Homeschool curriculum choices have been a hot topic across social media platforms which isn’t surprising after all we have been through. It seems everything in America has been affected by Covid-19 and many have found themselves needing to explore alternative educational options. In some areas of the country homeschooling is up by more than 700%; that’s impressive! It’s also a little daunting as we consider what effects this may bring for those whose hearts were already led to homeschooling or roadschooling. Will we see more government oversight? Will regulations increase? Will our rights to a little more medical freedom be infringed upon as the number of public schooled children decreases? I guess time will only tell.
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I am trying to focus on this school year though, reminding myself to stay present instead of looking to the “what ifs”. Our children need us now, in these moments, to be strong not fearsome. Whatever may come, we’ll still be here defending them and their childhoods. Today, they need to grow, play, and explore, simply knowing we will catch them if they fall. I’ll share more on how I’ve been channeling my energy towards nature-based living later but for now, I’m gong to share our homeschool curriculum choices for 2020-21. We’ve changed a lot over the years and seeing how our learning styles have grown is one of my favorite things. From the mistakes of recreating school at home (2016/17) to retraining ourselves with an unschooling approach and now embracing a schoolhouse mindset, it’s been a wild ride. Entering into our 6th legal year of homeschooling, I’m excited to see how this year goes and what changes our growth brings!
Our Homeschool Curriculum 2020/21
- The Breakdown
- 5th Grader – MLFLE Level 6
- 2nd Grader – MLFLE Level 3
- Kindergartener – MLFLE Level 1 & 2
Math Lessons for a Living Education has been our go-to for math since June 2017 when we took our then 2nd grader all the way back to the basics. We could have started her off on the adventures of Charlie & Charlotte with Level 2 but we all needed a detox. Level 1 was the confidence boost she needed, the breather I needed, and we have been hooked ever since! Following the homeschooling journey of the twins, MLFLE teaches real world math using everyday examples. Seeing that the math works all around us brings the stories and their education to life, keeping them excited for more.
- The Breakdown
- 5th Grader – Level 4
- 2nd Grader – Levels 2 & 3
- Kindergartener – Level 1
Heading into the 2020/21 school year we were also headed into our 4th year of using All About Reading full-time for our oldest who struggled hard with reading. She would show a lot of progress with a new program for a short time and just when we would all think, “Yes! This is it!” she would backslide, get bored, and become resentful. At one point she refused to even listen to stories for almost a full year; she would leave the room when I read to the babies. It was heartbreaking! All About Reading saved us more than I can tell you. She is blossoming and almost finished with level 4 while our second child has always flourished with the games and fun that the program offers. Our third little one kicked off level 1 for her kindergarten year but our hopes are high!
Fun fact: I have been sending families towards All About Reading since 2015, two full years before we embraced it ourselves. Back then I knew it was a great program and I hadn’t settled on if it was worth the upfront expense but we loved their freebies. The way I regret wasting those two years jumping from program to program.. I can’t begin to explain it or why. As of writing this though, all of these years, I have never had a family come back and say it didn’t work for their child. Now, that is saying something!
- Units We’ve Chosen (subject to change)
- September/October – US Government
- November – Indigenous People
- December – Christmas
- January & February – Oceans
- March – Asia + Easter
- April – Career and Trades
- May – Africa
Gather Round is a newer curriculum celebrating its second year of existence. Written by the author of one of our favorite Masterbooks supplements, More Than Words, it takes learning back to the schoolhouse method. We will all be focusing and learning about the same base topic while each child works on their own level. The full units cover every subject every day while the mini units are a little lighter on workbook assignments and heavier on the hands-on or heart projects.
*Note: Gather Round does not include math.*
- The Breakdown
- 5th Grader
- Daily Word Ladders for Grades 2-3
- Scholastic Success with Writing Levels 3 & 4
- 2nd Grader
- Daily Word Ladders for Grades 1-2
- Scholastic Success with Writing Level 2
- 5th Grader
With reading being a struggle for our oldest child, we learned the hard way that kids need time to be kids. Sometimes, they just aren’t developmentally where others are and that’s okay! Once we eased off and took a break from all things language, life and “schooling” took on a whole new existence for us; one that we loved a little more. Now that the reading skills are becoming stronger, I feel like it is finally time to work the spelling and grammar side of language just a little. We don’t want to overdo it though and we do still have years for them to learn how to write papers, poems, notes, and emails properly. There’s really no big rush and that’s why we’re sticking with some fun activities instead of digging into it deeper. Our unit studies above contain writing and I feel like this will come naturally as they grow.
A fun way we are striving to increase our older students’ language skills is through the online writing resource, Night Zookeeper. This gaming platform allows children to share about their interests through their works, create new creatures to star as characters, and even contribute to an ongoing book series! Our second-born adores contributing to collaborative stories and is always excited when she receives feedback on both her writings and her animal creations. The Mister and I love that they’re learning about parts of speech, how to create full sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, and are all three working together when one gets stuck in a rut. It has become an exciting family event anytime they break out the keyboard and pull up Night Zookeeper!
Well, that’s a wrap for planning our 2020/21 homeschool curriculum choices. Those of you who are new to homeschooling this year, do you have any questions we could help with? If so, just reach out! Veteran homeschoolers, have you made any changes this year because of the state of the world or even just because your family found something that works better for your learners? I would love to hear about them!