2016-2017 Homeschool Resources

Every year I try to type up a post of what we plan to cover for the year, if not a complete curriculum list.

I didn’t have the forethought to do it for 2011-2012. (I did, however, have the forethought to buy a denim jumper and fix my hair like Michelle Duggar and write about that here as well as our first week update here.)


But here are some curriculum and planning posts for 2012-2013: Here, here, here, here, here, and here.

For the 2013-2014 year, Ryan would still be deployed and since during most of the summer of 2013 the kids and I were traveling, I managed to get everything ordered and ready by April! See that post here.

In the summer of 2014-2015, we PCS’d and weren’t sure until right before school started that we’d continue homeschooling. We moved to the “right” school district but a few weeks out, we still felt compelled to continue our at-home learning. Read more about our back-to-school baskets here and the beginning of the year here. I also wrote that year about what to do when you don’t quite feel it (here)!

Last year, 2015-2016 I ran a series of “Teach Them Diligently” posts for at home skills we wanted our kids to learn. Most of those are listed here. I also went back to work and kept some updates on that here. I wrote about Back-to-School Survival Tips for Mom (here). We finished out FIVE years of homeschooling (here). But as far as the “yearly” plans, I transitioned to a landing place for our overall philosophy and curriculum here.


Every year, I treat the school year as if it may be our last to homeschool, because truly I never know if it will be. We pray and earnestly seek God’s direction for the educational choices we make knowing that it may not look the same for each child, each year.

For 2016-2017 we know that this will be our final year in Georgia. We know that our son will be starting high school very soon and our middle daughter is finishing her last year of elementary school. They all honestly love what we are doing now, but I think each is curious about what “the other side” looks like.

With that in mind, I am also very prayerful that what we are doing at home, although very *unlike* traditional school, will prepare them to be successful and competent should the kids go into a traditional or private school down the road.

This year we have decided to forego any type of co-op or homeschool group. We have now tried three times and each time we have realized that it doesn’t quite fit with our philosophy or feel worth the time away from home to be valuable for us. In addition to all of our at home work, we love to travel and see as many cool things as possible that enhance all of our book learning.

We are back to homeschooling AT HOME five days a week. Each  morning, I start with about an hour’s worth of “spreading a feast” by using what many Charlotte Mason-ers call a “Morning Basket.” On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, we start at the neighborhood park to do some Ninja Warrior PE and come home and clean up before our Morning Basket.


With the contents of that basket, we do short simple lessons. It’s lots of memory work and the kids and I all LOVE it. It takes us right at an hour (give or take) from start to finish. It unifies us in some of our learning, is building good habits, exposes the kids to lots of cool things, and sets them up for success later in the day with their individual work.



  • We start with this devotional; one of the kids reads aloud and after I start us off with a quick prayer to set the tone for our mornings. We’ve gone through this book about three other times so I am open to finding something fresh. So far, this one has won out. (3-5 minutes daily)


  • Next, we move to our catechisms using this fun resource. On Mondays I’ll have them write the question into a small composition notebook where they will add to this each week. On Tuesdays, they write the answer portion; on Wednesdays they add the Bible verse that ties the question and answer together. Thursdays we review. Fridays the kids recite it all from memory and we review the previous weeks’ memory work too. (3-5 minutes daily)


  • We are learning Spanish vocabulary using this Spanish-only picture book. We do a theme each week. (For example, week one was numbers and colors, week two was shapes and family, week three was the city, and last week was the street. It’s anywhere from 10-20 words each week; for the year that will be a total near 400 Spanish words. I mix things up each day but usually Mondays I show them the picture and the word in Spanish and we make sure our pronunciations are correct; Tuesdays we review that same concept. Wednesdays I’ll say the words in Spanish and have the kids guess the English word. Thursdays I say the word in English and they have to say the Spanish. And Fridays I do an oral pop quiz. (5-7 minutes daily)


  • One of our FAVORITE things we are doing is this fun little SAT Vocabulary study. It’s a box of 500 words, which gives us three words every day for the school year, give or take. The kids all have these dry erase paddles and are keeping either a word list (Kate) or a word and definition list (Mae and Thomas). I pronounce the word, write its definition on the board, read the definition and the sentence on the card that uses the word in context, and they try to spell the word correctly on the their paddles. Once they are all ready, they show me their paddles and they see if they spelled the word correctly or not; many times they are very successful spellers! I write the word beside its definition on my board, the kids copy the information onto their papers, I ask them to try to use the word correctly in a sentence, and we go on to do the other two words. It is competitive, uses a VARIETY of learning methods, and the kids are increasing their vocabularies like crazy! (7-10 minutes daily)



  • The subject that definitely takes the longest is our history. We have a HUGE goal this year to make it through all FOUR volumes of The Story of the World. First quarter, Ancient Times. Second quarter, The Middle Ages. Third quarter, Early Modern Times. Fourth quarter, The Modern Age. I know that’s ambitious, but here’s the why and how we’re doing it. Why? I want the kids to get a big-picture overview of the entire history of the world. They are really good on ancient history and several periods of American history. This is one, cohesive look at the whole thing. Once Thomas begins high school, either at home or traditional school I want him to be able to put any one course into the context of all of history. I want this for the girls too, but at their ages/grades, it’s just for exposure. How? Each day we listen to (usually) one chapter (sometimes two) on the audio discs. They love the living history! I ordered each volume back in the spring when CBD had their 30% off sale. While we listen, each of the kids has a composition notebook where they may take notes or illustrate the story. After we listen, I orally go through the chapter test and ask follow up questions. The kids may use their notes and if I see that they are not remembering the details or missing answers I can always administer the tests in a written format, but so far, our method has worked perfectly! (20 minutes daily) On Mondays and Wednesdays I have a documentary on either Netflix or Amazon Prime that follows-up and reinforces the history content. They watch this while our sitter/tutor is here. So far they have seen some great documentaries that range from 25 minutes to an hour an a half.


  • On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we do Composition. I’m kind writing my own for this, but it ties in some of their literature and adds in another dose of grammar. First quarter our focus is narrative, second quarter is expository, third quarter is persuasive, and fourth quarter is descriptive. (15 minutes, three times a week)


  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do a Hymn Study. Nothing fancy here. We have an old “Red Back” hymnal and each week we are going through the lyrics of the hymnal, its history, and listening to the hymn. I have made a cd of all of the songs for the kids and one for the car. I want these songs imprinted on their hearts! (5-7 minutes, twice a week)


  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays we also read some of Shakespeare’s plays. We are reading an illustrated “story” version from this wonderful series. (I only paid $30 for my box when there was one of those Educents deals.) These are somewhat simplified (and thankfully cleaned-up) versions but still have the “essence” of Shakespeare. It’s giving us some great discussion on ethics, morality, and many literary elements like asides, soliloquies, irony, suspense, foreshadowing, and characterization. Starting our fifth week of school we are about to finish up our third play. During the year, we will cover a total of 20 plays or about five per quarter. What great exposure to some classic story lines! (10 minutes, twice a week)


  • On Fridays we incorporate an artist study  that keeps us with each artist for two sessions. In week one we simply read up on the artist and preview some of his/her work. In week two, we try to mimic the artist’s style. I LOVE this book! Very kid-friendly, short lessons, and great exposure to some of the lesser known artists. (10-15 minutes, once a week)



After the basket time around the table, the kids each have individual work to complete. Here’s a breakdown of who is doing what.

Kate (3rd grader)

Math: Teaching Textbooks Grade 4 (daily)

Grammar: Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons (MWF)

Science: Apologia Astronomy (TT- and labs e/o Thursday)

Wordly Wise level 3 (MWF)

Music time (MW)

Pleasure reading (MWF)

Literature: The One and Only Ivan, The Tail of Emily Windsnap, Molly’s Pilgrim, Morning Girl, The BFG, and Frindle (various activities for read-alouds, narration, and writing)

Mae (5th grader)

Math: Teaching Textbooks Grade 7 (daily)

Grammar: Emma Serl’s Intermediate Language Lessons (MWF)

Science: Apologia Astronomy (TT- and labs e/o Thursday)

Wordly Wise level 5 (MWF- tests on F)

Music time (MW)

Pleasure reading (MWF)

Literature: The Chronicles of Narnia (Books 1-7 with various vocabulary, writing, and narration activities)

Thomas (7th grader)

Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra I (daily)

Grammar: Daily Language Review 7 (daily)

Science: Apologia General Science (TT- and labs e/o Thursday)

Wordly Wise level 7 (MWF-tests on F)

Geography: Discovering the World of Geography (TT)

ACT Test Prep (F)

Pleasure reading (MWF)

Literature: The Call of the Wild, Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, and Around the World in Eighty Days (various activities for reading comprehension, vocabulary, essay writing, and responses to direct quotations)


And lest we forget the “socialization,” (wink, wink) this year in addition to weekly church services our girls are playing fall soccer, winter basketball, and spring soccer; Thomas is involved in Trail Life, is playing on a travel baseball team, and going to Social twice a month. We have them lined up to play in a few golf tournaments throughout the fall as well.


5 thoughts on “2016-2017 Homeschool Resources

  1. Carolyn Waddell says:

    Gosh, Claire, your kids are getting way more than what they would get in a public school! I’m so impressed! I hate to mention it, (because what you are doing is so great), but have you ever seen ReadwWorks.org? I use it to progress-monitor my students for their IEP goals in comprehension (but it is not a special ed resource). It gives all kinds of texts, literary, informational, poetry, etc. There are comprehension questions both short answer and extended response. Not only are there reading passages, but skill & strategy units, comprehension units, novel study units (along with lesson plans if you want them). They offer paired texts. Its a free resource, but you probably have seen it. If so, sorry for the long post.


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