Bold Turquoise

Jul 23 2014

The Bold Homeschool 2014-2015 Curriculum Choices (3rd, K/1 & Totschool)

*A Note to My Readers- this post gives a bit of the back story on how we decided on what we did for our homeschool this coming year.  If you would like to cut straight to the chase and just see the compiled list of our curriculum choices, please visit this page. 😉 *

Some affiliate links are used in the following post.  Some products were provided to me for honest review.

Come read how the Bold Family chose the curriculum that they did for this year and why- 3rd Grade, Kindergarten, and Totschool

I adore homeschool planning!  I literally start re-researching and weighing all of our options in… December (sometimes), but no later than February!  I love the process and seeing what’s out there and figuring out what is working for my family and what isn’t.  Every year I feel like we hone in on who our individual family is as homeschoolers and what style works best for us.  It has been such a growing and learning process and I truly love it!

So I felt really on top of things when I emailed one of my absolute favorite homeschoolers, Susan Evans, early in the year telling her about my desire to part ways with the boxed curriculum we had been using for a couple of years and go all-out with a Unit Study approach (by the way, she has a fantastic series all about unit studies happening on her blog this week- don’t miss it!).  I asked her advice and she told me to be BOLD (funny how that word keeps recurring in my life!) and take the chance to make my children’s curriculum myself.

I was ALL in!

I got a subscription to Susan’s fabulous Unit Study Treasure Vault (which I highly recommend!) and started pouring over her ideas, compiling all my thoughts and projects for a year of in-depth, hands-on study of the Book of Genesis and the Ancient History that went with it.  Took copious notes, made an overall breakdown of our year and even started buying some books as I came across them.  I was excited and ready to start our new adventure!

But as the spring wore on inspiration began to wane and things just felt off.  It seemed like I was trying to force something.  My plans weren’t quite pulling together the way I wanted.  THEN I found out I was pregnant!  Our first winter baby, coming smack dab in the middle of our year!  At that point I felt VERY overwhelmed and decided to put all my planning on hold and just pray and truly re-evaluate how my oldest son had been learning best in the last year.

The Importance of Asking the Hard Questions

As I looked back over our last year I had to ask myself, “What did he really learn?”  As in, what did I hear him talking about and applying to other situations?  What seemed to have an actual impact and wasn’t just a bunch of fluff or time-wasters?  What does he remember from last year?  Other than math, which he did fine in, I was drawing a blank… then a light bulb went off!

He remembered what we had read in a story!!

Read about how this mom overhauled her curriculum to have their world revolve around great books!

Bingo!  While I had been figuring that my Lego-loving, visual learner son would most thrive from projects and experiences the real answer was that he learns through story!  Good books!  He was able to extrapolate good character, important facts about history, even how to accomplish complex tasks simply from being read to. Why this had not ever fully dawned on me before, I really don’t know.  I mean, even Jesus taught a great deal of his lessons through parables- stories stick with us.

While I have always believed in good books, living books, the shear weight of them never truly settled on me until that moment.  At once I knew that there really was a way to help my school-hating, struggling-reader son kindle a love for learning- it was going to come through good books!

Re-Writing the Script

I immediately threw out everything I had been planning and shelved my ancient history purchases.  We were starting from scratch- I had no idea of what we would even study this year but I knew that I wanted it to interest him.  Could I dare break from my well thought out agenda of history studies I had planned for him to accomplish between now and high school graduation!?  …Yes, I could!  And I would!

I began pouring over curriculum sites that I hadn’t ever really dove into before, gaining suggestions from fellow bloggers who I knew had embraced this literature-based idea long before myself.  It just so happened that at this same time we bought two horses (as I have mentioned before) and my boys both attended a horse camp to help them gain some skills and bearings with these great beasts who now lumbered so close to us on a daily basis.

They both fell in love with horses!

A Literature based study from Beautiful Feet Books

And it was then that I stumbled across History of the Horse from Beautiful Feet Books– a one year, in depth look into the history of horses all based on great horse literature.  It included Bible, art and writing as well!  It was like the heavens had opened!  This curriculum is designed to be completed in 3 days a week, which just felt perfect, especially since I was sure that some of the writing assignments would take my guy a little longer to accomplish than was scheduled.

A year long science unit all about horses from Winter Promise, grades 3-7

It got even better though!  As I kept pouring over curriculum sites, just to make sure that I was making the right choice, I ended up finding the Equine Science program from Winter Promise.  Designed to be completed in 1-2 days each week and including many of the same books as the Beautiful Feet curriculum but using them from a science perspective, it was like I had hit the jackpot! They would mesh together beautifully and we would get to spend an entire year immersing ourselves in a topic that our whole family was interested in and passionate about.

Following HIS Lead

Now we couldn’t be happier with the direction we are heading.  The freedom I am feeling from breaking from everything I thought was right and following where I truly believe the Lord was leading has taken so much weight off my shoulders.  I suddenly have so much more assurance that my kids will learn all the details of world history when they need to and not studying them in Kindergarten and 3rd grade is not going to be detrimental to them.  In fact, breaking from that plan could ignite a love for learning in them that will hopefully make those topics so much more impactful when we do study them!

AND, since we have made the decision to make this switch to being largely literature based we have already started making great books more of a part of our everyday lives and I am seeing the influence in spades!  Our days are filled with SO much less screen time but lots of great read alouds and audio books and my 3rd grader is positively eating them up!  I am stunned by the shear volume of classic works he has consumed in just a very short time and he LOVES it!

An AMAZING podcast that conducts interviews with pros and moms to help you build your family culture around books!

The freedom I feel and the joy I see verify that this change has absolutely been the right choice for our family!  Soon I will be posting all about where we are getting our booklists and reading inspiration from, but just to give you a little glimmer to get started you MUST check out The Read Aloud Revival Podcast.  It could literally reshape how you think about going into this next school year!

And lastly, I would love to hear if you have ever thrown out the script and begun anew!  Please share in the comments!

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