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Tuesday

Minimalist Homeschooling 101 Series // What Curriculum Do I Use?


Welcome to the third installment of the Minimalist Homeschooling 101 Series! If you missed the first two posts, just click here for the directory on minimalist homeschooling posts.

This post is about two months late, but with good reason. I really had to think this one through. I have written and rewritten this several times.


I mentioned in the last post about figuring out what your family's goals are first. Until you do that it's very hard to try to choose curriculum or mode of study. 

As we move more towards unschooling, our minimalist homeschooling truly coalesces with our life. Meaning that our schooling life blends into our daily life. There is no "school time" and then "non school time" where the learning is switched off for the day. 

Always grow, always learn. 

This is life. 


Before I dive into curricula, understand that what works for us is what works for us. Children are natural sponges. In general, my kids love exploring and learning new things. This was temporarily thwarted when they were in public school. We had to cure that with a hefty amount of deschooling. 

Our time in public school took away our girls' sense of wonder and desire to learn. After we remedied that, we tried to mimic school at home. No, I have no idea what I was thinking. Not one of my finest mommy moments.

I let myself be swayed by others around me, what their kids were achieving and my own selfish desire to have the smartest, most accomplished kids. I pushed them too hard and tears were shed by all.


Life is more than that and God's plans for their lives is far greater than my own. I put their schooling in His capable hands.

Your children do not need more curriculum, they need more you


I hope that you'll take all that to heart before considering curriculum. Less is more. And this is a reminder for myself as much as it is advice to you all.

Dive in alongside your children. Learn what they're learning. Most of us don't even remember what we learned in school. This is a time of journey and growth! Learn with your kids.

As it is, life already passes by far too quickly. A lesson hard learned for us this year as we lost several family members and friends too young.

Stop worrying whether or not you have the right curriculum, teaching method, what others think, what others are doing, how their test scores will turn out or if they'll get into the perfect college.

Life is more.


Life is love and relationships and caring and exploring. Life itself is quite an education. Everything is going to turn out just like it should, just like it was meant to.

I do want to share what I believe to be great options for those that need them, with the above taken into consideration.

Literature & Bible : Beautiful Feet Books.
We, personally, are going to be using the Teaching Character Through Literature packages. I love the literature selections and the gentle guides. No time frame is given. We start when we start and we finish when we finish. We will use the Geography Through Literature maybe next school year.

This curriculum is solid with its reading selections but still gives freedom for us free spirited. A guide for those that need some direction but without a million boxes to check. Beautiful Feet Books has history, science, geography, faith, character, music and more covered by their literature packs.

Pick whatever books you want, honestly. Lorelai has me reading her favorite series : Christy Miller [christian tween/teen girl reading] and I LOVE that we can share this.

For deeper Biblical studies, nothing is better than just pulling out your bible and reading it to your children. If you need a guide or a place to start, try the free guide on Easy Peasy All in One Homeschooling.


Maths : Life of Fred & Math U See & Life
We have used CLE and Teaching Textbooks, Khan Academy and Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. The last two listed are completely free. We still use Khan Academy. It helps to illustrate concepts clearly to my children if there's an area they struggle with.

My younger daughter and son are obsessed with math. So we are adding Math U See because they asked for it specifically and really enjoy doing math for fun. My eldest is really good at math...she also does not enjoy it at all. She grasps the concepts quickly and doesn't want to spend a lot of time doing mind numbing problems. She enjoys reading, so Life of Fred is for her.

If we didn't do any "schooling" whatsoever, my eldest would still read Life of Fred because she enjoys it.

Use what works for your kid. Each kid might learn different. If it's not working, ask them what they don't like and then what they do like. Don't be afraid to dump curriculum. Even if you paid a lot of money for it.

The majority of our math lessons play out in cooking together, solo cooking assignments, shopping and board games. Sometimes even minecraft, a jar of marbles, handful of buttons, some rocks, sticks, shells...whatever you have!


History : Story of The World & Other Resources
My kids want to learn Medieval history. They are very interested in it. We haven't done Ancient history yet, like I had planned. They might want to do it next year. This makes my eye twitch because I like things done in order. My kids don't care. So we are diving into medieval history. Not a battle I'm choosing.

You don't need to purchase every piece of a curriculum set. Just pick the minimum and take a cleansing breath because your kids will not suffer a burnt out mom with an over planned school activity day. Pick up some picture books. Yes, even for your tween/teen kid. I'm an adult and I still love picture books. Read aloud to your kids no matter how old they are.


Science : The World & Whatever You Want
We are taking classes with a local Marine Biology Exploration Center. We live on an island and live walking/biking distance from this class. The kids get to hang out with their homeschool friends and get some hands on learning, not facilitated by me.

Ecological Marine Adventures offers a free weekly community class [what we did last semester] and a paid weekly homeschool class. The free community class lasts an hour and is for anyone and all ages. The homeschool class is three hours and includes paddle boarding. If you happen to be vacationing near Topsail Island, NC, stop on in!



In addition, the kids want to learn about astronomy and other aspects of earth science. It's so easy to feel like you need to buy a curriculum, but you don't. We are using documentaries, DVDs, some books, and our art notebooking to learn.

We get out and explore nature. Our Wild + Free Group is starting up again soon [find your local chapter here] and we have lots of nature drawing to learn. I am in love with learning to draw and paint with my kids. I didn't know that I could. I'm not a fantastic artist, but we are all artists. Just give it a go.


What Else Is There?
From here we just do more art, crocheting, woodworking, nature walks, handcrafts... we do yoga, gymnastics, play ukulele, take wandering walks to the pier or to town, go on bike rides around the island, surf, learn to paddle board or go jogging. Anything that helps us feel alive!




Keep it simple. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Calm yourself, mama, you got this. And you're not alone.


Resources We Love
The Law's Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling
Story of The World Vol. 2 with Audio Book
Chronicles of Church History
What Really Happened in Medieval Times 
Life of Fred
Play the Forest School Way
What You Aren't Being Told About Astronomy DVD set
Jonathan Park Series
Proclick
Laminator

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