Posted in Among The Homeschool

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum– Language Arts

Language Arts can be a very divisive subject in the homeschool world. We all want kids who can read and write– but the question is how to get them there. You’ll see one heavy debates about which reading program is best, which grammar program is best, and which writing program is best. I’ve seen very heated debates about the necessity of sentence diagramming in a grammar program.

Let me let you in on a little secret: the program matters less than you just doing something. You could teach your kids grammar with Mad Libs, and I’m pretty sure they’ll turn out just fine. So, don’t get so paralyzed by the big debates around language arts. This is still just as simple as choosing books.

I ignore all other aspects of grammar while my kids are learning to read. Anything else we do will simply be for fun. If it isn’t fun, we aren’t doing it. I just don’t see the point in a kid knowing the definition of a noun if he can’t read the nouns in a book.

Teaching kids to read is my least favorite thing to do on the planet. After having two very struggling readers, I get tired just thinking about teaching the others to read. My first two used The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. They loved it. It was quick and painless. They were both reading well by age 5. I thought I had the golden book that was the only way to teach reading. Then came child 3. (This is how I know for certain that anyone who claims to have the best of any curriculum is just working with too small of a sample size to know. Any curriculum recommendation is just one of thousands of recommendations. Find what you like and hold on to it as long as it works.) He hated The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. He hated all the other programs I tried. What worked? Time. And Explode the Code Online (not the book version, he hated that, as well) when he was ready. He wasn’t ready until he was 7. You wouldn’t know that now that he is 11. A delay in learning to read has not held the kid back in the slightest. He’s now well above grade level according to all his testing. I thought I had a plan after him. Nope. Not a chance. The next kid, even worse at reading. We went through a dozen or so programs, apps, books, etc. Nothing stuck. Nothing worked. I tried Explode the Code Online, hoping for another reading miracle. Nope. Not happening. Eventually, again, time worked. He finally started reading at age 8, very slowly. It took him a lot longer to get to a mastery level. Maybe because I was so pushy with the phonics. Maybe he was just going to take longer no matter what I did. The next two are currently learning to read with Teach Your Child to Read with 100 Easy Lessons. It is going well for them. They like it. I still hate teaching it. We just grit our teeth and bear it, knowing that this too shall pass. Until the next kid. And the next. Lord, help me, I’ll be teaching phonics forever.

Handwriting can wait until reading is accomplished. If they want to do handwriting sooner, you can let them. I just wouldn’t push them. Climbing trees and riding a bike are great activities to build up the motor skills they’ll eventually need to write. As far as which handwriting– just pick one. You can teach them yourself. You don’t need a curriculum. We like Draw, Write, Now. They draw a picture and then write. My younger kids love that. My older kids don’t do handwriting at all. If I can’t read it, they rewrite it. If penmanship is a big deal to you, there is no shame in that. You can have them writing beautiful Spencerian Penmanship and I’ll be super impressed with them. But if you don’t care all that much, no need to make someone else’s priority yours.

I do read good literature to these kids all the time. I read in Morning Basket. I read to them until they can read for themselves. And even once they can read for themselves, I still read to them from time to time. (My high schoolers and I are currently reading The Iliad out loud.) You can choose a literature program if you like. I just pick books I want to read to them. We have a fairy tale year every couple years where the little kids and I read all the fairy tales we can get our hands on. We compare. We contrast. We read the same story told by different authors. They love it. The next year, we’ll have Story Time With A Bear where I’ll read through Winnie the Pooh and they bring their bear to class to hear the stories. We’ll read through Peter Rabbit. We’ll read Aesop. We’ll read through Narnia (probably more than once by the time they graduate). We read a lot. You can choose a curated literature curriculum. Or you can curate your own.

When my oldest was 6, she found a copy of Oliver Twist. She insisted we read it. I warned her it was a very grown up story. She was insistent. So we read Oliver Twist. And she loved every second of it. I would have never planned Oliver Twist in first grade, but she thought it was great. (And her much younger brothers enjoyed it, too.)

My 7-year-old is a Jules Verne fanatic. He keeps a copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth under his pillow. While I won’t read only Jules Verne for him, I do make sure I read enough Jules Verne to keep him happy.

You might be surprised what books young children will love. Don’t be afraid to read the big classics to them. Yes, let them read Dr. Suess (those make excellent first readers), but if Little Women is calling your name, read it!

I also choose simpler stories as they become confident readers. I don’t shield them from twaddle, as some homeschoolers do. (Because if I’m honest, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of twaddle in my life. I distinctly remember reading every V.C. Andrews book our library carried one summer in middle school.) But twaddle is for their own free time. During school, we try to read better books. Charlotte’s Web, Ralph S. Mouse, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Encyclopedia Brown come to mind as good chapter books that fall between “high literature” and “twaddle”. They’re good, solid options that kids will love reading. (You can check out my ever growing and changing list of beginner chapter books here.) While I might read Around the World in 80 Days to younger kids, I’m not going to assign that for them to read. I want them to build confidence in reading before tackling more difficult reads. However, if you want to let them build confidence reading things others deem twaddle, you go right ahead! Don’t let someone else’s priorities become yours.

There are also plenty of beginning readers out there. While most, I’d say, are poorly written and a chore for everyone involved to get through, others may be worthwhile. We really like Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers and the Treadwell Readers (Primer, One, and Two).

If you have a larger family, or more than one kid, really, I will give you some advice. Write down what you read to them and what they read. My 7-year-old recently had no idea who Eustace Scrubb was. I realized he’d never heard Narnia. So, we broke out Narnia for literature for the little ones this year. (And this is an example of one of my “must read” books that may not be one of your “must read” books. You may not know who Eustace is either.) Keep a list either in a special journal or just a file on your computer of what each child has read so you’ll avoid graduating a kid who hasn’t ever met your favorite character.

Once my kids are proficient readers, it is time to break out the grammar. Again, you can teach them grammar with Mad Libs or School House Rock if you want. My personal favorite grammar program is Beowulf Grammar. It is fun and funny and my kids have loved it. It isn’t on any specific grade level, so it can be used at any time or over and over. (And for you sentence diagrammers, it contains diagramming.) Beyond that, my kids like Easy Grammar. They like it because it is easy and to the point. No frills. Just the basics. We move to 180 Daily Teaching Lessons once they hit high school to keep up their grammar skills without giving them long assignments to do or read. If you’re into sentence diagramming, Diagramming the Scriptures is a good resource. Again, there are hundred of grammar program all claiming to be the best. Just pick one and move on. Don’t stress about it. If you hate it, you at least narrowed down the options for next year.

Writing is another area where you’ll find very dogmatic programs that claim to be the best. If you want to use those program, go ahead. Use them! If they seem daunting, don’t feel bad skipping them. In my experience, well read kids can write pretty well. You can hand them a journal and ask for a journal entry each day. You can grab a TpT writing pack and go with that. We’ve done both of those things before. You can just sit and show them how to craft a paragraph, an essay, a short story, a poem. I know some of you program followers are about to die reading that. And I say to you, if you like the program and it works for your kid– good for you and your program! Keep it up. Enjoy it. The rest of us don’t have to enjoy it for you to enjoy it. My kids expressed interest in crafting better stories and poetry. So, they’re doing The Creative Writer this year. It fit, so we went with it. And they’re really enjoying the process. A few years ago, they used Writers in Residence, and they enjoyed it. Use what works for you.

Spelling is another hot topic issue in education. With the invention of autocorrect, is spelling necessary? If kids can’t spell, we’re all doomed to Idiocracy. I don’t care if you teach spelling to your kid or not. You know where you stand. I did develop this super simple spelling program for my kids if you’re looking for something for spelling. I don’t think you’ll ruin your kid either way. Spell or don’t spell. I was the Spelling Bee runner up two years in a row. It hasn’t affected my life in any way. No one commends my excellent spelling skills nor do they advance my life goals in any way.

Literature for older kids is a little different than it is for younger kids. I encourage you to have your kids read difficult things. If they want to read Goosebumps, cool, but in their own time. With me, you’re reading Poe, kid. I usually align literature selections with their history cycle. Again, that is my personal preference. We don’t have a stack of books for “8th grade reading” or “9th grade reading”. We have books that align with Ancient History, Medieval History, Early Modern History, or Modern History. I know some people who just have “books you’ll read before you graduate” and they let the kids pick what they’ll read and when. (You can check out my middle school and high school growing and changing book lists here.)

I have certain books I want my kids to read for themselves. Then there are other books that I want them to hear. So, some books, I choose to read aloud, even though the kids could read them. Sometimes I choose a book and we realize it is way more of a challenge than we anticipated. We have a few options when that happens. I can shelve the book until they are ready for the challenge. I can read it with them, making sure they’re getting it chapter by chapter. Or I can read it to them. There is no “right” answer– it usually depends on the book and the issue.

Choose whatever literature you want your kids to read. Don’t be afraid to give them difficult books. Don’t be phased when they declare they hate a book. Learning to critique what you read is just as much of a skill as learning to appreciate what you read. Make them keep reading. Make them dig deep and figure out why they dislike it. “It’s boring!” isn’t enough. Why is it boring? Too much detail? Not enough detail? Not enough action? Characters you just don’t care about? How could the author have made it better? Really dig.

What you choose to do with literature is up to you. You can find comprehension questions and worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can have them narrate what they’re reading. You can have them write old school book reports. You can have them write reviews for the books they read. You can keep character sheets, create illustrations, or just discuss what they’re reading. Since I have several kids in close ages, I tend to have them all read the same thing at the same time so we can take full advantage of having a built in book club for discussions. You could also partner with other homeschoolers and have a homeschool book club for literature. There are so many options for what to do with literature. I mix it up. Sometimes we’ll use a study guide for a book. Sometimes I’ll pull out reading response worksheets. Sometimes they’ll just read to discuss as a group later. If worksheets drive you batty, skip them. If study guides annoy you, skip them.

You can choose a prepackaged language arts curriculum. But putting one together on your own can be as simple as grabbing some Mad Libs (my kids are big fans of Mad Libs, y’all) and picking a book to read. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The biggest help to writing in college for me was simply being well read. Formatting can be easily learned and applied. If you want them to have content worth writing, have them read.

I know most people look at my choices for literature and get very overwhelmed. We didn’t start with The Odyssey. We worked up to that. We first read Tales from the Odyssey, then The Children’s Homer, then The Odyssey. That said, your high schooler may never read The Odyssey. That is fine. Do you know how many adults haven’t read The Odyssey? Quite a lot of them! You choose the books that you think are “must reads” or even books you just want to read. I’d just encourage you to grab something more challenging for them now and then. You might be surprised.

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Posted in Among The Homeschool

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum — Bible

We’re continuing talking about creating your own homeschool curriculum. You’ve made your subject list and now you’re narrowing down what to put in each subject. As I said before, choosing a curriculum is just choosing books. It is super simple. You can choose a book, a program, part of another curriculum, whatever you want that makes school work for your children.

Complete Jewish Bible

Bible was a difficult subject for me, personally, to really decide what to do with. For one, I’m not Reformed. There aren’t a lot of ready made Bible studies for kids or families that aren’t Reformed. And I don’t want to spend all my time editing what is being taught so that it is theologically cohesive.

I also wanted it to be different from Sunday School. My kids are in church and I wanted their Sunday school experience to stay a Sunday school experience. I didn’t want to bring flannographs and crafts into every lesson every day.

I want my kids doing Bible every day. I don’t want them to have something so complex we only hit on it once a week. I wanted it to be daily enriching. And once they can read, I want it to teach my children how to have daily Bible reading time. I wanted to use it to build a Bible reading habit for them.

I opted to handle the subject in multiple ways. We place some Bible in our Morning Basket. We read a Psalm together daily. (When the Psalms run out before out 180 school days have passed, we read a chapter from Proverbs.) We also read a devotional book for kids in our Morning Basket. On Friday, we play a Bible game in our Morning Basket instead of the devotional book. (Check out The Action Bible Guess It Game, Apples to Apples Bible Edition, or So You Think You Know the Bible.)

That still leaves the actual Bible subject open. For younger kids, I think what I do in Morning Basket is enough. We’ve added more because I think there is always room for a little more Bible time. But for younger kids, I think prayer, a Psalm, and a devotional are quite a lot of Bible and is sufficient. However, I spent years doing only that much, and I think I missed some opportunities to really help my children grow in their faith.

For my younger kids, we have two things we do for Bible this year. We alternate days four days a week on which we’re doing that day. (We’ll talk about Friday later.) In previous years, we’ve read through the Herein is Love Commentary series, which we loved. We’ve read through various Bible Storybooks.

Rachael and Leah by Topher (7)
  1. Each child is illustrating their way through the Bible so at the end of the school year, they’ll have their own Bible Storybook. I read them a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. As I read, they draw an illustration of the story. It is super simple. They love it. I love seeing what stood out to them in each story.
  2. I read a chapter of a Christian story. I try to pick books that are imaginative, but thoroughly Christian. This term, we’re reading The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud. (It will likely take us more than one term to finish.) The Imagination Station, The Cooper Kids, and The Sugar Creek Gang are other good options.

That leaves the older kids. As I said before, one of my goals for Bible as a subject is to help my kids develop the habit of daily Bible reading. We’ve chosen to do a SOAP method of Bible study. They each pick the book of the Bible they’ll be reading. (The Pastor or I will advise if they ask.) They use these books of the Bible printables to keep track of their reading. Each day, they read a chapter.

Using the SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) method, the first thing they’ll do is read the Scripture. They’ll write down on a piece of paper (or a journal) which verse they read is standing out to them most in their reading. The second step is Observation. What is this chapter telling us? Are there any places of repetition? What can be directly observed? How is this passage relating to the people it was written to or about? They’ll write this on their paper. The third step is Application. How does this apply to my life? What is my take away? They’ll write that down. Last, but not least, is prayer. They’ll write out a short prayer based on their reading. Super simple. If you want to know more about this method, check this out.

I don’t stop there for Bible. My Logic aged kid also reads a Christian Book a few days a week. This year, he’s reading through the Imagine… series. He’s also read Cold Case Christianity for Kids, Case for Christ for Kids, Love Does for Kids, and Trial and Triumph.

My older kids are now entering a different intensity of school work. This year, since they’re learning about ancient history, our Bible choices centered around that. They’re reading The Bible Among the Myths, Epic of Eden, and Stewards of Eden. (Lectures in Old Testament Theology was close to being put in the line up.) In my opinion, teenagers are capable of reading adult theology books. Don’t be afraid to give them difficult material– just be available to talk to them about it. Apologetics books are also of high interest to teens. Last year, these two enjoyed The Great Divorce, Miracles (by Metaxas), and Miracles (by Lewis). Read along with them. Be on their page. Know how their wheels are turning and you can better help as God guides and shapes their lives.

Now all of this probably seems like a lot to you. You really don’t have to do this much. As I said before, in the past, because I couldn’t find a good curriculum fit for Bible, I didn’t do enough. I didn’t focus enough on it. I didn’t make it enough of a priority. For that reason, as they get older, I definitely focus more on it. If they know calculus, but don’t know Jesus– I’ve failed.

Don’t limit your options to what is under the “Bible” tab on homeschool curriculum. If that was all the options, I’d be sad. You can absolutely use those if you want to. Just be aware of where your curriculum is coming from and how their worldview shapes what is in front of you. Theology matters. Doing your homework ahead of time to make sure what you’re putting in your kids’ hands aligns with what your family believes will save you a lot of time (and confusion) later.

Let’s talk about Fridays now. John Wesley has a method of helping people grow in Christ. He did this through bands, classes, and meetings. A band is a small accountability type group. A class is a small group. A meeting is a larger gathering, like Sunday morning service. That is a gross oversimplification and Wesley scholars are now pulling out their eyebrows in anguish over it. If you want to learn more about it from someone far more intelligent than I am, check this out.

I’ve taken my eight kids and started a family band. Now, technically, my family is the size of a class. But, I was noticing that my kids needed what a band has to offer and there wasn’t any good way to get that going. So, I started a family band. Friday is our meeting day. Each kid shares something that God is showing them. They bring their illustrations or Scripture journals and are eager to share with us. We also do some basic accountability, though I do respect their privacy and don’t go through the full list of questions with them– since they didn’t really choose to be in this band. However, it has been a nice way to help them grow in faith and help give them something in common. They each have something equally important to share– even the young ones. So far, my family band experiment is going pretty well.

ESV Family Devotional Bible

How you set up the Bible portion of your curriculum is up to you. I’ve simply shared what works for me and my kids. You may decide to do a Catechism. That’s great! You may just read a storybook Bible. Cool! You may decide to just read to them our of your devotion each day. (Yes! That is an option! Want to read Mama Bear Apologetics or Death by Living? Two birds, one stone– read it out loud to your kids!) You may pic a devotional books for kids like this one. Neat! You may pick a Bible curriculum designed for homeschoolers. Awesome! There is no single way to do it.

Just don’t skip it. To adapt a quote from The Pastor, if your kids miss Jesus, they miss everything. If you take a back seat on teaching them the Word, don’t be shocked when their worldview is decidedly not Christian. Everything you do shapes your child– from the food you put on their plate to the way you fold towels. It all has an effect on how they view the world and what they are becoming. You cannot avoid your influence. So influence them in the way that matters. Intentionally choose how you’ll guide them. Don’t leave this part to default.

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Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum- Morning Basket

A Morning Basket is a completely optional part of the homeschool curriculum. Don’t feel like you have to have a Morning Basket. That said, I love Morning Basket Time. Let me tell you what a Morning Basket is and the benefits before I tell you how to build your own.

Everyone has a different way of doing Morning Basket. For me, a Morning Basket is just all the things we’re doing as a group. It also doesn’t have to happen in the morning. It makes for a good start to the day, but if morning doesn’t work for you, put it somewhere else in the day.

What goes into your morning basket depends on you. If you’ve got a large family, you might put your history or science spine into your morning basket. Use your morning basket for those extras you wish you could fit in, but can’t find time for. Use your morning basket as a miniature unit study. There is no wrong way to build a morning basket. It usually isn’t “work” in the traditional sense, but a time when we’re going to sit and chat and read and maybe drink some coffee. You may want something for your kids to do while you read (busy hands help keep mouths quite). Some people choose a handicraft, like knitting or whittling. Other people choose a fidget spinner, thinking putty, or a pen and some paper. Do what works for you.

You may even choose to do your whole school day basket style. That’s cool, too. You maybe have a basket for each subject where you just grab something out of it to do today that appeals to you. That may work brilliantly for you.

Why do morning basket? Well, it is a much calmer way to tackle some things. Everything doesn’t need a full plan. Some things you want to read, but you don’t necessarily want to study. Adding these things to the Morning Basket allows you to do those things without the pressure. You can add Etiquette without it being a big ordeal or sucking out a lot of time.

Morning Basket also brings everyone together. It is great for a family with multiple children, even if they do their own thing for school. Just everyone coming together for a little time each day is awesome.

Morning Basket brings about a certain rhythm to the days. You don’t have to do the same thing each day in Morning Basket, but something about that set aside time is familiar without being suffocating.

So what should you put into your Morning Basket? Well, that is up to you. Here is how our Morning Basket goes… this year:

Pray for the day

Scripture Memory Verse (I pick a big chunk of Scripture, not a single verse, and we work on that all term. Memorizing things like The Beatitudes, The Shema, The Ten Commandments, a Psalm– those are great pieces of Scripture that are bigger to memorize.)

Poetry Memory (I pick 1 poem per month for my younger kids. My older kids have 1 or 2 longer poems each term to memorize. Even though they’re all doing different poems, we practice saying them together each morning. My five-year-old surprised me last week at dinner by reciting his high school sister’s poem.)

Read a Psalm. (We take turns reading from the Bible. As soon as my kids can read, I start having them read the Bible out loud during Morning Basket. It is great practice and builds courage for reading the Bible in public at older ages.)

Bible Devotional. (These are some good options: I Am, I Am Devotional, Indescribable, How Great is Our God, Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing)

Manners (I only do manners one day a week. My wild boys, surprisingly, love manner. I skipped it last year and they begged for me to do it this year. I do skip some parts, because I don’t think they care about addressing envelopes. Modern Manners and Emily Post Etiquette are both good books to get started. You could also just have a topic of discussion and not a book. Have a month of dinner table etiquette, a month of party etiquette, etc. You can totally do this book free.)

Mad Libs (My kids are just completely in love with Mad Libs. We used to do them once a week during morning basket. Now, I pull them out between reading to break things up a bit.)

Character (I choose a biography or compilation of biographies to read once or twice a week during Morning Basket. I try to choose stories of real people with real character. Some good options: 7 Men, 7 Women, I Am N, Evidence Not Seen, Hiding in the Light, Amazing Grace, The Hiding Place, Trial and Triumph)

Literature (I like to pick one read aloud per term to read to everyone together. These might be books that don’t fit into other categories or simply books that are excellent read alouds. My husband reads to our kids before bed, as well, so we fit another selection in there. Some options: The Mysterious Benedict Society, Nooks and Crannies, Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, The Green Ember)

Extras (You can also add books to go along with history, science, or just books you want to read. It doesn’t even have to be a book the kids want to read. You’d be surprised what they enjoy. My kids loved reading If You Can Keep It. It gave us such great discussion that I wasn’t even sure they were ready for and I couldn’t have scripted if I wanted to. If you’re interested in something, add it in!)

Hymn Study (Some people love adding in hymn studies. Learn about why a particular hymn was written, a little about the author of the hymn, a little about the hymn’s significance, and commit the hymn to memory. We have strayed from hymn study because my kids act like hoodlums anytime I sing or sit at a piano. I like the idea, but it didn’t work for us, so we don’t do it. That is the customization that is so wonderful in homeschooling.)

Maybe you want your kids to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe you want to just start each day with a quick five minute inspirational thought. Maybe you want your kids to memorize famous speeches or analyze music lyrics. Whatever it is, you can adapt a Morning Basket to fit your family and optimize your homeschool experience. Your Morning Basket may take five minutes or four hours– you do you.

You don’t have to do every piece every day. You can do things as much or as little as you want. I also add a little game to our basket each term for Fridays. (Right now, we’re enjoying the Action Bible Guess-it Game.) Don’t overcomplicate it.

Some people turn their basket into a miniature unit study. Or they toss all their nature reading they aren’t getting around to in it. Whatever you make it, it is a great addition to homeschooling.

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Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum– History

History seems like such an odd place to start when talking about curriculum because it is such an overlooked subject. For many, history is one of those optional pieces of the school schedule. For me, history is my guide. It is the spine for the rest of my curriculum. There are a few reasons I choose to do this, and a couple reasons to not do it this way.

We’ll start with WHY I choose to make history my guide. I like to cycle history in chronological order. This makes the most sense to me and it allows kids (and adults) to see how one event influences the next. You can better understand why World War II started when you see the events that lead up to it. Studying in a chronological cycle helps see how history repeats itself and how reactions against one thing typically lead to overreactions in the opposite direction. This is the only way history makes sense to me. I never really understood history until I saw it as one continuous story. Isolating events doesn’t fully make them understood. How could someone like Hitler ever make it to power? Studying history chronologically helps answer that question. Neo-Classical education models (like The Well Trained Mind) follow this chronological history cycle. You don’t have to school classically to follow a chronological history cycle.

Following a chronological four-year cycle (you may have 3, 5, or 6 year cycles) means that all my kids are in the same time at the same time. This allows for better discussion and keeps me from being pulled in a thousand directions. We’re all in ancient history this year. I’m not having to be in multiple times in history this year. Just ancient. All ancient. It also allows for field trips that benefit all the kids at once. And it makes it so the older kids can glean if they read to the younger kids or do a project with the younger kids. More educational opportunity when everyone is on the same page in time.

I also plan my science and literature around this history. It lets us deep dive without feeling overwhelmed. I’ve used programs in the past that bulked history up so much that is was all you could hope to do in a week. By scheduling literature and science with their history in mind, we can deep dive but cover more subjects as we dig deep. And we can understand the whole of what we’re doing in one.

Now, fitting literature in this way doesn’t allow for as much age customization in their reading. The Iliad comes when they’re in the rhetoric stage and we’re going through ancient history– whether they’re up to that reading level or comprehension level or not. It doesn’t allow you to build to a comprehension level. There is some dragging them into things they aren’t yet ready for. There are also some literature selections that likely don’t fit neatly into a historical box. So, there are some good reasons to not select literature based on history.

Fitting science in with history, there is the issue of what subjects should go where. And there is the possibility you skip an entire science subject. There will always be holes in any education. Keep that in mind. In any education, whether homeschool, public school, hybrid school, Sunday school– there are holes. You just can’t cover everything there is to know in the world. So, having holes isn’t a bad thing– so long as they don’t sneak up on you and cause you to overreact in filling the holes.

So, now comes the part of the show where you choose your history. You can go about it chronologically. You can go about it geographically. You can go about it based on interest. Just pick how you’ll handle it this year.

For chronological, there are a few ways to do that. You can cover the entire history of the world in one year. Choosing an ancient history book in term 1, middle history in term 2, and modern history in term 3. The downfall here is that 12 weeks isn’t a lot of time to cover it all. But you could cover one aspect of the time in 12 weeks. The second chronological way is choosing by year. In a three year cycle, you’ll cover ancient history in year one, Middle Ages in year two, and modern history in year three. In a four year cycle, you’ll cover ancient history year one, Middle Ages year two, early modern history in year three, and late modern history in year four. In a five year cycle, you’ll study ancient history year one, Middle Ages year two, early modern year three, modern year four, and local/national year five. In a six year cycle, you’d study ancient history two years, Middle Ages year three, early modern year four, late modern year five, and local/national year six. You can adjust those timelines to fit your needs. Usually, you wouldn’t want to do more than 6 year cycles because you wouldn’t have the opportunity to repeat them, which is important.

Geographically based history typically works from the child outward. So, they’d learn about where they live first, and then branch out from there. Just make sure you cycle back around to the middle because the second time through a history cycle, so much is learned. You could break this up into a simple four year cycle (state, nation, Western, world) or you could explore based on geographical region (North American History, South American History, European History, African History, etc.).

Interest based history is another option. It being an election year, you might want to take advantage and make the election process and the US government the focus this year. If you were taking a trip out west, you might want to study about Westward expansion and what was there before settlers traveled that way. If you were taking a trip to Europe, you may want to study European History or the World Wars. Interest based history will likely leave holes. But again, holes will always exist. Just be aware of the holes and don’t freak out trying to fill them.

Once you’ve decided how you’ll be tackling history, decide if you want a spine. A spine is just a book that covers the whole time period or event you’re wanting to cover. You may read more than your spine. The spine is just there to keep you on track. You may not want to stay on track. You may not want a spine. That is okay. You may choose to do a textbook as a spine and nothing else. That is okay, too. Here are some spines you might choose:

Story of the World– We personally use this as our spine. All four volumes span the history of the world in four years. We read a chapter or two of the spine each week for the first two cycles through history (K-8th, usually). We add on to this spine. They have Activity Guides to go along with this spine. (You can also purchase PDF versions here.) The Activity Guides have suggestions for additional reading that can be useful to go beyond the spine.

History of the World– We personally use this as our spine for high school ages. A Student Guide can be purchased here.

History Odyssey

Tapestry of Grace

Memoria Press History

Mystery of History

BiblioPlan

You don’t have to have a spine. You can just know what timeline, geographical area, or topic you’re covering a find books specific to that topic. Books for school don’t have to be textbooks. In fact, it is often better when they’re not. For younger kids, you can read the books to them. For older kids, they can read them by themselves. You can choose books or games that are on your child’s level. You may choose to read a higher level book to a younger child. Just keep in mind that some historical events are difficult for children to hear. Use your own judgement. You can always skip parts that make your child uncomfortable. Just don’t skip them forever. Some parts of our pat are messy, but we need to know them. Here are some Idea Lists to help you envision what types of books you might choose. You can choose books or games that are on your child’s level.

Ancient History

History in the Middle Ages

Early Modern History

Modern History

You can choose to add project or activities as you go. Or you may decide to keep it simple and only read from one history book twice a week. Really, the amount you do is up to you. Add documentaries and movies if that is your thing. You don’t have to do it just one way. Do what works for you. If that is reading a chapter of your spine a week while they color a coloring page and nothing more– that is fine.

You should also know that you can choose to do a pre-planned curriculum for one subject. If you really love a boxed curriculum, but it doesn’t quite fit– you can usually pick apart the kit and get just the subject on the topic you want.

You might choose a very specific subject area for history and that is perfectly fine. You may decide you’re going to spend the entire year talking about explorers. Cool! You may want to devote an entire year to the constitution. Awesome! You don’t have to pick “British History” or even a specific time period. You could explore inventions throughout history, cartography, famous women throughout history, the history of a specific racial group or nation, famous animals in history, church history, or even art history. In homeschooling– you’re the boss. Doing history this way might leave more holes in education, but we’ve established that holes are inevitable– so choosing curriculum intentionally allows you the freedom of accepting the holes and moving forward with your plan anyway. If it bothers you that your child might not know about a specific event, person, or time– include that at some point. But you will never cover the history of the entire world in 13 short years no matter how hard you try.

** This post contains affiliate links. I receive income from these links, though they do not cost you more to use. Using your favorite content creator’s links is a great way to show your support.**

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum

Want to create your own homeschool curriculum? Interested in how it is done? It isn’t too hard! This series will help you craft the best curriculum custom made for your child. This is couture education!

There are many reasons you might choose to create your own homeschool curriculum. This series should help you as you create and craft a custom education for your child or your family. We’ll go step by step through the process to create a great curriculum and then we’ll follow that up with a short series on how to schedule your chosen curriculum.

Put quite simply, choosing curriculum is really just choosing what subjects and books your child is going to study. You can plan for a year. You can plan for a month. How much you plan and when you plan it and how loosely it is planned is up to you. For simplicity, I’ll be talking about planning out a school year. But if you want to plan for a shorter amount of time, you absolutely can.

If you can pick out a bedtime story to read, you can plan your child’s curriculum. There might be state standards that you need to achieve where you live, if so, keep those in mind as you’re choosing. I also feel the need to note that there are plenty of people who don’t plan their child’s curriculum. Some people use a ready-made curriculum or they may not plan at all, choosing to educate their child in a more unschooling type of way. Those options might be right for you. This post isn’t about those options.

Why would you choose to create your own curriculum? Maybe you’ve got a child who doesn’t seem to “fit” any of the curriculum plans you’ve found. Maybe they’re advanced in some areas and not in others. Maybe they have specific interests or specific ways they like to learn. You can make almost any curriculum fit almost any child. But sometimes it is just easier to create what you want instead of doing the hard work of making something else fit.

Perhaps you’re like me and educating multiple levels of children. You’re looking for ways to bring them together, keep them on the same page, and lighten your educator load a little. Creating your own curriculum is the easiest way to do this.

Maybe you’ve got very specific educational goals for your children. While I would advise that you should keep in mind their struggles aren’t your struggles. Sometimes our educational goals come from the areas we feel most lacking in our own education. Just be aware of why you have your specific goals and try to keep perspective. It can be easy to overdo math if you feel unprepared by your education for math. But perhaps your family educational goal involves tying all the subjects together into one tapestry of knowledge. Maybe you want your kids to see your faith in every area they study. Maybe you desire them to have practical skills. Whatever your goals might be, creating a curriculum to specifically meet your goals may be just what your family needs.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your curriculum. The first is that you’re creating a real plan for your real child or children. I can create a beautiful curriculum, but if it isn’t realistic to my life or my children, what good is it? Keep your child’s learning style and abilities in mind as you plan. Now, I would encourage you to challenge your child– that is where growth happens. But don’t make it so hard or so long that you completely lose them. You may think having high tea and reading Anne of Green Gables sounds lovely, but if you’re educating Huck Finn– they aren’t likely to go along with the beautiful plan. I do think you should add things that might be out of the norm for your child. We don’t have to stick to just where our children are and what they like. We can challenge. We can bring in new experiences. Just try to keep a reasonable balance and keep in mind which aspects might be a challenge for your child.

It is also wise to keep in mind that you don’t have to fit everything into this year. While you may have a list of dozens of “must read” books in your head for your child, be realistic in what you fit in. You want balance. You want them to learn, but also to have time to process and let what they’re learning “sink in”. If you’re just plowing through massive amounts of things, they may not have time to really stop and think about any of them. You don’t have to fit it all into one year. Children grow quickly, but not that quickly. Focus on enjoying it and not on fitting it all in. Sometimes that means Narnia has to wait while you journey through the Hundred Acre Woods.

The third thing to keep in mind is your personal philosophy of education. While that sounds complex, it is quite simple. What do you think the point of education is? Is it to have a base knowledge to get to the next educational level? Is it to explore the world and revel in wonder? Is it to form habits and character? Why do kids need to go to school? Once you answer that question, it can be a lot easier to see which books and programs will be the best fit. In education, it isn’t so much where you’re going, but why you’re going where you’re going.

A last thing to keep in mind, more is not always more. Sometimes, we need simplicity, and that is okay. It is best to acknowledge that and plan accordingly. Sometimes ideal is not best. We just have to discern those times and situations. If you’re a busy family, you may need to accept that the basic core four is all you’re going to have the time and energy to do well. It is better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly. So, if you can’t fit in the extras you want to fit in– assess your situation. Is it worth it to you to make the sacrifices to make that happen? If so, make it happen. That might mean you have to eliminate some other extras from your child’s life. If soccer is more important, choose that without any guilt. If you have a newborn, a chronic illness, an ailing parent, a new company– it is okay to keep things simple for that season. You don’t have to do all the things to have a really great education for your child. Let the extras be just that– extras. When seasons and priorities allow, do them as you want. But when you can’t, don’t place unnecessary guilt on yourself.

So, you’re just picking books. It is much more simple than it seems. Make a list of the subjects you want to cover. I’ll help you nail down the specifics. Your list may not look like mine or your neighbor’s. That is totally fine. You know what your educational goal is and you know what is important to your family and your children.

Need help with your list? Start with the basics! The basic four are language arts, math, history, and science. Check your state’s homeschooling requirements to see if they made a list for you. If you want to add nontraditional subjects– go right ahead. Just be aware of how much work can realistically be accomplished in a given day, week, term, or year.

As they become available, you’ll be able to click these links to the rest of the posts in this series, which break down the process subject by subject for you.

Morning Basket

Bible

History

Language Arts

Science (coming soon)

Math (coming soon)

Extras (coming soon)

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Basic Homeschool Helps

With local schools sending kids home to learn for the next few weeks, I figured there might be some parents who struggle with the transition. Any new routine for a kid is likely to lead to a struggle, so I’ve put together some advice and resources you may find helpful. These would also be helpful during long school breaks, as well.

Transitions Are Hard

Know that transitions are hard. What is novel at first quickly wears off and becomes a little difficult. You aren’t doing it wrong. The kids aren’t doing it wrong. It is just hard to get into new routines, especially when you know they are temporary. If your kid’s school isn’t requiring work to be done, feel free to take a full break or look at the activities suggested here to keep the days from becoming drudgery. Give yourself and the kids some grace.

Routines Help

Creating a routine or a rhythm to the “off” days can help make them flow more smoothly. Breaking up the day into sections, even if they are flexible, will help kids not get bored and also not wallow in misery at the never-ending hours to fill. You can model your day after their school day, or you can make something else up entirely. Even just having a “breakfast time”, “snack time”, “lunch time, “tea time”, etc. can help break the day up into manageable chunks.

Work before Play

If your kids will be expected to complete work on break, as I know many will be, set the habit, from the start, of putting the work first. Once they get into a video game, it can be hard to bring them back out to boring old math work. For us, we don’t allow TV or video games before school. (We actually don’t allow video games on school days at all.) If they want to do something before school, they can read, write, or create art. We try to limit the “fun” stuff before work because work becomes such a drudgery when you feel like you’re missing out on fun things to do it.

Time Is Different at Home

At home, time is different. What might usually take them 40 minutes to do at school may only take 15 at home. There aren’t other kids asking questions. There aren’t ducks to line up before work can be done. You didn’t miss anything just because the lessons seem shorter.

Similarly, it may take longer for some kids at home. They’ve been trained to work in a specific environment in a specific way. It can be difficult to transition from that. Think about being used to working in the quiet of an office and suddenly being thrust into the middle of a busy coffee shop— or vice versa. It may take a kid more time to settle into doing work in a different place with different sounds and smells. If it takes a little longer, you’re not doing it wrong and neither are they. Adjustments can be hard.

Activities

You may be fine with letting your kids be a couch potato on break. If you are, cool. Do what works for you and your kids! If your kids are the “I’m boooored” type, here are some ways you can break up your days.

Documentaries

TV doesn’t have to be bad. There are some really interesting documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime that can be educational and fun. Definitely check out The Riot and The Dance on Amazon! There are also some fun educational shows like the Magic Schoolbus. Also, some movies that were made from books might be worth checking out. You may have time to read the book and watch the movie. Or perhaps you can choose movies based on books they’ve already read. That comparison is always fun. We’ve also had fun comparing two versions of the same story.

Read Aloud

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we love reading in our house. My kids, even those old enough to read, really enjoy us reading to them. Grab a book and read together. Not sure what to read? What do you want to read? Is there a book you read as a kid that really sticks out in your mind? Maybe read that. Is there a book that has been of interest to you that you haven’t taken the time to read? Maybe read that. Is there a book your child is itching to read? Might be a good one!

Audiobooks

Listening to an audiobook while drawing, crocheting, or just sitting and cuddling is a great way to spend some time. Your local library likely has a good selection using the Overdrive or Libby app and putting in your library card number. You can also get some great audiobooks from Audible through Amazon. You don’t have to be an Audible member to buy books. (Nick Offerman reading Tom Sawyer is better than reading the book. Will Wheton reading Ready Player One is better than reading the book.) You can also sign up for Scribd, which is like Netflix for audio- and ebooks. They have a great selection.

Reading

Reading books that aren’t for school is a fun way to spend time. My boys love Nathan Hale books. They are historical graphic novels that tell the stories of famous wars and things in a very engaging way. Recently, they’ve also really enjoyed reading the Last Kids on Earth series (which is now a show on Netflix). There are also some Teen Titans graphic novels that are coming out, though currently I think Raven is the only one available. Whatever your kid is into— I’m sure there is a book to pique their interest. Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book and Fortunately, the Milk have also been big hits here.

Worksheets/Activities

You may have a kid who loves workbooks and activities that they do in school. I was one of those kids. TeachersPayTeachers.com is a website devoted to teachers sharing the resources they’ve created, and you can buy the PDFs and print them at home! There are some free worksheets available, or you can buy any specific worksheets for any subject. My younger ones enjoy The Moffat Girls worksheets. My older ones have loved the interactive notebooks from Lovin Lit.

You may find you want little unit study type activities for your kids. Check out Chickie and Roo, Firefly Nature School, Twig and Moth, Exploring Nature with Children, Fiddlestick Kids, and Brave Grown Home. They all offer various lessons, cards, and tools to supplement a fun unit study.

It would also be a great time to try out Skillshare. (This link will get you two months free for a trial.) You can take classes on a phone, tablet, or computer on virtually anything. My kids really enjoy the drawing and illustration courses.

There are a lot of ideas on Pinterest of fun, hands-on activities you can do with kids. You can also check out my post on Kindergarten Math Boxes for some ideas of hands-on activities for younger kids.

Nature Study

If you aren’t sick, get outside and study nature. Grab some colored pencils and drawing paper or a notebook. Just learn to observe and draw what you see. The trees are blooming, there are plenty of fun things outside to draw and record. If you have watercolors, it can be fun to break those out and practice getting colors you see in nature onto the page. Not sure where to start? Grab a leaf. What do you notice about it? Can you draw the shape? Is the color even and consistent? What do the veins look like? Nature study is really about capturing what you see and learning to see those things.

Games

Board games and card games are a lot of fun when a parent is involved. I have enough kids that they can manage a full board game on their own. But even still, the fun really ramps up when my husband or I get involved in the game. Dust off the Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry, Uno, or Candyland and get playing! There are also some new games out there you may not have played that are pretty fun. Exploding Kittens, Unstable Unicorns, King of Tokyo, Munchkins, and Dungeons and Dragons might be fun to learn.

Puzzles are also a fun family event in our house. The littles love puzzles, but when we get a big, complex puzzle, the whole family gets in on the creating. There isn’t a single person in our house who can resist putting a few pieces into an unfinished puzzle.

Bonding and Creating Memories

I know it can be frustrating to have such a long, unplanned break. Especially when there is really nowhere to go during the break. But you have the chance to create some really awesome memories and bond with your kids in ways that wouldn’t ordinarily be possible. How often do we wish for a break in the busyness of modern life and never can find a space to take one? We’ve been given the break. It is definitely not the way any of us would want it, but let’s take advantage anyway! Don’t stress yourself out trying to make every moment perfect and magical. Memories are made in all-day pajama-days, movie marathons, and yelling over Uno. No magic required— just presence.

** This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links do benefit me but don’t cost you more to use. Using affiliate links is a way to thank your favorite content creators. **

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Godbold Academy 2020-2021: Rhetoric Stage Plans

The rhetoric stage is essentially the high school stage. This level bumps up in difficulty quite a bit, as students are able to handle deeper and more difficult books. I expect my rhetoric students to be fully independent, except they do join us for Morning Basket. I keep all my kids running along the same history timeline, though they may be at a slightly different pace and very different difficulty levels. I give my rhetoric students a checklist of work for the week and they are responsible for doing it and checking it off. I usually check their work only weekly, though we do discuss their readings over dinner daily.

Bible

The Bible Among the Myths (1 chapter per week; weeks 1-11)

The Epic of Eden (1 chapter per week; weeks 13-23)

The Epic of Eden Small Group Study (daily reading plus weekly video and discussion; weeks 25-36)

History

The History of the Ancient World (1-3 days per week; weeks 1-31)(Keep a list of important people and dates in history notebook)

The Iliad with Memoria Press Student Guide (weeks 1-24)

The Odyssey with Memoria Press Student Guide (weeks 25-36)

The Epic of Gilgamesh (weeks 25-36)

Science

Nature Study: The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (weeks 1-36)

General Science 2: Survey of Geology and Archaeology (weeks 1-36)

Language Arts

Grammar: 180 Daily Teaching Lessons for grade level (5 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Writing: The Creative Writer (weeks 1-36)

Literature

Till We Have Faces (weeks 1-6)

The Lightening Thief (weeks 1-17)

The Hobbit with Memoria Press Study Guide (weeks 7-11)

The Lord of the Rings (weeks 13-30)

The Sea of Monsters (weeks 18-30)

The Titan’s Curse (weeks 30-34)

Logic

Introduction to Logic (weeks 1-36)

Languages

Latin: Canon Press Latin Primer (weeks 1-36)

French: Rosetta Stone French (2-3 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Math

Life of Fred at level

Character

Plutarch Lives, Volume 1 (2 days/week; weeks 1-21)

Plutarch Lives, Volume 2 (2 days/week; weeks 21-35)

I keep everything planned out as seen above for each week.

** This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links is a great way to support your favorite content creators. **

I encourage you, don’t feel like you have to buy all your school books new! Check out ThriftBooks.com for some great deals on used books. (That link is my referral link!) Also, check out Scribd, which is like Netflix for ebooks and audiobooks. (That link is my referral link!) There are so many great books available through both that will save you money. Also, remember to check your library. Libby is a great app that many library systems use where you can get ebooks and audiobooks through your local library. Of course, you can also max out your library card checking out great books, as well.

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Godbold Academy 2020-2021: Logic Stage Plans

The logic stage in homeschooling lasts from about fifth or sixth grade through eighth grade, depending on the child. This is what we’d all typically call “middle school”. The logic stage is a bump up in difficulty, and I expect my logic aged children to be pretty much independent. I do not read the scheduled books to my logic students, they read all their books on their own except for Morning Basket. For the logic stage, I give the child a list of the work they need to do each day and they check it off as they complete it. I do check it at the end of the day or week, depending on the child. And we do discuss it, usually over dinner.

Bible

Herein is Love: Numbers (weeks 1-24)

Herein is Love: Deuteronomy (weeks 25-34)

History

Story of the World, Volume 1 (weeks 1-34)(This is the history spine for both the grammar and logic stages. If you have grammar aged kids and are reading the chapter to them, you can include the logic student in the reading. Logic students keep a list of the important people and dates from this reading. I plan 1-2 chapters each week to complete the entire volume in three 12-week terms.)

Story of the World, Volume 1, Activity Guide (weeks 1-34) (This activity guide has questions about each chapter and outlines to complete, along with activities and book suggestions should you choose to do them.)

Book of the Ancient World with Memoria Press Study Guide (2-3 days/week; weeks 1-12)

Famous Men of Greece with Memoria Press Study Guide (1-2 days/week; weeks 1-20)

Book of the Ancient Greeks with Memoria Press Study Guide (2-3 days/week; weeks 13-23)

Famous Men of Rome with Memoria Press Study Guide (1-2 days/week; weeks 21-35)

Augustus Caesar’s World (3-5 days/week; weeks 23-36)

Science

Nature Study: The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (weeks 1-36)

Core: General Science 2: Survey of Archaeology and Geology (weeks 1-36)

Language Arts

Grammar: Easy Grammar Plus (5 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Writing: The Creative Writer (weeks 1-36)

Literature

The Hobbit with Memoria Press Study Guide (weeks 1-10)

The Lightening Thief (weeks 1-11)

Imagine… The Great Flood (weeks 1-15)

The Bronze Bow with Memoria Press Study Guide (weeks 13-21)

The Sea of Monsters (weeks 13-22)

Imagine… The Ten Plagues (weeks 16-30)

The Children’s Homer (weeks 22-32)

The Titan’s Curse (weeks 23-36)

Logic

The Thinking Toolbox (2 days/week; weeks 1-19)

The Fallacy Detective (2 days/week; weeks 19-36)

Languages

Latin: Canon Press Latin Primer (weeks 1-36)

French: Rosetta Stone French (2-3 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Math

Strayer Upton Arithmetics (5 days/ weeks; weeks 1-36) (Book: 1, 2, 3)

Character

The Radical Book for Kids (1-2 days/week; weeks 1-35)

I keep everything planned out as seen above for each week. For the grammar stage, I try to plan the majority of the work Monday-Thursday and add extra subjects in on Fridays.

** This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links is a great way to support your favorite content creators. **

I encourage you, don’t feel like you have to buy all your school books new! Check out ThriftBooks.com for some great deals on used books. (That link is my referral link!) Also, check out Scribd, which is like Netflix for ebooks and audiobooks. (That link is my referral link!) There are so many great books available through both that will save you money. Also, remember to check your library. Libby is a great app that many library systems use where you can get ebooks and audiobooks through your local library. Of course, you can also max out your library card checking out great books, as well.

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Godbold Academy 2020-2021: Grammar Stage Plans

The grammar stage in homeschooling spans from about kindergarten or first grade through fourth or fifth grade, depending on the child. I include my young ones in our grammar schooling, as they usually want to keep up with their siblings and they enjoy the readings and such. Some things are specific to the actual place the child is in a subject, some things are more universal. If you’ve never seen planning by stage, this may seem confusing that first and fifth graders can go by the same curriculum plans. But trust me, I’ve been combining ages for a long time and can tell you, even with the same sources, kids work and understand at the level they are.

Bible

The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud (4 days/week; weeks 1-17)

The Dreamer, The Schemer, and The Robe (4 days/week; weeks 18-32)

History

Story of the World, Volume 1 (1-2 days/week; weeks 1-34) (This is the history spine. There are additional readings for history, but this is the main portion of history. I cover 1-2 chapter each week to get through the entire volume in our three 12-week terms.)

Story of the World, Volume 1, Activity Guide (weeks 1-34) (This book is used for weekly activities and contains coloring pages and suggestions to “beef up” Story of the World.)

It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! (week 1)

You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pyramid Builder (weeks 2-3)

You Wouldn’t Want to be a Sumerian Slave (weeks 4-5)

Gilgamesh the King (week 6)

The Revenge of Ishtar (week 6)

The Last Quest of Gilgamesh (week 6)

One Grain of Rice (week 7)

The Story About Ping (week 7)

Anasi the Spider (week 8)

Temple Cat (week 8)

Baby Moses (week 9)

In Search of a Homeland (weeks 9-14)

Tales of Troy and Greece (weeks 13-20)

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths (weeks 21-36)

Classical Kids (activity guide for making history activities)

Old Testament Days (activity guide for making history activities)

Science

Nature Study: Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader on Student’s Level (1-3 days/week; weeks 1-36)(individual readers availble for sale on Christian Book)

Core Science: General Science 2: Survey of Geology and Archaeology (just using the books for the grammar stage. The logic and rhetoric stages are using the full curriculum. This is our main science curriculum. We’re adding some more books to further study the topics found in these books.) (weeks 1-32) (Individual books: Archaeology, Geology, Fossil, Cave)

Geology Lab for Kids (weeks 33-36)

Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth (weeks 1-28)

Archaeologists Dig for Clues (weeks 1-2)

The Street Beneath My Feet (weeks 3-4)

What is an Archaeologist? (weeks 5-6)

Ancient Civilizations (weeks 7-10)

Planet Earth Inside Out (Week 11)

Rocks, Fossils, and Arrowheads (week 17)

A Rock is Lively (week 19)

Rock Collecting for Kids (weeks 20-21; 28-32)

Caves and Caverns (weeks 22-25)

Jurassic Poop (week 26)

Let’s Go Rock Collecting (week 27)

Language Arts

Once kids can read, they start grammar. I do read the Literature books out loud for the younger kids. Free Reads are for kids old enough to read chapter books alone. If you’ve got a great reader, check out the books for the logic stage. If you’ve got ones learning to read, reading Bob books during the free reading time is a great option.

Grammar

Beowulf Grammar (4-5 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Literature Reads

The First Dog (week 1)

A Cry from Egypt (weeks 1-8)

Mummies Made in Egypt (week 3)

Mummies in the Morning (weeks 4-8)

Hour of the Olympics (weeks 9-12)

The Children’s Homer (weeks 13-20)

The Trojan Horse (weeks 15-18)

Romulus and Remus (weeks 21-22)

Aesop’s Fables (weeks 22-36)

Free Reads

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Runaway Ralph

Ralph S. Mouse

Fortunately, the Milk

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

James and the Giant Peach

The Boxcar Children

Handwriting

Draw, Write, Now (1-2 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Logic

Creative Problem Solving (1 day/week; weeks 1-36)

Languages

My kids have been learning French. I usually don’t start Latin until the Logic stage.

My First French Lesson (1 day/week; weeks 1-36)

Math

Use whatever math works for your child. This is just what we use for this stage.

Math Mammoth on child’s level (4-5 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Character

The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper (week 10)

Junior Comes Clean (week 11)

Bob and Larry and the Case of the Missing Patience (week 12)

Larry Makes a Choice (week 23)

All is Fair When We Share (week 24)

I keep everything planned out as seen above for each week. For the grammar stage, I try to plan the majority of the work Monday-Thursday and add extra subjects in on Fridays.

** This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links is a great way to support your favorite content creators. **

I encourage you, don’t feel like you have to buy all your school books new! Check out ThriftBooks.com for some great deals on used books. (That link is my referral link!) Also, check out Scribd, which is like Netflix for ebooks and audiobooks. (That link is my referral link!) There are so many great books available through both that will save you money. Also, remember to check your library. Libby is a great app that many library systems use where you can get ebooks and audiobooks through your local library. Of course, you can also max out your library card checking out great books, as well.

Posted in Among The Homeschool, With The Kids

Godbold Academy 2020-2021: Morning Basket

I mentioned in my review of A Gentle Feast that we aren’t going back to it this coming school year. I figured I’d share our full curriculum plans for this coming year, which include all three classical stages or all four Charlotte Mason forms, whichever way you want to look at it. We’ve got a lot of kids spanning a lot of grades around here. Our history cycle this coming year will be Ancient History, which I’m pretty excited to get back into. For the sake of length, I’m splitting the posts on the curriculum up, so be sure to check out the Grammar (K-4/5), Logic (5/6-8), and Rhetoric (9-12) plans, as well.

Morning Basket

I like to start the day with all the kids together. We will add poetry memorization and Bible verse memorization to this book list. I’ll choose one poem per kid/stage and one Bible passage for all the kids for each of the three terms. All weeks are approximate, as sometimes we read faster and sometimes we read slower. I should also note that this is not the entirety the kids will learn in these subjects, just what we are reading together.

Bible

I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God (3 days/week; weeks 1-14)

I Am Devotional: 100 Devotions About the Names of God (3 days/week; weeks 14-36)

Action Bible Guess-It Game (1 day/week; weeks 1-12)

Apples to Apples Bible Edition (1 day/week; weeks 13-36)

Character

I am N (2 days/week; weeks 1-36)

Manners

Emily Post’s Etiquette (1 day/week; weeks 1-36)

History

Unveiling the Kings of Israel (1 day/week; weeks 1-20)

Unwrapping the Pharaohs (1 day/week; weeks 8-36)

Science

The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible (1 day/week; weeks 1-7)

Dinosaurs: Marvels of God’s Design (1 day/week; weeks 8-36)

Read Alouds/ Literature

The Mysterious Benedict Society (4-5 days/week; weeks 1-12)

Nooks and Crannies (4-5 days/week; weeks 13-24)

Wonder (4-5 days/week; weeks 25-36)

Fun

Mad Libs (1 day/week; weeks 1-36) (We usually got through 3-4 Mad Libs books per year. I generally grab ones I think the kids will enjoy, since it is for fun. It does help, especially with the younger ones, to learn the parts of speech.)

Mother Culture

This year, I’m adding the category of Mother Culture to my Morning Basket. These aren’t books I’ll be reading with the kids, they are books I’m assigning myself to read to grow and expand. Your choices for this may vary, and your reading speed may vary. I wanted some homeschool encouragement, but feel like I need a lot of mom encouragment this year. You might find you want something different. Choosing the books ahead of time keeps me from making excuses not to do it and it sets a path forward for me. For me, a book a month is a fairly leisurely speed that will allow for other reading as it comes, as well.

The Brave Learner

The Ministry of Ordinary Places

Theology of Home

Mere Motherhood

The Life-giving Home

Why Motherhood Matters

The Call of the Wild and Free

Mama Bear Apologetics

A Mother’s Rule of Life

Extras

These are extra things I keep on hand for after school play or during reading quiet play for the littler ones.

Imhotep Board Game

Temple Trap Game

Zeus on the Loose Game

Greek Gods and Goddesses Coloring Book

Life in Ancient Egypt Coloring Book

Dinosaur Coloring Book

Ancient Rome Toob

Ancient Egypt Toob

Mythical Realms Toob

Greek Mythology Top Trumps

Ancient Egypt Top Trumps

Heir of Egypt Game

Alphabetimals Coloring Book

Animal Alphabet Coloring Book

Sea Life Alphabet Coloring Book

I set up a chart for each week that looks similar to this. I haven’t chosen the specific poems or memory verses just yet, so I’ll fill that in once I decide. If I’ve already printed it, I’ll just write that in. I’ll print these out and put them in a binder with our Morning Basket of books.

** This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links is a great way to support your favorite content creators. **

I encourage you, don’t feel like you have to buy all your school books new! Check out ThriftBooks.com for some great deals on used books. (That link is my referral link!) Also, check out Scribd, which is like Netflix for ebooks and audiobooks. (That link is my referral link!) There are so many great books available through both that will save you money. Also, remember to check your library. Libby is a great app that many library systems use where you can get ebooks and audiobooks through your local library. Of course, you can also max out your library card checking out great books, as well.