It’s that time of year again! For a lot of families, it’s all about getting kids back on a schedule, settling into their back-to-school routine for public or private school. For many, it’s about finalizing curriculum details as they plan their homeschool year.
I’ve already planned my homeschool curriculum, and it took me months to nail down how I plan on doing this year. I am actually developing my own secular curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school, and I plan to roll it out next July, just in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
Now, I realize that many homeschooling families don’t necessarily follow a strict curriculum, especially those who unschool. This is perfectly fine and valid! For me, I need a curriculum. I need the structure, and my kids seem to thrive on it! You have to do whatever works best for you and your kiddos, though, remember that.
This year, we’re doing a standard 180-day year, and we’re going to be using several different resources to get through. Ella is in “sixth grade,” and Anya is in “fourth,” so I found some things that I feel is on their level but also challenging.
Here is a breakdown of the subjects that we will be studying this year:
- English/Language Arts
- Foreign Language
That seems like a lot, I’m sure. My personal pedagogy is that you shouldn’t spend too long on any given educational task, anyway. The more “school-like” you make it, the less they learn. This is true for my children, at least. So, a good number of these subjects will be hands-on. Most likely won’t be done daily, either.
In the case of sewing, I will actually just be teaching as I work on various projects with them. I sew cloth pads and will soon be sewing clothes as well, so it’s easy to incorporate small lessons as I go along, and by the end of the “school year,” they will each have sewn basic items, such as pillows, dolls, a circle skirt, and a quilt. I will write up my curriculum for this and post it soon, for any who are interested.
Needlework will be done similarly, with the end of the year culminating in a cross-stitch project, an embroidery project, and a crochet project.
For cooking, both of them are already avid learners. They read cookbooks for fun and watch all manner of cooking shows. It’s really just about getting into the kitchen with them and supervising their cooking projects. We use this book and LOVE it, and I highly recommend it to any parent whose child loves to cook.
Physical Education isn’t something I’m a major stickler on. I just want them to be active. We are fortunate to have a couple of playgrounds in our neighborhood, one is actually just 30 seconds from our front door. Beyond that, Anya will be taking Irish dancing lessons, and both girls will be taking Tae Kwon Do.
For music, this year we are focusing on appreciation, identification of genres and styles, as well as basic sight-reading. Ella is huge into the theater, and actually has performed in two local plays already, the Lion King Jr. (Anya did this one too, and decided theater isn’t for her), and Newsies. She’s obsessed! For her, getting sight-reading down is a must! This is a subject I will be forming a curriculum on as well, one that I will write up and share in the near future.
Art is going to work very similarly to music. I subscribed to Let’s Make Art, which is a program that sends you four watercolor paintings every month, and there are almost enough materials for three people to do each one. We will have to buy extra watercolor paper and brushes, but that’s truly not a big deal. We will also focus a bit on art history, though we won’t delve too heavily into that subject yet. I just want to give them a primer as we discuss various forms of art.
The girls have chosen to learn Spanish as their foreign language, and I support them in this wholeheartedly. They will be using a combination of Duolingo and Muzzy. Muzzy will be new for us, but Duolingo is like an old friend. We love Duolingo and how easy it is to use and enjoy. It doesn’t get boring or stale, either, which is a big deal to the girls.
Math is the easiest to source, as we will be using Khan Academy as we have for years. We LOVE how the videos and content are easy to navigate and understand. With Khan Academy’s help, I was able to get the girls on-level with math after the public school they attended let them both drop two grade levels behind.
Now, this is where it gets a bit squiffy. There are two major free online curriculums out there, Easy Peasy All-in-One, and Discovery K12. We will be using parts of both, and ignoring parts of both.
Let me preface this by saying I do not, in any way, endorse or condone Easy Peasy’s curriculum in its entirety. I think the way they teach history and science is negligent and breeds ignorance. However, they do have a stellar language arts program, comparatively. I will be using that for this year only while I develop my own.
Science and History will be done through Discovery K12, because we do like the way it’s done. It’s secular, thorough, and aligns with my standards. The only reason we won’t be using the entire curriculum is entirely because of the girls’ preferences. They simply didn’t like the language arts, art, or PE sections, so they wanted me to look for something different.
So that’s the plan for 2019-2020. Do you form a curriculum for your homeschool, or do you wing it? Tell me your process in the comments below!