Well, here we are! Homeschooling again!
I’ll be honest and say that we were not really considering homeschooling before the whole pandemic thing happened. We assumed we’d move and put the kids in the local private school, or maybe the public school. But we soon learned that even those schools would be distance-learning – and when they came back there would be masks and partitions and social distancing.
I completely understand the reasons for that. It’s just not what we wanted for our kids. We wanted to be able to teach them together, to have plenty of time for Bible reading, adventures, life skills, etc. So, homeschooling seemed like the best option!
So today, I’m sharing exactly what we’re using for our curriculum this year. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this lately, so I figured I’d share it all in one post!
A disclaimer when choosing curriculum
Before we get into what WE are using, I just want to make sure you know – each family has to pick what works best for them! I highly suggest doing what I did – watching a ton of YouTube videos where more seasoned homeschooling moms review curriculum. I learned so much this way, and I was able to determine what would work for our family and what wouldn’t, based on their thoughts about the curriculum! It was so incredibly helpful, even though I basically spent two full days watching YouTube videos. Ha!
We’ve chosen to go with MasterBooks curriculum for our main work this year.
We chose it because it:
- was created by the people behind Answers In Genesis, so we knew it was Biblically sound.
- weaves stories throughout every subject, giving our story-loving kids a great way to engage with the curriculum.
- is pretty much open-and-go, meaning there’s not a ton of prep, and Jon and I can seamlessly trade off working with the kids.
- is a very gentle approach to learning, meaning it covers what they need to know, but doesn’t give them pages and pages of work each day.
We’ve been using it for a month so far, and we love it! Here’s a little more detail about what we’ve chosen.
1st Grade Curriculum for 2020-2021
Nathan is in 1st grade this year, and we bought all Level 1 books for him! He’s speeding through the math pretty quickly, and I anticipate moving him into Level 2 in math by the end of this first semester. I’m absolutely fine with starting a little below where they might be right now, so that we can cover any gaps and make sure we head into the next level with a really solid foundation.
For science, we have both the kids going through God’s Design for Life, but each have their own workbooks at their own levels (which is very cool). For history, we are working through America’s Story as a family, reading it aloud together. Nathan just listens along and answers questions as we talk about it.
Nathan also uses our Anchored Kids Planner to check off his assignments as he finishes them (I write them out each day), and keep track of his daily chores on his weekly chart.
4th Grade Curriculum for 2020-2021
Emily is in 4th grade this year, and we decided to get really specific on her studies in math and language specifically. She does really well in language arts, and tested at Level 5 in this area, so we started her there for LA. In math, I knew we’d missed a few things, especially toward the end of last year, so we started her in Level 3 for math, and we’re working through it pretty fast. My hope here is just to cover those gaps, and then get her into the Level 4 book as soon as she’s ready!
For science, she’s working through the same concepts as Nathan in God’s Design for Life, but at her own level. And we are covering America’s Story together as a family, but Emily also does her own worksheets that go along with this book.
She uses the Anchored Kids Planner as well, writing out her assignments each day and keeping track of her daily chores on her weekly chart!
Additional Curriculum + Read-Alouds
During our morning time, we’re focusing mainly on Bible + apologetics with the kids. We’re reading through this 10 Minute Bible Journey each day (though honestly we may be changing this soon, as it’s still a bit over Nathan’s head). We’re also reading through the questions and answers in The Answers Book For Kids set – and we are absolutely loving these! It’s really fun to be able to talk through questions the kids have had (or even ones they never thought of!) and give them Biblically solid answers. We’re really loving this set!
In a few weeks, we’ll also be joining a Classical Conversations community. We will primarily use this for memory work + meeting new friends, continuing to use MasterBooks as the spine of our curriculum. At least that’s the plan for now. We’ll see if that changes as we get more into it.
We are also spending a bit of time together each day reading aloud. Honestly, I’d gotten out of the habit of reading to the kids, so right now we are just reading a few picture books before bed. As their attention span grows (especially that of the six-year old!), I’ll start in on some chapter books that we are looking forward to reading together. Here’s a list of the ones we will be starting with!
Planning + Communication for Homeschooling
I spend Sunday afternoons looking back at the week behind us, and then planning for the week ahead. I really haven’t been able to plan farther ahead than one week at a time yet, because what we are able to get done each week keeps changing! I’m okay with that for now, and am enjoying sitting down each weekend to look at the week ahead and plan what we’re going to do. I use our new Homeschool Lesson Planner to write out all our lessons, and also plan what supplies and books we need!
Since Jon and I are both doing school with the kids, communication is absolutely essential! We both use the Homeschool Lesson Planner as our home base for what the kids need to be working on each day. This works really well, since there are a lot of times where it’s just one of us working with the kids, and then we trade off. We both check off what’s finished in the lesson planner, so we can just pick up where the other person left off!
Communication with the kids is really important too! That’s why we write every assignment in the kids planners as well. They are then able to grow in independence as they keep track of their own assignments, and complete their chores each day!
And that’s our simple plan for the year! I’ll keep you updated as we get into it a little bit more, and keep learning what works and what doesn’t.
Got any questions? Drop them in the comments below!
Kayse is a wife, mom, and founder of the Anchored Women community. She writes to help women fight busy, find rest, and build a life that’s anchored in Christ. Kayse is also the creator of the S.O.S. Planner, the Anchored Life Kit, and other practical resources that equip women to manage their homes and families in confidence. You can find her writing and her resources at anchored-women.com!