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With curriculum shopping list firmly in hand, I scoured the shelves of my state homeschool convention determined to find great books at great prices! I'm fairly certain that I lugged home my body weight in GOOD READS...but that's between me and my chiropractor.

Our homeschool has always been defined by learning-a-la-carte. We are eclectic and refuse to be boxed in by any one method or mantra. Naturally, my curriculum choices for 2019-2020 reflect my pieced-together style.

In the upcoming school year, I'll have one child taking college classes for dual credit, two kids in junior high, and two in elementary.

My homeschool planner is heavy with my big plans! No doubt, it will be a full year.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

As in year's past, we will stick with a four-day-a-week schedule. So, you can assume that the following items will be used four days a week unless otherwise indicated. Items with asterisks are new-to-us this year.

We will do all of these content-rich subjects together. Core (skill-oriented) subjects like languages arts and math will be done individually according to grade level. (I will be sure to share those in the coming days.) Technically, I don't homeschool with grade levels, so the following group subjects can easily be adjusted to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.)


Morning Time- everyday
Our morning time is a non-negotiable in the schedule--an immovable anchor for the past 10 or so years that has helped to create calm in the daily chaos. While some moms pack their Morning Time full and overflowing, I like to keep it simple. I only include the things that will build our faith and our relationships with God and each other. I figure if I can start our day peacefully with this short but very intentional benchmark, I can count the entire day as a success -- even if the rest of it gets derailed.

Some of the items in our morning basket will be done daily this year, while others will be done in a "loop" (similar to my housework loop).

To be done daily

To be placed in a "loop"

Bible
The Book for Children- 2x a week



Theology/Christian Living
The Case for Christ Student Edition- 1x a week



Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends- 1x a week



Missionary story
Billy Graham: America's Pastor- 1x a week for the 1st semester
Brother Andrew: God's Secret Agent- 1x a week for the 2nd semester



Science
For the fourth year in a row, my house will be divided for science.

  • My daughter will be taking an online Environmental Science course/lab from the University of Northwestern for dual credit.
  • My oldest son will be doing Earth Science with BJU Press Distance Learning (everyday).
  • And my youngest three boys and I will be working our way through the last half of Noeo Science Biology 2 from Logos Press (2x a week). I appreciate the Charlotte Mason (living books and notebooking) approach to science that Noeo Science offers. As well as their open-n-go science project kits that accompany most of their levels.

History- 2x a week
History should never be studied using a dry-as-dust textbook, in my opinion. It should always be learned through living literature, field trips, videos, and conversations with the real, flesh-and-bone people who lived it.

My daughter will be taking a History of Civilization course from the University of Northwestern for dual credit.

For my sons, I will be using my trusty Truth Quest guides to create homespun history units for our second-year look at The Age of Revolution. (In theory, The Age of Revolution guides should take three years to complete, but we will probably stretch them out to four.) 

I'll also use the following resources:
    • Timelines of World History- This is a visual timeline that will help my kids see what was happening in other parts of the world during the same time as the event we're reading about in our Truth Quest books. 

    Extracurricular Subjects
    Following our afternoon read-aloud time each day (which generally happens right after lunch clean-up), my sons and I will do one of three extracurricular activities together. I'll leave that time slot empty on Fridays so that we can finish up any project that didn't get done on its assigned day.

    Creative Writing- Monday
    Story Starters- This is a book we started last year and will no doubt be using for the next two years. It's gigantic and filled with half-finished short stories and illustrations. Each one leaves off at a cliff-hanger, allowing a child to complete the story arch in his/her own words. 



    Logic/Reasoning- Tuesdays
    The Fallacy Detective- We got halfway through this book of logic and reasoning skills last year and will finish it up in the 2019-2020 school year.



      Chalk Pastels- WednesdaysThe kids and I love to do chalk pastel art. Pastels are so forgiving and allow even the most novice of artists to feel like a professional. Trouble is, I've run out of ideas for what to create. So, I've grabbed an annual membership to You Are An Artist Clubhouse to not only give us great inspiration but also to weave in some cross-curricular learning. We'll be able to pair some of our chalk pastel lessons with our Morning Time hymn study, our Age of Revolution history lessons, and even our Noeo biology. In addition, it will provide lots of fun seasonal art instruction.



      Cooperative Learning
      After moving to a new city last February, I discovered that the nearest homeschool co-op was two towns away. That was a bit disheartening, to say the least. But as the Greek philosopher, Plato, once said, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

      When I went looking for a co-op and came up wanting, I decided to start one of my own. Currently, we are 17 families strong and are all set to launch into the school year with a great line-up of classes. 
      We'll meet the 1st and 3rd Thursday mornings of each month with an optional field trip offered on the 5th Thursdays. 

      2018-2019 Curriculum by grade level
      Stay tuned in the coming days. I'll be sharing the curriculum that I've chosen for the core-subjects for the following grades: 

      11th grade
      8th grade
      7th grade
      5th grade
      2nd grade


      Set your homeschool day on autopilot!Thank you! Your task cards will be sent to your inbox shortly.
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      No more nagging your kids to do their work. Grab my free Task Cards today.
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      Last week, I opened the email of a popular Christian blogger. She's an online personality that thousands of well-read women flock to for their next book suggestions. She's just one of five or six Christian women who have online women's book clubs or book lists for summer. Her email included a handful of her favorite books that she's read in 2019 so far.

      I was saddened to see that so many of her book suggestions were fraught with traumatic and graphic violence, sexual perversion, and language that should make us all blush. I think this "anything goes" attitude is becoming a cancer in the church and definitely is not in line with Phil. 4:8--that we are to think on things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable.
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      Written by Jessica.

      This spring we added two puppies (yes, TWO!) to our family within a few weeks of each other, closely followed by two kittens (yes, TWO!). Needless to say, for several months, our homeschool routine was utterly, completely, seriously derailed! In fact, the last few weeks of our school year were spent trying to catch up on everything that fell to the wayside and was never finished.

      Art was one of those things.

      Because summer vacation was just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to have the kids make some seasonal art and arts & crafts type projects that could be displayed around the house during the summer months.
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      Written by Chelsea Gonzales.

      Up until this point, agritourism has been a well-kept roadschooler secret. But, it's such an amazing educational tool every homeschool family should take advantage of. It’s perfect for stationary homeschoolers as it is a great way to dip a few toes into the world of roadschooling without having to wander too far from home.

      What is agritourism, why should I tie it into my curriculum, and how do I go about that? you ask.

      Well, consider this an agritourism primer for beginners.
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      Written by Jessica.

      (This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

      Our family has been using one or more levels of All About Reading in our homeschool for the past six years. I’ve changed curriculum in other subjects more times than I’d like to admit. But, AAR has been a constant. There are many reviews out there about the first levels of the All About Reading program but few about Level 4. Whether you’re already an AAR fan or have just heard about it, this might help you to discern whether using AAR Level 4 is a good fit.
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      Written by Patty Wolf.

      It was a rainy morning in 1991 when we embarked on our homeschool journey. My bright, enthusiastic kindergarten daughter dressed up for the occasion and sat at an antique, wooden school desk ready to begin.

      She wasn't the only one ready.

      I had a notebook filled with plans for that first week not knowing that my eager first-born would zip through them in two days.

      I was ready, but if truth be told, I was also a bit anxious.
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      Ah summer! With its simpler schedules, winsome weather, and daily adventures lurking around every corner, summer has a way of showing me how to slough off the pressures of the homeschool year.

      I wish that were it.
      I wish I could just pack up the learning, set it all in a back corner somewhere, and then dust it off three months later when I need to get the wheels spinning again.

      But that's just simply not possible--at least not if I want to avoid the summer slide, that ghastly phenomenon that occurs when children's brains sit in idle for three months out of the year causing them to forget nearly 75% of what they previously learned.
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      This week, I joined forces with four other homeschooling moms you might know (Cindy West from Our Journey Westward, Mary Prather from Homegrown Learners and Squilt Music, Alicia Hutchinson of Over at Alicia's and The Learning Well Community, and Rachel Reeves formerly of the At Home Podcast and Rachel R. Reeves) to help you prevent summer slide.

      Each day over on Instagram, we're sharing our TOP 5 living literature books for certain subjects and inviting you to do the same using the hashtag #sneakysummerlearninglibrary. In addition, we're giving away a collection of some of our favorite living lit books to one lucky winner and her friend. Not on Instagram? That's OK. You can head on over to my Sneaky Summer Learning collection each day this week to see what books I recommend.

      With our gentler summer schedule, I'm determined to sneak in lots of good books and in the process, lots of learning.

      Here's what we're reading this month.
      (Since we officially wrapped the 2018-2019 school year last week, the grade levels reflected here indicate what grades each of my kids will be entering in the fall.)


      (This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)



      Read Aloud- everybody
      The War that Saved My Life- We've not even cracked this one open yet, but hope to do so by the end of the week. It's come highly recommended to me by several lists I trust. However, since I've not read it personally, I can not give it a hearty endorsement just yet.



      Jamie- that's me!
      At Home in the World- I'm nearly done with this travel memoir by Tsh Oxenreider, former homeschool mom who took her family of five on an around the world adventure. Each chapter details their experiences in a new country and the life lessons they learned while visiting.

      I'm not sure how to rate this one, to be honest. It's a breezy, entertaining book that allows a reader to glimpse the world without leaving the couch. But it lacks the deep, soul-stirring message of most memoirs. 


      Jane of Austin- This is a modern-day spin on the Jane Austen classic Sense and Sensibility. I'm not that far into the story, but so far have appreciated how clean it is--no foul language and no oversexualized scenes. 


      Sweetie Pea- 11th grade
      Counter Culture- After reading Platt's Radical, my daughter was anxious to read another of his titles. This one has been a bit more slow-going for her. But she has been really encouraged to read about some very current cultural topics such as the refugee crisis, pro-life vs. pro-choice, and traditional marriage vs. gay marriage. 


      Super Boy- 8th grade
      Seal of God- My oldest son is always on the lookout for military memoirs. Unfortunately, so many on the market today are riddled with foul language. So, whenever he or I find a clean-read, we snatch it up. This is the true story of Chad Williams, a former Navy SEAL who accepts Christ and then uses his SEAL experience to lead others to faith.

      Please note: This book details some of the horrors of war and may not be suitable for every reader.


      Blonde Warrior- 7th grade
      Mustaches for Maddie- When Maddie is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she is faced with a decision: she can wallow in self-pity and pain or she can use her circumstance to encourage others. With humor and a few fake mustaches, she chooses the latter and ends up teaching one particular bully in her life a valuable lesson about friendship.  


      Greased Lightning- 5th grade
      21 Balloons- My son is still reading through this one that came so highly recommended by his sister.

      On his attempt to fly across the Pacific, Professor Sherman gets stranded on the unbelievable island of Krakatoa. While there, he meets some amazing creatures who have taken up several unusual habits in order to survive.


      The Dude- 2nd Grade
      Mercy Watson to the Rescue- To kick off the summer, my youngest son will be reading through some of the Mercy Watson series which tell of the misadventures of a curious pig. These are illustrated first chapter books and are just perfect for kids who are transitioning from emergent reader-style stories to chapter books. 



      That's what we'll be reading in the month of June. How about you?


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      For the most part, a solid, well-organized plan is the first step in creating a successful homeschool year. When you can map out your entire homeschool year, schedule each lesson in a homeschool planner, and then use those plans as a home base--an anchor that allows you to wander and return with ease--you can ensure not just forward motion to your learning, but also bravery as you go.

      A plan brings confidence. You don't have to succumb to willy-nilly or frayed edges. Your school year can be formalized, but also draped in so much freedom!
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      Extras always seem to weigh me down. They require work, rob me of my energy, and breed unnecessary guilt. As a busy, work-at-home, homeschooling mom, I don't have time for that. I'd rather focus my effort on things that bring me joy and add, not detract, from my day. And so I purge all the extras, guilt-free. I prune away any non-essentials...of my time, of my home, of my school.

      Recently, I made the decision to paper purge. For years, I used a popular homeschool planner. And while I was happy with the basic set-up of the planner, I always felt a wee-bit burdened by the pages and pages of extras that I never really used. FOMO sometimes guilt-drove me to fill in the blanks. But all the time spent logging unnecessaries seemed like such a waste.

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