Although we homeschool year round, we like to take a few weeks off at the end of the summer and have a fresh new start date for Fall. If I am making any big curriculum shifts, I try to time it to begin whatever is new at this time. This Autumn I am really excited about the shifts that we are making! We will be starting our “new school year” mid-August.
A bit about our school-age children and our homeschool style
My two older children are eight and 10 years old and would technically be considered going into third and fifth grades, although we don’t really label them with grades and just progress as makes sense to each child.
The majority of our schoolwork is done “family-style”, meaning that we use as much curriculum that can apply to both children as possible, with slight adaptations to challenge them at their own levels. Currently, the only subject we totally individualize is math. Everything else is done using the same resources.
What will we use for preschool and kindergarten?
My two younger children are 3.5 and nearly 5 years old. While we don’t do any formal schooling until around age 6, I do have intentions and goals for the early years that I integrate into our daily rhythm for them both. These include lots of books, outside time, and a gentle introduction to letters and numbers. You can read what that will look like for them in the Morning Time section below.
At some point in this school year, we will ease into some gentle kindergarten work with my 5 year old to prepare him for formal schooling. I listed which resources we will be using for him in the post below.
Things to note:
You may feel overwhelmed by reading this post because it looks like a lot! Keep in mind that all of the resources listed here are for the entire year. We aren’t reading all of these books or covering all of these subjects on the same days. Our school day is around 4-5 hours, 4 days a week. (This doesn’t include projects, personal reading, or enrichment activities that they pursue on their own.)
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Bible (over breakfast)- 45min
- Morning Time- 45 min
- Core Subjects- 1 hour
- Read-Alouds & Narrations- 1 hour
- Rotating Subjects- 1 hour
There hasn’t been a year of homeschooling yet that I have used everything I intended to use at the start of the school year. Some things get ditched altogether and others modified. I add things, remove things, and shift things as we go. This is the beauty of home education. So, take this overview with a grain of salt. This is simply my starting plan!
Also, what works for me as a homeschool teacher or my children as students, won’t necessarily work for you! Let this merely be a peek into the way one family is homeschooling and find what fits you and your home the best.
Why aren’t we continuing with My Father’s World?
The last few years we have used My Father’s World as our core curriculum. We have absolutely loved a lot of it, especially the first year we used Learning God’s Story. I plan to use that again with my younger children when they are around age 6.
The following year we used Adventures in U.S. History and enjoyed a good bit of it, but ended up supplementing a lot because I felt when we got to studying the states, there was too much busy-work. We really enjoyed the book list in the back of the teacher’s manual and ended up relying on that, narrating, and notebooking for most of the year. The longer I have homeschooled, the more confident I have felt to not need the structure of a full curriculum, but rather view it more as a menu.
I felt similarly with Exploring Countries and Cultures when going through the country studies. While I loved some of the activities and resources, a lot of it felt dry, so I brought in other materials, books, and focused on the parts of the study we did enjoy. We love biographies so we focused more on those to be the core of our learning. I also have not enjoyed the resources for the science portion of My Father’s World in any of the years.
We have had a couple of lovely years, but truthfully, I curated a good majority of it. I love the freedom of homeschooling to be able to do that, but being said, I don’t think it would be the best choice for me to invest the time and money into another year of My Father’s World curriculum, only to find myself piecing things together and changing things all year. This is merely my own opinion and feelings in our home. I know many families who use every bit of My Father’s World and love it!
I want to reiterate that I do believe that My Father’s World is an amazing company and will still always recommend it. I especially suggest trying a comprehensive well-organized curriculum such as My Father’s World if you are just getting into homeschooling and don’t feel confident to piece things together yourself. I just felt, for us, it was time to make a switch and rely more on my desire and ability to piece our school year together.
If you are curious about My Father’s World, I recommend this blog. She shares a lot of reviews on the curriculum in many years.
Here are our picks for the upcoming school year!
Bible & Morning Time (4-5x a week)
Although many families integrate this into one, this describes two separate times in our day. My husband leads the family in Bible study/ family devotions over breakfast. After he leaves for work and we do our morning responsibilities, we gather again for Morning Time.
For Bible this year we are excited to use Rooted Family Bible Curriculum, a brand new curriculum we developed and released in August! Rooted incorporates Bible readings, discussion, scripture memory, prayer, hymns, art study, poetry, and simple hands-on connections. I designed it to incorporate beauty subjects with Bible study. If you have loved A Connected Christmas or An Expectant Easter, you will love this resource. The curriculum is centered around declarations of who they are in Christ and their choices to live a life devoted to Him. I am thrilled to use it and share it with you!
My husband will do the Bible readings, discussion, scripture memory, and prayer portion of the curriculum over breakfast and I will do the poetry, art, and any hands-on connections with the kids during Morning Time, once their hands are available for writing and such!
Try a free sample to see if Rooted Family Bible Curriculum would be a good fit for your family.
Calendar/ Weather Chart
Related: Calendar and Weather Charting for Kids
Treehouse Nature Study
For some weeks, we will be sprinkling in some nature study using Treehouse Nature Study. It will be our third year using it, but we love visiting the same topics in nature over and over and going deeper each year. It’s such a great resource for Morning Time because it really draws in all of my children at the same time and keeps us on track to learn with the seasons throughout the year. We will use the books, notebooking, and projects from the curriculum. Some examples of these activities are experiments, crafts, recipes, and sensory experiences.. The little ones will love revisiting the folk songs and hand rhymes too.
At some point in the school year I also plan to dive into Classical Music studies during Morning Time using Beautiful Feet Books The History of Classical Music.
Math (4x/ week)
This year we are making the switch from Math-U-See to Teaching Textbooks. While I do believe Math-U-See is a good math curriculum and I saw skill mastery while we used it, my children were bored with it and dreaded doing their math each day. I also noticed the lessons were very repetitive and the review was minimal. I wanted to make a change to a more spiral-approach to math, and something more engaging. I found Teaching Textbooks, and while we are very new to it, it seems like a great fit for us. It’s a digital math curriculum that is not over-stimulating, but highly motivating and fun. I love that I can check in on their progress and offer extra hands-on practice like board games and practical math activities when I am inspired, but it can also stand alone.
Language Arts: Grammar, Spelling, Handwriting, Reading (4x/ week)
- Copywork - Each day the kids will have a selection to copy or write from dictation. This is for handwriting, spelling, and grammar. Sometimes this selection will be a passage of scripture we are memorizing, an excerpt of a poem, a quote, or a selection of literature from something we are reading. Sometimes they will write in cursive and other times in print.
- Grammar - The kids will do one page each day in their Daily Grams workbooks for grammar review. They complete this independently. We will also do a short grammar lesson using Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola. The lessons are based on the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education and will be completed orally.
- Literature/ Narrations - I will be reading aloud from literature books each day and the kids will orally narrate. We will add in some written narrations as the year goes on. These readings are short (15-20 minutes each). Some days we will only complete one reading and other days two. I am gathering the books we will read primarily from Ambleside Online, years 2-5. I am not following the schedule or reading all of them.
- Writing - Each Monday the kids participate in Mail Monday, which is an informal way to practice writing skills. They also will complete written narrations throughout the year, as well as stories, research papers, and notebooking pages. I don’t currently use a formal curriculum for writing.
- Independent Reading - Each day the kids will read independently for 20-30 minutes. The chapter books they will read are primarily from the “Free Reads” lists in Ambleside Online years 2-5. I also include selections from other book lists for them to choose from. In addition to this, they both love to read and read many books on their own in their free time.
Geography, History, & Science
We are using two guides this year to cover these three subjects. Both guides dip into all three areas of geography, history, and science.
- Beautiful Feet Books Holling Geography Study (2x/ week) - This guide is centered on the books by Holling C. Holling and will take us on a literature-centered adventure through the United States, studying the Great Lakes and Eastern seaboard, states, national landmarks, bodies of water, natural science, indigenous animals, and industry. We will practice mapping skills and notebooking our way through the study.
- Beautiful Feet Books History of Science (2x/week) - We will be studying science through the lens of literature, history, and biographies! We will read the life stories of famous scientists like Archimedes, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, and more and do LOADS of hands-on science experiments!
- Piano (4x/week)- Both children are taking piano lessons from Hoffman Academy this year. Each day they do a lesson and spend time practicing. We have family recitals for them to share what they are learning every couple of months!
- Spanish (2x/week)- Both children will be taking Spanish this year using Rosetta Stone. The lessons are around 30 minutes a day and they can complete these independently.
- Typing (1x/ week)- We are still using Keyboarding Without Tears for typing practice. They also use the computer for writing narrations, stories, and more and we plan to grow this area of their education this year.
- Art/ Drawing- Along with art projects and notebooking that we do in school, both kids are taking weekly art courses on Outschool.com. This year. My son is taking a drawing course and my daughter is taking a polymer clay sculpting class. We may also try new classes throughout the year. We also have a membership to ArtforKidsHub and they do origami and drawing tutorials in their free time.
- Handcrafts- This year the kids will be working on loom knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, and woodworking. They do these projects in the afternoons with our nanny.
Related: The Best Handcrafts for Children
I can’t wait to kick off our school year using these resources! Stay tuned on Instagram, YouTube, and in further blog posts to see how we are using and enjoying these curriculums day in and day out. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Inside my Homeschool” where I share the nitty gritty every Sunday.