Homeschool - Year 1

We are almost done with our first year of homeschool! Whew! Technically, we're done with all our math lessons. We still have a few more lessons for language arts and religion but for the most part, we're just doing drills, etc. We're just coasting along until the second week of June which is when our school year officially ends.
I cannot believe that the year's almost done. This time last year, I was conflicted whether or not to homeschool. Right now, I am glad we took that step. It has not been easy. I still do not know for how long we will be on this journey. Maybe a few more years? Maybe until high school? Honestly, I am taking it a year at a time. I don't know what God has in store for us. All I know that right here, right now, this is where we have been placed. And so this is where we stay.
I've learned a few things during the past year that I hope will make the coming school year better. I will be officially homeschooling 2 kids by then - DD1 & DD2 so that is going to present some challenges that were not present this year.
One major change that I will be making is our school year. Our year is divided into quarters. For this year, I pretty much just followed the traditional school year and holidays. Next year, I want to try interspersing more breaks into our year. We will have a 2-week break after the 1st and 3rd quarters. Our Christmas break will coincide with a semestral break of 4 weeks. I am hoping that the breaks in between quarters will keep the kids and especially me more refreshed. I also think that it will be good for me in terms of planning and preparation. Having a couple of weeks between quarters will allow me to better prepare for that quarter. I can also better assess our progress after each quarter. I think that I now have a better grasp of the things I will need to do, etc. This year, it often felt like that I was just going with the flow, seeing where this was going to take us. It was a nice introduction to the whole system and since Kindergarten is technically not a requirement in our state, there really was no pressure for me to HAVE to finish and teach everything that was required. 1st grade will be different and I will have to be more organized in terms of record-keeping, etc.
Halfway through this school year, our "classroom" moved from DS's room/dining table to our living room. It took some rearranging but I think what we have right now is working for us. We did not have to buy any new office furniture. We're using mostly what we have already. We bought a set of TV tray tables and those are the kids' school tables to use for writing activities/worksheets. I like using them because when they are not in use, they are easily folded up and put away in a corner. I have a 4-shelf storage unit in the corner that houses most of our stuff. I use countertop storage units from Walmart/Target to organize school supplies. I have the bigger 12x12's for our paper supplies. Then we have smaller ones for loose pencils/crayons/erasers/glue sticks, etc. These things do not always end up there but at least there's a place for them. I think that we are keeping this storage system while it works for us. I think that we might outgrow it when the kids start using more books and stuff but we'll decide on a new system when we get there.
Right now, I am already planning our coming school year. I've pretty much decided what curriculum to use, the books I need and the schedule we will be following. I've bought some books also. I will wait until the used curriculum sale at the coming homeschool conference to see what I can get there for cheaper before finalizing my order for books. I will also need to order an assessment test for DD1 to see if I should use 1st grade language arts for her or advance her to 2nd grade language arts. The specific lesson planning will done in July. I'm really feeling reinvigorated thinking about the coming school year. I'm looking forward to new lessons and trying out new things. That is a good sign, isn't it?
Thank you Lord for blessing us this school year.