Topic | Plans for our year 2020-2021

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  • Ruralmama

    Have we had one of these for this year?

    I finally have plans….and we start in 3 weeks!


    I am still working on ours. This year I want to do a Current Events notebook, a Book of Firsts, Book of Centuries with a blank page opposite a lined page for drawings.(Hoping to find a book with pictures of artifacts from early America. Some type of museum book?). Be more consistent in Nature Journals, use Truthquest for 11th grader’s American History. Read Nature lore book(s), mostly through our winter months which can last a good deal of our school year here in north Eastern south Dakota.  I have book ideas for Personal Development. We need a Math & a Science


    We have 4th and 2nd officially this year. We also have a not to be left out 4 yr old;) and a very busy and opinionated 1.5 yr old…

    We are staying with RightStart. This year is C and E. And calculadders.

    Preschooler will do number recognition and counting with Montessori materials, RightStart games and the Memoria Press preK math book. The toddler will play (hopefully not eat) math manipulatives.

    History is SCM Early Modern moving into Modern in term 2 or 3. (We started this last year then stopped in Januarty to try another program….then I looked at 2 other programs this summer). My kids actually remember the Stories of America chapters even though the other ones I looked at were more “hands on”. I like the readings from SCM really well and can easily sub in or add other books…just the right amount of hand holding….so I don’t spend my weekends and summer planning;) I have a few Dover coloring books and will start the older on written narrations and his own book of centuries. The younger likes notebooking so I may have her do a weekly notebook drawing, coloring, writing…..


    Answers in Genesis God’s design for Heaven and Earth for older. As well as several nature lore books from the free SCM list (thanks so much!).

    Younger will do Burgess Animal book with a weekly drawing on a card to make into a little book. Also I have lots of bookbasket books to go with God’s Design that we may or may not read.

    I have Homegrown Preschooler and A year of playing skillfully for toddler and preK fun.

    Language Arts:

    Ds4th.   All about spelling, language lessons for today 4, writing strands (old version with Grandmother and cousin), beginning written narration, and hyms in prose for cursive copywork practice, oral reading practice.

    Dd 2nd language lessons for today 3 and print to cursive proverbs, practice oral reading

    PreK all about reading pre and montessori pink series. We will more to all about reading 1 if we get to it;)


    CAP song school Spanish; SCM poetry, hymns, art prints, brush drawing, visits to South America, Bible, memory verses and habbits; Drawing textbook; 2+ creating a masterpiece; try to get back to weekly nature journal entries; papermodeling; artpac 3.



    We started last week, and we drive oldest to college in another state for her sophomore year this weekend. Still at home will be kids in 10th, 9th, 7th, 6th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, plus a tagalong 4yo and 2yo.

    Family subjects:

    History Year 3 from The Good and the Beautiful.

    Science for the 7th grade and under crew: Units from The Good and the Beautiful. Nature study.

    Individual Subjects:

    Math is Math U See for everyone over 3rd grade, and The Good and the Beautiful Math for my 2nd and 3rd graders.

    Science for the high schoolers are Jim Tiner’s Chemistry and Astronomy books, plus Chemistry 101 dvds. And nature study.

    Language Arts is various levels of The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts. These include the following in each level: reading, writing, grammar, art appreciation, creating art, geography, phonics (younger levels), spelling. We love them!


    Cooking and Nutrition

    Boomerang Book Club for the high schoolers with me.

    Lots of family read alouds, independent reading, and kids recommending books to one another and to me.

    I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s the gist of our year.


    My “oh my gosh, my kid isn’t learning so I need to completely overhaul every part of our curriculum!” panic hit hard and multiple times this year so we should be nearing the end of Ambleside Online years 5 and 1, but we’re just barely into term 2 of both years. The first panic hit from a classical (Well-Trained Mind) angle and the most recent hit from a Waldorf angle. Ay yi yi. Anyway, my oldest is in AO year 5 and I’ll be adding Cottage Press language lessons and CLE math for him. We’ve been using Ray’s and he was doing well but then I wanted to do some review and he has forgotten almost everything. Even stuff he was getting right just 2 months ago! Anyway, so we’re switching to CLE math instead because he needs the review that it seems to offer. During the Waldorf phase of the panic, he read through the Christian Liberty Nature Reader scheduled in year 5. So instead of that for science, I’m going to have him spend a term on geology. I just pieced together a course of study based on several Waldorf websites, but will be stretching it out over a whole term with short lessons and time for observation  a la CM.

    My 6-year-old is in year 1 and doing it as-is. No major changes for him. He is thoroughly enjoying school! 🙂

    Both boys and my 5-year-old daughter are doing hand sewing for handicrafts. I’m also hoping to do Spanish with a mix of Speedy Spanish, folk songs, and Spanish translations of books they are familiar with already. I got a monthly subscription to Aventuras Letter, too. It was started by a fellow homeschool mom and you get a letter each month with a few Spanish words sprinkled in to gently introduce Spanish.


    I know that panic….and the grass is greener…..we almost did classical ALA Memoria press (not sure what I was thinking my kids love together subjects), Ambleside (together?) and more textbook history with notebooking (time with a baby for notebooking and actual art!), combing in 1 Heart of Dakota guide(at least I got together, but see above about notebooking;) besides then ita ALL planned and I like to plan)


    Well, well. Someday perhaps I’ll remember that the curriculum that looked best when ds was 5 is still probably best for us…

    Disclaimer All those curriculums are good (afterall there was a readon I tried them…or at least bought parts and planned to use them) and if you and your kids like them, use them! Just don’t switch if it ain’t broke….


    I had to smile reading this post – yes, I’ve felt the “I need to overhaul everything” panic before. I have had to talk myself off the ledge. It is so easy to forget a few things:

    1. Our kids don’t need to know everything today, this month, or this year. They don’t even need to know everything by age 18 – learning is a lifelong process.

    2. Staying the course, instead of curriculum hopping, will nearly always give better results, because it gives kids time to learn and progress.

    3. I can’t put a child where I think they “should” be in math or any other subject, unless I want them to be frustrated, stressed, and have a discouraging year. Our year will be more successful if I look at where my child is really, and place them in materials accordingly. The right level of book or curriculum makes learning a joy – not always too easy, not too hard, but interesting, engaging, with just a dash of challenge here and there.

    4. My children are individuals. They will not have the same gifts, talents, abilities, or skills at the same age as one another. Comparison is the thief of joy. We only compare ourselves to where we were, to see our slow and steady progress, never to one another.


    Our plans (mostly SCM and Master Books):

    SCM Genesis Through Deuteronomy (I’m so excited to start this for our second time through)

    SCM Enrichment 2

    Health: Apologia Health and Nutrition for the big kids, Prudence with the Millers for the little ones

    12th grader: MUS stewardship, Power Basics American Government, Jensen’s Format Writing, Masterbooks Biology, Rosetta Stone Spanish

    10th grader: MUS algebra, American Government, Format Writing, Biology, Russian (can’t remember the name of the textbook)

    8th grader: Principles of Mathematics, Awesome Science: Historic Geology (master books), Writing Strands, Latin for Children

    5th grader: Math Lessons for a Living Education, Language Lessons for a Living Education, Science Starters (master books), finish up Print to Cursive Proverbs, Latin for Children

    First Grader: Math Lessons for a Living Education, Finish up Simply K (master books), Language Lessons for a Living Education, Adventures in Creation (master books).  I also have Delightful Reading that we may use instead or to supplement with.




    Well I changed a few things… Holly your master books 1st science looks great…so great I decided to get the 2nd grade one for my dd. It looks to be just what I was looking for. It even sort of goes with my son’s earth science from answers in Genesis.

    Also I switched my 4th grade ds spelling from AAS to Spelling wisdom. I prayed about it and talked to him. If we need more explicit phonics, I will add that in from my Orton Gillingham notes and stuff. We’ve done 2+ levels of AAS already with no seen improvement. We are giving this a go, for at least a year.


    I have a 4th and 1st grader this year.

    Together we are studying SCM Matthew-Acts & Ancient Rome with Visits to Europe, and all the great living books that go along with that. We are starting off looking at pictures by Mary Cassatt, hand sewing for a handicraft, learning French with Miss Mason and Francois and our read aloud is Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (It’s delightful!). We follow Exploring Nature With Children for Nature Study. For Science, the kids asked if we could learn about the Human Body this year, so we are using My Amazing Body Machine by Robert Winston as a spine, and reading other living books on this topic throughout the year. For Poetry we are starting off reading “Sing a Song of Popcorn” together, Hymns are played in the background over lunch and we are using SCM’s (wonderful) simple Scripture Memory System. We are starting off LDTR with manners this year.

    My 4th grader is using SCM ULW & SW, Math Lessons for a Living Education 4, Piano Lessons from Hoffman Academy, and Typing with

    1st grader, Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Math for a Living Education 1, Delightful Handwriting, and Piano Lessons from Hoffman Academy.

    It’s funny how our days feel light and easy but when listed all out, it looks like A LOT! We started a couple of weeks back.




    I think I have it nailed down. I am really happy with my choices this year. I am using a lot of SCM materials and it feels very freeing. I am going for smooth and easy days.  Trying to keep it simple and not freak out I am not doing enough.

    Family: Gen-Deut/Egypt + Josh-Mal/Greece+ Math-Acts/Rome (I know this sounds like a lot but we are just plugging along at a comfortable pace, skimming most of the OT as a refresher and skipping some books.  We will get however far we get. My 9th grader couldn’t bear the thought of starting at Rome just to get her World/American credits in 4 years.  She really wanted to do it all again.  So here we are.

    Poetry – Emily Dickenson
    Composer – Handel
    Artist – Titian
    Handicraft – cardboard and paper
    Singing – Solfa on youtube
    Hymns – going through Then Sings My Soul
    Scripture Memory – SCM Method, verse pack 1
    Literature – picking and choosing books from SCM lists and Honey for a Teens Heart

    6th grader:
    MUS Delta
    Handwriting Practice
    Science Class with Coop
    Roar on the Other Side Weekly for fun with sister

    9th Grader:
    MUS finish Epsilon, start Zeta
    Sentence Diagramming
    Physical Science Class
    Roar on the Other Side weekly composition lessons
    SCM Bible studies

    11th Grader (wants to be on his own)
    Dave Raymond American History
    Video Text Algebra
    Literature Analysis and Composition through the Bible class with Coop
    Apologetics with Coop



    As I read through these posts, my head is spinning. Some of what I’m reading is totally unknown, some I recognize. It’s akin to listening to someone speaking a foreign language you’re just beginning to learn, and you want SO BADLY to understand what they’re saying, but you just can’t catch all the words. You all sound like pros and old hats in the home school arena, while I sit here with a brain overwhelmed and PACKED with so much information, I feel like that mindblown emoji.

    I am new to homeschooling this school year (2020-2021) with a now 3rd grade son and 8th grade daughter. I made the choice to homeschool in the summer after spending 3.5 months at home with my children “distance learning” (DL). Everyone the world over was affected by a global shutdown in the wake of what is called the “COVID-19 Pandemic.” In March 2020, parents, children, teachers, and school administrators scrambled to put pupils on a track that would keep them in learning mode. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in the slightly more than quarter of a year I stayed home alongside my children, was how much better they both did in an environment where they had the undivided attention of their mother.

    Not surprisingly, DL was NOT always pretty…my frustration sometimes felt insurmountable regarding 1) the lack of organization of certain teachers, 2) the relative hands-off methods of the school (my children attended a private school and there were very few Zoom classes where actual teaching was performed; most Zooms were “meet-ups” where the teacher & pupils kibbitzed and occasionally discussed assignments or read together, which meant most work that was assigned to my children was up to me and them to figure put on our own), and 3) the learning curve for ALL parties associated with the technologies in use (Google Classroom, Zoom, scanning, emailing, etc.). In fairness, it was new to all of us, and we all stumbled along as best we could, parents, children, teachers, and admins.

    At home it became a priority that we make the most of it. And so we did. My 7th grader’s end of trimester grades were a testimony to the hard work and focus we put into her schooling; she was failing 4 core classes at the beginning of our distance learning journey. By the end of the school year, she improved her Algebra grade from a 19% to 82%, and in all the other classes she had been failing (in the 50% range), she received grades in the 90% range. It was a revelation for me of epic proportions. I, too, had to learn as we went.

    Algebra was my daughter’s most stressful class, the concepts and problems just not making sense to her. I didn’t recognize this until 3 weeks into DL. After I Zoomed with her teacher, I realized his particular style or manner was not going to help her very much, and I certainly didn’t expect him to change. It was clear, though, he did want her to improve, and he was quite lenient with late work and make-up work as we slogged through Algebra. I committed myself to waking up early, reading through her Algebra book for each each assignment, and then doing the assignments on my own. Some of those assignments took hours, with YouTube videos, Kahn Academy, the textbook website, and whatever other online resource I could dig up to help me. Thus when my daughter would start the assignment on her own, I could answer her questions, and help her work through the problems. It was immensely labor intensive for me, but I could think of no other way to help her. That experience also helped cement my decision to homeschool…if I was going to be THAT involved, I should be involved in subjects I chose, at a pace I chose, on a timeline I chose.

    I understood by mid-summer my children’s school would not be returning “to normal.” Even if children would be allowed back into the classroom, it was clear it would be under the state & county mandated social distancing guidelines, and my heart was troubled at the thought of my children wearing a masks all day, 6 feet apart from every other human being in the vicinity. Thus, I made the very difficult decision to stay home (I am a single mother who owns a local business) to educate my children. I am in the fortunate position of having 2 wonderful and loyal employees who have kept my business going since March. Nonetheless, business ownership is a 24/7 proposition, and the choice to mostly stay home rather than work in my office was a HUGE decision.

    That very lengthy history is the backdrop upon which I find myself on SCM. I have ordered scads of SCM curriculum. I’ve read through these forums. I’ve Googled and rabbit-trailed my way through homeschooling info all over the interwebs. And am piecing together a school year and plan I hope will shape my children and me into a cohesive homeschooling trio that will find excitement and joy in this journey, rather than the sense of overwhelm and the all-too-frequent “I am so messing up every single thing I do” moments.

    Thank you for your insights. I do so appreciate reading your posts in the hope that one day I may sound as professional as you all do!


    @MsWahine – Welcome to the adventure! It really does seem like a foreign language when you first jump in to a homeschool group, doesn’t it?

    My best recommendation is to take things slowly and group as many kids together as you can for as many subjects as you can. History, science, art appreciation, music appreciation, etc, can all be done with everyone together, until a high schooler moves up to their own science.

    And remember, once you have taught them the basics – how to read, write, and do math, they can learn anything they want or need to know. Learning doesn’t stop at age 18 – they have a lifetime ahead.


    @Tristan, thank you for the encouragement! These forums are a treasure trove of tried & true information that has been aiding me these past few months in choosing curricula. We have a plan that is VERY loose right now, but it’s a start!


    We are in our 4th week and enjoying learning together.

    Currently, 11th, 3rd and 1st here.

    Everyone is on track with Ancient Rome – Matthew – Acts and Visits to Europe

    11th Grader

    • Government by Notgrass
    • Spelling Wisdom 5 and Growing with Grammar 6 (for review, grammar is not her strength)  and by Seven Sisters, Short Story Writing, Intro to Poetry Writing, Intro to Essay Writing and APA Intro
    • Life of Fred – Geometry
    • American Sign Language –
    • Biology –
    • Career Exploration and Foundations Personal Finance with Dave Ramsey

    1st and 3rd together

    • Literature – Younger grades track 3
    • Enrichments – Year 1
    • Science – Pond and Stream

    3rd grader

    • Spelling Wisdom and Using Language Well 1
    • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive
    • Life of Fred math (moving at his pace)

    1st grader

    • Alphaphonics for reading
    • Handwriting without tears 1
    • Life of Fred math (moving at her pace)

    Our 11th grader understood math better with Life of Fred and we have used it with her for a few years.  I have used Saxon with the 3rd grader up until this year and decided to see how Life of Fred would work for him since we already have the set.  There is always the option to reevaluate for both of the younger ones.

    So far our year is going really well and everyone is enjoying what we are learning.  I am believing this is going to be a great year.



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