the thrill of planning. So I came up with this easy-peasy way that seems to be working. Hope you can glean a nugget of goodness to help you with your planning/shopping too.