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If you’ve been following our family’s curriculum picks for awhile (check out what we chose last year and the year before), you’ll know that my husband and I split our days between working and homeschooling. My husband covers math, spelling, and our morning loop subjects (see below) while I’m working, and I do Bible, literature, history, and whatever loose ends need finishing up in the afternoons while he works. Our homeschool days may look different than most, but we’ve seen each family member thrive as we lean fully into the freedom and flexibility homeschooling offers.
Here are some of the resources we plan to use this year. See below for more details about how we use these materials. You’ll see that we combine many subjects.
- Wrap up Saxon Math 6/5 and begin Saxon Math 7/6 (6th grader)
- Wrap up Saxon Math 3 and begin Saxon Math 5/4 (4th grader)
- Life of Fred Dogs and Edgewood
Spelling and Vocabulary
- Spelling Workout C and Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Grade 6 (6th grader)
- Spelling Workout B (4th grader)
- Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Stage
- Usborne Science Encyclopedia
- Peterson Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals
- The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn
Art and Music (together)
- Masters of the Renaissance: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and More by Jim Weiss
- Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson
- Leonardo da Vinci Picture Study Portfolio
- Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard
- Sebastian Bach, the Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler
Writing and Grammar (together)
- Copywork and dictation from the book of Proverbs
- Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind
History and Geography (together)
This year we are wrapping up our study of the Middle Ages and moving into the Renaissance and Reformation period.
- Story of the World, volumes 2 and 3
- Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall
- Famous Men of the Middle Ages by John H. Haaren
- Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History by Richard M. Hannula
- The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff
- Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
- The Magna Charta by James Daugherty
- Fine Print: A Story About Johann Gutenberg by Joann Johansen Burch
- Biographies of Reformation figures by Simonetta Carr
Some of our literature readings are designed to correspond to the period of history we are currently studying. Others are just fun books that we enjoy during our nightly family read-aloud time. Here are a few of the titles we plan to read together this year.
- Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
- The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton
- The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein
- The Illustrated Little Pilgrim’s Progress from John Bunyan by Helen L. Taylor
- Rock climbing class at our local gym
- Shakespeare Club with some local Charlotte Mason homeschool families
More Details on How We Structure Our Days
Saxon Math has been our go-to since the beginning, but we heavily adapt the program to meet our needs. We spread each lesson out over two days, so that my husband can teach new material to one child, while the other child works on the problems for the lesson they learned the previous day. We also only require our kids to do half the problems Saxon assigns. In addition, every February we take a break from Saxon to play math games and do a Life of Fred book or two.
Breaking up the work this way and doing math all year round allows us to cover about 2/3 of a math book per year, so this fall we will finish up Math 6/5 and Math 3 before moving on to Math 7/6 and Math 5/4 over the winter. (Finished for us means the book is about 90% done).
We may be “behind” according to the timetables used in public schools, but we have kids that love math – our sixth grader recently asked to bring his Saxon math book with him to VBS so he could work on problems if he gets bored 🙂 – so I feel confident that this pace is right for our kids.
Last year was our first year using Elemental Science‘s program for logic stage students, and we loved it! This year we’ll be continuing on with Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Stage. Each week’s studies revolve around a theme and guide you and your student in performing a simple experiment, reading from the Usborne Science Encyclopedia, coloring and labeling a sketch, writing definitions and answers to discussion questions, and memorizing facts like the seven types of stars or the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. Our youngest doesn’t do as much written work, but she enjoys joining her brother for the readings, experiments, and sketches so for now we’re keeping both kids together for science.
Geography is largely an independent study for my 6th grader. We discovered the geography materials by Memoria Press last year, and it became one of the highlights of our homeschool year. My son spends his geography time reading a lesson about a country or region from the student text, labeling the maps in the accompanying workbook, recreating the flag of that country, and doing some extra reading about that part of the world. Each week I put in a request at the library for a few picture books or short chapter books set in the country he is studying, and he choses from among this stack I’ve curated for his extra reading (Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin has been a great resource for finding quality books set in a specific country). Depending on how interested he is, he may spend a few days or a few weeks learning about a particular country. Last year he made it about 3/4 of the way through Geography I, so he will finish that up this year, and then begin Geography II.
This year we will do the following subjects on a loop after math and copywork/spelling are complete. I first learned about loop scheduling from Sarah Mackenzie in her book, Teaching from Rest. It’s great for subjects you want to cover regularly, but not everyday. During our morning loop time, we just do whatever is next on the list. If we miss our loop time here and there because of a dentist appointment, illness, or a day that goes completely off the rails, we just pick up where we left off the next day.
In the afternoons, I do our morning time/morning basket type readings with the kids. This includes Bible, singing a hymn, memory work, a history reading, and a portion from a literature read-aloud. If all goes well, this takes about an hour.