Deciding on a curriculum can feel daunting. There are countless options available. How do you decide which one to choose? Each homeschool family should always take into consideration what their wants and needs are in a curriculum. Decide what you want your child to learn and how they learn best. Check out my post from two years ago for some great quizzes you can take to help you figure out your child’s learning style and your homeschool style. You can find the post here.
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Our Criteria for Choosing Curriculum
Our family’s criteria for curriculum is that it be Christian-based, open & go, and all in one with the option of adding more. If you would like to read more in detail about what that means check out my curriculum choices post from two years ago. You can find the post here.
Our Main Curriculum
If you’ve been following us for awhile you’ll know we have always used and love My Father’s World curriculum. I fell in love with it when my oldest daughter used it in kindergarten and we’ve continued using it ever since. Last year both of my girls were in the family learning cycle.
Family Learning Cycle
My Father’s World has what is known as a family learning cycle. This means you teach the same history, science, Bible, art, and music to all of your children. Each child will do different work depending on their age and ability. But they will be learning the same basic things. The math and language arts are not included. This is because each child has different needs and abilities. So you add in whatever curriculum you like for those subjects.
Families new to My Father’s World with students in 3rd-8th grade, should begin the Investigate Family Learning Cycle with Exploring Countries and Cultures. Then it moves onto Creation to the Greeks, Rome to the Reformation, Exploration to 1850, and 1850 to Modern Times. Your child will continue cycling through until they are in 9th grade and then move onto the Declare program.
Last year we used Creation to the Greeks. It was such a fun year! My girls loved learning the same topics and doing all the fun activities together. If you’d like to read my review on it check out this post. I go into detail of what worked, what I added in, and what we didn’t use.
If you are interested in purchasing My Father’s World curriculum I don’t have an affiliate link, but I would love if you used my referral number, W062704. I will earn a small credit towards my future purchases when you use my code. The great thing about referrals are, anyone can be one! When you purchase you will receive your own code to give to others to earn credits towards your future purchases as well.
This year we will be continuing in the cycle with Rome to the Reformation. I am so excited about this year and all the fun things we’ll be studying.
This year we will be studying Ancient Rome all the way to the Reformation. We will be using the main books from last year’s history, Streams of Civilization Volume 1 and World History from Ancient to Modern Times. Story of the World Volume 2 is a new book added in this year. I decided to also purchase the audiobook version and the activity book as well. We will also be using Augustus Caesar’s World and The Roman Empire.
I always love adding on hands on history projects when I can. This year I found this Ancient Roman Jug Pottery Kit for my girls to work on. Last year they did an Ancient Greek Drinking Vessel and an Ancient Egyptian Tomb Tile. They loved them!
We will be studying the New Testament this year and will continue using the Illustrated Family Bible. My girls enjoy the pictures and reading all of the footnotes.
I love reading through the Bible and studying everything in depth but this year I wanted to add some character Bible studies as well. I found some wonderful ones from Not Consumed. We will be working through 4 this year. I chose My Brother’s Keeper, Fruit of the Tongue, Keep Thy Heart, and A Content Heart. We will be working on them about two times a week.
This year we will be studying Human Anatomy and Astronomy. For Human Anatomy the included books are Usborne First Encyclopedia of the Human Body, The Human Body for Every Kid, The Body Book, Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, and The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made.
Added Human Anatomy Books
One of my favorite things about having an already made curriculum is making it my own. I love adding in other books and resources. The Human Body Activity Book for Kids Hands on Fun for Grades K-3 and the other book for grades 4-7. My girls will be working on them as the correspond to whatever they’re studying. (I can’t seem to find a link for the book for grades 4-7 anymore.)
My First Human Body Book is mostly a coloring book, but also has some fun facts included.
The Human Body Pop Up Guide to Anatomy is the coolest book to study anatomy! The pop ups are amazing! I know my girls will love this book!
DK Human Body Encyclopedia is crammed full of information all about human anatomy. I think this will be the most used during our study as we reference it during different topics.
Inside Out Human Body has a layered 3d model of the human body and it’s systems. We had the Inside Out Mummy book last year and my girls loved looking through it. I found this book in the bargain section of Barnes & Noble.
Added Human Anatomy Resources
The Squishy Human Body is a hands on resource for children to learn the placement of organs, bones, and muscles in the human body.
I also purchased the human organs Safari Ltd toob. We have so many of the animal toobs, I thought this would be fun to add to our studies. I’m not sure how we will use them exactly, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.
I found this Anatomy Cling Sticker Set from Rainbow Resource. I thought this would be a great way to review the systems of the body.
This human anatomy card game looked like a fun addition too. This game combines trivia, true or false, and multiple-choice questions.
I found this human body floor puzzle from Amazon. It is 4ft tall when completed. I thought my girls would enjoy working on that.
I’m also adding in some additional projects that I’ve found over the years. When we first studied the human body a few years ago I found this fun brain hat printable. My girls loved it then so I’m going to bring it back. We also made this cool muscle machine from Kiwi Co that I’ll be bringing out again. Follow me on Instagram to see all of the other fun projects we’ll be doing this year! I’ll also be doing a round up blog post of our human body study sometime after Christmas as well.
We will primarily be using Exploring Creation With Astronomy as our main book. I also opted to add the note-booking journals as well. I got the junior version for my youngest and the regular for my oldest. They’re aren’t too many differences between the two versions. There is a bit more writing for the regular version though.
We will be continuing using God and the History of Art this year. Last year was the first year my girls actually used the included art curriculum. The lessons are short, simple, and easy to do.
This year we will be listening to the music of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven as well as the story of their lives. The cds are an included resource in our curriculum package. I have found that using a portable CD player makes it easier to listen when we can take it wherever we need.
We will be using Masterbooks Math Lessons for a Living Education again this year for both of my girls. My oldest will be finishing level 4 and then moving on to level 5. She will be working on finding the greatest common factor and least common multiple, fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, percents, as well as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals.
Here are some of the hands on resources I will be using for her this year. The place value board and hundred frame are both from Treasures From Jennifer. I’m sure I will be pulling some of our other resources if needed as well.
My youngest will be using level 3. She will be working on word problems, skip counting, money, time, graphing, measurement, place value, as well as beginning multiplication and division.
Here are some of the hands on resources I will be using for her for the year. The multiplication/ division flash cards are from Masterbooks. The place value board is from Treasures from Jennifer and the multiplication board and number bond board are from Jack & Link. I’m sure I will be pulling some of our other resources if needed as well.
Both girls used Teaching Textbooks last year as an additional practice. I think we will still continue this year too. They don’t do it everyday though. Just a couple days a week maybe. I also recently discovered Table Fables. It’s an online game to help children memorize their multiplication facts. It says if your child practices for 17 days in a row (for about 5 minutes each) they will have memorized their times tables. So we may try that out too.
I am also planning on adding some fun math games as well. I found these domino sets at Lakeshore Learning a few weeks ago. I got Addition, Multiplication, and Fractions. I also found this Exact Change card game and this Fraction War card game on Amazon.
Another little add on I found are these math fact wrap ups. I got addition for my youngest and multiplication for my oldest. I will probably get the rest of them eventually if I find that my girls enjoy them.
We will be using Masterbooks Language Lessons for a Living Education again for English. My oldest will be using level 5 and my youngest will be using level 3. For spelling we will be using Spelling by Sound and Structure from Rod & Staff again. My oldest will be using level 5 and my youngest will be using level 3.
I’m so excited to add in Dash Into Learning’s Handwriting curriculum this year! We didn’t start out last year with a handwriting curriculum, but I noticed in the second half of the year my girls’ handwriting got a little sloppy. So I got them a curriculum from Zaner Bloser. This year my youngest will be using the print version of Dash Into Handwriting. You can use my code WITHHISGRACE for 15% off at Dash Into Learning.
My oldest will continue with cursive using Dash into Cursive. I also purchased this lowercase cursive and uppercase cursive chalkboards from Chalk Full of Design. Use the code WITHHISGRACE for 10% off.
Towards the end of last year we discovered Night Zookeeper. This is a fun online learning program for creative writing, grammar, and spelling that helps children with reading and unlocks their creativity. My girls really enjoyed this program! We will continue this at least once a week throughout the year. If you purchase through my link you will receive a $5 credit (and me too!)
We will also be continuing our English From the Roots Up study. Last year we studied Greek root words, this year we will be studying Latin. I love these cards that go along with the curriculum. We primarily used the cards last year instead of the book. The curriculum suggests for each child to make their own flash cards with all the information of the word on it. I chose to make a workbook for them. Every new root word they learn they write the word, meaning, and draw a picture of it. Then write derivative words and meanings and sentences using the derivative words. The last day we would do a review of the words using the flash cards. I would hold up a card and my girls would say the name and meaning. Doing this every week really helped them memorize all the words. Now they are able to point out words with a Greek root word. I can’t wait for Latin this year!
We will also be continuing working on handicrafts. Last year my girls worked on Christmas gifts for their family. They sewed little felt mice dolls with clothes for their cousins and beeswax candles with clay candle holders for their grandparents. This year they will choose what projects to make for Christmas gifts and work on them the first semester. I have been gathering a lot of embroidery, cross stitch, needle felting, and sewing books and supplies for them to use so they have plenty to choose from. If you’d like to know more about handicrafts check out my blog posts on Handicrafts and Needle Felting 101.
This is will be our 6th year homeschooling. The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is, if your curriculum isn’t working for your family, change it. You are not controlled by your curriculum. You have the freedom to change things up at anytime during the year. You don’t have to stick it out until the end of the year and wait to change it the following year.
Try not to feel overwhelmed in thinking you must choose the perfect curriculum. Just try something that best aligns with your criteria. And don’t feel bad if it doesn’t end up working out. The beauty in homeschool is the freedom to choose and change things at anytime!