Thursday, April 14, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2016-2017

We are now three weeks away from starting our 2016-2017 school year, and here are our curriculum choices for the coming year!

Because I am somewhat short on time, I have copied and pasted last year's post into the space below and will simply change what has changed (which is a lot!). I will include brief reviews of the curriculum we used this year.

In the box is the quick-and-easy run-down of next year's curriculum choices, and further down are the details.

Enjoy! Feel free to leave comments and questions!

~ Fourth Grade Curriculum ~

  Family Time (see notes) - Bible, Bible memory, catechism, prayer, safety skills, manners, missionary biographies, poetry, 
  poetry memory, skills training.

       Daily Reading
       Possibly Christian Light Bible, Grade 3. 

       Grammar, Penmanship, Spelling:
            Christian Light Language Arts, Grade 3
            Christian Light Reading, Grade 4
            McGuffey Readers, Grade 3 and 4
            Notebooking with history, science, literature

       Prima Latina

      Christian Light Math, Grade 4

      Christian Light Science, Grade 4

       Daily read-alouds 
       Personal reading, 30 minutes per day
       Poetry - readings and memory pieces

  History and Geography: 
       Cantering the Country, Year 2 of 2
       Story of the World, Years 3 and 4
       Maps Book D

       Lessons and practice

       "The Painter and the Father" series study
       Draw Write Now, Book 1
       Arts and crafts

       Typing Instructor program

  Field Trips, Group Activities, Etc. 
       Park days and field trips with three homeschool groups
       Contenders for the Faith Club

Family Time
Our morning couch time involving all of the children. This includes:

Daily activities
  • Bible reading - Usually a chapter a day from a book of the Bible (chosen by Daddy).
  • Bible memory - One verse per week. 
  • Prayer - We have a list of people and issues to pray for, and we cycle through that list. 
  • Poetry - We read a couple of pages from whichever book we've selected. The children love this - it's usually a struggle to move on!
  • Poetry memory - This was new last year, and a huge hit. We plan to continue this year.
  • Catechism - One per week. We use the Catechism for Young Children
  • Character Books - This year we'll begin with one of the Miller books.
  • Included weekly - Manners and safety skills (including personal safety).

  • Individual study - The 9yo is assigned to read either one chapter or ten minutes worth of study. This has worked well over the past year, so we're continuing.
  • I'm considering Christian Light's Bible Light Units, which we will look at during the homeschool convention in July. If we go with this, we will probably start with Grade 3, as Grade 4 is a continuation of the New Testament study begun in Grade 3. 

English (penmanship, spelling, grammar, reading, composition)

Grammar, Penmanship, Spelling
  • Christian Light Language Arts, Grade 3 - We decided last year to begin language arts a grade behind, and this was a good decision. At some point we will begin the catching-up process, but for now, it's a good plan. The 9yo's skills are developing without undue frustration, as would have happened had we insisted at staying on grade level.
  • McGuffey's Eclectic Readers, Grades 3 and 4 - Last year we chose random books for reading practice, but this inevitably resulted in arguments over book difficulty (I wanted harder, he wanted easier) and selection length (I wanted longer, he wanted shorter). The McGuffey Readers are a great choice because the material is at grade-level and all of the selection are a perfect length for reading aloud (we usually alternate sentences or paragraphs). My only complaint is that the books are insufferably corny, but I can live with that. 
  • Christian Light Reading, Grade 4 - We're also adding this in. Have I mentioned how much I adore Christian Light?
  • Copied narrations from Story of the World history lessons.
  • Notebooking assignments for science and literature. 

  • Prima Latina by Memoria Press - Very excited about this! 

  • Christian Light Math, Grade 4 - Grade 3 was a huge success, and I am excited about moving into our third year of CLE math. CLE has just introduced a textbook approach for their fourth grade math (nice timing!), and we are excited about trying this, as the initially higher investment will enable us to reuse the material for later students (the consumable Lightunits edition is still available).


  • Daily read-alouds
  • 30 minutes individual reading per day - I am planning to alternate assigned books with free choice books. 
  • Poetry - Daily readings during family time. 

History and Geography
  • Map Skills -  We will continue with "The Complete Book of Maps and Geography, Grades 3-8"
  • Cantering the Country - I have decided to alternate two years of Galloping the Globe (country studies) with two years of Cantering the Country (state studies). This will be our second year of Cantering the Country.
    • I hope to post a quick review of CTC and GTG soon. Look for it! 
  • Story of the World - We will continue with the end of Year 3 (Late Renaissance to Early Moderns) and into Year 4 (1850 to present). 

  • Lessons and practice - Last year we had a great start with Hoffman which quickly petered out into nothing, mainly due to my lack of diligence. This year we are starting again, and I will pick a traditional curriculum and teach him myself. I can't say I'm thrilled about adding something else onto my to-do list, but we do not have the money for paid lessons and I've procrastinated, oh, five years or so past when I should have. Onward and upward! 

  • "The Painter and the Father" - This is a collection of paintings in one volume which will save me considerable time in chasing down paintings in library books from other picture lists. 
  • Draw Write Now, Book 1 - An easy way to incorporate art into our home education program. This is a new pick for us. 
  • Seasonal arts and crafts. 

  • Typing Instructor - Thankfully the 9yo loves this and considers it a treat, so I don't even have to schedule it into our lessons schedule. It happens on its own! 

Clubs and Groups

Fellowship Groups
We belong to three homeschool groups:
  • A large homeschool group, which offers a monthly park day, a monthly field trip, a monthly moms' night out, and a great email group.
  • A smaller homeschool group which offers twice-monthly park days, a monthly field trip, and holiday events.
  • A homeschool group through our church which offers weekly park days. 

We try to attend nearly all of the events offered (except the expensive ones!).

The Not-Happening Category
This year we will not cover formal P.E. This comes under the "send them outside, and it happens naturally" category.


I am always interested in cost analysis, so here is the approximate price tag for this year:

Purchase from Christian Light (textbooks, workbooks, teacher guides, answer keys, readers, etc.)
    = $205
I could save money by buying used, but I am slowly learning that I usually end up the loser in such situations, inevitably finding that I have purchased the wrong edition. For now, buying new saves time and money.
Purchase from Home Science (for science experiment kit)
    = $55

Purchase from Modern Curriculum Press (for Latin)
    = $30

Purchase from a friend (Draw Write Now book)
    = $5

Purchase from Peace Hill Press (Story of the World, Year 4, student pages pdf - I was already given the text and activity guide for free from a friend)
    = $10

Purchase from a local music store, anticipated (for piano theory and lesson books)
    = $20

Purchase from Walmart for school supplies, anticipated (I purchase most of our school supplies in July for the following year, when supplies are on sale, so our purchases right now will be minor)
    = $10

This doesn't cover other fees, such as:

  • Library fines (thankfully rare)
  • Used curriculum/literature costs at sales in May and June
  • Purchases at the homeschool convention
  • School supply purchases in July when they're on sale
  • Field trip fees
  • Club fees
  • All of the etceteras

Thus, we spent about $350 on official curriculum purchases for 2015-2016, and will likely spend lots more over the year. However, I'm also hoping to build up a slow supply of reusable curriculum, so hopefully after a few years of increasing purchases, our costs will stabilize or perhaps decrease. (Ha!)


Dear readers, I can't wait to see your curriculum plans! Feel free to leave comments and questions!


  1. That looks like a great plan!
    Our plans are decided and purchased. My kids will be 10th, 6th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, K, PreK4, PreK3, and baby.
    The 10th grader (Makayla) will do Math U See Geometry, Veterinary Science I and II through Landry Academy, The Power in Your Hands (nonfiction writing), Criminology through Landry Academy, Beautiful Feet Books Medieval Studies Senior High, Art (textiles and mixed media), Herpetology, piano, PE, and seminary.
    The rest of the kids will do Apologia’s Elementary Chemistry and Physics together. I’ll read aloud books from the Beautiful Feet Books Medieval Studies Intermediate and Junior High set. I also have the mostly picture books from Simply Charlotte Mason’s Middle Ages guide for my younger school kids to enjoy.
    6th and 5th graders will also do Math U See Zeta (decimals and percents), Spelling Wisdom, and art journal, Brave Writer, and some literature on top of what we cover for history and homeschool book club.
    3rd grader will also do Math U See Delta (division), Brave Writer, copywork (instead of Spelling Wisdom), art journal, and some literature.
    2nd grader will also do Math U See Beta, Brave Writer (oral narration that I jot down), copywork, art journal, All About Reading level 2.
    Kindergartener will also do Math U See Alpha at his own slow pace, Brave Writer (oral narration that I jot down), copywork, art journal, and All About Reading level 1 (spread over 1-2 years, going at his pace).
    The three little boys will just enjoy playing, listening to stories, etc.
    The only purchases I had to make were: books for Beautiful Feet Books history courses ($307 for 2 courses plus books, found at various places) and Math U See workbooks for 6 levels ($241). Everything else we already owned. So a grand total of $548 for 6 school age children and 3 younger ones. 

    1. Well, Tristan, you are one organized lady! But then you always have been. :) What a fun year ahead you have planned! Makes me want to come to your house. :)

    2. Tristan, you're cracking me up! This is incredible! I'm so impressed. And I was so excited to hear about the Veterinary Science with Landry. I have a friend whose eldest daughter (age 12) is really into all things veterinary right now, so I mentioned it to her. It would have been PERFECT for me in the teen years as well, as I planned at that time to be a vet (I lived for James Herriott). Thank you for all this wonderful data!!

      Hope M. is feeling well and recovering quickly!!

  2. Looks like a good year ahead! We have nothing chosen, nothing planned for next year--we're still finishing this year!!! And I've got two learning to read right now, so we're kind of rolling forward without a clear start/stop plan. I'm happy for you to have a fresh start ahead. Those new beginnings are so exciting!!!

    1. Different plans for different seasons! I know that each year will be so, so different. That drives me batty, because I really can't plan ten years in advance as I'd like to, but it does keep me more grounded in the present - which I guess is a good thing! :)


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