Curriculum Choices 2013-2014

curriculum choices @ponderthepath

This year is going to be a bit different for me. The last couple of years I have had to focus on high school kiddos, getting them graduated and where they need to be. But this year my 16 year old will be taking dual credit classes at the community college, which will free me up to do some fun things with the younger kids.

Our younger children will be in grades 6th, 3rd, and Pre K (along with a 2 1/2 year old…oh boy!), so it should be a good year for some hands on learning! I am actually very excited to get started with school this year, as the last couple of years we have been in survival mode. I am praying that this year will be a year of refreshment.

Homeschooling Methods

Generally, we are relaxed homeschoolers who somewhat follow a Charlotte Mason homeschooling method. In theory, I would like to incorporate the Charlotte Mason method more thoroughly. In practice, I just haven’t been able to do all that I would like to and our method has really been more about doing what we can when we can.

Some of my favorite resources for Charlotte Mason learning are:

Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

Ambleside Online

Simply Charlotte Mason


For years I searched for a Bible curriculum and never found one that worked for us. At the time, I started just teaching each day from the Bible. This has worked out so well for us, doesn’t require any planning, and allows me to let the Lord guide our learning each day.

What we do is start our Bible time with the singing of hymns (I usually let the kids pick them out, or I will choose something if there is a hymn on my heart.) My oldest daughter plays the piano while we sing. Then we have a time of prayer. After that, we recite our memory verses, then read from our Bibles.

Depending on how everyone is doing (remember, we have little ones in the bunch), we will read 1-2 chapters. I have the kids take turns reading, even the ones that are just learning to read. We use the KJV and I have found that having them read each day helps tremendously with their reading skills. As we read, we will pause and discuss what we are reading.

To keep track of our reading (where we are and what we have read), I use a Bible checklist that I found online. I love visuals to help me know where I am at and help keep me on track.

History/Language Arts

Early American INTSG

History has always been the core of our learning each year. I try to tie in our language arts and history so that we are getting more bang for our buck. (I don’t like doing more than I have to!)

For history this year, we will be learning about early American history. Beautiful Feet Books is one of my favorite sources for living history books. In fact, I started out using them 12 years ago and here I am reading the great again with my second round of kids! It is always neet to pull out old books and remember when the older kids were little. And then to experience the stories all over from the perspective of different children. What a blessing it is to teach our children at home!

What I usually do is start with a core read aloud and generally build around it. I will choose readers for the kids that complement the read aloud and are age appropriate. I have tried and tried to use different curriculums, but I always modify them so much they never really resemble the original curriculum.

This year I have a membership with Notebooking Pages, so I am excited to see how it fits in with our studies. I like the fact that I can custom create pages that work with whatever I decide to do *and* I have lifetime access to the pages, so I don’t feel like I have to cram them all in at once! I plan on using the Notebooking Pages to reinforce what we are reading, as well as teach handwriting and dictation skills.

I am still a little unsure about grammar/writing/spelling this year. Still pondering this one.


earth and space

After living in Kansas for 1 1/2 years, I have a little boy who is fascinated by weather, especially tornados! We have checked out books at the library and read every book we have at home, but his fascination continues.

With that in mind, I am really thrilled to try something new for science this year. We will be using Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, which covers such things as geology, atmosphere, and WEATHER! Science is one of the areas that sometimes gets pushed to the back burner when life gets busy. I wanted something that was super easy to implement and didn’t take much prep work from me.

I also got the student activity book to go along with the text. I plan on just printing out copies of the worksheets for all the kids to work on. I love this because I can make copies for the little guys too (makes them feel big) and not feel bad if all they do is scribble on them.


Math is a pretty easy one this year. We will be using Math-U-See once again. It is a solid program, although I haven’t taken full advantage of the videos that accompany the curriculum. I usually just explain how to do things then let them take off.

I haven’t quite decided what to do for the 4 year old. Normally, I don’t start any formal schooling until around 1st grade. But he is a sharp cookie and really wants to “do some school”. So I may buy the Alpha book for him and just let him play with it and move at his own pace. If he is ready for it, fine. If not, we’ll put it up til next year. {edited: I just went to the Math-U-See website and lo-and-behold they have a “primer” math for the little guys!}


Another thing I love about Math-U-See are the manipulative blocks. Like I said, I don’t always teach according to the videos. And some concepts I teach using a different approach all together. But I am always able to use the math blocks to help them visualize the concept they are learning. This is so important for the younger years when math concepts are so foreign to them. Whether you use blocks, or silverware, or buttons–having something tangible makes a huge difference! The blocks are also great for keeping toddlers busy building while the older ones do their lessons!



All of my older children play instruments and sing, so I always feel that we have music covered. We sing hymns in church or the girls learn new ones to play for different audiences. They learn blue grass tunes and old folk type songs, so I really think Charlotte would be proud.

One area that I do want to focus on this year, though, is learning about the classical composers. My oldest daughter learned more classical pieces on the piano, and the younger girls haven’t really done that. We will be using Bright Idea Press’ Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers. It consists of 32 weeks worth of lessons covering 26 composers. They will listen to the music (I think I have most of the composers in my VOX collection), learn about the lives of the composers, and about the different periods of music. Worksheets are included to help facilitate learning.

This post and many more are part of the Teach Them Diligently Summer of Encouragement Link Up series! You can read More about How to Stay Encouraged While Homeschooling HERE

This post is also part of iHomeschool Network’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop.


Disclosure Policy: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. This year our oldest will be in High School. Hard to believe how fast time has went by. Anyways, at first I was worried because I knew how much time it would end up taking away from my youngest children schooling needs. Thankfully I found one of those online programs, that does all the teaching and grading for you.( Apparently, Time4Learning has this new High School program coming out.)

    Now do not get me wrong, I love home schooling, but the upper grade can be a bit overwhelming and more time consuming. Plus, I have so much I want to do with my lil ones this year. History is going to be where I plan on spending most of our efforts. That is why I am glad I came across your blog today. I have been trying to put together what I will be needing for the upcoming school year, ect. and well thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Kerry Jones says:

      I KNOW!! I’m so excited about the T4L High School program too! We’re dual enrolling this year also, and Time4Learning will be the perfect supplement for that.

Speak Your Mind