Haha. I was typing up the title for this post and had to stop and call Dad and Yena who are out on a biking trip (it’s 7:35 am). I think I made a mistake somewhere along the line. When I was 11, I was in 5th grade…. Hm. I don’t know if I accidentally made her skip a grade or if we just started too early. At any rate, I asked her if she would like to go back. She doesn’t. But now I’m relaxed because that means I COULD delay her a year or two if I wanted to. #homeschoolingmomproblems

Well, we’ll see how this year goes. She was having a bit of trouble with Math so it may be a good idea to slow down a bit there. Going back to my previous train of thought….

This is my favorite time of the schoolyear: every control freak homeschooling mom’s dream. Right now I am surrounded by books and books and booklists and more books.

How I plan curriculum in a nutshell, now, after 14+ years of homeschooling:

– Gather materials from previous year that weren’t completely finished or that child didn’t like, so I know WHAT TO STOP DOING or WHAT I NEED TO CHANGE this year. For instance, she’s tired of Artistic Pursuits and she doesn’t want to do Henle Latin.

– “Shop” our shelves. I looked through our religion shelf, and I had her look through the history shelves, to find any books that I think is appropriate for her age/maturity level now, and she can read some of the things that she wasn’t allowed to / ready for before :).

– Make a notepad file of the basics, listing at least one resource for each subject.

So I start out with something very rough, like this:


– Then I gather all of the books, plus the things I’ve collected through the year and classified as “Maybe One Day” or “When the Time is Right” items.

– Lay all items out on the floor (or other large space) and narrow down. When the children are little, this job is 100% Mom’s (wheeee!!!!) πŸ˜€ . As they grow older I let them make more and more decisions, so that by high school they are designing their own curriculum.


What’s here, and my thoughts as I’m looking through them:

A – The Grammar of Poetry: Never worked for any of the kids. If Yena doesn’t want it, poetry is covered anyway in Lightning Literature which we’re considering, plus we’re doing Shakespeare. This may have to go, OR we could try the new and improved version which looks like fun, especially since there are now DVDs. Eeee!!!! Got ME excited.
B – Warriner’s English, Voyages in English, Easy Grammar: Will have to pick one of these, leaning towards Voyages in English. Or maybe see if I can give Classical Writing (not pictured, but we have them) another go.
C – Migi’s Confirmation Portfolio: Will pattern Yena’s confirmation portfolio after this and Paco’s, and Aisa’s (if we can find them).
D – Confirmation Materials: Life of Grace (Faith and Life 7), Following the Holy Spirit, Spreading and Defending the Faith, My Path to Heaven; The Holy Bible: All of these are a go.
E – Collection of Calendars with Marian art, for a Mama Mary Project in December and/or May: Need to plan exactly what will be done with these. Probably an artist and artwork study coupled with a Marian prayer or meditation. Possibly copywork. Can spread out to do once a month for the whole year instead of December or May. Or do one a month, and a wrap-up grand plan for May to coincide with May Crowning.
F – Mom’s All-Time Faves for Curriculum Planning: Elizabeth Foss’ Real Learning, Michael O’Brien’s A Landscape with Dragons, Laura Berquist’s Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: Peek at these if there’s time or need more ideas. Other booklists/references I like to check out from time to time: Reading Your Way Through History, Bethlehem Books, Treasure Chest for Tweens, and Angelicum’s Curriculum. I used to check out the curricula of the various online homeschool curriculum providers, but I always manage to overwhelm myself so I’ve stopped doing that. πŸ˜€
G – Yena’s choices from the History shelf: historical fiction and saint bios: Plan this out at least once a month, alternating with lit selections from (P), include in Book of Centuries. Read chronologically. Can write up/find lit guides for a few if needed.
H – History Spines: Light to the Nations; Christ the King Lord of History; pick one, do the other at end of school year if she’s run out of history stuff to do πŸ™‚ . Leaning towards Light to the Nations.
I – more Religion-History books: Definitely St. Philomena the Wonder Worker, Color Your Own Book of Kells if she’s interested. Maybe Bartholomew’s Passage during Advent. Probably not the Fr. Laux book.
J – The Harp and Laurel Wreath, which Amazon tells me I purchased in 2002, for copywork, memorization and handwriting improvement.
K – Traditional Logic: May chuck this unless she’s interested. None of the other kids have been. Might replace with Fallacy Detective.
L – American Heritage Girls Merit Badge Workbook: Plan for one merit badge a month (outside of AHG troop/patrol plans).
M – Science: Definitely Keeping a Nature Journal. Can read The Way Things Work for fun, or maybe do narrations. And/or maybe Apologia
General Science since she liked Apologia Botany last year. Maybe Quick Six for fun, downloaded last year and never used.
N – Shakespeare: Read, watch, memorize. See if she can join Drama club this year.
O – Art: The Story of Painting: The Story of Painting: If this will be the art program for the year, then plan out pages to read/take notes from. Use this as spine for artist and artwork studies.
P – Literature selections, picked by Yena from the Landscape with Dragons book: See G above.

What’s Not Here:

Math: Probably Teaching Textbooks again, or Life of Fred, or both.
Music: I’ve been suggesting formal music lessons, but we’ll see.
Latin: Considering Visual Latin, or back to Henle (maybe she’ll want to do it if I promise to do the lessons with her, which is what I did with the older ones). Oh yay! Visual Latin has been updated to ecclesiastical pronunciation. Looks promising.

Okay here goes. Yena’s home, so we’re finalizing choices. Sometimes when a kid can’t decide, they’ll use eenie-meenie-miney-moe, and the control freak in me is screaming inside, but I will take a deep breath and let it go.

3 hours later:

Here’s what we came up with!!

Religion: Faith and Life 7 + My Catholic Faith Delivered + Confirmation Portfolio (separate post) + Fireside Catholic Bible. Bartholomew’s Passage for Advent. Mama Mary Notebook throughout the year, with special emphasis in May (Art + Prayers and Meditations).

Latin: Visual Latin

English and Literature: Novel Inquiries — this one was a gift from Margot Davidson of Hillside Education, many years back when I used to take care of her website). + some of Voyages in English and Easy Grammar as needed.

The List of Living Books (covering Religion, History, Literature)

  • Warrior Scarlet (Novel Inquiries), Bronze Age Britain, 2500-800 BC
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Novel Inquiries), set at the time of Thutmose III 1479-1425 BC
  • Caesar’s Gallic Wars (Novel Inquiries), 58-50 BC (argh cannot find this)
  • The Capricorn Bracelet, AD 61
  • Heroes of God’s Church, 3rd to 19th Century
  • The Leopard Sword, 12th Century
  • The Tale of Troy (Novel Inquiries), 12th or 13th century BC
  • The Blood-Red Crescent, 16th Century
  • Outlaws of Ravenhurst, 17th Century
  • The French are Coming, 18th Century
  • Petticoat Rebel, 18th Century
  • Romany Girl, India, 18th Century (?)
  • Bargain Bride, Oregon, 19th Century
  • Ribbon of Fire, Scotland, 19th Century
  • Hoofprint on the Wind, Ireland, 20th Century (?)
  • Master of Morgana, Scotland, 20th Century

Math: Life of Fred

Logic/Critical Thinking: Fallacy Detective.

Science: Apologia General Science + Keeping a Nature Journal

History: Light to the Nations, with living books (listed above in the booklist section) keyed to corresponding centuries she’s studying

Music:: YouTube videos and printable music sheets/chords online for guitar. No formal lessons, she doesn’t want them πŸ™‚

Art:: Artistic Pursuits Junior High Book One + Art 7 for Young Catholics

AHG Merit Badges:: Cycling, Cake Decorating, Best Me I Can Be, Creative Crafts

Home Economics: Menu Planning, Budgeting, Grocery Shopping, Cooking and Baking, Allergen-Free Recipes, Healthy Eating, Sewing and other Needle Arts Projects, MAYBE some furniture painting/reupholstering if time permits. Mom-designed.

Also planning to do some Shakespeare with the local Catholic homeschooling group. May be as simple as a Shakespearean tea where they can dress up and read aloud, or something more elaborate depending on what the others want to do.

Next step is to put this curriculum into monthly/weekly/daily lesson plans. (Spreadsheeeeeeeets!!!!!!) That’s for the next post, hopefully within the next two weeks.

Things that caught my eye, but will have to be done some other time because of time/financial constraints:

One Year Adventure Novel
Encounter: Catholic Middle School Bible Study, with Mark Hart
– a couple other philosophy books at Amazon.
The (new and improved) Grammar of Poetry
Memorize the Faith
Classically Catholic Memory