2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum {3rd & 5th grade}

We are on our 6th week of the new school year. This week is our first full week of school and Monday was our first Monday of the school year. We had a very full day and didn't finish school until 4:00, but we did everything I "scheduled" in my logbook. Mondays and Wednesdays are our full days, Tuesdays and Thursdays are our light days (great days for projects), and Friday is a very light day for a few subjects, catch up, field trips, nature walks, and/or co-op. It's also my prep day, but I have to start tidying the house, do the shopping, and plan our meals on Thursday to get that part in if we plan to be outside the home that day.

It's taken me awhile to share what we are using this year because I didn't feel our line-up was complete. I have one box on the way and that will hopefully complete our homeschool line-up.

Here's what I am using for...

History with Eliana

I started Bigger this past spring and took a break from the history at unit 10 - I felt like something was missing. It was all going too fast and my little homeschool love tank wasn't getting filled. So, I ordered the read-alouds and readers from Sonlight as a supplement. I was missing the living history books - real books that make learning history fun! 

Since I have the Core D&E guide, I went ahead and ordered the Landmark History of the American People (2 volume set) to make the most of our time in American History. I originally avoided this core because I didn't love the old Landmark book when we did this core with the older boys, but the new books are supposed to be easier to read and are in color, so I'm anxious to see if that is true.

History with Malachi

Malachi continues to do well with Veritas Press Online Self-Paced History. He is currently working on Exploration to 1815. He uses the history cards daily, and I pulled out one of the most common resources (that I own) for him to use as a reference along with the program (which really is enough in itself). (My review of Veritas Online Self-Paced History).  He is also sitting in with us for our Sonlight read-alouds and is reading the D&E readers.

I'm a visual person, so I fell in love with the "Visual Dictionary" series when I first saw them, so we will read those for a visual of each time period. (I ordered these from Amazon - affiliate link).

I do plan to row a few FIAR books! 

The first one up is The Hatmaker's Sign from Volume 4. I may or may not row Paul Revere, but we will read it as a go-along for sure. 

Language Arts with Eliana

  • All About Spelling 3
  • All About Reading 3
  • BJU English 2
  • Italic C
All About Reading Level 3 Review
Why I love teaching with All About Spelling
All About Learning Press (Affiliate Link)

Language Arts with Malachi 

  • Italic C, then D
  • BJU English 4
  • All About Spelling 5
  • English From the Roots Up


I am going to relax and enjoy nature study with the children this year. Our Botany studies over the summer laid a nice foundation and Pocketful of Pinecones inspired me to use more of Ms. Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study, so we will likely follow up with Lessons at Blackberry Inn. Science will likely include documentaries and books from the library on areas of interest. We will likely continue this through the winter and start something new in the spring. 

We are up to A Pioneer Sampler in Bigger science and will pick that back up when we catch up with the history. Excited for this one! 

(Links to Amazon are affiliate links.) 


We are using Math Lessons for a Living Education. Eliana will do Book 3. Malachi will finish Book 4 and Book 5 this year so I can start him on Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals & Percents next year for 6th.  

Homeschool Co-op

Eliana and Malachi took classes at our local co-op this quarter: art, chess, and music for both, and also sewing for Eliana. They both also played soccer and with such a busy first quarter, I'm really looking forward to settling into our school year. Slow won't come easy, but focusing on what's important will hopefully be easier. 

I may be interested in helping with a Wyoming History class next semester and/or a Science Fair or projects class. We'll see!

Next year

Here's my plan: I want to dig deep and enjoy one year of American History so we can start Prairie Primer in the spring or early summer. I've been wanting to do PP for a few years, but wanted to wait until Eliana was old enough to get the most out of it. I'm excited that we are so close! Malachi will continue with VP 1815 to Modern times during that time as well. I plan to do Young Explorers Human Anatomy and/or Nutrition 101 for Science to tie into Prairie Primer.

The future

After Prairie Primer, the plan is to do one year of Cultural & Physical Geography with MFW or North Star Geography (or both) or something entirely different (who knows what will come up by then) and tie in Five in a Row (by country) with Bo plus do Core A: Intro to World Cultures.

Then the plan is to start over with the history cycle - Cores G and H with Malachi and Eliana and Cores B&C with Bo, then Core 100 and Core D&E again!

Then I would love to do Where the Brook and the River Meet with Eliana. But, I'm getting way ahead of myself here. :)

I do plan to homeschool all three younger children through high school. While my two teen boys are loving public high school, it's on my heart to have them home again. I don't think it would be easy or even fun, but it would have to be their decision.

I am, however, preparing my heart (and theirs) for the long run with the younger kids. I especially need a hobby for Malachi. He plays soccer and chess, but needs some good boy hobbies until he is old enough to work. Luke just finished reading Created for Work to him (required reading in high school) and I'm anxious to keep his time filled with productive pursuits. We tried whittling and I recently bought him a metal detector and a tool for digging and will be looking for fun ways to use that. I even had the thought to find a way to move to our off-grid property to give him valuable work to do, but I'm afraid we'd be too isolated and the work too hard. It's easy to romanticize the Little House on the Prairie days, but it is hard work to live that way.

Wouldn't it be valuable work to teach the children, though? It was wonderful for teaching the older boys the value of work as they helped build the house, clear the land, and chop firewood. We are planning a trip next month to work (we need to replace firewood that was stolen), but it's hard to take the time and money to get up there regularly. Prairie Primer will be great for inspiring projects and I may sneak a survival course in there for Malachi (the sequel to Prepare and Pray) for more projects.

I almost included this in our line-up, but I took it out thinking it would be too much. Perhaps since I am slowing down, this would be a valuable tool to give Malachi some meaningful work to do.

Above all, I pray for God's guidance to do everything heartily as unto Him.


  1. I am also starting to think the history in Bigger Hearts moves too fast with too little information. I am having my 10 year old read the history extension books. I am also not pleased with the science portion, and find myself continually adding in! I have seen the Handbook of Nature Study, but never a review. How do you like it? Those math books look amazing, and I have been looking for a more "living" math curriculum. I wanted to start math journals, and the math copywork would be an excellent resource. Looks like a full and wonderful curriculum line-up! I love your blog.

    1. Thank you, Megan!

      The Handbook is rather thick and I've had it for years. I used it when I was following the Handbook of Nature Study blog and participating in Barb's challenges. This is how we use it now: we pick a topic (we go on a nature walk and I ask the kids what they saw that they want to learn more about) then we read about it in the handbook and then if we can, we do the activities in the book. There's so much there and we have found a lesson on whatever it is we are looking for so far! They have it on an app now and I think that would be wonderful to have for when we are out and about because I don't like to carry the book around - it's big! But full of lots of great lessons. :)

  2. Michelle, what an amazing year you have planned! It looks like a great line-up. The Prepare & Pray looks awesome. I wish I had the energy for that one. I think I remember reading about it from your blog before. I'll have to take a peek at it again :)

    1. Thank you, Linda! Yes, Prepare and Pray was great for my boys. We were using another full curriculum at the time, but we carved out one day a week for reading and projects. I wish I would have kept some of them, but it will be fun to start over with Malachi. :)

    2. One day a week sounds doable, hmmm (I'm thinking, I'm thinking) :)

  3. Looks wonderful. Our homeschools look so similar, especially the read alouds! I agree with your comment about HOD. We felt the same way and switched to using the Simply Charlotte Mason history guide as a springboard for the different history cycles. We are also covering the pioneers/settlers/colonial times this year with Canadian history added in as well... such fun stuff to study! I've been meaning to do a post like this (our 2015-2016 curric) but it has changed so many times I fear putting it in a post only to change it 2 months later! Such is life these days... but the 'time period' will stay the same... ;) I know that for sure. Hope you have a great year, Michelle.

    1. I was afraid to, too! Then right after I posted a homeschool mama messaged me about some really great notebooking pages to go along with Sonlight and I'm tempted to dump Bigger - that's why I wanted to use it in the first place - because of the notebooking. THEN, Malachi logged on to take his Veritas test and the screen was blank - his subscription had expired. lol So, he asked if he can just do Sonlight. I have the next VP level already purchased so need to extend it or see if they will transfer the purchase so he can finish this level, but sheesh! Such is life indeed. :)

  4. I love seeing your plans! Such good stuff :) I like how you are approaching science. I love Handbook of Nature study. I think it is written so beautifully by someone who truly had wonder over God's creation. Next year I plan to use BF American with some Prairie Primer books. I've been wanting to use that for forever too! I'm so excited about next year. I need to not think so far ahead though ha!

  5. Oh! We will be using Apologia Anatomy. I had forgotten about Nutrition 101! That would be so great with Anatomy. You have my wheels turning!

    1. I actually did Nutrition 101 when Jordan did General Science (which has a good portion on Anatomy) and my boys did Anatomy so it really is great! :)

      Fun that you will be doing some PP books, Tara! :)

  6. I always look forward to reading your blog! Thank you for all that you share! You are an ecouragement!

    1. Thank you for letting me know, Pam! :) You're most welcome, of course. :)

  7. How do you like the Math Lessons for a Living Education? I can't find samples anywhere, and I have to see samples before buying!!

    1. Megan, the author has some samples on her website: http://jellybeanjar.org/product-category/math/

      My daughter was struggling and math time ended in tears... and now she loves it. I like how gentle but thorough it is. I had Malachi in Teaching Textbooks but when I compared the Table of contents, I felt like he should have covered more in TT5, but still hadn't covered concepts that MLLE 4 were covering - hence why he is doing two books this year. MLLE 1 was easy for Eliana - she did a week's worth of lessons in one sitting. Now that she is at Book 3, she does 1 lesson a day (plus math facts and learning her tables), but it's still gentle and not too hard for her. I am still using the old books, so I'm not sure how the new books compare, but for a Charlotte Mason education, they are wonderful!

    2. Thank you! The scope and sequence were very helpful. Would you say book 1 is for K, book 2 for 1st, and so on? I wish she had more than 5 books! And, sorry for all the questions. :)

    3. Also, about hobbies for Malachi, I have a list of a few things my son has found to do with his time on my blog. They may be helpful.

    4. Megan, the books are not graded, however K-1 seems appropriate for Book 1, 1st-2nd for Book 2, etc., however, they progress quickly and Book 4 covers 4th grade material IMO. Eliana did Book 1 in 1st, Book 2 in 2nd, etc. and it has been a great fit. Malachi will finish Book 5 by the end of 5th grade so they have been "on level" with their grade, but they really aren't "leveled" books, if that makes sense. I feel they are sufficient "elementary" math books and believe Malachi will be ready for LOF Fractions & Decimals and Percents after Book 5, which will put him starting Pre-Algebra in 7th.

  8. How do you like BJU English? Do you use the teacher's edition? I'm trying to decide between BJU and ABeka. Thank you so much!

    1. Lori, I did not buy the Teacher's Edition - just the student books. It hasn't been too much of an inconvenience at these levels. I think they both are very good, I just have more experience with BJU. We like it well enough to continue! :) We had been using WriteShop for writing, but my son wanted a break from creative writing. I originally ordered the workbooks to do over the summer, but then decided to continue. I may or may not use it next year. I do plan to use Jump In writing for middle school/jr. high and also Cover Story for writing. I mostly bought it to see if we could do "on grade" coursework, if that makes sense, and so far it's been working well. Of course, now we are a grade behind, but in comparing 2nd and 4th, they both cover similar concepts so I felt like it would still be worth finishing. :) Erica at Confessions of a Homschooler uses BJU English for the grammar only (not the writing) if that helps any.

  9. Thank you so much for all of your help! Have a great school year!

  10. I always love reading your school year plans! We've completed 8 weeks now, but still are fine tuning things. I am really missing our read-aloud times, so I'm on a quest this weekend to choose a set for the school year

    1. Please share when you find a set you love! :) Always love to branch out and find good books to read and will need some next year.