In our home education, I have found that it is easiest to school year-round. We take breaks throughout the year when our family needs them, and I plan ahead in little batches at a time. While most people are gearing up for a new school year at the end of summer, we are jumping into fresh curriculum and school plans in a few weeks which happens to be in mid-January. This is simply because of when we began our previous curriculum, the breaks we took, and when we finished up.
Just before Christmas, we finished My Father’s World: Learning God’s Story as our core curriculum. You can see a peek inside this curriculum in this igtv and more of how we used and loved it in this highlight on Instagram.
In this blog post, I will be sharing my curriculum choices for 2021. The majority of our schoolwork is done “family-style”, meaning both of my children participate and I slightly adapt their assignments to challenge them at their own levels. My daughter is currently 6 and my son is 7 and a half–they would technically be considered kindergarten and second grade. I do not squeeze my children into boxes labeled by grades in any subject, but instead, allow them to progress in each area as they are ready. Here are my curriculum picks for this new school year!
The Core Curriculum
After much research and thumbing through multiple curriculums, I decided on using My Father’s World Adventures in US History for our core curriculum (referred to as Adventures in this post) and I couldn’t be more confident or excited about my decision.
The main reason I chose Adventures as my core is because I loved the way Learning God’s Story was set up, and I anticipate a similar situation this year. Learning God’s Story was so easy to follow and implement with little prep, the content was thorough and well-rounded, and the lessons left us room to add in ideas and projects without feeling overwhelmed. The foundation of every subject included in Adventures is from a biblical perspective, which is important to our family. When I read what other homeschool moms said about Adventures, many said it was their favorite year of their entire home education journey. I can’t wait to jump in and share our journey along the way!
Adventures is an early elementary curriculum (It is labeled for 2-3rd grade but can be adapted for younger learners). It is based around American history from a Christian perspective. Throughout the year we will create a US History notebook, do loads of hands-on projects, and work on a continual timeline throughout our studies.
While this is the core curriculum, I do pull from other sources for portions of our home education. Now I will go through every subject I plan to cover this year and explain what resources and curriculums I plan to incorporate in each area.
During Morning Time this year I plan to cover certain subjects that are easiest to complete while managing my toddler. We do the rest of our lessons after lunch, while he and the baby are napping. Read more about Morning Time here. Read more about Daily Rhythm with a Baby and Toddler here.
Calendar/ Weather Chart
We start our day by using our Traceable Calendar and Weather Chart from my shop. The kids love to trace the letters and numbers and look out the window and at the weather report and track the day’s weather.
This year my plan is to cover the beauty subjects each morning in Morning Time. I am calling it that because these are the areas that bring beauty, goodness, and truth to our home education. I plan to piece this together myself using various resources. I am not quite sure how I will cover each topic yet or the specifics of resources I will pull from, but I will share more on this subject as it develops in my planning.
Some of the areas of study I plan to enjoy during this time are:
- Art Study
- Folk Songs/ Fingerplays
While we do family devotions over breakfast with my husband, we will also be doing further studies of the Bible using Adventures. We will be journeying through the Bible and learning different names for God and their meanings. These lessons coincide with the science portion in Adventures. For example, the week we are learning that one name for Jesus is “light of the world”, we are studying the sun, moon, and stars in science!
Both of my children are strong readers, but we will still do some light phonics work this year to help with decoding more complex words and spelling. We will be using Explode the Code primarily for phonics. We absolutely love these simple and fun phonics workbooks. Each child has their own level and can work mostly independently. We may mix it up by also adding a moveable alphabet, salt trays, and other hands-on elements.
For spelling, I plan to use Spelling You See. I chose this one because it is Charlotte Mason in style and uses copywork, reading, speaking, and listening activities, rather than relying on rote memorization for weekly tests. I used the online assessment to determine the levels I needed to order and both of my children fell into the same category. For both of my children, we are using the Wild Tales set.
Book Basket & Independent Reading
Adventures offers book recommendations for each week to further study the topics that we are learning in US History. I will be gathering these from our local library or purchasing them second-hand and will rotate the books out of a basket each week. I may read some aloud or just give them time to explore the books on their own and discuss.
For independent reading, the kids will have a set time that they will spend working through books at their levels. These may be picture books or chapter books.
As we journey through US History using Adventures, there is a heavy focus on language arts through reading, narrating, and notebooking. The bulk of our writing, spelling, grammar, and reading practice will be done via history lessons this year. We will also be using My Father’s World Language Lessons for Today a couple of times a week, which includes short lessons on English usage, punctuation, composition, and oral language skills.
Science/ Nature Study
Adventures has study topics and lessons for science and nature study each week. I will be pulling from these, as well as continuing to use Exploring Nature With Children on occasion.
The main books I will be using for Science this year are:
- Nature Anatomy and Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman
- The First Encyclopedia of Science
As mentioned, the main topic of study this year is US History, as well as the geography of America. The main source for learning all of these topics will be reading hundreds of living books, narrating, notebooking, hands-on projects, and creating a timeline over the course of the year.
We recently switched from The Good and The Beautiful Math 1 to find something to fit our family better. After much research, we are going to be using Masterbooks Math Lessons for a Living Education. My daughter is using Level 1 and my son, Book 2. Read my full curriculum review here.
Loop Scheduling is a method in which you go down a list of subjects that you go through in order, one per day in the time slot of your rhythm that allows for it. Rather than “every Monday we do Nature Study”, we just go down the list of subjects as we have space in our rhythm to fit them in. For us, at this stage with a baby and toddler in the mix, this takes a lot of stress out of our days. My priority is to cover the main lessons each school day. If we have time to fit in our Loop Subject after those are complete, then we do that too. Using my Customizable Homeschool Planner really helps me stay on track.
For our loop subjects this year, we will be covering:
- Sign Language - I have chosen Sign Language as my children’s foreign language because they are both hearing impaired. While they do use verbal language, I thought it would be helpful and useful in their lifetime to know sign language.
- Music - Through Adventures, we will be studying the composer, Tchaikovsky, this year. We may also begin piano lessons at some point in the next year!
- Art, Practical Skills, Handicrafts - I pull from many resources for these areas, but Adventures has many of these included as well.
I am so excited to jump into lessons in a few weeks and so honored to have you following along. As does everything in homeschooling, things will change. I may completely switch resources for a subject a month in, but this is where we are today. Stay tuned on Instagram and in further blog posts to see how we are using these curriculums day in and day out. If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out.