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Homeschool Changes

As many of you know, last year my daughter used the amazing boxed curriculum from BookShark and while we really loved the ease of use and the seriously cool resources we received, this year we decided to switch things up and follow Kat where she wanted to go.

I’m not sure if we made the right decision, but I’m learning that in life there is only one decision to make. We fool ourselves into thinking there is another way to go. What we choose is always THE way to go and it’s all okay.

For our homeschool, we don’t label everything as math, science, social studies, etc, but our local school district does, so, for the sake of documentation, we use these labels often.

Here’s how we lay things out:

  • Natural world
  • Understanding and Using Numbers
  • People of the World: Past and Present
  • Be Creative!
  • Reading: independent and read alouds
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Word Exploration: most often this falls under reading in the form of reflection

Natural World

As I said, this time around, we decided to follow Kat where she wanted to go. She is a self-proclaimed “nerd when it comes to Earth,” and said she really wants to learn more about the Earth, so together we did some research and decided on the REAL Science Odyssey Earth & Environment Study from PandiaPress.

Earth Spheres Model she built from this unit of study

What I love about it:
  • Cost! It was $28 for the electronic version. Note: if you make copies as I did, be prepared. There are 300 pages or so.
  • Ease of use. Everything is laid out for two days a week so you can have a lot of flexibility for learning.
  • Secular and based on scientific facts.
  • Intended for kids ages 6-11, which makes it awesome for adjusting to your child’s individual needs.


  • You’ll need extra materials for this program. You can shop around for the best prices.

Understanding & Using Numbers

  • For this, we’re sticking with Saxon Math and moving up to Level 2 (2nd grade), because it’s a format she’s used to and she has the manipulatives from Level 1 on-hand already.
  • Other ideas:
  • Math Challenges on the whiteboard
  • Math Dice Game
  • Cooking and baking
  • Budgeting her allowance

  • Concise instructional manual
  • Forward and back progress to add in new material while reviewing older material
  • She sometimes gets bored with the tedious & “unnecessary” activities, such as always doing the date and day of the week, & having to make drawings for the math problems. You can differentiate this for your child though based on need.

People of the World: Past & Present

This year, we decided to learn more about American government and civics.

Because these are heavy subjects even for adults, we decided to go with a fun and super informative book series from The Tuttle Twins. Many of these books are based on larger, important works by authors such as John Taylor Gatto, Ayn Rand, and many others.


  • Fun to read
  • Great illustrations
  • Perfect for ages 5-11
  • Simplified without being dumbed-down


  • Libertarian in nature
  • May not be considered suitable to those who are more of the Democratic Socialist group.

Be Creative!

Anything goes here, as long as she’s having fun and creating, all is well.

Emotional Intelligence:

  • We are using materials from Generational Mindful and every Tuesday, we take time to pick an emotion card and discuss that card & emotion.
  • 52 Lists for Happiness Journal: each Tuesday, Kat journals based on a writing prompt in this journal.
  • Pros:
    • We get to take time each week to connect, discuss feelings, and reflect
    • May seem limiting to some families, but could easily be adjusted to a schedule that best suits each family.


    • Variety! From novels to periodicals, to online sources, the sky is the limit
    • Child-led choices
    • Free books from the library!
    • Plan ahead, if you want the reading to correspond with other areas of study
    • Additional cost of Highlights Magazine


    • Journaling
    • Scientific observations
    • Texts
    • Chats in online games
    • Writing letters to friends and family
    • Storyboards

    While this took more time to compile than opening a boxed curriculum and organizing the materials, I’m excited about the fact that my daughter had such a huge part in choosing everything for her own learning. To me, that’s everything.

    We’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to post plates here and on Instagram as well.

    Nail then, be well!



    Categories: Uncategorized

    A Musing Mother

    Hi! My name is Theresa and I'm a wife, mom of three, and grandma to two. I am a Nature lover and a follower of Christ. I live in an old farmhouse on the river where I homeschool our daughter. Most days, I can be found reading, making nature-inspired products, & gardening. I also enjoy traveling with my family, exploring cool local places, and helping out others where I am able. On the blog, I must about life, love, and learning.

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