Our Homeschool Curriculum
Are you overwhelmed by choosing a perfect homeschool curriculum for your family? You’re not alone. I’ve found that a perfect homeschool curriculum doesn’t really exist for my family- that is, unless I develop it myself. Here’s the curriculum I stitched together for this year’s homeschool. It may change as we get going, and that’s perfectly fine.
One of the most beautiful things about homeschooling is how personalized it can be. Each family and each child is different, and homeschooling provides the opportunity to meet the specific needs and highlight the particular values you want to pass onto your children. And while some big-box curriculums do a really comprehensive job at developing a thorough curriculum, it’s unlikely that it’s a “perfect fit” for your family.
Curriculum is, simply, the collection of subjects a student is to learn about; it often includes the sequencing and methodology used to bestow education. The curriculum is a tool to serve parents as they educate their children.
That’s why I like to pick and choose resources that works for me and what I believe will work best for my children (grades 2 and K). Some resources I use each year, and others I retire, sometimes even only a few lessons in. And that’s ok. Most of the time, I use the curriculum I choose as a springboard to launch us into other areas of interest or need. In these ways, the curriculum does its job at serving us as a family.
Here is what I am currently planning on using this year in our Charlotte-Mason inspired homeschool. I’m delighted to share these with you, not because I want you to duplicate it, but because I hope some of the things that work well for us may work well for you, too.
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Morning time is a time for my family to start the day with a “feast of ideas.” I like to read a poem and a devotional thought or Bible story, then work on memorizing a piece of Scripture. Here are some resources we will be using this year:
Sing a Song of Seasons – a nature poem for every day connected to the seasons
The Ology – introduction to theology for little ones
The Wonder of Creation – devotional thoughts based on science and nature
The Adventure Bible Storybook – Bible stories
A-Z Bible Memory Verses – my own set of verses to memorize
Additionally, we make a point to incorporate singing, often including a hymn, to our morning time to make it a time of praise before beginning our “official” homeschool days.
This will be my second year using The Good and the Beautiful’s math curriculum. I have the older version of the curriculum, but know and trust that the updated version is just as quality (my understanding is they changed the format to make it more affordable). What I like about TGATB math is how it builds concepts and utilizes manipulative. It takes the abstract parts of math and make them very relevant to young minds. This is the one subject I do not mind utilizing worksheets – learning math requires a lot of writing and figuring, and the repetitive practice builds confidence. This curriculum has proven to be the right balance of challenging and doable for my young ones.
READING AND HANDWRITING
I debated doing different phonics programs, and even purchased The Good and the Beautiful’s Language Arts curriculum, but I have found that I’ve had success with Engelmann’s Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. My son is a busy guy, and these lessons are short, succinct and inspire confidence as they slowly introduce the skill of reading through sounds. I like how simple and straightforward it is. Some of the stories are especially silly, which my son really enjoyed. We only got about one third of the way through the book last year. At 7 years old, he still is not reading, and I’m not concerned. We have prioritized hands-on learning experiences in his earliest ages, but now he and I are both ready for him to learn to read. My daughter, Lucy, is ready to begin learning, too.
As for handwriting, we’re going a completely new direction this year. Per the recommendation of friend – who is the Lower School Principle of a Classical School – I am going to be teaching my children cursive using the Cursive First program. There’s a reason for this – the connected nature of the letters helps the brain support the connected nature of sounds, and will, in turn, boost and help my children as they learn to read. My children will still practice print – I still especially love using my set of Montessori letters – but I look forward to seeing how learning cursive will improve their penmanship and their reading and phonics skills.
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
History is the subject I feel the least confident in. I couldn’t tell you major world empires, historical events, or the geographical reasons where they took place. That is partly why I am so excited to be using The Story of the World and its corresponding activity book this year. The first volume, which focuses on the Ancient Times, is geared for young ones (K-2 grade), but I am sure to learn just as much as my kids. I am grateful that it offer has an audiobook so we can listen while being hands-free.
To supplement with we are learning, I will read a few novels aloud including: The Golden Goblet, which takes place in ancient Egypt, The Bronze Bow and Vinegar Boy which take place during the time of Jesus, and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series which covers nine stories from creation to Jesus’ resurrection.
Additionally, I bought a set of puzzles for play that also should help my children understand American and world geography.
For science, we will continue doing Nature Studies with the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum. I appreciate how the curriculum is complete, including recommended poetry, art, projects, and supplemental texts. We will study the recommended art and also create our own art in inspiration to the created world.
The Handbook of Nature Study is always on our bookshelf as a resource we can use more and more with each passing year. It helps us to understand all different parts of nature.
Additionally, Levi will be doing projects from the text Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids. These simple projects are hands-on and educational, explaining basic scientific and engineering concepts.
Living Books are foundational to a good education according to Charlotte Mason. I wanted to include a variety of classic and modern read-alouds that came from a few different cultural backgrounds. Here’s a collection of the novels and short stories we will hopefully read this year:
Old Mother West Wind and other texts by Thorton Burgess
Margaret Gatty’s Parables of Nature
Honestly, I have never read a single one of these texts, so I am especially excited to delve into these stories myself!
THE PEACEFUL PRESCHOOL
I’ve been using materials from The Peaceful Press for as long as I’ve been homeschooling, and I am happy to be using The Peaceful Preschool this year with my daughter. Even though she is no longer “preschool age” the material is play-based, interesting, and fun for children of all ages – Levi still enjoys the read-aloud and art activities. The Peaceful Press offers parents straightforward weekly grids connected to a letter of the alphabet or a particular theme. I have mostly appreciated the way it fosters connection through intentional, real-life learning with your little ones.
Are you homeschooling your preschooler or kindergartener this year? I have a free weekly reflection sheet you can download, as well as a list of recommended preschool supplies – check them out!
Above all, remember that a curriculum is meant to serve you, not the other way around. If you find that whatever curriculum you’re using isn’t working out for you and your kids, switch it! The goal is to keep the love of learning alive – find resources that will do it for you.
Are you looking for some resources to encourage and empower you as a homeschooling parent? Check out my recommended reading and podcasts page for some of my favorite sources for parents.