I realize that some of you won’t be interested in reading about our curriculum choices for this year, but since I continually receive emails from gals asking about what books we like to use in our home school, I’m going to go ahead and share our list. If looking at our book list isn’t exciting to you, perhaps you would like to take a look at our Death By Chocolate recipe? Or maybe many of you will be interested in both? Because chocolate and books – aren’t those just two of the finest creations on the planet?
Once I finally got all of our books organized, I decided to take a picture of our shelf. Enjoy it now – that shelf won’t look so organized after we start digging in. But we can pretend that it stays pretty like this. ;)
The top shelf is Asa’s (grade 9), the middle shelf belongs to Justus and Elias (grades 6 and 4) and the bottom shelf is Malachi’s (grade 1).
We’ve been schooling with Sonlight curriculum for all nine of our home schooling years – yes this begins our tenth! We love that Sonlight is literature based and that we are able to explore and learn without using textbooks. Instead, we read both fiction and non-fiction books as we work our way through History, Science, Geography and Bible. In addition, we choose what Sonlight recommends for Readers (kids reading on their own) as well as Read-Alouds (parents reading to the kids).
Here is a breakdown of our curriculum for this year:
Asa (grade 9)
- Sonlight is literature based, in which we will study Church History (I’m so excited!!!) and read through many literature classics. Shakespeare, Austen, C.S. Lewis – it’s gonna be a great year!
- Apologia Physical Science
- Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1
- Analogies 2
- Vocabulary from Classical Roots A
- Spanish (still haven’t decided – Rosetta Stone maybe?)
- Spelling Power
Justus (grade 6) and Elias (grade 4)
- Sonlight Core F, in which we will study the Eastern Hemisphere and read about many other cultures and missionaries who have lived among these cultures.
- Reading – Sonlight book lists for grades 4-5 and Readers D
- Science – using multiple science books from Sonlight, as well as others we have on hand, mainly to study animals
- Wordly Wise (book 3 for Elias and book 5 for Justus)
- Sequential Spelling
- Teaching Textbooks 6 for Justus; Saxon 54 Math for Elias
- Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting (grade 6 for J; grade 4 for E)
- Learn to Cook
Malachi (grade 1)
- Some of Sonlight Core B, intro to World History
- Science with Justus and Elias, on a lesser scale, to learn about animals
- Reading – Bob Books and other easy readers
- Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting grade 1
- Miquon Math Red Book
- Explode the Code Books 1-3
- Teaching Your Kids to Cook
Next, I’ll share about our home school schedule for this year – stay tuned!
I’d love to know what your kids will be studying this year (whether you home school or not!). Also, I need to know which you like better: Books or Chocolate?
I know, that is hardly a fair question. (And yes, your answer can be “chocolate with a side of books”).
Erin @ Home with the Boys says
We’re starting tomorrow too but this is our very first year! I’m a little nervous!
I wrote about what we’re using for curriculum here: http://homewiththeboys.net/elm-tree-academy-curriculum-2011-12/
Have a blessed year!
My boys are 3rd & 5th grade and we’re doing Sonlight core D (Amer. History part 1). I love both books and chocolate, but chocolate tastes better. :)
We are starting tomorrow as well! The boys are excited and I am so blessed to be able to homeschool them and share so much of my time and life with my children. TRULY blessed.
Mrs. E says
Thanks for sharing. I’m always interested to learn about what people are using. This is my first year at homeschooling and we’re starting tomorrow as well.
This is our first year of homeschooling and our daughter will be in 5th grade so we’ll be using MosDos Literature Coral, Truth in Science Grade 5, Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 5, Writing Coach for grammar and writing, The American Journey for Social Studies and God’s Great Covenant Genesis to Ruth for Bible. Spelling will include the grade 5 word list from Sitton. She likes textbooks and workbooks so it seemed like a good place to start with a great used textbook warehouse nearby. I’m sure we’ll tweak things as we go since its our first year.
Gail Alderman says
I love both!
Mrs. G says
This will be our 4th year of homeschooling. Our daughter will be going into the 3rd grade, our son into 1st. I choose to do “year around” school and we are about 2 weeks from finishing 2nd & K grades (“last year” will still be fresh with little loss of what we’ve learned & been applying).
After that, we will be taking off the rest of August and starting up the new school year September 12th. I use Saxon for math & Abeka for all else…though I have been told, “Abeka? Why bother home schooling with THAT curriculum? You may as well send them to public school.” I didn’t take offense. Since God isn’t allowed in public school, I won’t allow my children to be there either. They aren’t “salty” enough yet :)
I love your book shelf…for that matter, I love anything tidy. Isn’t it so true that it won’t look like that for long, sigh. I’ll have the same problem…love the idea of taking a picture of all our books the day before school officially starts!
I like books & chocolate…can never have too much of either!
That is an interesting list. I have never used Sonlight, but I like the idea of having all those books on hand. I have 2 sons (8 & 6). We will be using Rod & Staff language arts (1st/3rd), Math U See (Alpha & Gamma), KONOS, Apologia Astronomy, A Reason for Handwriting, and Discovering Great Artists. I like using real books too, but with KONOS, I have to get them all from the library. It’s a bit of planning, but I like to pick and choose activities, and my boys have thoroughly enjoyed learning through this unit study. It sounds like you have a lot of lessons to get through in a day! We will not start school until mid-September, but we have done some school work over the summer, so we are taking August off COMPLETELY!
Sandy(aka Grannie) says
I sure do miss homeschooling. Our oldest homeschools her seven children, and I hope to be able to work with our Spunka (4years old) this fall……
This is our first year homeschooling also! We have a 1st grader and preschooler and I chose My Father’s World curriculum. Look forward to reading more about your homeschooling adventures! :) Oh, I like books with a side of chocolate…dark chocolate preferably! :)
heather rinker says
Im using MFW with my 9,7,and 5 year old boys. we are beginning with exploring countries and cultures and the kindergarten as well! I almost have everything all ready, but we have to begin the second week in september because we just moved and are fixing up our other home to rent and we are going to hawaii with the in-laws for two weeks!!! AHHHH it’s been crazy!!! I wish i could start “tomorrow” like everyone else!
Laura, I met you in Fresno @ trader joes during thanksgiving i believe. i was with all my boys (and a one of their buds who is also home schooled). We talked for just a sec long enough to find out we both homeschool and grind our own grains! i am so glad you gave me your website right then and there. it has been such a blessing to me! Maybe if you are in the are again we could hang out or something!!! God bless you and your family this year!!!
I am SO glad we ran into each other at TJs! I’d love to get together with you again when we come that way (it may be a while, but I’ll try to remember to contact you when we do come). It’ll be great to get to know you better!
Have a wonderful time in Hawaii – and with fixing up your home to rent – ach! :)
We start today too! We use Mystery of History for our history and I pull many of the SL books for read alouds and readers. We’re finishing up Ancient History and will move on to the Middle Ages. My oldest is using Notgrass for American Govt. It looks really good! I’m very excited.
I don’t know how you do 3 cores. Tried it one year and went back to combining my younger boys.
Have a great first week!!!!!
How I’ll do 3 cores:
1. I have no idea.
2. Our oldest can do a major part of his work on his own.
3. I’ll only do a tiny bit of it with our youngest, focussing instead on getting his reading and math skills headed in the right direction.
4. I’m adapting the core for our middle boys to be much less than is provided by Sonlight. Eastern Hemisphere Explorer is a killer – therefore I realllllly adapted it down to be more enjoyable and attainable. Hopefully. :)
Jill Roper says
This will be my first year in 20 years that I have no one to home school. I was very blessed. To each of you starting this journey I would like to encourage you to stay devoted to the task at hand. You will learn many things about yourself in schooling your children that will challenge you. Remember that you are shaping and molding children for the Master, first and foremost. Multiplication facts and history dates are important but not nearly as important as giving your child a heart for the lost, help to the poor and a holiness for the Savior.
Blessings to you all.
What sweet words Jill! This is my fourth year homeschooling and God has really
used the last four years to show me how important He is in our school before anything
else! I want to stand before the Lord one day and hear, well done, my good and
My boys aren’t old enough for school yet, (3 and almost 1) but i am already thinking in that direction and i love reading all the info ahead of time. Thanks for being willing to share! Chocolate and books together are definitely the best of both worlds!
Wendy Clark says
We are using Apologia Science (various books for different kiddos), Veritas Press history, Abeka Language, and Rod and Staff Math. Oh, the oldest is using Teaching Textbooks for math.
Love chocolate, in fact I had to have a moment with it yesterday. LOL
School…going to be trying Abeka video this year for my 2nd and 3rd grader and then adding in classical reads, extra science and more country studies with lots of cooking. In addition they will be going into the public school for two days of p.e. and a once a week art class. My older daughter will be trying 9th grade with GWU’s online private high school. I feel very nervous about the probable intensity of her class load, but will take a deep breath and line up some needed chocolate breaks for all of us! lol
This is my first year with my daughters. One in K and the other in PreK. We are using K12 and then adding a bible portion. Any suggestions for a daily bible curriculum for little kids. I am excited to get started and also nervous. I am excited to use my teaching degree on my own kids!!! Also It will give us flexibility because we are a Military family. Will be using your Teaching Your Kids to Cook Book as well. Thanks for all your insight Laura!!! It is nice to know there are so many others out there training up our kids!!!!
I’m very excited this year! I can’t afford the entire Sonlight package, but wanted to spend more time reading literature and especially historic literature. So I did some research, cross referenced their World History lists with my library’s collection, and ordered what I couldn’t borrow. We’ll get our shipment of books this week. (We start on the 22nd) Time to organize myself!
A choice between books and chocolate is somehow not fair! I think if I had to say which one I could do wothout though it would be chocolate :(
I homeschooled for 23 years and retired 2 years ago. While it is sad that it is over I have welcomed the opportunity to be able to be involved in a prison ministry and working with the homeless that I could not have fit into my schedule before.
Laura, I haven’t been able to keep up with your blog as much as I wanted to these last few months, hopefully I will be able to again. I had a bit of time this morning to read at least one entry and was so excited to hear about homeschooling starting up again. Even though my little one is still too young to start homeschooling (She’ll be 2 in Sept), I really hope to learn a thing or two with your blog and other’s comments. I really want to be able to homeschool my kids and love to hear your stories on the subject. I miss your blog and really hope to catch up and read on a regular basis. Thanks for your words, your such a great writer.
On a side note, I’m not a big chocolate fan, so no chocolate for me, I prefer the books. ;)
Since I don’t homeschool, I’m more interested in chocolate than your school plan but LOVE LOVE LOVE the shot of the bookcase and the organization and that kids will be reading.
We are starting our 2nd yr of homeschooling, much less daunting than our first ;-) I have 2 boys ages 8 and almost 12. We will be trying a Classical Conversations group this yr (which starts on 22nd) but in addition to that we will be using Teaching Textbooks and Math U See, along with the readers from Sonlight for American History part 2 (did part 2 last year and we loved it so!). It took a while for me to figure out that there were so many learning experiences that we tended to overlook when our kids were in a traditional school setting – like music festivals for my banjo player – but now my eyes are open to the fact that if we are living and breathing – we’re learning something :-)
We are starting 8/24. Our 10th and 8th graders will be using Mystery of History, BJU Press and Abeka. Our 6th grader will be using all BJU.
We do use the public schools in our area, and I have been very happy with our school and the teachers we have, but I very much enjoy hearing what you are doing. It helps me to get ideas of things we could do to supplement areas that are not covered as well as I would like, as well as areas that are of particular interest to my kids (we love history, so I love seeing what social studies curriculums folks are using, and my son is doing Spanish immersion, so I like to give him math to try on his own (and in English), since he loves math, but that is an area that becomes more challenging in another language…). Thanks for sharing! And yes, books with a side of dark chocolate! Yum!
We are starting our 3rd year of HS-ing: 7th, 5th, 3rd grade daughters & little brother joins the group for K! (should be interesting to see how he fits in! :) We use a hodgepodge of “brands” for each child: BJU Bible, History, Spelling & Science – Sonlight History & Readers – A Beka Math, English, Phonics & Handwriting – Spelling Power – Shurley English – Apologia Science. Really wanted to use the same for each child, but their learning styles are so different! So “hodgepodge” works for us! We start 8/15, and I too like to take pictures of our shelves…
As for books v. chocolate? I like to have my chocolate WHILE I read my books!!!!
We have really enjoyed Rosetta Stone. I used Learnables with my first two, but they never had to actually speak Spanish. We ordered Rosetta for our younger two and chose the speaking option and they have to “use” the language to progress..understanding the spoken language as well as speaking. It’s wonderful! After 2 yrs of high school Spanish and a year of college, my oldest daughter could read Spanish and make out what was being said, but had no conversational skills. She started going through Rosetta mainly to be forced to speak and a year later is doing really well! Her youngest brothers won’t have that hurdle. They already have had the experience of being on the soccer field and hearing Hispanic players speak to each other and having an idea what they’re saying! lol!
We are starting our 10th year of homeschooling!!! (our 2 kids are grades 7th & 10th) For 10th grade we’ll be using Saxon for Geometry; Abeka for Biology, World History, World Lit, Vocab, Spelling & Poetry; Bob Jones for Bible Doctrines; & Rosetta Stone for Russian. For 7th grade we’ll use Horizons for Pre-Algebra, Abeka for History of the World, Literature, Science/Health; Bob Jones for Bible Truths; Wordly Wise for Vocab & Spelling; and Spectrum Writing. We also add in lots of extras like homeschool band, volunteering at the Humane Society, cooking and crafts during our day. We love educating our children at home and can’t believe we’re nearing the end already!!
We are starting our 9th year of homeschooling and we just love it!!!! It just works for our family. We use ABeka exclusively and are thrilled with the program!
I will take a book with a side of chocolate, please!!!
I am just curious– how much $ do you spend on only one of your kiddos? I know it probably varies from year to year, but I looked at the Sonlight books (this is my first year) and thought they were a bit pricey. I also know you did your curriculum swap, but overall what would you say a good budget is for learning for one of your boys? Mine would be going into 2nd grade, so perhaps focus on the younger years. Thanks!
Here’s an older post that talks a little bit about our homeschool budget: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/homeschool-hubbub-our-budget
I don’t ever buy an entire core kit from Sonlight, but piece it together from other resources (buying several books from Sonlight too) – I mainly just look to them as a guide.
This year we spent about $400 for all the boys (total, not each). We’re able to use the books over and over, which helps a lot!
I’m not a mom yet so I obviously don’t homeschool, BUT I was a spanish major in college, and wanted to let you know about a GREAT free resource. http://www.spanishdict.com/ has really great video tutorials and, in my opinion, the best online dictionary. I discourage the online translator tool, but other than that, highly recommend it!
Thank you for sending this resource – we will look into this for sure!
Wow, with all those curriculum choices, how do you decide what to use? My boy is only 18 months, but he definitely will be homeschooled!
I love looking at your books! (Yes, I love books even better than chocolate!) We’ll be studing the Middle Ages, also through a literature-based approach, and Earth & Space science…literature based!
We started school today, too. My husband has a different schedule this year so he will be home in the mornings until 11:20…which means he’ll be here for the bulk of school and we’re swapping kids back and forth and teaching at the same time. I am going to be SO spoiled when next year rolls around. But I have 1st and 2nd grade this year…potentially the most one-on-one teaching time that I’ll have to do for a while, so it’s such a blessing to have my husband’s help!
We Love Homeschooling and Sonlight. Love all the reading of real books. We have a 15 & 8yr old still home, will be finishing up Apologia Physics and will be doing mostly online college courses with sonlight British literature. Core D for the younger with Apologia science, Singapore math, Spelling Power, Handwriting, continuing Rosetta stone spanish, cooking and sewing. Plus extras out of the house.
Books and Chocolate just go together.
I modified Eastern Hemisphere also to fit us better.
Jessica G says
My son is 4 & we were going to use Answers for Preschoolers by Answers in Genesis. With also having a 1 y/o, I found the curriculum a bit overwhelming for the first year, so I’m not sure if we will use that yet.
I’m currently reading The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson. I want our core to be Scripture as this book suggests. She says you can teach all your children at once, which is what I’d love to do! I aim to start school after I read the book, though we’ve been doing small workbooks with letters & numbers all summer.
What a blessing to be your child’s teacher!!!
Lisa @thebeadgirl says
Just doing the same thing. Year 8 for us with Sonlight….love it!
We don’t homeschool, but my two older children have been using Wordly Wise in school for the past few years, and they love it.
This is my fourth year of homeschooling and we are doing My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures. I have a 8yo dd and a 7yo ds. We do Rod and Staff for Math and CLE for language arts, spelling, etc. We started today and are super excited about our year. I also take the sonlight catalog with me to the library and get a lot of books on their reader lists for the kids. I love sonlight books!
Jessica Kauffman says
I love when you write about your home school. My oldest is five and we are planning to homeschool. But we probably won’t officially get going for a little while longer. I need all the help and inspiration I can get so I love to see what others are doing. Thanks!
We are going to be starting in two weeks (hopefully). I really wanted to start August 1, but life got in the way :) We will be using Sonlight this year for the first time and I’m excited to see how it works. My children are young and I’m looking forward to extra time on the couch with them.
This will be our 5th year of homeschooling…we go year-round, so our “official” start date doesn’t come along until after our trip to the family farm in October. I’ve used Sonlight for the past 4 years, but decided to try Tapestry of Grace this year as I will have 3 in full-time school and didn’t think that I could handle multiple cores. My oldest will be in 3rd grade and my two middle children will be in kindergarten. My youngest will do SL’s P 3/4 or 4/5 (since I have all the books for them). We also will be doing Apologia Botany and Zoo 1, and Saxon 3 and K. Instead of the English with TOG, we’ll continue using Explode the Code (A,B and C for K and 7 and 8 for 3rd), Wordly Wise (K/3), and Shurley English (3). We are going to try All About Spelling this year as well as Rosetta Stone Spanish (and American English for my child with verbal apraxia…to work on articulation). We’ll also continue to use Handwriting without Tears (PK, K and 3)…Love the organized shelves!
P.S. If you’re going to get Rosetta Stone…get it while it’s still on sale…through August 11th, I think!
Nancy Michel says
I have to say I prefer books, especially cookbooks as I am a chef and specialize in Pastries and breads.(Patissier(‘pah-tees-syah)or pastry chef and Boulanger or baker)by trade. I work with Chocolate, so the book can be about chocolate, but I can’t eat chocolate because I get migraines if I do :(
The children are now 27 and 25. It has been about 10 years since we homeschooled. Every year about this time I start missing it. Your curriculum choices look great!
Love reading your blog.
Sounds awesome! I want to use many of these programs myself. I love Italics (retaught myself to write that way at age 17!), and at 19 I got to explore the Sonlight warehouse “damaged” section and buy books for 25 and 50 cents (swoon!). If my girls love to read as much as I do, we are definitely going that direction as a family!
As a linguistics student, I would strongly encourage you to get the whole family involved in the Spanish studies. One, it’s more fun that way, and two, studies have shown that language acquisition is MUCH more successful before puberty. I am not sure which is the best program (Your younger boys might especially benefit from Rosetta Stone), but we did a little bit with Power Glide when we were schooling and I thought the audio program which was an adventure story where words were slowly integrated into the story until you were hearing and comprehending more Spanish than you realized, was a lot of fun. I recently pulled it out again to see if I liked it as an adult too, but huh, I’ve been a bit busy lately! :)
To piggy back on this comment –
Hubby is half hispanic, and we are working hard to raise bi-lingual kids (not easy with my crummy Spanish). We have totally stolen your family’s Bible Verse Repeat Afters – and we do it in Spanish and English. (Biblegateway.com is a great resource for translation and pronunciation)
Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage says
Books or chocolate? Hmmm, can’t we have both? I honestly can’t decide!
Thanks for posting your curriculum, Laura. My girls are starting 2nd grade and kindergarten this year, and I’m feeling more than a tad overwhelmed at all the options out there for homeschooling. It’s always nice to take a peek at what is working for other (more experienced!) homeschool mamas.
Laura, I love it when you write about homeschooing! We’re starting our 3rd year after we make a temporary move to California from Wisconsin in September (just for a year…I told the kids it would be a year long field trip).
My 6th grade, 5th grade and 1st grade boys use 3 different cores of Sonlight. I could blend the two older boys, but there’s a lot of competition between those two and I think its better if they have their own core. I’m also doing some FIAR and Beyond FIAR for a change of pace inbetween Sonlight.
My goal this year is to relax and take a break from the “schedule” for spontaneous learning, being in nature, and to let the boys nurture their God given talents and interests!
I love your blog & my family loves your recipes that I have implemented into our menu! Thank YOU! :-)
I love homeschooling my 5 gifts. We love the literature approach as well but have used Heart of Dakota for a few years now & LOVE it! It is Christ centered & fun because it includes great hands on projects that are easy to do! I need easy! LOL!
I am thankful for wonderful like minded mom’s like you to share this journey with. God Bless!!
LOVE books & chocolate!!
I just posted about this subject yesterday, it’s that time of year! This is our first year homeschooling and after months of agonizing I pieced together a curriculum from many different sources. I love the look of sonlight though, and their readers are top notch. Due to camp, we start next week.
Oh I can’t wait to hear your schedule! I am finding it hard to have two boys so spread apart! And they are only 2.5 years – but 1st and preschool are miles away in learning!
Veronica D says
We are starting on our 3rd year of homeschooling, and we use The Weaver Curriculum (which we love!!) So far I have a 4th grader and Kindergartener and a pre-schooler. And between chocolate and books without hesitating I would say…..BOOKS!!! I love books…any kind of books…I just love them all!!
My kids are 7, 6, 2, and 5 mo. So only the oldest 2 are homeschooling right now. I’m using a combination of Sonlight and A Beka. We tried Sonlight for the first time last year and I found that I really missed textbooks (and thought all the info in World History 2 was completely overwhelming for my then 6 yr old). So this year I went back to A Beka but still ordered all of the Sonlight books to read as well…for fun. My oldest loves to read and I think when she is a little older we’ll probably go back to Sonlight for her. It really is an amazing curriculum!
This is our second year of schooling the children at home. We did a charter school last year, so I didn’t have to pick any curriculum. But this year, I felt called to step outside that “safety net” and jump all the way in. :) My husband insisted though that if we were going to do it, it had to be completely free….. that’s been a challenge, but I’ve done it, I think. We’ll be using Bible Study Fellowship study for part of our Bible study, plus devotionals. We’ll use Amblesideonline for literature, and taking some ideas from them also for science/nature. I have some math textbooks that were from a public school, but they’re perfect for us. I also have a Sing Spell Read and Write for my 1st grader’s phonices (though I think she’s kind of past it already.) We’ll also incorporate some Abeka science and history (I got these from a homeschool curriculum library and another homeschooling parent that no longer needed them.) And we will utilize the library ALOT! We’re also using any unit studies we find for free that look interesting, to make lapbooks. We’re loving it so far. Started on Aug 1. My kids are 1st and 4th grade. (We’ll also throw in some art and music as we can.) I guess all that to say we don’t have a strong set curriculum yet. Still trying to figure out where everything works, BUT we do have MANY resources. :) God has been so good to provide all that we need to do this, just as He always does when He calls us to something. Blessings to you and your family this school year! Your site was a big push in helping me to heed the calling. :D