Once again this year, I’m only homeschooling three kids.
It’s quite a change after a decade of homeschooling four! Currently, I have one high school teenager and two elementary children, and here are our 2019-2020 homeschool curriculum plans!
Elementary 2019-2020 Homeschool Curriculum
Math: Saxon Math
My 4th grader is moving into Saxon 54 while my youngest is still in the K-3 math books.
I will teach Saxon 54 myself. My daughter will sit down with me each day while we run through the lesson and the practice problems. Then she’ll sit down and complete the lesson, all 30 problems. I’ll answer any questions she has and give help as needed.
Again tests pop up regularly. She’ll take the test, I’ll grade it, and we’ll go over any missed problems.
K-3 math books are teacher intensive and scripted. I usually glance at the concept and teach the lesson myself. Although the script is handy when we’re coming to an important concept that I’m not quite certain how to approach. Then I’ll follow it diligently.
But for most concepts, like telling time and recognizing shapes, I don’t need a script.
Math is scheduled early in the morning, right after our group studies.
The elementary kids will actually be using English Lessons Through Literature this year as part of my 2019-2020 homeschool curriculum.
And I’ll be doing reviews of both level B and level D in September and October after we’ve had a chance to use the curriculum for a time.
English Lessons Through Literature is a complete English curriculum while using the progymnasmata to teach writing. At my daughter’s level, she’ll be concentrating on writing narratives. My son will be giving me oral narrations of fables.
I’m so excited to get started. We’ll be reading classics such as Wizard of Oz and Black Beauty together. Picture study is also scheduled!
Just as a note, I prefer a complete language arts curriculum over pulling language arts together myself. Over the years I’ve found they keep us from doubling up on topics, which takes extra time or accidentally forgetting a topic. Many families prefer to pull language arts together individually so they can fine-tune their child’s placement in each subject.
Read my review of English Lessons Through Literature B!
Read my review of English Lessons Through Literature D!
I am keeping morning time for my youngest children this year. Or as I tend to think of it, group studies. It works best if we sit down together first thing in the morning.
Experience has taught me that if I try to schedule our group studies later in the day, they’ll be skipped. We’ll end the day rushing out the door and will hold off the group studies until ‘later’. Which of course, never comes. Or we’ll be tired after a day wrangling through a difficult math and grammar lesson. And again, group studies are skipped.
Starting the day with group studies means it actually gets done. We read through Story of the World, we study science, and we enjoy some picture study and poetry together.
My high school teenager will not be joining us. I found it too difficult for me to adapt our group studies to meet the needs of both my elementary kids and my high school teen.
My youngest kids will continue to read through the Story of the World series with me this year. After some thought, I decided to pull them off Tapestry of Grace’s schedule. We’re reading through the Story of the World series together. It’s going well. And I don’t want to rush through 1½ volumes of Story of the World.
If I decide to switch back to Tapestry of Grace for my elementary kids next year, we’ll read through the missing chapters of Story of the World next summer.
Actually, I expect that we’ll read through volume 3 in 2020-2021. That will leave us with a 50-year gap between where we will leave off in volume 3 and where Tapestry of Grace begins in year 4. We’ll read through those few chapters in Story of the World 4 and be ready for Tapestry of Grace year 4 by August.
Science / Nature Study
The kids have been begging me for more animal studies. They want to learn about mammals, insects, and birds. So I decided to switch to Memoria Press’ Mammals for science this year.
Long-term, they’ll get plenty of standard science in high school and college. But I’ve wished I knew more about nature as we’ve gone on our nature hikes. I enjoy recognizing birds, plants, and trees.
So this year, my littles and I will be concentrating on nature study versus standard science.
Plus nature study lays an excellent foundation for future studies.
Picture Study / Poetry
English Lessons Through Literature includes classics to read aloud, picture study, and poetry. My thought has been to enjoy the picture study and poetry as a group rather than include them in the individual lessons.
So once a week, for our morning time, we’ll brew tea. Then sit down and read through our poetry together and choose one to memorize.
The picture study is done on a bi-weekly schedule rather than a weekly or daily schedule. So I plan to alternate which child’s picture study we’re doing each week.
And I’ll also pull my youngest’s chapter books out of his English Lessons Through Literature to read aloud to both children during morning time. My daughter will read hers independently.
2019-2020 Homeschool Curriculum: High School
Math: Saxon Math
My high school teenager will use Saxon Math’s Advanced Math with Art Reed’s DVD’s this year.
The DVD’s are wonderful and make a huge difference in my teen’s understanding of math. With over 12 years of experience teaching Saxon Math in a public high school, he knows the points where teens are likely to go off track, and when additional explanations are needed.
My son watches the DVD’s before he completes the lessons. Tests pop up regularly. He takes the test. I grade the test and go over any missed problems with him. So far the system’s worked beautifully and I don’t see us changing it this next school year.
My high school teen will be using Tapestry of Grace Year 2 Rhetoric literature and writing for his English course. Tapestry provides us with a schedule for what books will be read and when. And it gives us a starting point for the English course. There are a few places where Tapestry of Grace recommends reading selections from several books rather than books in the entirety – such as Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. I’ll likely choose one and assign it to my son to be read entirely instead of selections from all three.
But on the whole, I love Tapestry of Grace at the dialectic and rhetoric levels. It gives me reading assignments, student questions, and a guided discussion.
And the writing assignments are related to what he’s reading in history or literature. Tapestry of Grace has worked well. So well that we’re starting our third rotation using it!
Confession time: my son and I fell behind on Third Form Latin. It’s one of the disadvantages of learning Latin without a teacher. Sometimes extra time is needed to ensure mastery of the subject.
I decided not to stress about it. The goal isn’t to become fluent in Latin, although that would be nice, but rather to set my son’s feet on the path of classical education. And that means I focus on mastery of the material.
So now, this year our hope is that he’ll finish Third Form Latin by Christmas and will start Fourth Form Latin in January.
History continues to be Tapestry of Grace. I love Tapestry of Grace for the dialectic and rhetoric years. It gives me reading assignments for the week, student activity pages, maps, geography studies, teacher’s notes to keep me up-to-date with my kids’ studies, and guided discussion questions.
Tapestry of Grace changed my homeschool for the better nine years ago. And now we’re beginning our third rotation through Tapestry of Grace.
This year my son will be studying history from the Fall of Rome to 1800. He’ll read the assignments, complete writing assignments, and discuss his studies with me.
I’m rather excited!
We’re continuing to use the Apologia High School Series by Jay Wile for science. And this year, my son is studying physics.
The books are set up to be completed by homeschoolers. So there’s quite a bit of explanation of the concepts in the textbooks. And the experiments are set up to require commonly available supplies. Supplies you can find around town!
As I made his lesson plans, I broke each day’s readings into small sections. He reads a section, completes any experiments within that section, and answers the On Your Own questions that pop up.
Once he’s through working through the module, he’ll work through the review questions and extra problems before taking the test.
The study of fine arts is included in Tapestry of Grace. As my son reads through each week’s assignments, there are additional assignments that cover architecture, music, or art that pop up regularly. I assign those readings in addition to his history and literature readings.
In addition, there’s the drawing and piano practice he does on a daily basis. Both of these count towards his fine arts studies as well.
It’s a gentle approach, but one that works well for my family!
One point to keep in mind, that all plans are subject to change once we’re actually into the hubbub of daily homeschooling. I may end up adding the picture study back into the English Lessons rather than doing them during morning time.
We may end up dropping or adding a subject.
I find that something changes in the fall, once we actually put the plans into motion!
Take a look at my 2021-2020 homeschool plans!