Our Curriculum Choices 2015-2016


Amazon box after Amazon box has started to arrive full of books. I don’t know about you, but that’s the unofficial signal to my family that we’re about to start “school” again! That means I’ve made my lists and I’m ready to share.

I’m afraid our curriculum choices list might begin to get boring to my faithful readers as I’m prone to choosing the same curriculum year after year. But I really am a pick it and stick with it kind of girl. Although that’s, of course, only if it works. Sticking with the same curriculum saves me time, money, and effort. And I am all about saving….well, and spending, at least at Home Goods or on little girl clothing or good books or yummy coffee or….well, you get the idea. Hmmm…

Anyhoo, here’s the core of what we’re using this year:


The Story for Kids: Discover the Bible from Beginning to End

Awana books – scripture memorization (see how we homeschool with Awana here)

CC memory work

I’m excited to try out The Story for Kids as our morning opener during our Bible time. It’s a Bible storybook that reads like a novel.  My plan is for us to read through one chapter each week until we get through all thirty-one. Each chapter ends with discussion questions. I LOVE sharing the Bible with my children and then hearing what they understand. It gives me a peak into their hearts and minds, which makes communicating truth much easier. Discipleship has to be a two way conversation.



Saxon K, 1, 3, and 6/5

Woah, four littles in Saxon math this year! I’m curious to see how this goes. As in years past, I’ll give an hour to our schedule for math. I’ll start working with the youngest first and make my way to the oldest last. When I’m not working with one, they should be working on what they can independently. I’ll let y’all know how this goes! (See why we use Saxon here)



Ambleside Year 3 reading, including A Drop of Water, Pagoo, Secrets of the Woods, and The Handbook of Nature Study.

Classical Acts and Facts Science cards

Science kits

I’m including science card reading in my older guys’ weekly subject loop checklist, along with the timeline cards and artists and composers cards. They love flipping through these anyway, I just added it to the list so we are more intentional about reading more of them. I have science kits on my list, because my guys are always into science experiments but finding time to add them into our regular routine has been difficult for me. I’m considering purchasing one kit at a time that they can mostly work on independently. My oldest specifically requested learning more about physics this year, so I’m hoping to start with this one. This is my first time considering these, so if you’ve had success with a particular kit brand will you tell me about it in the comments?


Fine Arts:

Classical Acts and Facts Artists and Composers cards

Ambleside online

We love learning about the artists and their work each year. I’m excited to use the Artists & Composers cards to focus in on the artists for CC this year. In the past, I’ve printed the artwork of the artists we’re studying each year with Ambleside, but this year we’re going to start by simply pulling up the images on the computer. I think the art is actually easier to see with the brightness of a computer screen than printing them out. Downside, we won’t be holding them in our hands and passing them around. If using the computer doesn’t work out, I’ll be quick to get them printed.



Song School Latin

I have failed miserably at adding in more Latin so far. I love this curriculum though. When we do it, my littles love it too. I’m hoping I’ve figured out a schedule that will work with doing Latin weekly this year. Fingers crossed.



Map tracing, blobbing, and marking.

Our geography work is added into my littles’ subject loop checklist for their classical notebooks. They’ll do some work for geography daily. But besides this work, they are so good at looking at maps anytime. If we’re reading a story and they hear somewhere they know or don’t know, they’re quick to look on our wall maps. It’s been a delight to watch them show their own interest & pursue it.


Language Arts:

First Language Lessons


Spelling Workout A, C, and D


Can you see the fear on my face from there? We’re starting Essentials this year. I’ve heard how much work it is and I must admit, I’m trembling just a little. And I loved diagramming sentences in school and all that grammar stuff. (I know Essentials is more than diagramming.) But will my son? Time will tell!



100 Easy Lessons

Bob books

Ambleside Year 3 extra reading

I’m so excited about the reading excitement I’m seeing in my boys. All that talk about boys not being readers, so far hasn’t proved true for my boys. I love seeing them dig into a good book. The only concern I have is my boys are limited in the books they choose. They definitely tend to choose a book by its cover. Granted they choose some really great ones, but I fear they also skip over some they’d love. To help them along this year, I’m using the extra reading from Ambleside Year 3 as their reading list plus some books I’ve picked up along the way. I have a shelf with the books piled on like a buffet full of yummy food. They can pick any book they’d like, as long as it’s from that shelf. Here’s a sampling of books they’ll find on the shelf: The Bears of Blue River, The Matchlock Gun, English Fairy Tales, and The Hundred Dresses. I’ve also included some biographies.



Before Five in a Row

I’ll be using this as my guide for working with my four year old. I’m sure my one year old will be on my lap for most of the reading too. And whenever I start reading aloud, the whole crew tends to gather round. In the past, I’ve made the plan to rely on borrowing books for each week from the library, but the problem is I’m not very consistent about going to the library. This year I ordered them all through Amazon or eBay. I figured it’d be worthwhile to keep up with my plan and they’re great books anyhow, so why not have them on my shelves for regular reading?


Guys, I think I would homeschool if only for all the good books I have the joy of sharing with my children. Perhaps that’s part of the reason I can stick with the same curriculums year after year. Because while we use Ambleside for most of our scheduled reading for each subject each year, it’s never dull or repetitive, since the literature is different for each year. Please tell me – do you have a favorite curriculum you return to year after year? Or is there a new curriculum you’re excited to try? I love sharing with y’all and I love to learn from you too!






  1. says

    I love this but wonder if other people have a longer day (24 hours) than me. By the time we finish Math and Bible/Reading it is past lunch and then spend the rest of the day either going over CC, field trip, Science, FIAR (this all depends on the week). At the end of the year I always did more than I thought but no way can I do so many subject a day. You would have to send me to the nutty farm…. 😀

    • Beth Watson says

      Oh Dee! We don’t do all of this daily! And many of the things we do are quick. Math, Bible, and reading are hands down our biggest chunks of time. I’m writing up our schedule now. Maybe it will help to see that?

      • Beth Watson says

        Ashley, is that a subtle hint that you think we’re doing too much? 🙂 I’ll add it to my list! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. kristy says

    We’ve looked over the science kits that you linked while at Hobby Lobby. Just be prepared that not all of the materials are included for many of the kits. My son is interested in the kits, and so we’ll likely use our coupon at Hobby Lobby and try one out. I’m looking forward to seeing you schedule for this year. We’ll start Essentials next year; and I’m already nervous!

    • Beth Watson says

      Thanks, Kristy for that heads up! I hadn’t considered that. We don’t have a Hobby Lobby very close by, but some other craft stores near us carry them. So, I think I’ll try using a coupon too! Good idea 🙂


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