I’m definitely conflicted this time of year. Despite 16 years having passed since fall meant a return to school, fall means a fresh start. New notebooks, paper, and binders. Anticipation, both enthused and anxious about new classes. And, notably, unlike the rest of life, a beginning with a definite ending in sight.
About this time every year, I find myself surrounded by scrawled lists of curriculum plans and piles of books. I’ve planned in notebooks, on calenders, on computer-generated planner pages, and in my head, all with moderate initial success that diminished come October or so, where recording what we actually did took the place of planning what we would do. That’s fine for my younger guy, since he generally takes us further than I would have planned, but with my older at age 12 (7th grade age), it’s really not enough for either of us. I need to know that a course will get finished in the span of our school year. He needs a path to follow with signposts telling him how far he’s been and how far there is to go. He needs me to make a plan.
So here I am, surrounded by the papers and the books, slowly scheduling out Geometry, Latin, Biology, and more. I’m trying out some scheduling software this time around, Homeschool Tracker Plus, and (as I was warned) the learning curve has been fairly steep. It allows homeschoolers to share lesson plans with others, which can be quite the time saver, but I’m not sure that time savings will be evident this year, given the amount of work I’ve put in learning how to make the program work best for me and my family. I’m not one to schedule down to the hour, and that seems to be one of the program’s strengths. Right now, my favorite feature is the library function. With a swipe of my neutered Cue Cat (bar code reader turned ISBN reader), I can catalogue my books. Using the resource function, I can sort these by course as well. Hooray! It’s too soon to tell if this software will meet my needs, but the latent librarian in me is deeply satisfied.