Choosing Homeschool Curriculum & Planning for the Year Ahead

Late spring is usually the time when I start thinking of the following homeschool year. It is a good time to evaluate what works and what doesn't.

Planning for the year ahead and choosing curriculum is easier every year, for me anyway. All the choices for homeschoolers can be overwhelming, as well as being a wonderful thing! 

Each year that I plan, I keep my focus on my children and their interests as well as trying to provide them with a well rounded education.

Since I started homeschooling, I have used several books to inspire, educate, and help me in my research. The most influential books for me have been: Project Based Homeschooling, The Well Trained Mind, and The Writer's Jungle by Brave Writer. 

My most influential homeschool books

When it comes to choosing curriculum, I have a list in my mind that looks something like this:

Is this curriculum:

  • complete and well rounded
  • not filled with busy boring work
  • includes open ended questions & interesting projects
  • without a religious agenda
  • affordable
  • well organized 

Choosing homeschool curriculum takes time and research. 

Talking with other homeschool families about their curriculum favourites can be helpful, or not, depending on their choices, or it might also be too overwhelming. Homeschool parents can feel very strongly about the philosophy they follow and the curriculum/resources they use. I completely understand that, as I also have my favourites!

In the past, I have preferred to do the initial research on my own, reading reviews (Cathy Duffy Reviews is a good place to start), and asking questions on forums like the Mostly, I spent a lot of time reading descriptions and samples of curriculum and deciding for my family which curriculum to invest in. When I couldn't find what I wanted, I put our own curriculum together. This has happened several times over the years. Creating our own curriculum is also time consuming, but these often became our favourites. 

While researching curriculum, I keep in mind my own children's interests and abilities when I choose curriculum, but I also think of myself. This might sound selfish, but I will be using the curriculum too! If I don't think it is interesting, well organized, or clear, chances are my kids won't either. At the same time, if I am not completely certain before dismissing a product completely, I ask my children for their input. Over the years, they have been a big part of our homeschool curriculum decisions. 

I am keeping this coming homeschool year simple and similar to our current year. Celeste and I talked about our current choices and she is happy with them, so we won't be making many changes. 

Here is the plan I have written so far for our 2015-2016 homeschool year: 

Math ~ Teaching Textbooks 6 

Teaching Textbooks Math Curriculum

Celeste has been enjoying this curriculum and doing very well with it. We will continue with it. 

Language Arts 

Poetry Tea Time ~ Part of the Brave Writer Lifestyle 

This will be our 3rd year using Arrow from Brave Writer. Language arts with this program has been wonderful, and we will continue to follow the Brave Writer Lifestyle. We have discovered so many new favourite books and learned about so many different topics over the last years with this Brave Writer program. We both are looking forward so much to another year. Here is the list of the books we will be reading in 2015-2016: The Arrow.  

Faltering Ownership ~ Writing Program from Brave Writer

For writing, we started using Faltering Ownership, also from Brave Writer, over the last month and will continue with this writing program over the next year. 

Celeste has been interested in practicing spelling over the last few months and she has improved so much and gained a lot of confidence. We have been using Sequential Spelling, level one and will keep working through the levels at her pace. 

History ~ History Odyssey by Pandia Press

Working on a map  ~ History Odyssey 

We finished our study of the Middle Ages this year with History Odyssey, so we will move on to the next time period: Early Modern. 

This history curriculum has a long sample available free to download. 

Science ~ Elemental Science 

We had to switch curriculum half way through the year and will continue with Elemental Science, studying Earth Science & Astronomy. Once we are almost finished with it, we will decided which science field to study next. 

World Geography & Cultures  ~ Our own curriculum 

Celeste and I talked about this subject and she would like to learn more about the world and the different cultures. I am putting together a study for us. I will be using a variety of resources and projects. 

Art History ~ Our own curriculum

Learning about art history

Celeste and I enjoyed the art history study I put together so much that we decided to do it again, this time with more hands-on art projects. 

Life Skills 

Celeste enjoys cooking and helping me around the house, we will continue working together. These life skills are very important in my eyes. 

I have written about planning and choosing curriculum over the last ten years. If you are interested, here is a link to all my planning posts: 

Homeschool planning.

This post is part of the monthly series from the Canadian Homeschool Blogger Team. Be sure to visit The Canadian Homeschooler for more posts about homeschool planning and choosing curriculum by many wonderful Canadian home educating families. 


  1. The Well Trained Mind is a resource I come back to all the time... Especially when I need a boost in homeschooling confidence ;) thanks for sharing your curriculum choices. I've amost figured mine out for the upcoming year...just a few things to still iron out :)

  2. We began with The Well-Trained Mind and it is such a wonderful way to go. I really like it but it didn't all work for my boys and so we too, have used part of it and added other things. I keep wanting to do the PBHS and we are, it's just on a smaller level. Their projects are small and fairly quickly done so it's a start. Really am enjoying our Waldorf lessons and then near the end of the year we end up mostly unschooling!

    It always amazes me to read your blog and see all that you accomplish! And I love seeing Celeste all studious with the pencil crayons and kitty nearby!

    I've thought of using Pandia Press for history. The boys really enjoyed using History Pockets but Story of the World is pretty awesome too! Oh so many choices - haha!


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