Homeschool Curriculum for 2011/2012

We’ve simplified a lot this year. As we continue to grow in the Lord and pray for His wisdom we continue to realize how artificially complex education (even or perhaps especially home education) has become, perhaps this helps to justify the idea that parents aren’t capable of educating their own children and that it is a job that is best left to the ‘experts’. Whatever the reason, we’re continuing to simplify our children’s education and we’re continuing to see wonderful results.

Since we educate year round, we did not take a full break during the summer months which means that we aren’t rushing back into everything all at once. We’ve already been doing much of what is on this list and there are a few things that we have yet to start. Flexibility, part of the beauty of homeschooling. 🙂

Over the summer the children have been doing Bible, Greek, math and science everyday. History has been covered 2-3 times a week and we’ve maintained art and music.

Some things to remember.

  • We have 10 children.  We will be using more books and resources than I have listed to educate our children this year, but these are the things that we will make a specific effort to work through.
  • Our method of  homeschooling  is laid back and relationship based.  We use these resources as tools, not necessarily as written.
  • We school year round. We will not necessarily be doing each of these things everyday.
  • We do not sit down and do this during ‘school time’.  We read Bibles when we first get up, work on memorization after breakfast, read aloud before naps and after dinner, take nature journals when we go to the park, narrate at the dinner table and discuss history in the car.
  • The methods that you use to educate your children are just as important, if not more so, than the curriculum you choose.

Our kids:

Amber (14), Kaitlin (13), Matthew (12), Alyssa (11), Carter (9), Sadie (7), Savannah (6), Colby (5), Nick (3) and Bella (1).

Sorry, it's an old picture from back when Nick was the baby.

Our Homeschool Curriculum


  • Bible reading: Advanced readers (kids 11 and older): Continue reading through the Bible every 90 daysRegular readers (6-9 year olds): Finish reading through the Bible by January and then use this reading schedule to read through the Bible twice during 2012. Colby: Begin reading in Matthew 1. Little ones: Memorize the Children’s catechism.
  • Bible study: Herein Is Love, Vol. 2: Exodus (We are several chapters into this Exodus book and we’re not yet sure if it’s a keeper). A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament
  • Bible Memorization: Last year the children memorized more than 40 Psalms. We’ll continue that this year and use Songs from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s by Jamie Soles as a starting point. (We highly recommend Jamie’s music. Check out my full review.)
  • Personal: We’ve developed a list of books (one for girls and another for boys) that we want our children to read. Some of these are biographies of admirable men and women, others are historic accounts of brave deeds and the sovereignty of God and some are encouragement for becoming the young men and women God would have them to be. Each child will work their way through their reading list at their own pace. This is a life assignment, more than a ‘school’ assignment and we don’t expect it will be complete by the end of the year.


Rays Arithmetic (Carter 9 and Alyssa 11)

Aleks –  Algebra 1 (Matthew 12 and Kaitlin 13) and High School Geometry (Amber 14)

Now that our three oldest children are all working “above grade level” in math (this is not because their teacher excels in math, trust me), we’re finally able to say that our theory of delaying formal math instruction has been successful.  (You may be interested in reading how we teach our younger children.)

Language Arts

  • McGuffey Readers (5 and up) for vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, grammar, writing and reading.
  • Analytical Grammar (age 11 and up) (Because I can’t completely let go of the ‘school’ mindset and I love diagramming.) We are in our second year.
  • Read for one hour everyday (all readers) They are reading books from their personal lists, books from our history reading lists and books from our “read-this-year” book shelf.
  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Nick?)


This is why we choose to teach Greek.

Hey Andrew – (9 and older) Some may finish this year and we are planning on moving to Biblical Greek by Bill Mounce .


For history this year we are working through a list of resources: books, Cds and DVDs, that Mark and I have put together for our children. We’re using several Vision Forum sets as a type of ‘spine’ and then adding in readers (many from Sonlight, Answers in Genesis and All Through the Ages) in addition to others.

We read aloud and/or listen to a CD and spend time discussing what we’ve heard each day. I love these discussions. If you have children over age 5 (or so) and daily discussions are not part of your homeschool program, then I’d encourage you to start including them now. These are some of the best of times!

We will continue supplementing this with Sonlight Core 2 readers for our younger children.


Apologia Biology (Amber, 14)

Apologia Physical Science (Matthew, 12 and Kaitlin 13)

Apologia Botany (everyone else)


We choose one composer every month or so and use this Masters of Classical Music set and any other Cds that feature that composer. Before we put on the Cd we announce the composer’s name. Sometime during the few weeks that we are listening to that composer’s music we listen to these narrations of their life story.


Artistic Pursuits – as desired.

Physical Education

Cross Country (5 and up run, 7 and up compete)


Here are some background posts on choosing curriculum:

My heart and homeschool curriculum
Method counts – how you use what you choose
God’s method for education

I encourage you to read “Teaching Little Ones (under 10)” and “Teaching Bigger Ones

What are you using this year? Have you found something that you love?


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46 Responses to Homeschool Curriculum for 2011/2012
  1. Lesa
    August 24, 2011 | 9:13 am

    We have fallen in love with Simply Charlotte Mason for history. Love the guides. I have my 14 yo doing Analytical Grammar and he gets it, fantastic. We use Life of Fred for the 11yo and 14yo, Singapore and Key to for the younger. The older kids read Egermiers story bible to the youngers and all (9yo+) read different Christian living books. We read the bible as a family at night. We “school” all day, differently each day. This isn’t everything, but it’s the main. We live in the city with lots of galleries and museums so we make use of those also.


    Amy Reply:

    Thanks for saying that you like the Simply Charlotte Mason history. I have looked at it and am thinking of doing it with my kids (in a few years…my oldest is 3 =) Glad to hear a positive review of it!


  2. Annie
    August 24, 2011 | 9:34 am

    Bible: Bible, Hero Tales, missionary biographies, Window on the World

    Geography/Science: My Father’s World- Exploring Countries and Cultures

    Language Studies: Intermediate Language Lessons, Writing Strands Level 3, Spelling Power, various required and recommened books from MFW-ECC, other suppliments for my dyslexic son

    Math: Horizons Math grade 4 and suppliments for my dyslexic son

    Extras- Global Art, Wee Sing Music Around the World, ASL, soccer

    We co-op with 4 families each Thursday. We all use MFW-ECC and have each taken a subject which we teach to the children for that day. A typical co-op day starts with Bible and corporate prayer, geography and science and ends with art and or music. We have such a wonderful time!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m in the middle of reading Hero Tales aloud to the children. 🙂


  3. Renee
    August 24, 2011 | 9:44 am

    Thank you so much for all the resources, for a newbie like myself trying to train our 3 toddler and perhaps teach them a few things along the way, this post is a real encouragement 🙂


  4. Kristen
    August 24, 2011 | 9:59 am

    Ooh, ooh, I’ve just got to tell you this. My grandfather went to Little Greenbrier School! We took my kids there this summer. And we walked up to the Walker Sisters’ cabin. (They were his aunts.)


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    That is very cool. We were just up there again a couple weeks ago. Now I can tell the kids that I know someone related to the Walker Sisters.


    Janet Reply:

    I live 5 minutes from all of this. I homeschooled my own for 14 years. They are all grown and gone now but it is possible for them to do so much more when you homeschool. They all went on to Ivy colleges on scholarship
    The oldest just graduated law school , the second one is entering third year medical school Who says it can’t be done they are all wrong!


  5. Shannon
    August 24, 2011 | 10:01 am

    I remember last year when you were re-considering your options for History. I was wondering what you decided. There are almost too many options. I finally came to Sonlight this year (after 3 years of consideration) and am happy with it so far. I am looking forward to both see what you have to say about how your revised History studies are going, and to look back at your older posts about how Sonlight worked in your family.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We still enjoy using many of Sonlight’s resources. I hope that it is a good fit for your family.


  6. Amy in Luzianna
    August 24, 2011 | 10:57 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! I appreciate your honesty and transparency. You and your husband have obviously prayed long and hard over your children’s education and it’s such a blessing to see when all around us homeschooling families are just falling in line with whatever is popular and not focusing on their children’s eternal souls. Your posts encourage me to be purposeful in our homeschool. We have made alot of changes this year and we pray that our priorities are in line with what God would have us do. So here’s the rundown for our 12 yr. old son –

    Bible – What We Believe Bk. 1 Who Is God? from Apologia
    Character Booklets from IBLP
    Daily catechism training using Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
    Memorizing various Bible passages throughout the year
    Read through Missionary Patriarch: The True Story of John G. Paton, followed by other missionary biographies through the year

    History, Reading, Science – Heart of Dakota-Hearts for Him Through Time, Creation to Christ

    Language Arts – Writing-Igniting Your Writing
    Language, Copywork, Picture Study-Language Lessons from Queen

    Math – Teaching Textbooks and Christian Light Education


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We read Missionary Patriarch with the children last year. Enjoy!


  7. Cori
    August 24, 2011 | 11:28 am


    I had a question about Bible reading. What do your non readers do while readers are reading their Bibles in the morning? I would love to have our family read together in the mornings but I only have one reader. My kids are 6, 5, and 3. I tried having my 6 yr. old read one chapter out loud from the New Testament to all of us but the little ones get antsy. Right now we read a children’s Bible with everyone during breakfast but my 6 yr old is ready for the NKJ.

    Any advise is appreciated! Thanks!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    My husband helps the non-readers memorize the children’s catechism while the big kids are reading.

    We have a time of family worship at both breakfast and dinner, so those little guys hear God’s Word read and explained daily.


  8. Kelley
    August 24, 2011 | 11:39 am

    This is our first year using a curriculum, and oy, it’s been a headache. I think I’ve finally settled on Weaver to start with, and then we might transition to Heart of Dakota in the middle of the year…depending on how I like Heart of Dakota. We do a bible lesson and devotional daily, and will start with weekly verse memorization this year…or at least try to. This post was so helpful and incouraging! Thanks for all the resources too!

    Oh, and Your children are ADORABLE! And my children are 5, 3.5, almost 2, and 5 months. 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Kelley. I pray that this year runs more smoothly. 🙂


  9. Gabe
    August 24, 2011 | 12:33 pm

    We are in the midst of a new baby, hubby finishing his Phd, purchasing a house, and a move out of state (all happening in the span of 2 months). School for now is lots of reading (individual and out loud as a group), math review and most importantly just enjoying what God has going on in our lives right now and learning through it all! Oh, we have 7 children ages 11 years – 11 days!

    As soon as we get settled we will start in on our Ray’s and McGuffey’s as well as the unit studies on the reformation and pilgrims for October/November. We will also be using this time to settle into our new home and learn about our new home state. I’ll use December/January to look at what is working for our new situation and make plans from there.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Whew, you all have a lot going on. Praying for calmness, peace and patience.


  10. Melanie
    August 24, 2011 | 1:48 pm

    I’m doing Sonlight Core A with Luke(5) this year. We do memory work after breakfast–Bible passages, hymns, catechism, Greek,and read a Bible story. I use Spell to Write and Read for phonics/spelling. We’re also doing Horizons Math K double pace. We did Singapore K last year, but I was never quite comfortable with it, so we switched. We’re just back to work this week after taking 2 weeks off to move, so it’s been a little rough as always after a break. 🙂


  11. Michelle
    August 24, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    Would you mind listing some of the books that you plan to have your kids read? My kids are 7, 5, 4, 2, and 11 months and I would love to see book suggestions if any are appropriate for that age range.



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I plan on posting (in the near future) our list of ‘personal’ books that we have for both boys and girls. Many of them will be for children a little older than yours.

    For my younger children I’m reading the read alouds from Sonlight. We started with Core 1 and will move all the way through Core 5. Of course we do a lot more than that, but I have those and they are conveniently on a list for me. 😉

    Stay tuned (and bug me if I don’t get it done in the next two weeks)>


  12. deanna
    August 24, 2011 | 2:41 pm

    I really enjoy reading and getting ideas from you. I am trying very hard to work on scripture memorization this year, so I have really liked reading about how you handle it and I would also love to see a sample list of the books you talk about in the “personal” section. I am always on the look out for quality reading for all ages that teaches character and biblical values. thanks!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    List of books from our ‘personal’ section coming to a RO post soon.

    Honestly, I’m so busy teaching school I’m having a hard time cutting out time for the computer, but I suppose that is a good thing. 🙂


  13. Jarnette @ Seasons of Life
    August 24, 2011 | 4:18 pm

    Kimberly ~

    We are more scheduled with our day by using some core curriculums, but still take time for spontaneous learning, lots of reading and hands-on learning {like field trips, projects, and special learning opportunities happening in our community}. This method of combining book work with real life learning has worked for us for many years {let’s see…we started homeschooling 15 years ago}.

    I just did a post on our homeschool plan and curriculum choices for this year…

    providing links to the resources/materials we plan to use during the year. As with any home learning, there are so many more things we do than just the “book work” that aren’t listed or catalogued…that’s where a delight for learning comes into play. 😉 Thanks for sharing how you all do it with a family of 12 ~ an encouragement indeed. 🙂

    Blessings in Him ~

    Jarnette @ Seasons of Life


  14. Alisha
    August 24, 2011 | 4:23 pm

    Great post. Thank you so much for sharing. What is “the Children’s catechism”?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This is the children’s catechismthat we use. 🙂


  15. Alisha
    August 24, 2011 | 4:26 pm

    Also, at some point would you share your list of books. I’m very curious. I feel a little lost when it comes to homeschooling, and I really do learn so much from your blog. So many times I ask God to show me how to do something and your blog is an answer to prayer. What a wonderful God we serve. Thanks again for your wisdom and transparency and obedience to God’s calling.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I will hopefully be posting some of our book lists soon. Stay tuned.


  16. Celee
    August 24, 2011 | 8:34 pm

    So glad to know about Jamie Soles’ 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s album! I just ordered it, thanks to you. I’m not sure how that one escaped me. Are Ascending, Pure Words, and The 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s his only Psalms CDs?

    I started super simple with Robinson Curriculum and may make our way back to that. I’m doing two cores with the kids this year and I find my 10 and 12 yr olds wanting to listen in to Charlotte’s Web as we read. 2-3 hrs of reading aloud per day is also a bit taxing on the vocal cords!



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I also had big kids wanting to listen to the younger kids core. It’s a good problem to have, kinda.


  17. Heidi
    August 24, 2011 | 10:50 pm

    We are using for Bible this year something new I found
    ‘The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: A Survey of the Bible’ by Starr Meade.

    I have loved her book Mighty Acts of God pointing to God in every Bible event (I like to use that word instead of story, because these are events that really happened!). She likes to make sure kids don’t lose focus on who the real Main ‘Character’ is in every part of God’s Word…God Himself!

    The one I mentioned 1st, is a 4 book series and with a 5th book answer key. There is 2 ways to go thru these books. Read thru the whole Bible and answer the questions and have discussions as a family, or just do the Scripture passages suggested and the questions. I plan on taking at least 2 years to get thru these. I got a set for each child and 1 for myself (I only have 3 left to homeschool).

    Here is a list of her books!

    The Bible survey books are at the bottom of this page!


  18. Karyn
    August 25, 2011 | 3:19 pm

    love reading these homeschool lists of yours – I get new ideas each time – thanks! 🙂 love, Karyn


  19. Christin @ Joyful Mothering
    August 26, 2011 | 10:15 pm

    So much wonderful stuff here. I wish I had time to share all my curriculum choices. Maybe I can add to my page a little at a time.

    We use Tapestry of Grace and just love it. I also {try to} follow the Charlotte Mason method. My children need that gentle learning approach. I’m still trying to rid my mind of the public school mentality (since I came from public schools). It’s so hard, but we’re getting there! My eldest is only 9 and she does very well independently. Now it’s time to focus on my 6-year old (boy) who doesn’t do so well independently for too long (rightly so, he’s only 6!)

    Anyhoo..thanks for sharing your resources and how you learn throughout the day — as naturally as you live. This is my goal this year as well! 🙂


  20. SueAnn
    August 28, 2011 | 7:25 pm

    I would love to see the reading lists you mentioned.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hopefully coming to RO soon. 😉


  21. Sandy
    August 29, 2011 | 10:24 pm

    I’m always on the look-out for GOOD books for my children to read. Would love to know what made your list for your kids!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m working on a post outlining some of the books we’ve chosen.


  22. Michelle
    September 2, 2011 | 1:03 am

    I have enjoyed reading your posts on homeschooling and what you decided to use for curriculum. I have been going back and forth in my mind trying to find a history curriculum that I think fits our family and I am struggling. We are using the veritas press history cards right now and the recommended literature. I would really like something that gives me the weekly schedule and reading list so I do not have to do the planning myself, however I have not found one that seems to fit. (We have five children with two in school grades 1 and 3.) I would like it to be literature based and in chronological order. I wanted to ask you what made you choose the programs that you did? What made you put together your own, and did you follow any text or guide? When I put things together myself I feel like I am leaving something important out. How did you deal with that? Thank you for sharing your homeschool experience, it is helpful and encouraging.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m not clear on your first question,

    what made you choose the programs that you did?

    Are you asking about the history or all of the programs we chose? (I’m assuming history, but want to make certain before I answer that.) Since you use Veritas, are you wondering why that’s not one of my resources? 😉

    I’ve posted a lot as we’ve moved along the road to putting together our own curriculum. You may want to search “sonlight” as that is the curriculum we used up until last year and read about why we liked it and why we left it. Basically, we got to the point that we knew we needed to put together our own program in order to teach our children what we wanted to teach them in the manner we wanted to teach them.

    I didn’t follow any text or guide. I did use some aspects of several programs. We chose some of the recommended read alouds from Sonlight. We have also chosen to cover all of the topics from History Revealed (the history program from Answers in Genesis) and have incorporated some of their suggested resources. I have also incorporated lectures and books from Vision Forum.

    Let me assure you that I have left ‘something important’ out according to ‘someone’. But we are not responsible to measure up to ‘someone’s’ standard. 🙂 I am responsible to please God. I am responsible to teach my children everything that God has commanded and that can all be found in one, relatively short, book. That is where we focus all of our studies.

    It may sound simplistic, especially in today’s society that nearly idolized education, but it is simple. We believe Matthew 6:33,

    But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    We strive and pray to seek God’s kingdom and then pray that He will add the rest to us and to our children.

    May the Lord bless your journey.


    Michelle Reply:

    Thank you for the reply.
    Yes the question was about your history choice and you answered it well. I have been considering creating our own program for history as well and that is why I wanted to ask you your reasons and how you went about it. I will check into the resources that you mentioned, thank you.
    Thank you also for the great reminder that when our focus is on Gods word that all other things will be added by Him. I do need to remember that it is ok to “leave something out” and just enjoy teaching what them what I have.
    Thanks again.


  23. jul
    September 6, 2011 | 8:23 pm

    do you have a post or a link already where you detail what is on your list of books ‘for life’ for boys and girls? i’m interested to see what you’ve chosen.



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m hoping to post our list sometime this week.


  24. Meg
    November 18, 2011 | 9:18 pm

    We love, love, love Amblesideonline for Charlotte Mason style curriculum…so many wonderful book choices and mostly free online. We do look at thrift stores and used book fairs for many of the books as well.


  25. Dyan Croushore
    February 25, 2012 | 11:42 pm

    We are also using Herein Is Love: Exodus. We have enjoyed it so far, but I have found that it doesn’t seem to be especially geared towards younger kids. The chapters are really long (especially after we read through the Bible verses as well). The comprehension questions in the back of the book are geared towards older kids/teens as well. We are schooling 6 of our children ages 9,7,7,5,3,and 19 months. I usually have the oldest three take turns reading the Bible verses aloud, and then I read the commentary to them. They have a glazed look sometimes by the end of the chapter. I love the concept of exposition for children, and they are learning a lot, but I wish it was more muti-age friendly.


  26. Amy
    February 29, 2012 | 4:40 pm

    I have learned so much by reading your blog. I have 6 kids (16yrs-19mo) and have been homeschooling for 7 years. I am changing our method from everyone doing their individual school work to doing it as a family. Also, moving to a more Charlotte Mason type of education. I am having trouble deciding on how to make these changes and what books to use. I’m feeling overwhelmed at this point. God is showing me that I am entering a new season with educating my children. More emphasis on family relationships, learning together and engaging with each other more. I just want to say thank you so much for sharing about your family because God is using it to guide me and I’m sure other families as well. May God bless your family.


  27. MERI
    September 30, 2012 | 1:00 am

    I just ordered the “Teaching your child to read in 100 easy lessons” I am glad to see it listed here. I am going to attempt it with my 5 yr old son who is not as interested in learning to read as my daughter who just seemed to sit down and all of a sudden began to read chapter books. I was wondering how people like it and did they find it effective?


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