We’re making some major changes this school year: everything from scheduling to materials to resources. Come along and see what’s happening with our 2023-2024 homeschool curriculum plan!
Why Are We Changing our Homeschool Curriculum Plan?
If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know I’m homeschooling with chronic illness. It became clear this past spring that I’m never going to get better, or at least more stable, if I keep pushing to do everything myself in our homeschool.
On top of that, I’ve learned that (some of) my crew isn’t cut out for completely independent learning. They’re FAR more independent than in the past but they may never reach independence in all subjects. I want to make sure I’m giving the right amount of support, especially as one of those students is starting high school.
Because of these things, we’ve decided to use live online classes and self-paced video instruction wherever possible for our rising 6th, 8th, and 9th graders.
I’ll also be working one-on-one with my high schooler for certain subjects.
Note: to preserve his privacy, I won’t be talking about my rising senior in this post. Suffice it to say: don’t be afraid to adjust in major ways when your child truly needs it. As a friend of mine encouraged me recently:
That kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?
School Year Changes
We’ve followed a non-traditional school year for awhile now, but online classes mean we’re going back to an August-May schedule.
Their online classes start on separate weeks and, while I like the idea of a rolling start on paper, I usually don’t have the patience for it. I want to jump in and get to work!
But now that we’re entering our 14th year of homeschooling, I’m learning that patience is indeed a virtue and I need to practice it better.
So we’ll start math, literature, spelling, and composition the week of August 21st, when their composition class starts. We’ll add Latin, history, and science the following week when their online Latin classes start.
That’s the basic lay of the land, so let’s dive in!
We base our children’s grades on their age, and choose materials based on where they are in each subject. For more on how we do this, check out:
How To Make Memoria Press Work For You: Homeschool Grade Levels
2023-2024 Homeschool Curriculum Plan: 3rd Grade
Our third grader will turn 9 halfway through the school year but she ran into some hiccups while learning to read. (The pandemic, multiple family crises, my health, and a huge move didn’t help the situation!)
Because of this, she’ll be using a mix of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade materials this coming year:
- Phonics, Reading & Spelling: First Start Reading Book D & Book E, followed by Storytime Treasures, More Storytime Treasures, and Traditional Spelling I
- Math: Rod & Staff Math 2
- Cursive & Handwriting: New American Cursive Book 2: Scripture & Famous Quotations
- History: D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths with Memoria Press Teacher Guide
- Science: informal at this age (see details below)
Phonics, Reading & Spelling
We’ll be finishing FSR Book D, then starting MP’s First Grade lesson plans for Book E, Storytime, More Storytime and Traditional Spelling I.
I upgraded to the new edition of Rod & Staff Math 2 and I’ve been very happy with it! Math tends to be an easy subject for her so she may reach Rod & Staff Math 3 before the school year is done.
Cursive & Handwriting
New American Cursive Book 2 includes lovely copywork opportunities so we won’t be using a separate copybook program.
Classical Studies (History)
I no longer use the student guide or tests for D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths; instead we’ll be focusing on memorization. We’ll memorize the 12 Olympians and the 107 recitation questions from the back of the Teacher’s Manual.
Greek mythology is interwoven with some of the greatest works of literature, so this will form a solid foundation for future literature (and history) studies!
Since my older two are ready for higher level science, we no longer do this subject family-style.
Instead, I’ve adopted an informal approach to elementary science: lots of time to explore outside with MP-published nature study books and Petersen Field Guides available on the shelf. We also have various age-appropriate books that were given to us.
The kids devour these books and the field guides often make an appearance when they want to identify a new discovery!
2023-2024 Homeschool Curriculum Plan: 6th Grade
My rising 6th grader is beginning her transition from Memoria’s Simply Classical program this year. Simply Classical was such a blessing for us and prepared her well for this!
- Latin: First Form Latin (online class with Virtualis Schole)
- Math: Rod & Staff Math 3
- Literature: Charlotte’s Web, Dangerous Journey (see note below), and King Arthur with MP’s Student Guides
- History: D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths with MP Teacher Guide
- Spelling: Traditional Spelling I
- Composition: MP’s Fable/Narrative (online class with Writing with Rachael)
- Science: TBD (see note below)
I gave her the option to start with Latina Christiana or First Form and she quickly chose First Form; its highly structured and sequential nature will be a good fit for her.
She’ll be taking the class online, but I’ll have the Simply Classical teaching tips on hand in case she needs extra support during the week.
She’ll be continuing with Rod & Staff Math 3 — but she’s moving through it so quickly that she’ll definitely be in Math 4 later this year.
We’ll be doing a mix of MP’s 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade literature this year, using Charlotte’s Web, Dangerous Journey, and King Arthur. This sequence fits her current skill level and will gently and gradually prepare her for MP 7 literature next year.
A note on Dangerous Journey for Catholics
I’ve found Dangerous Journey to be a very Catholic-friendly version of Pilgrim’s Progress. It allows for great discussions on the differences between Catholic and non-Catholic definitions of justification (the text is vague enough to allow for both interpretations), why works don’t save but are necessary to living faith, and why it’s important to have a relationship with Christ rather than just follow rules, etc.
She’ll be doing Greek Myths with her sister (see our 3rd grade plan above for details!)
She tested out of at least the first 7 lessons of TS I so we’ll likely finish it before the school year is over. If that happens earlier rather than later, we’ll just move on to TS II.
Her older brother and sister will be taking the same Fable/Narrative class and I’m excited for them to take this next step in their writing and thinking skills!
Science is a little up in the air at the moment. She’s ready and asking for formal science but I’m having a hard time getting a used copy of the book we chose! If I can’t find it, we’ll either wait until next year for formal science, or put something together with books we already own.
2023-2024 Homeschool Curriculum Plan: 8th & 9th Grades
My rising 9th grader is another Simply Classical graduate so he and my 8th grader will be taking many of the same courses:
- Latin: First Form Latin (9th grader) and Second Form Latin (8th grader), both with Virtualis Schole
- Math: Denison Pre-Algebra
- Literature: Odyssey & Aeneid with MP Student Guides
- History: Book of the Ancient Greeks and Book of the Ancient Romans
- Science: Friendly Biology (9th grader) and TBD (8th grader)
- Composition: MP’s Fable/Narrative, online class with Writing with Rachael
9th grade: we completed the first 8 lessons of First Form Latin this past spring. My son did well but since we decided to outsource the class this year he will be starting from the beginning. I think the review will be good for him and having been through those early lessons will boost confidence.
8th grade: my 8th grade girl is finishing First Form as we speak. It’s not always her favorite subject, but she’s done very well!
Denison Pre-Algebra assumes learning struggles and educational gaps so the only pre-requisite is knowing all four operations. Everything else is taught from scratch in the course.
This was an answer to prayer as life circumstances (for both) and learning struggles (for one) have held these two students back in math. We’ve been double-timing our way through Rod & Staff Math 4 which solidifies all operations and covers early work in fractions, decimals, etc.
I’m seriously praising God for this opportunity to meet their intellectual readiness while shoring up skills.
Literature & History
We did this Greeks & Odyssey, Romans & Aeneid sequence with our third high schooler and I loved it. It gives more time to really dive into the epics!
This time, we’ll also be using the Odyssey and Aeneid videos to reinforce the major themes and events in each work.
I’ll be using the essay prompts in these courses as additional discussion prompts. This will allow me to model the thought process needed for the modern 5-paragraph essay. Depending on how that goes, we may attempt a modern essay during the second semester.
9th grader: my son adores the Novare science books and uses them as references — but I know they’re a poor fit for him as an actual course.
After much searching I came upon Friendly Biology. He was really excited about Friendly’s use of concrete, everyday-life examples to explain abstract concepts.
We’ll be using the complete set: book, worksheets, videos, and lab videos.
8th grade: like her younger sister, my daughter wants to study life science this year but I’m having trouble finding our chosen book for them. If I can’t find it, we may put together a course from the books we already have.
We waited on formal composition so my son could get stronger in other areas, and then waited a bit longer due to my health limitations. We did work on small paragraphs at various points, but they’re excited (my daughter more so, lol) to finally reach their turn with Classical Composition.
Homeschool Curriculum Plan: Day-to-Day
I’m still working on what this will look like on a day-to-day basis, but it’s coming together. I’ll share our routine once I know it’s solid!
In the meantime, be sure to drop questions about this year’s plan in the comments below!