Hi hi hiiiiii can you believe I’m already here and sharing our homeschool curriculum picks for next school year?! I feel like this last one just started, but here we are. And to be quite honest, we don’t really take a big break from schooling. We definitely follow a gentle, year-round approach. For our family, that is just what works best. We actually took an unintentional break because of #life happening, the past few weeks, and man alive, I am ready to be back in a routine! Some sort of daily and weekly routine makes our days flow smoother and helps us to not feel overwhelmed or rusty when we do try to pick it back up. We simply… keep it going. And it’s great. We have our morning time at breakfast, where I read poetry with the kids, we talk about the day and weather, and do our Ambleside Online readings. It’s gentle but anchors us in our day, and I love it. Plus, mom hack is to do it during mealtime- the kids are pre-occupied and happily sitting and attending, and less likely to interrupt. I mean, that still happens plenty, but you know. Gotta set yourself up for success as muuuuch as humanly possible. ;)
Homeschool Curriculum Picks for 2023-2024
ANYWAY. Sharing our curriculum choice for the 2023-2024 school year, with a 2nd and 4th grader (say whatttt)! We will be doing Year 2 of AmblesideOnline curriculum (all free, based off of book lists, and also include handicrafts, nature study, folk songs, hymns and art study), Sophie will be continuing piano, we will also be doing French!
I have to share my favorite homeschool planner with you, too! I used it all last year and it’s so great! Super inexpensive on Amazon, and then I just took it to Staples to get it spiral-bound for just $5! Blank spaces for you to fill in whatever you need- I like to do days of the week across the top and then each kid has their own space, and a space for morning time/combined lessons. Then our extras/enrichment classes throughout the year as well. Grab the homeschool planner HERE!
AMBLESIDE ONLINE YEAR 2
A free and enriching curriculum all available on their website. We just completed Year 1 and it was a beautiful and growing experience for us all! You can read my recap of that year here!
Sam sits in on the readings, Sophie narrates each one. Along with the living books for history, literature, and nature study, we’ll also incorporate geography (maps, a personal timeline of their lives, what is a compass, stars, etc), and Bible stories, verse memorization, and poetry. We also will read lots of amazing Free Reads for fun, from the booklists found on their website (we read aloud together as a family each night before bedtime).
You can find the Ambleside schedule here!
For Sophie, we’ll be switching between The Good and the Beautiful Math 2 and Life of Fred- we love the spiral approach of TGTB and also the quirkiness and more “living book” style of Fred. This is what we did last year and it worked so well.
For Sam, it’s more basic math concepts, adding, subtracting, number recognition… We also will be continuing TouchMath, a program that seems to work well for him!
Definitely incorporating a lot of math games and taking it “off the page” for both kids!
The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts 2- supplementing with, we won’t be using the full book, I’ll simply be picking and choosing parts. I don’t believe she needs such an extensive language arts curriculum, we won’t be focusing so much on all of the rules and parts of speech, etc, but more on phonics and reading, which this includes.
We also have been implementing reading before bedtime, I’ll crawl in bed with her and she reads to me each night. It’s a really sweet and special time, and one that we both look forward to! And her reading has gotten so strong, by this simple act! We love The Good and the Beautiful readers, but any book will do! We also love Frog and Toad, anything by Arnold Lobel, Amelia Bedelia, George and Martha.
We’ll follow the Ambleside schedule for the riches. Folk songs, hymns, artist, and composer. A new one each month. I just make a playlist for folk songs and hymns, and we’ll learn the new ones each month but also play our playlists all the time- in the car, during the day. We find we learn them so easily that way! They just become part of our day! Composer is the same- I’ll just play during mealtimes or whenever. For artist study, I’ll print out the picture and display it on our wall. :)
We’ll choose whoever various ones float our boat or look interesting to us. Last year we did a lot of little animal felt sewing kits (Amazon here), basket weaving (with yarn and cardboard), air dry clay pots, finger knitting, and lots of watercolor painting!
This year I’m looking at more complex sewing, she’s already begging me to learn to knit (so I guess I’ll be learning alongside her!), a weaving loom (this one is in her wishlist- Christmas gift idea!), origami, beeswax candle making, soap carving- all fun ideas that are on my list for the upcoming year!
Habits and Manners
A big focus of ours this year (and every year!) will be working on habits and manners! I picked up these Manners cards and they’re so cute! We just read one a day, at breakfast, and they spark some fun conversations! Plus, they’re silly and the kids love them. :) I also got this book that looks great, and focuses on values. Planning on incorporating this in our morning time readings. We add in a Catechism (one per week- it’s literally $2), also during Morning Time. We’re also adding in the Good and the Beautiful Safety Unit, which I’m super excited about! I also printed out a little morning routine checklist for them and added to a dry erase folder so they can check off each day- Sophie is SO excited about being able to actually check the boxes!! Kind of magic haha. Our morning routine: make bed, get dressed, put away clothes, breakfast, morning time, clean dishes, brush teeth. This is part of focusing on our daily habits. And she reminded me that I need to make an evening routine as well!
This is a part of habits, but creating a rhythm for our school days is so important! We start with morning time, then go into lessons, movement, and outdoor time. We always default to outdoor time. ;) Sometimes we’ll do our readings outside if it’s nice, we kind of prefer to be outside than anything else.
And that’s what our year is shaping up to be! Of course, I hold things loosely, and plan for the unplanned, plus Ollie boy (my 4 year old) is a fun tag-along addition, so I’ll be making some sensory bins and busy boxes for him to occupy himself while I’m doing lessons with the other two. :) He’s a busy body, but also quite good at independent play, when he wants to be. ;) He’s also recently gotten really into Legos, so hoping that will continue through this year and we won’t have tooooo many interruptions. Time will tell, and we will take it as it comes!
I’m going into this new year prayerfully and working on my own personal habits as well. I realize that I’m truly the one who sets the tone for the day, and my reactions and the way I speak to my children mean so much and truly can make or break our time together. And it is such a sacred time that I cherish so much- one that I certainly don’t take for granted. So reminding myself to pause before reacting, to lower my voice, to see these sweet beings in front of me as the absolute blessings from God that they are (and remember what Charlotte Mason said that they are born persons, not empty vessels to fill with facts), and to truly embrace my role as their mama. What an honor!!!! This is one of my reasons- my “why”- for homeschooling. Sometimes it’s good to go back to that “why” when it gets hard (as it will)!
I guess we could call this my little before-the-start-of-school pep talk. ;) Welcome. Glad you’re here.
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