Not Back to School: Curriculum Plans

This school year I have six “students” ranging in age from Newborn to High School (covering nearly every stage in between too).

Yes, it does feel crazy, thanks for asking.

We follow a fairly rough year-round pattern which allows us to take off as needed. The primary drawback to that is that we kind of feel like we’re always “doing school”. We haven’t taken a family vacation since our four year old was a baby. (We’re planning a vacation for next spring that we’re all looking forward to with great anticipation. Not least because, as I pointed out to my husband, we only have a few more years of “just us”.)

Anyway, I plan our school year to go from August through June, with July supposed to be completely off. (That didn’t work out for us this year because of the new baby that arrived June 2.)

Here are some curriculum plans we have for the upcoming year:

Plans for Bible

We don’t treat Bible as a separate subject and it’s not a required subject by our state (duh).

We do memorize scripture passages (chosen by me) and we also use these resources during our family time:
Truth & Grace Memory Book #1by Tom Ascol. We have rewritten some of the questions and answers to suit our family’s beliefs.
We also enjoy reading through these books as a family:

One book we don’t have yet that I’ve been eyeing:

Anyone have an opinion on that one?

Our children also memorize scripture in our church’s children’s program. We assign other reading as we think necessary. (For instance: we’ve had our older two begin reading apologetics books.)

Plans for Language Arts

We call this subject Grammar but our state calls it Language Arts and as such it includes grammar, writing, spelling and handwriting.

Our Kindergarten age daughter will be learning to read with this book:
The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. This was the best $20 I ever spent on a homeschool resource, ten years ago when our oldest was four years old. (The same kid who is starting HIGH SCHOOL this fall. Life comes at you fast.)

How we Teach Spelling

I do not teach spelling as a separate subject.

My experience suggests that some kids are natural spellers and some aren’t. A strong phonics background and lots of reading are my primary tools in this arena. All that said, our oldest is going to work through book 1 of this:

She isn’t a natural speller, despite her excellent reading and writing skills and she asked for something to help so we’re going to give it a try.

For Grammar we use First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind in the younger years. 3rd grade level student will be using:

Our Kindergarten student will not be doing formal grammar, but she does enjoy listening to the companion CD for Levels 1 and 2:

The 6th grade student has finished all the First Language Lessons (finally. She stretched the last book out for 2 years) and will work through this:

She’ll also use these workbooks to brush up on these skills:

For Writing we’ll have a student in

The Complete Writer: Level Two Workbook for Writing with Ease (The Complete Writer)
and one in
The Complete Writer: Level Three Workbook for Writing with Ease (The Complete Writer)

Our 9th grader will be working throughWriting With Skill, Level 2: Student Workbook (The Complete Writer)

For handwriting, we have one child starting manuscript, one starting cursive (yes, we still learn cursive at our house), and two maintaining their cursive skills.

We use a combination of workbooks and copywork for this.

Plans for Math

We use Saxon Math.

We have one student finishingSaxon Algebra 1and startingSaxon Algebra 2.

The 6th grader is using Saxon Math 7/6
The 3rd grader is finishing Saxon Math 3 and will be starting Saxon Math 5/4(You’ll notice that we don’t always finish a book at the end of a school year.)
The Kindergarten student will be doing Kindergarten level math with manipulatives and some worksheets (when she insists). I don’t buy a Kindergarten math curriculum any more.

Our family has also discovered that we love the Life of Fred books. We don’t own any (yet. My attempts to purchase them used have so far been unsuccessful), but our library has them so we check them out and keep them as long as we can. The high school books really helped our oldest to understand Algebra when she was having a tough time.

Plans for Science

We’ve become very Apologia loyal in the past few years.

Our high school student will be inExploring Creation with Biology
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series). This was by request because manatees have been our 6th grader’s favorite animal since she was a toddler. We also have the notebooks to go along with this study.

Plans for History

This will be our oldest’s third time through the entire history of the world. We’re usingThe History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Romeby Susan Wise Bauer as her spine. We also have the study and teaching guide to go along with this.
I picked upStreams of Civilization: Earliest Times to the Discovery of the New World (Vol 1)at a used curriculum sale to supplement this study.

The younger crew will be using The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor again, including theActivity Book 1.

The 6th grader will also be outlining in her History notebook using our Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. My husband created a notebooking sheet for her to use that I plan to share with you all in a future post.

You can read more about how we teach ancient history in this post.

Plans for Logic

I didn’t like our formal logic curriculum. This year we’ll be reading thoughThe Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoningand we’ll move on to The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills.

We also have several Mind Bendersbooks, starting with a level that’s easy enough for our Kindergarten student.

We also have a lot of logic games that our kids play frequently. I hope to say more about those in a future post.

Plans for Studying Foreign Languages

Our oldest two are still working through First Form Latinand we’ll move on to Second Form Latinwhen they’ve finished. This has been their favorite of all the Memoria Press Latin products we’ve used.

My recommendation: spring for First Form Latin Instructional DVDs, especially if you are learning Latin along with your kids. They’re worth it. (And the teacher is far more patient when he has to teach us the same lesson over again than I would be.)

Prima Latina wasn’t a good fit for our artist, free-spirit younger daughters so we’ve started Song School Latin. Both our 8 year old and 4 year old are already enjoying it. (We also bought the Song School Latin DVD Setfor them. Not because I can’t teach Latin at this level, but because they enjoy having their own DVD to watch.)

Other subjects required by our state:

Our state requires we also teach Health, Phys Ed, Fine Arts, and First Aid.

We cover these subjects with our homeschool co-op and books (or other resources) from our library.

This was just a quick overview of resources we plan to use this year. Watch for more in depth posts and resources as we get into the school year.

What are you using this year? Does your state require you to cover certain subjects?

Homeschooling Resources:
Notebooking Pages Free Resources

Homeschool Organizing Help:

Simplified Organization

Linking up with:


some plans and books for the 2015 school year

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  1. We love Life of Fred books. What great plans. Take it easy and enjoy your sweet kids.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. great plans! I only have a 9th grader this year! I am in the home stretch! My book choices are very similar to yours.
    Saxon Alg. 2
    Apologia Biology
    Biblioplan Ancients
    Elementary Greek 2&3 (man, I wish we were still doing Latin) if I had my way it would be Henle 1
    Religion he will read Spirituality of the Cross and Luther’s Large Catechism
    I don’t have a specific writing plan, we just write
    He will do Rod and Staff grammar book 7. Only because I have it and I am too cheap to buy book 8
    For English, I am not sure what we will do. Maybe read and write. Or I will pick a lightning Lit program.