Hello friends,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying all the swimming, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, watermelon, and other fantastic Summer adventures. I realize that for the homeschool parent, we are in planning and preparation mode for school in the fall between the fun during school break. For seasoned homeschoolers and those who are just beginning your journey, curriculum choices and the planning process are significant and essential. My email inbox is full of emails showing me that you are thoughtfully considering your curriculum options.

It is important and valuable to know that you aren’t alone. You chose to partner in homeschooling with The Cottonwood School, with built-in support systems and community. Because we know that many of you are planning and thinking ahead, we have summer opportunities for you to view, acquire, and purchase curriculum well before school begins. Some of you may wish to wait for your teachers to return from the break before making choices. Your teacher is invested in knowing your children and helping support their needs alongside you. It is a valuable relationship, and they can support your planning greatly. There is no rule stating that you must have all curriculum in hand on day one of school. There are many transitional options and ways to ease in, offering you time to consult with your HST before ordering anything. Even in a traditional school setting, it takes time to transition into the textbooks and materials.

It is important when planning to begin with reflection and contemplation. This helps solidify your “WHY.” Why are you homeschooling for the 2022/23 school year? Notice that I didn’t write 2021/22. Each and every year has and will continue to look different for each child in their educational journey. Your choices for your child last year may look different this year. They have grown and changed. You have observed different strengths and weaknesses. The past and the future alike speak to your homeschooling motivations. What are your goals, your hopes, and your dreams? What does your schedule look like? What are you excited about? What are your kids excited about? Who has what needs, including academic, extracurricular, and practical? What are your needs? As you put these thoughts to paper, it will bring clarity to your planning process. You can help answer some of these questions and learn more by exploring our Pinterest Board here.

Another consideration that I will mention is budget. You are allotted instructional funds for each of your enrolled children. You can view the instructional fund amounts here. This budget can be used 100% for curriculum and can also be divided to cover classes, enrichment, field trips, supplies, and so on. The possibilities are endless. Some people opt to cover the cost of some of these things out of pocket. Some reserve a large amount of their funding for field trips, realizing that we have dozens of monthly options like theater shows, museums, adventures, events, and more. They each range in price, so if field trips are a priority, setting aside funding for those is important. Your why can help decide how to budget both your student funding.

Our Cottonwood Parent Planners include helpful budget planning sheets, which you can find and print for yourself HERE. If you ordered planners before our early June deadline, they will arrive in July. If you weren’t able to order yet and are interested, stay tuned for the second order option in early August.

We have some upcoming and exciting events where you can explore, check out curriculum and resources from the library, and also shopping events where you can purchase and take materials home. See the Lending Library Schedule for park days and the next section below for an upcoming Lending Library Curriculum Night and TWO Brighter Child Shopping Events.

Kara Parkins, Parent Support Advisor