Now that I am officially blogging about our homeschool, I deduced that the next step would be to share our curriculum choices for this year.   I am so very excited about each and every subject we will cover.  This artistic and literature loving mom is even looking forward to teaching science!  Who knew?  As I shared in my previous post, we are trying to follow the philosophy presented in Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Trained Mind.  Therefore, we are definitely following the classical education model.  However, there will be some Charlotte Mason methodology thrown in, along with some Montessori splashes here and there.

I think the aspect of the common core curriculum that frustrated me the most was the fact that the spiral went so quickly that mastery could not be attained.   We are definitely focusing on mastery-based curriculum.  However, I have discovered that the majority of these texts are full of hands-on activities that stimulate all types of learners.   My oldest is an auditory/kinesthetic learner and my youngest is definitely a visual learner.  The beauty of this curriculum is that it will appeal to both of my girls and offer learning experiences for each.  I also love that my girls can go at their own pace and can pursue content that they love in the midst of an overall structure.  There will be clearly defined boundaries, but a great amount of freedom within those boundaries.  For instance, my oldest loves ancient Egyptian studies.  I have a feeling that when we come to those chapters in the Story of the World we will be hanging out there for awhile and completing several different kinds of activities–fanning into flame the love of learning.  I can’t wait to experience these moments with my children.

And speaking of children, this morning the girls came up with their own blog names.  I told them to think of something that fits with the whole “gardening” theme.  My youngest picked “Sunshine.”  I couldn’t have picked a better name if I tried!  Our older daughter picked “Rosebud”.  Again, I think it suits her personality perfectly!

But, I digress.   Here are our curriculum choices for 2015-2016.  You can click on the title of each subject to be taken to the appropriate website.  Underneath the general listing, I expound a bit more about each curricula and why we picked it.


For Sunshine, Our First Grader:

Bible:  Bible Road Trip

Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting Book A

Math:  Math U See Alpha

Spelling:  All About Spelling Level 1

Reading: All About Reading Level 2 (we completed Level 1 this last spring/summer)

Literature Unit Lapbooks:  Charlotte’s Web, Little Women, Sherlock Holmes, The Secret Garden (Confessions of a Homeschooler)

Vocabulary:  A Word a Day

Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Workbook 1

Writing: Writing with Ease Workbook 1

History:  Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times

Science:  Apologia “Exploring Creation” series

Music: Piano/Theory, Choir, The World’s Greatest Composers vol. 1 (Confessions of a Homeschooler)

Art: See the Light Art Lessons, Class at our local ArtHaus, The World’s Greatest Artists vol. 1

P. E.: Family Time Fitness, Gymnastics


For Rosebud Our 4th grader:

Bible: Bible Road Trip

Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Book C

Math: Math U See Delta

Spelling: All About Spelling Levels 3 & 4 (We’ve gone through levels 1 & 2 this summer)

Reading: All About Reading Level 4; Abeka Readers and Read & Think Skill Sheets

Literature Unit Lapbooks: Charlotte’s Web, Little Women, Sherlock Holmes, The Secret Garden (Confessions of a Homeschooler)

Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Classical Roots Grade 4/Vocabu-Lit Level D

Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind book 3 & IEW’s Fix It Grammar

Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing:  Ancient History Based Writing Lessons (I will supplement a little of Writing with Ease book 3)

History: Story of the World Volume I:  Ancient Times

Science: Apologia “Exploring Creation” series.

Music: Piano/Theory, Choir, The World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 1

Art: See the Light Art Lessons, Class at local ArtHaus/Clay Studio, The World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1

P. E.: Family Time Fitness, Ballet, Running

Typing: Typing Instructor for Kids: Disney Mickey’s Typing Adventure

Latin: Getting Started with Latin by William Linney

For Rosebud, who loves to read, I am assigning some specific books in addition to the books she will choose:

Number the Stars, Island of the Blue Dolphins, An Indian in the Cupboard, The Penderwicks series, American girl series: Cécile and Marie Grace, Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, D’aulaires book of Greek Myths, Sarah Plain and Tall, Anne of Green Gables

Supplementary Materials:  I will be incorporating some activities from “The Critical Thinking Co.” for both girls.

A Deeper Look at the Curriculum


Bible Road Trip by Danika Cooley

  • This 3 year study will take our family through the entire Bible.   This curriculum provides notebooking activities and scripture memorization for all ages, and also focuses on prayer for other people groups around the world.  There are many wonderful supplemental resources that will enhance our learning.  Our whole family will be doing this together.  You can download the content for free week by week, or purchase the lessons for an entire year for $20.  There are several homeschooling moms in our area who are starting this program this year, so it will be fun to share our experiences with each other.

The Doorpost Songs by Dave and Jess Ray

  • When we lived in Houston, Texas we were a part of Tallowood Baptist Church and my husband ministered alongside a wonderful and talented couple who led the contemporary worship services.  One of their projects, “The Doorpost Songs” couples scripture verses with original songs.  The purpose of the albums is to help children memorize the Truth of God’s Word.   We have been listening to these albums for years, but are going to use them more strategically this year for a musical way to learn scripture.  Their albums can be purchased on iTunes.
Handwriting (Penmanship)

A Reason for Handwriting (Books A and C)

  • As they practice their penmanship, our girls will be writing scripture from the Bible.  The last lesson each week challenges the student to put together all she has written through the week and present them on a special “scripture page” that can be displayed or sent to friends and family.  Style of handwriting:  Zaner-Bloser

Zaner-Bloser Practice Masters (Levels 1 and 3)

  • We will use these for extra practice when needed


Math U See from Demme Learning

  • This is a mastery based program whose philosophy is based on the ancient proverb: “Tell me, I forget.  Show me, I understand. Let me do it, I remember.”  To which Math-U-See adds, “Let me teach it and I will have achieved mastery!”
  • I started part of this program with Rosebud last spring and she immediately took to it.  We are also using Math Minutes for First and Fourth Grade and Evan Moor Word Problems to give even more review and practice.


All About Spelling from All About Learning Press

  • This is another program that Rosebud and I began last spring.  It is a program that should be completed in order from Level 1 to Level 7, so we finished Level 1 and are about to wind up Level 2.  She is breezing through it pretty quickly, all the while filling in some gaps that existed in her spelling process.  I continue to be amazed at this product.  I absolutely love it.  There are many activities for all types of learners.  Sunshine and I will begin Level 1.


All About Reading from All About Learning Press

  • Sunshine and I have just about finished Level 1 of this series.  I could see she was catching on to reading very quickly and I knew if I waited until the fall to start it, she would be reading well above the level.  I didn’t want to waste my money, so we dove right in!  We will begin level 2 when school commences.  Rosebud is probably reading above Level 4, but as I looked through the curriculum there were some wonderful de-coding concepts that she has not yet been taught. I feel they will enhance her reading abilities.

Abeka Reading 4

  • Rosebud and I will use the Read and Think Skill Sheets this year, along with the grade 4 readers.  They are a good length for read aloud practice.


A-Word-a-Day (for Sunshine)

Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4 (for Rosebud)

  • I have come to believe that teaching our children Latin and Greek roots for vocabulary will aide them immensely in life.  Furthermore, it is an integral part of a classical education.
  • I will be supplementing Vocabu-Lit Level D.  This is an excellent curriculum that utilizes reading context and dictionary use to teach vocabulary skills.


First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Level 1 and Level 3)

  • This follows the classical model of education
  • Activities include memorizing parts of speech, poetry memorization, copy work and dictation.  In Rosebud’s level, she will begin to diagram sentences. Oh joy!  🙂

Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Fix it Grammar

  • Rosebud will be doing this one a couple of days a week.  You actually go into a literary text and “fix it.”   It is practical application at its finest!  It will also help her to edit her own writing.


Writing with Ease (Levels 1 and 3)

  • Sunshine will have this as her primary text.  Rosebud will use it if she finishes her IEW lessons early.  Also, I want to strengthen her narrating abilities.
  • This text trains children to narrate in complete sentences before writing down their thoughts.  It breaks the process down into smaller chunks so that the student can master the different components before putting them together in writing.  I am fairly confident there will be no gaps in this program.

Institute for Excellence in Writing: Ancient History Based Writing Lessons

  • Before teaching this approach, the parent must view the training seminars either online or DVD.  I actually have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style videos.  They are excellent!
  • The student completes 9 Units (about 1 unit per month).
  • Rosebud will be completing the Ancient History Based Writing Lessons this year.  This will coincide with our Story of the World history text.


Story of the World Volume I: Ancient Times

  • There is an activity book in addition to the text and a listing of wonderful resources for hands-on learning.  We are using the Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient History along with our text.  The activity book also includes mapping and geography.  We will also use Homeschool in the Woods’ History Through the Ages Timeline and Figures: Creation through Christ.  The girls will color the icons and we will place them in our history timeline notebook as we progress.


  • For science, we are doing something a little different.  We will have four nine-week units taken from four different textbooks in the Apologia Exploring Creation series.  Our first nine-week unit will cover the first few chapters of Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. Our second unit will feature the Exploring Creation Through Astronomy, the third will be taken from Exploring Creation with Human Physiology and Anatomy.  We will then finish the year off with a nine-week unit on physics and chemistry as we cover the first few chapters of Exploring Creation with Chemistry and PhysicsOur plan is to rotate these again next year so that we get through most all of the texts.  This way, the girls are getting an in-depth look at biology, earth science, chemistry and physics.  These texts follow Charlotte Mason methodology.  There are so many science experiments and activities that I don’t think we will be able to fit it all in.  It is that thorough.


  • My husband and I are both musicians, so the study of music is extremely important to us.  Our girls will study music everyday.  Both will be taking piano and will be taught theory.  We are introducing a bit of music history and literature with Confession of a Homeschooler’s lapbook study, The World’s Greatest Composers Volume 1.  We will be looking at the life and music of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin.  We will also study the instruments of the orchestra in detail.  Our community provides wonderful opportunities for children to sing in a choir, so the girls will be involved in that as well.


See the Light Art Lessons & The World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 2

  • The See the Light art lessons are viewed on a DVD and are delightfully taught.  The basics of drawing and painting will be presented, and will give the girls a solid foundation in these techniques.
  • Our girls will also be involved in art classes that are offered to children in our community.
  • We will also study some art history through the “Confessions of a Homeschooler” curriculum entitled, The World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 2.  We will be studying the paintings of Renoir, Degas, Gaugin, Warhol, and Rockwell.

Physical Education

Family Time Fitness

  • I am so excited to start this program!  The company that put these lessons together is extremely knowledgable about a balanced workout.   Assessments are provided as well so that you can keep track of your kids’ progress.  They are simple to follow, yet challenging for all levels of physical fitness.  By the looks of some of them, mommy may need a break or two!


Typing Instructor for Kids:  Disney Mickey Typing Adventure

  • This is a legitimate typing program with a lot of fun thrown in!  The girls have actually already started it because they just couldn’t wait.


Getting Started with Latin

  • Rosebud and I are going to begin Latin this year.   I researched several different programs and picked this one because of its simplicity and mastery-oriented approach.  The lessons are very short and designed to be completed in about 15-20 minutes.   It is just what we needed to launch Latin in our homeschool.

WHEW!  Well, there you have it!  I’m sure there will be some changes and we might not get through everything but there are wonderful possibilities at our finger tips!  We will keep you posted as to how we are progressing.



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