There might be a few more ideas here:
At my house, I like to spend the summer going over my manual. Some random things I've done to prep in the past:
ALL LEVELS: I always make up a 3-ring binder for the year, get a pack of page protectors by going to Sam's Club with my mom, and put in the school calendar & school forms (Minnesota). I also choose a place to put everything my student will need (a separate bookshelf, or a stack of drawers, etc.). I also have a bookshelf where I gather all the books we have around the house on the topics we'll be studying for the year, but that's because we have so many books at our house. And for 7th grade and up, I usually agonize over science labs and whether I want to order anything, or put the word out for a lab partner in my area, etc.
ECC: Go over the prep page for each continent and pencil in which craft we might do, which library books I have or might like to reserve at the library (I can even create saved lists on my library's website), make any copies, create a supply tote by gathering any listed supplies or purchasing a few during back-to-school sales.
AHL: Here's a list based on something I emailed to someone in my area some time back. It's probably overkill, but sometimes prep helps me to feel ready or something? High school felt like a big step both for me and for my youngest. I should reassure you that 10th grade was a very easy transition for us & I hardly did any prep
1. Read the manual 100 times till you just absorb it LOL!
2. One idea I got from the "MFWExplorers high school blog" (you can google it) was to add in little "boxes" on the grid where I wanted my son to remember certain things.
- Depending on your math or science, you might want to add/subtract boxes on Friday.
- You might add boxes for electives or outside activities at the bottom of the grid, both as a time reminder and as a credit reminder for later.
- She wrote "pray" on her student's grid, which is a great idea.
- I wrote "writing" on the weeks where a writing assignment was given on Monday and due on Friday (so I added a box on Tue, Wed, Thurs), just because.
3. Decide whether you want to pursue using any audiobooks, and look for sales etc. Some possibilities:
- The Bible can be found free online or we used the one Marie recommended in the manual. Over the summer, I checked out a few versions from my library. I chose a chapter that had several characters speaking, to see how much "acting" we might like, or not.
- Cat of Bubastes (Henty can be a hard read for some, with sometimes paragraph-long sentences, although this is probably his easiest)
- Iliad (the Fagles audio is abridged, which means portions are left out, but the rest is the original wording).
- Crystal found Bulfinch, which would have been nice: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 483#p65599
- Purpose Driven Life can be found in audio, but it's a very easy read
4. Decide how much you want to help prep the timeline pages. I did as much as possible in advance, because I didn't want my ds to spend his time on this. I might have let my dd do more on her own because she'd enjoy it.
- Decide if you're going to look for sticky-paper or cardstock or just cut out the set. Last time I checked, Walmart was carrying the double-cracked set from Avery, which really does make it easier (the cuts are both diagonal across the page, so they hit the maximum number of timeline pieces).
- I copied all the pages according to the book, cut them out, and stored each page in a separate envelope (from old junk mail) labeled "week 13" or whatever; there aren't too many in AHL.
- Sometimes I used a paper cutter for straighter lines.
5. Prep the maps. There aren't many in AHL, but you'll probably want copies. Your child could do the work right in the book or have the spine removed from the book, but coloring a map on one side and answering questions on the other might be risky. I used cardstock and enlarged the maps according to the suggestions in the manual (or often a little bigger, and I set them about a quarter inch from the top and right side of my printer).
6. Make sure you have a good set of colored pencils for the maps (probably 12 would be plenty, but they will need basic colors like a "true blue" for the water). Often stores like Michaels and Dick Blick will have 40% off sales.
7. Look thru the "extra literature" portion of the manual & decide if you need to find those books. You don't need to plan the whole year, but you might want to plan the first month. Your options include:
- deciding to cross off that requirement on the daily grids, since it's optional
- or deciding to leave the requirement on the grids, and cross out the note in the front that says it's optional
- choosing literature from the list in the manual for your child to read in those time slots
- choosing literature according to your own goals (my son read books assigned in his book club)
- talk to your child about selecting his own literature
8. Give some thought to how you will do the Bible study this year. There is a parent checklist in the back of the manual, so your options include:
- doing the Bible and the Old Testament Challenge together as a family
- doing the Bible together as a family, and the student does OT Challenge on his own
- doing it separately, where the parents are reading on their own but keeping up
- just having the student read, and discuss during your parent meetings
9. Don't forget to get out the exact Bibles you will be using, and make sure the versions match if you will be reading together, or reading with an audio version. Even if you use an audio Bible or online Bible, you still may find a matching print Bible helpful for following along (my son didn't *always* have his open, but sometimes I made him because he was zoning out). Also, the little "section headings" in some print Bibles are not usually read on the audio, but if you see them as you read along in your print Bible they can help keep track of the general topics.
10. Give some thought to how your student will do his work.
- Some students will want several notebooks labeled for each subject, or tabs in a binder.
- My son uses the computer for almost everything, so I create a Word file for each school year, e.g. "Reid 9th grade." Within that file, I start pages for things my son will likely do on the computer, e.g. "Exploring World History questions," and at the top I typed in what I want out of him each day (date, lesson number, whether answers need to be in complete sentences, and a section underneath for notes/questions/corrections).
- You'll probably need a thin 3-ring binder for the Daniel study, but that doesn't happen until the end of the year.
- And, to foster independence, it was helpful for my son to have specific drawers where he could be sure to find pencils, his compass for math, colored pencils for mapping, timeline pieces, etc.
11. Something that worked well for my son was sticky-tabs. Okay, maybe it's me who likes office supplies
but here are some things that worked for us:
- I used those tiny plastic "flags" from Post-It to mark his place in every book at first -- the page he started on, the page he ended on, the page where the questions were, etc.
- In the Notgrass Quiz & Exam Book, I even slapped on a very large post-it across the area where his questions of the day were (and drew a big arrow in marker), either underneath the day's lesson or above it depending on the page, because my ditzy 9th grader kept trying to answer questions from the wrong lesson
- And the third kind of post-it I used was a little sticky "arrow" >> (probably for signatures in offices), which i put on the grid at the top of the day's column. Since we didn't use the grid in a Monday-to-Friday pattern (and since our Bible as a family was often out-of-sync with his work), this helped him figure out what day he was on.
12. Some totally optional extras we liked:
- Answers Book DVD (very short versions of some of the chapters in the Answers Book)
- Sparknotes on the Iliad (didn't use all of it by any means, but for instance when my son was gritting his teeth about Odysseus's shield decorations taking up practically a whole chapter, there was a good explanation for that