We have been working through American History for around 18 months using both My Father’s World: Adventures in US History and The Playful Pioneers. It has been a lovely year and a half of rich learning and I am already looking forward to circling back to American History in a few years. Now that we have wrapped up these studies, we are moving on to our next big theme for our core lessons- world geography, cultural studies, and missionary studies!
A few things to note:
My two older children are 7.5 & 9 years old and would technically be considered going into second and fourth 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 individualize is math. In addition to that my older son adds composition. Everything else is done together.
My two younger children are 2.5 and nearly 4 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.
Read this blog post: Homeschool Preschool: 5 Intentions for the Early Years
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 at the same time. Our school day is only around 4 hours, 4 days a week. Here’s a quick breakdown, but stay tuned for an updated detailed daily rhythm blog post coming soon for the new school year.
- Bible (over breakfast) - 30min
- Morning Time - 1 hour
- Core Subjects/ Read Aloud - 2-2.5 hours
- Enrichment Subjects - 30min
The last thing to note is that 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 and come back for curriculum reviews later. This is simply my starting plan!
I am going to share our core curriculum first because many of the resources we are using this year are coming from the core curriculum.
I am so excited to be using My Father’s World: Exploring Countries and Cultures (referred to as ECC in the remainder of the post). The main themes of the curriculum are world geography, cultural studies, and missionary studies. We will be traveling the world all year, country-by-country, preparing traditional food, making native crafts, and listening to ethnic music. They will also have real-life math application experiences by spending play currency from each country in each country’s “market”. This will be a little store of ethnic snacks and objects that represent the country, etc. We will also learn about heroes of the faith who have served God all around the world. I have so many enriching ideas for our year that I can’t wait to implement and share.
My Father’s World curriculums are all-in-one curriculums for the most part, but I don’t use it all and piece together resources for a lot of our learning, as you will see detailed below.
Bible & Morning Time
Although many families integrate this into one, this describes two separate times in our day. My husband leads the family in Bible over breakfast. After he leaves for work and we do our morning responsibilities, we gather again for Morning Time. I choose to put subjects and activities here that can also engage the little ones. Read more about what our Morning Time looked like last year here.
Bible includes worship through music, prayer, journaling, Bible readings, discussion, and scripture memory. We have used various devotional books to help guide this time over the years.
This year we are going to be working our way through a few missionary resources alongside ECC, as well as studying and memorizing scripture from the book of Matthew. Here are some of the resources we will use for Bible this year.
- The Bible, mostly the book of Matthew
- Window on the World: An Operation World Prayer Resource
- Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes
We also plan to review the scriptures that we have memorized in the past through the devotional Our 24 Family Ways by using the newly revised Scripture Sets from my shop (to be released at the end of September!)
Calendar/ Weather Chart
We start by using the Morning Time Bundle from my shop, which includes a Traceable Calendar and Weather Chart. The kids love to trace the letters and numbers and look at the weather report to track the day’s weather. My little ones are also excited to have their own Preschool Morning Time Bundles this year.
Beauty Subjects with Treehouse Nature Study
We will continue using Treehouse Nature Study as the core for our Morning Time, but will also add in some early learning elements for my younger two children as well this year. None of this will come from a curriculum, but I will share more about what that may look like in my upcoming post about preschool.
Each week of Treehouse Nature Study covers a seasonal nature theme and includes songs, hand rhymes, poetry, art study, an extensive book list, and hands-on connections. The study is meant to be used year after year and includes so much that we will easily go deeper and wider this year than last with no problem. All of my children engage with elements of this, so it’s easy and fun to include them all. For a peek inside Treehouse Nature Study, check out this post.
Here is what we cover in Treehouse Nature Study during Morning Time:
Each week we learn and enjoy a new folk song that coordinates with the week’s nature theme. Each song has a link to Spotify so we can listen and sing along, reading the lyrics from the display sheet. Some days we even pull out some instruments!
Next we follow along with the hand rhyme sheet and sing a short rhyme with hand motions that coordinates with the theme. There is also a link to the motions on YouTube in the guide. Check out my YouTube channel here.
For poetry, we have a new poem and poet to study each week. Each day we interact with the poem in new ways such as copywork, recitation, illustration, and poet study.
For picture study, we have a new piece of art and an artist to study each week. Each day we interact with the art in new ways such as artist study, observation activities, and replication.
Hands-On Connection/ Nature Notebooking
Once or twice a week we will include the hands-on nature connection from Treehouse Nature Study during Morning Time if it is an activity that would appeal to my youngest children. Some examples of these activities are experiments, crafts, recipes, and sensory experiences. My older children will complete a nature notebook entry on some weeks as well.
Read-Alouds/ Book Basket
During Morning Time I also read a book or two aloud from our Book Basket. I fill this basket with the fiction picture books from the Treehouse Nature Study book list that would most appeal to my 2 & 4-year-olds. I also include other classic read-alouds I want to expose him to that my older children also enjoy.
My older children end Morning Time by independently reading books from their curated book basket, which includes selections from the Treehouse Nature Study book list for the week, as well as from ECC’s extensive book list for the country/ culture we are studying.
Now, let’s get into our core subjects.
Grammar, Spelling, Handwriting, Composition
As we journey through ECC, there is a heavy focus on language arts through reading, narrating, and notebooking. We also practice copywork and notebooking with Treehouse Nature Study, so between the two, the bulk of our handwriting, spelling, composition, grammar, and reading practice is done via ECC and nature study lessons in an organic way. We also have started “Mail Mondays” where they each write a letter to anyone on Mondays and we focus on grammar and writing skills then.
Along with this, a couple of times a week we will also continue to use Language Lessons for Today (we are currently on grade 4), which includes short lessons on English usage, punctuation, composition, and oral language skills. There is also a lot of poetry and picture study in this book which we will simply skip over, since we are doing so much of that in Morning Time.
We will be finishing up Cursive Handwriting by Learning Without Tears this year and do the majority of our handwriting practice through print and cursive copywork from the poetry in Treehouse Nature Study, as well as the scriptures we are memorizing in Matthew and the review of verses through Scripture Sets (coming in September).
For spelling, we don’t use anything formal, but instead have found copywork and writing through poetry, scripture, and notebooking to be sufficient. Instead of a formal spelling curriculum, we are just sticking with those things and doing dictation twice a week from scriptures, poetry, and selections from this book. For more about what dictation is and how to do it, check out this article.
While I don’t plan to begin this at the start of our school year, my 9-year-old son will begin composition lessons at some point this year. I am considering lessons from IEW but haven’t decided fully yet!
Chapter Book Audiobooks/ Read-Alouds
We will be finishing up the audiobooks from the Little House on the Prairie Series and move on to more classics after we finish (titles undecided, but I rely heavily on book lists from Ambleside Online and Read Aloud Revival). My husband also goes through stories filled with adventure and classic literature read-alouds with the older children in the evenings.
From ECC, we will also be reading stories from Kingdom Tales and many of the books from the series: Christian Heroes, Then and Now throughout the year.
Along with this, both of my children spend hours each day reading on their own. They read fiction, non-fiction, and chapter books. This isn’t a part of our lessons, but I consider it a major piece to their education. I try to keep our shelves stocked with the best of the best. Again, check out this post on how I find good, quality books!
We are currently using and loving Math U See. My 7-year-old will be starting Beta and my 9-year-old, Gamma. Read this post about our math journey and why we love Math U See.
As mentioned, one of the main topics of study this year for us is world geography. The main source for learning about world geography is through reading hundreds of living books, narrating, notebooking, hands-on projects like art and cooking, and map work. We also learn world history and geography through artist and poet study from Treehouse Nature Study and Biblical studies.
Here are some of the main books we will be using to do these studies:
Science & Nature Study
While Treehouse Nature Study covers quite a bit of our science, we will add some unit studies such as human anatomy throughout the year. I haven’t nailed down which resources we will use for these yet. We will also explore ecosystems and animals around the world as we study countries and continents using books recommended by ECC and others. Here are some we will use:
Enrichment Subjects, Projects, and Field Trips
Some of these subjects my children will do with me, some our family nanny will do in the afternoons with them, and some of these are classes or events that I plan on my children being involved in this year.
My son is continuing piano lessons this year and my daughter will begin ukelele. We will also be studying music around the world this year with ECC. We also enjoy folk songs with Treehouse Nature Study and do hymn studies with A Connected Christmas and An Expectant Easter.
We study artists and explore art in many forms through THNS. This year we will also do many ethnic art projects with ECC. My children love to draw so they also spend a lot of time following drawing tutorials.
Practical Skills and Handicrafts
Both ECC and THNS include handicrafts and baking projects. Both children are also attending a sewing class this Fall at a local studio. We will introduce them to many handcrafts and skills over the course of the year such as woodworking, crocheting, cross stitch, leatherwork, and bread making.
We are continuing typing lessons by using Keyboarding Without Tears.
We have field trips planned that line up with our cultural studies, such as a trip to a local ministry whose mission is Bible translation around the world. We also go on many outings in line with Treehouse Nature Study throughout the year, like apple picking, nature scavenger hunts, to a raptor center, and the zoo.
I can’t wait to kick off our school year on August 8th! 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.