The Adventurous Mama 2020/2021 Curriculum Plan:

Hello Mamas! I have spoken with many friends who are anxious at the idea of unexpectedly homeschooling their children this year due to schools not opening because of the pandemic. If you’re in this boat, rest assured that most parents have feelings of doubt when deciding to homeschool their children and the pressure to not fail your children can be paralyzing. I began homeschooling last Fall 2019 with three school-aged girls ages 11, 8, and 5 and a 2-year-old and a baby on the way. I was super nervous and excited about making this transition. My kids like to call that feeling “nervous-cited.”
My advice to you, dear friend, is to relax and know there are some really wonderful curriculum ideas and options and books out there that can make your homeschool experience enchanting for both you and your kids! What works for one family might not work for you and that’s ok. It took me some trials and errors to find what would work best for us and I fully expect our methods to evolve over time. I wanted to share with you my most treasured finds so far in the realm of homeschool. Below are my four core recommendations to anyone looking into homeschooling. 1. Read or listen to the “The Call of the Wild and Free.” This book is amazing. It helped me to overcome some of my own over-analyzing and often paralyzing fears about my ability to educate my children. It is fun and informative and inspired me to trust in the educational advantages to homeschooling. I learned through this book to appreciate the bonding promoted in our family through homeschool. I realized that I have the opportunity to give my children a real and lasting education by inspiring them to want to learn and to become life-long learners rather than checking off boxes of worksheets and busy work twaddle. This book also helped me to resolve to get my kids outside regularly exploring the world to help ground their education in meaningful ways. 2. Gather ‘Round Homeschool Curriculum (covers all basic subjects except for math for all ages). This Curriculum is new as of 2019 and it takes all of the fear and stress out of homeschool planning. I happened upon this new curriculum the last quarter of my school year and I immediately abandoned my very expensive, big-box curriculum without a backward glance! With these books I am able to cover every subject except math and we learn together as a family. So what is Gather ‘Round Homeschool? It is a homeschool curriculum designed to be all your subjects except for math for every grade from Pre-k to Grade 12. There are six individual Student Notebooks that vary in level. These Student Notebooks include grammar, spelling, writing, art, reading & comprehension, geography, science, social studies, Bible, and more all using one central unit theme. The Teacher’s Guide has all of the information needed for every lesson simply and beautifully laid for you. Each Unit is designed to last 4-5 weeks and you can choose with your kids what you want to study. We did North American Birds and Africa to finish our school year last year and we have decided to start this school year with The Human Body. I really can’t say enough good things about this curriculum. We are new to it but it is beautifully made, inspires learning, and covers all of the basic subject in one fell swoop. 3. The Story of the World (History). This was my first foray into a curriculum outside of our original Abeka Program and it is what inspired me to become an outside-of-the-box curriculum mama. The Story of the World is a four-volume set designed as a read-aloud book for elementary school children. The books cover ancient times until the present including the histories of Africa, China, Europe, and the Americas. It is engaging and fun, and the companion workbooks include creative projects and narration exercises that go hand-in-hand with each section of the book. We read this together and all of my girls and I find it to be captivating and we have all learned so much already! There is a high school version as well titled “The History of the World” that I will be looking into for my oldest. 4. Math Lessons for a Living Education and Teaching Textbooks(we use two different curriculums for math). The first, “Math Lessons for Living,” is for pre-K though grade 6 so my 6-year-old and my 9-year-old use them. These books use what is called a “Master Approach” to math which basically means each concept is “mastered” by the student before moving on to the next. The alternative to to a master approach is what is called a “spiral approach” where new concepts are introduced often and rather than mastering the one concept the student moves forward and circles back around to it later again and again. For me it is really important that my kids feel confident in their math skills. I don’t want them to dread their math lesson because it feels too difficult or tedious. These books are fun and use a hands-on approach whenever possible as well as fun life stories and colorful pictures to help relate the math concepts to real-life situations. The lessons are usually 15-20 minutes and we love them. The second, “Teaching Textbooks,” is completely online and my oldest daughter loves it. She just needs a computer, internet, a notebook and a pencil.  This one is a “spiral approach” which works well for her at this age. She is able to learn her lessons and complete her work in under 45 minutes each day. About once a week she has a quiz and I can easily monitor her progress and ascertain if there is a concept she needs help with or more practice in. With other programs math would sometimes take 1-2 hours a day and while she excels in math, she was growing to dread it due to the length of the lessons. Now she chooses to go ahead in her lessons, sometimes working on the weekends or doing more than one each day because she enjoys it so much. I want to make sure my girls always feel very confident and excited about math and these curriculums are helping to achieve that goal. So there you have it! These are my core recommendations for anyone looking into starting or changing up their homeschool. Look for my upcoming posts on enrichment plans that I have for this school year that I am so excited about. I also will be posting our 2019-2020 read-aloud list as well as our planned read-alouds for the 2020-2021 school year and tips to help you ease into your homeschool schedule this Fall. Thank you so much for reading and relax Mama, no one loves your kids like you do! -Reeg

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