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Our Classical Homeschool 2nd Semester: Curricula Choices and Weekly Checksheets

curriculum recommendations second semester

Every semester it seems I’m able to simplify even more as I read and learn and find new resources. This makes me happy.

Our homeschool averages about 3 hours each morning, 4 days per week, and this semester consists of

  • Morning Time (read about specifically what we do here; this includes Worship elements, Literature, Shakespeare, Poetry, Recitation, and History)
  • Singapore Math and Xtra Math (We have switched to the Xtra Math app for Android, which is $4.99, because it’s so much more tablet-friendly, but the web version is still free.)
  • Language Lessons for Children (2nd) and Language Arts for Grammar Students (4th), both from Cottage Press
    • We were using Writing & Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press for 4th along with Rod and Staff Grammar. We still like both of these programs, but we’re going to try this because
      • It’s a simple, Charlotte Mason style all inclusive language arts program, also based on the progym (like Writing & Rhetoric), but also including grammar (through diagramming), spelling, copywork, and specific poetry lessons (scanning, etc.) and nature study, so that really simplifies things for us.
      • I really like that this has an editing component where the kids will have to go through and do several different edits of their work, looking for different things each time.
      • Caleb was bored with Writing & Rhetoric, which isn’t an excuse to quit, but I could kinda see why. I still think Writing & Rhetoric is a valuable program, and we may end up back there, but every week was almost the same thing, and I didn’t feel like it was challenging Caleb or honing his writing skills all that much, at least in the areas where he needs the most work.
      • My goal is to start The Lost Tools of Writing in 8th or 9th grade. This program will allow us to finish by then, whereas to complete the Writing & Rhetoric program would take us into 10th or 11th grade, depending on how fast we’d move through them.
    • I think it will be an easy transition because we’ve been doing similar things (just from different curricula for each subject) right along. You can read Mystie Winkler’s helpful review of this program here.
  • All About Spelling (1-2 days per week)
    • Even though the Cottage Press Language Arts curriculum does contain some spelling, we’ll continue to do this for now because 1) the kids love it, 2) Caleb has only one book left in the entire AAS series (and we already own it), 3) it literally only takes us 10-15 minutes, and 4) I haven’t yet experienced how much spelling is a part of the Cottage Press series, so we’ll see.
  • Latin for Children and Headventureland (4th) and Prima Latina (2nd)
  • Piano practice (usually happens after lunch)
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So, not including instrument practice, we basically do 4 things per day (4 days per week)–Morning Time (about 1 hour, and the kids may draw or keep their hands busy during most of it), math, a language arts component, and Latin. So simple. I love it!

Mondays are different because we have a drawing class that the kids attend at a local fine arts academy. Consequently, Mondays are dedicated to Fine Arts and Nature Study. We do

Evenings are dedicated to four things, three of which my husband oversees and one of which is independent.

  • Suzuki string practice (We also have Youth Orchestra, Lessons, and Group Class two of our evenings.)
  • Song School Greek
  • The kids’ personal Bible reading. Each of us is currently doing a read-though-the-Bible-in-a-year 5-day program. (They each read while the other is practicing.)
  • Family Bible Time

To keep everybody on track (and because everybody in our house likes lists), I’ve basically copied Mystie Winkler’s checksheet style for her homeschool. These have worked out great for the kids and make it easy for them to see what they still need to accomplish before they can play. Everything is very straightforward this way. Here’s what our weekly checksheets look like:

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The kids check them off, which makes them responsible for their work, and I check off the whole day when they’ve completed them, which keeps them accountable. Then, they’re free to play or read or whatever strikes their imagination!

Becky Aniol

About Becky Aniol

Becky holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and music and a master's degree in Christian education. She taught classical upper school grammar, literature, and history and lower school composition and grammar for two years, elementary school music for one year, and Kindermusik classes for four years before the birth of her children. She now loves staying home with her three children, Caleb, Kate, and Christopher, and homeschooling them classically.

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