It’s the most wonderful time of year….for homeschool moms. 😆
It’s that time of the year when we start the relentless researching for curriculum for the upcoming school year. As we ease into spring and slowly get to the end of our current school year, we get a little bored with what we are doing. So the search starts for fun, new curriculum and ideas for projects and adventures. This happens to me every year, but of course I take it to the next extreme. I can’t just plan for the next school year, but usually plan a rough idea for the next 4 or 5 school years to come.
With it being our 5th year homeschooling this year, I have learned a lot along the way and have figured out what works best for our family, and myself. There might be other styles or curriculums I REALLY love and want to do, or have tried my hardest to do, but in the end they just aren’t the right fit for us. I have come to terms to just do what we enjoy and let the rest go.
*If you are still trying to figure out your homeschool style or what curriculum works best for your family, check out THIS simple quiz on one of my previous blog posts.
We LOVE unit studies. My brain, and my family work, so much better when all of our subjects work together. We love to combine science, history, art, and nature studies all within the same topic or time period. So when planning for future homeschool years, this is what I keep in mind.
I have planned out the next few years of what I would like to learn about and accomplish in our homeschool. I do this every year, and my plans usually change, but this just puts my mind at ease and gives me a larger scale idea of the topics we would like to complete over time.
WHERE TO START:
I usually begin by looking around and researching different history curriculums (probably because it is my favorite subject) to get a general idea of the topics or time periods we will study each year. Many history curriculums are 4 year programs. You do don’t have to use all 4 years, or you can even change if you decide it isn’t a good fit later, but choosing one I really like is how I decide on topics and space them out over different years so we aren’t learning the same time period over and over. I have (roughly) decided on the history curriculums we will be using for the next few years and will share towards the end of this post.
ADDING OTHER SUBJECTS:
When I have decided what curriculum we are going to use for history, then I am able to get an idea for what science, nature study, art, or other topics we would like to add to compliment it. I will share an example by sharing what our plans are for the upcoming school year starting this fall.
This is our 5th year homeschooling, but for the sake of this blog post, to make it easier to share, I will refer to each year I have planned as Year 1, Year 2, etc.
Year 1 (next year): Around the World
Next year we are going to spend all year studying “Around the World.” We are going to be learning all about different countries and cultures with Around the World with Picture Books Part I & Part II from Beautiful Feet Books. This curriculum is so great in giving lessons and ideas on teaching about the different countries through wonderful picture books, nature connections, art/artist studies, recipes, and maps.
For science, I am not going to be using a science curriculum. 😳 1) Science is not my favorite subject. 2) I can’t find a science curriculum that I think will be a good fit for our family/younger kids. 3) I like to plan lots of projects, gather books, and get ideas on my own, so this gives me the freedom to do so.
I decided we are going to be doing our own thing and studying the biomes, habitats, and animals of each of the countries we will be learning about. For example, when we study about the country of Egypt we will also be learning about deserts, the Nile River, and the animals that live there. We will make a diorama of the landscape, learn about the landforms of the area, and do notebooking on different animals. I am going to be using The Usborne Living World Encyclopedia as my main reference book as well as many other books from the library along the way. We will be studying the geograpy of each country and doing map work as well.
*If you are not comfortable with planning your own unit studies like this, and like everything laid out for you, check out My Fathers World: Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum. This curriculum is very similar taking you around the world studying different countries, cultures, and adding in ecosystems for science, but planned out for you day by day.
We will also be adding in Passports to Adventures from The Waldock Way. This is a simple curriculum that travels the world through the Magic Tree House books! I will just match up the unit in this curriculum with the same country we are studying in Around the World with Picture Books. Using this will help us add in some handwriting, read aloud, and even more fun projects and games we can complete.
Year 2: Playful Pioneers/ American History
The following year we will be headed back into American History, mostly for my boys, but also for my daughter to dive a little deeper. If you are new around here, this year we have been using my American Girl History study guides for American History and I am planning another similar guide (boy specific) that I hope to have done this summer. I will be using that guide for my boys in this year. I also want to tie in using the Playful Pioneers curriculum from The Peaceful Press. I have wanted to do this curriculum for YEARS! It looks so wonderful and I really want to read the Little House on the Prairie series with my kids.
I’m not sure on science yet (as many of the other years,) but probably want to touch on earth science/weather and geology. I would love us to learn about the different types of weather that are in the United States such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
Year 3: California History
By the time we get to this year I will have a 5th, 3rd, and 1st grader (and a preschooler.) -That’s crazy to think about!-
Anyway, in California (where we live) California history is taught in 4th grade. However, I want to wait until my daughter is in 5th (possibly 6th grade) so we can do it as a family since I hope a LOT of field trips will be involved.
I hope to use Around California with Picture Books: A History of the Golden State from Beautiful Feet Books, as well as learning about all the California Missions (where the field trips come in.)
For science this year I think we will study the ocean and water since we are close to the coast. I also plan to use the California Nature Study guide from Chickee & Roo. (She is creating one for each state and they are so great!)
Year 4: Ancient History
Year 5: Middles Ages
This is when we will dive into a possible 4 year study with one curriculum choice. What we decide will most likely depend on the curriculums we have used up to this point and what worked the best for our family (Beautiful Feet Books, The Peaceful Press, or something new.) I have researched far and wide and have narrowed it down to choosing between these curriculum guides for Ancient History, Medieval History, etc:
Story of Civilization (Catholic/Biblical version of Story of the World)
So that is my rough draft and ideas for our upcoming school years and how I get there. Of course this can possibly change next summer as I revisit this list and review what works and doesn’t work for us. Life is ever changing, the needs of my kids is constantly changing, so I know this plan could too as well.
I also love to have my kids input and work toward their interests in what they want to learn. If for some reason my kids start to really get into knights and castles and want to learn about medieval history next, then we will jump to that next instead of what I have planned. The beauty of homeschool is that it is FLEXIBLE and we are able to move things around as needed, serve the interests of our children, and find what suits our family best.
I hope this is helpful to you as you look ahead at your homeschool journey. Or at least it helped you find some other great curriculums to look into!
I’m so excited to explore all these topics and eras of history with my children! It’s going to be a great homeschool journey!
I will be sure to share reviews of all the curriculum we used this past school year and another post sharing ALL the curriculum we plan to use next year soon; so stay tuned for those! 😊