Homeschool Planning This Year

simple handwriting page

Since we did school well into June this year, we’re not beginning our school year until mid-September.  But as usual, something about August gets me thinking about our plans for the year.  This year I’ll be teaching 6 kids– one senior, three sophomores, a 6th grader and a third grader.

Here’s what school looks like for our kids this year:


~Teaching Textbooks Geometry for all the teens, with at least some of them moving into Algebra 2 later in the year.

~TT Math 7 for my 6th grader

~TT Math 3  for my 3rd grader, as well as lots of practice on multiplication

After being a die-hard Saxon mom for years, I am now a complete and total convert to Teaching Textbooks.  This math is taught via computer lectures, graded by the computer AND can be used by multiple kids at the same time, with each child having a separate grade book!  That makes it a huge friend to a mom of many.  Best of all, the friendly lecture-guy doesn’t mind repeating the same explanation 3 times to 4 different kids, whereas a mom can get a bit frayed around the edges after the second or third go-round. Brilliant, wonderful stuff.  The kids will be doing at least one lesson a day of math each.

Note:  if you buy Teaching Textbooks used, make sure you are buying the editions that actually include computer grading.  First editions of TT algebra and geometry still have to be graded by a person.  That’s certainly not the end of the world for some folks, but for the big bucks this program costs– $180 per level– I want computer grading.


Last year our teens finished Apologia Biology.  This year we’re moving on to Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Chemistry.  Experiments mostly require simple household items, which makes it comepletely doable, while also doing a good job describing chemistry in an understandable way.  We will cover one lesson every two weeks, and will be meeting with a friend each week to do experiments and tests.  This should keep us on track to get the book done by the end of the school year.  Our elementary age girls will watch the older kids do experiments, but I’m not planning any science specifically for them this year.  (They need more focus on language arts this year.)


Spanish will be covered by everyone 6th grade and up using Fluenz Spanish. Kids will do a lesson a day.


This year I am doing a combined American History for all 6 of the kids. The books we’ll read are Exploring American History  and In God We Trust: Stories of Faith in American History.  Both books are written at a fairly easy reading level, and tell stories of important characters in American history.  I’m planning on having the kids do some notebooking  as we read about various characters, which hopefully will help kids stay engaged as we read.  We’ll also work on a timeline, adding various events to the timeline as we read.  We’ll probably do history two days a week.


This year everyone’s writing assignments are going to be related to American history.  I plan to assign essays on different characters  and events in different eras, working gradually through all of American history.  For example, September writing assignments will be about early explorers in America. October will cover early settlers, and so on through the months.  The teens will be writing essays in the range of 3-5 pages, each one about a different person or event, and the younger girls will write a few paragraphs.  I’m also planning to have the kids read their essays to dad at dinner one night at the end of the month.  (Speech class, right?)

One resource that I am considering using this year is  Copy and paste a writing sample into Grammarly, and it automatically does a  grammar check, as well as looking for errors in spelling and punctuation.  It even spots plagiarism.  For a mom like me, or anyone who is  helping multiple teens analyze their writing, this could really be a good help.  This would also be a fabulous help for college students needing to do one last check on their work before sending it off to the professor.


Our two youngest girls will be working through Sequential Spelling to help them get a better understanding of some basic spelling rules.  They’ll also do a page or two of cursive writing each day.  The above picture shows one easy way to practice handwriting once kids learn to form each letter.


I have a teen booklist  that the big kids are working through gradually, checking books off the list as they complete them.  And I’m always on the lookout to expand our library with worthwhile additions. Most of our kids are solid readers by now, and will do most of their reading on their own. I ask everyone to read an hour a day. But anyone who needs more practice will be reading at least part of their above assignments to me.  My 8 year old will read to me every day.


Looking at the long list above, I will probably only be able to cover geography lightly– perhaps one day a week.  I want to have kids do some notebooking about this topic as well.  Because we’re covering American History this year, I’ll probably focus on American geography as well, so the subjects will hang together.  Just for fun, I may offer some kind of a cash bonus to kids who are able to learn the capitols of all the states.  Here are some links I found:


For art, we have a homeschool art/craft coop once a month with friends. I’m also excited to try out a cartooning project from See The Light  that I just heard about.  I’m working on pulling together a related giveaway for you one day soon, so stay tuned!



Along with all the other topics, we will be reading the Bible every morning at the breakfast table.  Last year we read Psalms and Proverbs.  Right now at bedtime John is working through the Old Testament with them.  So I thought at breakfast we could go through the New Testament, a couple chapters a day.  We usually go around the table reading a few verses each.  Then when the chapters are read, we each choose a favorite verse and tell why we chose it.  We’re also going to memorize Psalm 19: 7-14.


I still have to put together a daily schedule, mapping out the time of day that each subject will happen. Here’s one we did a previous year. With 6 kids,  3 computers, and multiple subjects being done on computers, it takes a bit of engineering to get everyone the computer time they need!  I’ll show you that plan when I get it pulled together.



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  1. Hi Mary, I learn a lot from your blog! I am homeschooling a 6,5,3,1 grader this fall. I would like to put together a reading list for each child as well. What sort of books would be good for them? Do you use a reward system for reluctant readers? My fifth grader has to be pushed a little to read.(not his favorite subject.) I am hoping to start off this school year as smoothly as possible! Any input would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Hi Mary, I learn a lot from your blog! I am homeschooling a 6,5,3,1 grader this fall. I would like to put together a reading list for each child as well. What sort of books would be good for them? Do you use a reward system for reluctant readers? My fifth grader has to be pushed a little to read.(not his favorite subject.) I am hoping to start off this school year as smoothly as possible! Any input would be greatly appreciated! ////

    • so sorry about duplicate inquiry! I will check out reading list! Thank you so much for your input! Enjoyed reading your article in HSLDA mag. God bless your family! Love reading you daughters” blogs, as I have a newborn as well!

  3. I found learning states and capitals was super easy by finding a song they could listen to several times. (There are lots of free ones available.) A few car rides with the ipod and we were all singing along. Then to cement it we got states/capital bingo. Totally painless, and no real drill involved.

    • We had a laminated placemat of the United States and capital cities hanging on the wall of the kitchen. Often referred to… and I remember singing a song with them

  4. When my mother was in school, she had a teacher who expected the students to memorize the United States Capital cities in alphabetical order. I believe the list begins with Albany New York. My sister tells the story of the time when mom was in the Recovery Room, coming awake after surgery, and she was mumbling names. One of the nurses recognized the State Capitals list, and knew which teacher had given the assignment. Small town entertainment comes in all types.

  5. Have you ever used My children really enjoy it and it works (and its free). Last year my second , fourth and sixth graders learned all the Asian countries and where they were on the map. There are options to learn countries, cities, regions and capitals.

  6. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying Teaching Textbooks. This might make you feel even better about it. The men who write it offer it to my co-op as their test group and they come and provide it to us every week. They are wonderful Christian men and really care about students. Let me know if you have suggestions, I’m sure that they would love to hear them.

    Also, thanks for posting this. Sometimes it’s good to see how other people are making this journey.

  7. Hello, thanks for sharing your list of curricula. I will have to check out that grammarly one. My high schoolers will be writing a lot of papers this year and they get frustrated when I correct it thinking I’m picky or something LOL This would be another opinion vs mom.

    Have a blessed evening,

  8. You mentioned a teen booklist? What is on the list?

  9. I would also love to see your teen booklist!