Planning Our First Homeschool Year (2020-21)

I have three children, ages 8, 7, and 1. Most of our schoolwork will be all together because that’s the beauty of homeschool! My biggest goal is to love my children as individuals and help them learn in the ways that work best for them. For my own sanity, here’s my general plan for the next year. It will be funny to look back next June and see if we stayed with all of this or if things changed at all. Here we go!



Since this will be our first year homeschooling, I want to use a curriculum to help stay on schedule and hit all our bases. I tend to rebel against specific schedules, but I know there will be plenty of days when I’m feeling uninspired and just need to look at the book to tell me what to do. I’ve admired everything from Peaceful Press for a long time and love how simple their layouts and ideas are. If we’re going to look at something every day, I want it to feel inspiring and open-ended. I like that PP offers a reference for me to begin a Charlotte Mason education in our home, but also not bossing me around every step of the way. This curriculum leaves plenty of room for me to adjust as I see fit.

Playful Pioneers focuses on early American history using scriptures, reading, discussion, narration, science, history, map work, art, poetry, and practical life skills. I love that we will be able to focus on learning deeply by incorporating so many subjects under the American history umbrella.

LITERATURE SUPPLEMENTS: Various multicultural book lists 

We want to learn our country’s history from as many perspectives as possible! It takes effort to seek out literature written by and about people of color, but thankfully there are some fabulous mamas compiling lists of multicultural picture books. Here are some of my favorites:

Heritage Mom

Charlotte Mason City Living

Little Women Farmhouse

SCIENCE + NATURE STUDY: Exploring Nature with Children

I am obsessed with this nature study guide! Each week has a theme and includes a related poem, piece of artwork, list of picture books, and extended learning lesson. But mostly you focus on getting outside and keeping a nature journal. Yes, yes, yes! We will do this one day a week in addition to our weekly Wild + Free nature outing.

MATH: Math U See and some Life of Fred

I love how this curriculum focuses on manipulatives and not endless worksheets. I think Emma is going to love this! We’ve also been reading the first Life with Fred book this summer and really like it for days when the girls need a more laid-back approach.

PHONICS: Explode the Code

Similar to Playful Pioneers, this phonics work is very streamlined and simple. My girls are strong readers, but this book will be good to help them not miss any important lessons. Addie loves spelling tests so we may add a few spelling words every week, but only if it’s helpful to her. I may look into some wooden letter manipulatives to practice spelling, because Emma gets tired of too much handwriting. 

MORNING BASKET: scripture, song, life skills/value book

My friend Caley suggested doing morning basket at the breakfast table as soon as we finish eating. This works so well! Nobody–myself included–has time to get distracted or start into another project; we just jump right in.

For summer morning basket, we currently read an illustrated scripture story, sing a song we’re learning (hymn, folk song, foreign language song), and read one page about a life skill or value. Right now we’re reading The Care and Keeping of YOU and the girls LOVE it. It’s been the perfect way to discuss things like healthy habits, personal hygiene, and body changes.

POETRY: Various poets

Adding poetry as part of morning time becomes too long for us, so I’m considering jumping on the Poetry Teatime train each afternoon. We usually end up in the kitchen around 3 pm anyway, hungry for a bowl of cereal. Poetry Cereal Time? I won’t be rigid on this, but it could be a good way to ground ourselves before the witching hour begins. We’ve spent a lot of time with Gyo Fujikawa’s collection of poems and I’m ready to branch out a bit, particularly to poems from different cultures than our own. Still compiling a list on this.


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