Well, it’s that time of year again, and after reviewing our learning goals and materials from the past year, I think I’ve finally got the next one figured out!  Maybe.

It’s been a busy year with my 5 year old joining us for some of our formal learning for her “Kindergarten” year. We’ve had fun, learned heaps, and survived one full year of homeschooling with a toddler underfoot! We didn’t do everything exactly as I planned last spring, but I’m happy that we made progress in all areas, even if we didn’t end up exactly where I would have liked.

So here are our picks for next year, homeschooling a first and fourth grader in what I call our relaxed classical style: 

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Big Sister

Writing With Ease Level 3

We are continuing on with this program, and while it is very repetitive, it is also very effective. Big Sister really enjoys the literature excerpts used in WWE and often requests that we check the books used out from the library so she can read them.

First Language Lessons 4

FLL 3 got so much more challenging for us this year with the addition of sentence diagramming! This is something that I never learned in school, and I admit I’m having a hard time with it myself! I’m hoping that we both can keep up with the program.

All About Spelling 4

This spelling program is so effective! I’m learning so much myself about spelling as I teach my daughter. And there are never any groans or protests in response to this subject.

Handwriting Without Tears  (Cursive Success)

Big Sister did really well with learning cursive this year and has transitioned to using it exclusively in all of her other writing. I’ll also supplement her penmanship practice using copywork from Homeschool Copywork.

Math U See Gamma & Delta

We have had much struggling in Math over the last year or so, but I’m trying to give her a lot of time without feeling like we are “behind”.

Story of the World 3 & 4

This continues to be one of my favourite homeschool picks! Big Sister is doing really well with her written history narrations using my SOTW 3 Notebooking Pages. I’ll be getting started on creating notebooking pages for Volume 4 soon, so stay tuned if you are interested in those! I may have her begin to keep a timeline or Book of Centuries starting in Volume 4 to take her studies a bit further.

Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Physics

I got the Notebooking Journal to go along with the text this time, but I skipped the Lab Kit. Hopefully I will get myself organized enough this summer to put together my own kit, because I know from experience that it is just too easy to skip the hands on learning if I need to be organized on a week by week basis with supplies.

Song School Latin

I had originally wanted to begin this program this past year, but I’m glad I waited on it because I think that both of my students will benefit from it now. I bought the full kit with the DVD and the cards, and I’m sure the girls will enjoy it.


I’m hoping that our local homeschool group will continue to run a co-op with French class next year, and if not I will have to put together something myself using the French program from Schoolhouseteachers.com and Duolingo.

Grapevine Studies

We tried Grapevine Studies this year for the first time and Big Sister just loves it! Little Sister still needs some convincing, but that’s pretty typical for her.


We have been loving music appreciation during our morning time! SQUILT MUSIC’s volumes are arranged according to musical eras which are convenient for studying music along with our history studies. It’s a lovely addition to our Morning Time 2-3 times per week.

Usborne Famous Paintings Art Cards

We will continue alternating between Music and Art Appreciation using the Usborne cards and a few other selected resources and the lesson plans I created this winter.

Little Sister

The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

We have been making very slow progress with phonics this year and are only about a quarter of the way through this book. Little Sister is pretty much the polar opposite of her Big Sister and is very wiggly and has zero interest in learning to read. Teacher her to read is proving to be a challenging and somewhat discouraging endeavour!

First Language Lessons 1

I’m pretty sure grammar lessons are going to be a breeze for Little Sister — she’s already done most of the memorization already just by listening in to her older sister’s lessons these last few years. I really love this program for young learners, it’s so gentle and can be done while snuggling on the couch!

Handwriting Without Tears (My Printing Book)

She has been progressing nicely this year writing her letters and has even started doing some simple copywork. We will be waiting on begining Writing With Ease 1 until she has completed the HWWT workbook AND can read at a first grade level (whenever that happens!).

Math U See Alpha

Math has gone well this year for Little Sister using Primer, and she has really grasped addition and place value thanks to Math U See’s great manipulatives and teaching method.

Tagging along with Big Sister for Science, Bible, Latin, French, History, and Music & Art Appreciation.

Baby Sister

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready

Big Sister has been doing some “Tot School” with Baby Sister using this book. She doesn’t do it consistently, but she has some fun putting together her “lessons” and Baby Sister loves the extra attention.

We also keep her busy with play-doh, kinetic sand & colouring and her sisters take turns playing with her while I work one on one with the other.

Our Relaxed Classical Curriculum Pick - Fourth Grade, First Grade (and a toddler)

There are still quite a few details for the fall that I haven’t ironed out yet (Will big Sister continue piano lessons? Will Little Sister begin? Co-op? Something else?) but I feel really good about all the decisions that have already been made. I’m really excited to see the learning, growth, and development that the 2016/2017 school year will hold for all of us!

What do you have planned for next year?



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