I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016

Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

In true eclectic style, I've put together an a' la carte curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year. I hope it will be nine months marked by passion-directed learning and lots of rabbit trails.

I'll have four learners and one little guy doing some very gentle Pre-K, so it's sure to be a busy year.

Here's what I have pulled together for our group learning. Since we adhere to a four-day-schedule, you can assume that each of these items will be completed four days a week unless otherwise indicated. 
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Morning "Circle Time" - every day

This year, in an effort to keep our mornings a bit more flexible and to ensure that I utilize books for my two tweens AND my two middle boys, I'll be putting most of our "circle time" resources in a loop schedule. I have several books I wish to cover, but like the idea of variety. So instead of working our way through one entire book before moving on to the next one, as we have often done in the past, we will do little bits of each book every week.

Will be done at every "circle time"

Will be placed in a loop

Each week, I will rotate the following faith themes: a general Bible story, a Jewish culture lesson, an excerpt from church history, and a missionary biography. I have selected resources for each theme and will place these on a loop during our morning time. 

Science - 2x a week

As is my habit, I polled my children at the end of last year to determine which science themes to focus on in the upcoming school year. Since I have a wide span of learners and found it nearly impossible to procure a pre-packaged curriculum to suit our needs, I will create our own made-to-order units using books, videos, our science nature journal, projects, and field trips for the following two topics:
  • Oceanography
  • Human Anatomy
While we will do much of our learning together, my middle school-aged daughter will have some additional, more challenging reading to do on her own. These delight-directed units will each be one semester long. 

History/Geography - 2x a week

Last year, when Tapestry of Grace went sour on us, I ended up creating my own Roman history unit. It ended up being exactly what we needed. So, I am in the process of doing the same thing for the 2015-2016 school year. We will focus on medieval history using resources from Truth Quest Middle Ages, the library, and our own book shelves. 

We will also use the following:

Art - 1x a week

While I am very consistent in HAVING art once a week, I prefer not to be that consistent with having a project picked out ahead of time. Art works best with inspiration. So, I plan which resources I will glean from, create a nice stock pile of art supplies and mediums, and then just select a particular project the day before based on my mood, the time we have available, or the current interests of my kids. These are the resources I hope to use, but have no objections to tossing in an art project idea that I happen to come across in a book at the library or on social media.

Creative Writing - 1x a week

Field trips - 1x a month

I hope to plan intentional field trips once a month this year. We live in a teeny-tiny, Mayberry-esque town, but one that could provide an ample number of outside-of-the-box educational trips. I will use The A to Z Guide to Field Trips to help organize many right-in-our-own-backyard kind of visits. Each mini-unit has a few pages of info regarding that location, some questions to ask your tour guide, activities for pre and post field trip learning, vocabulary words, as well as Scripture passages that would go along with that particular location/vocation.


In order to provide more time and space in our schedule for passion-directed learning activities, we have chosen not to participate in a formal co-op this year. We will continue to meet with these and many other families for social activities, but feel that the twice a month commitment was beginning to steal time from our individual interests. 

Additional curriculum by grade level


  1. Hi Jamie~ I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog and all your ideas! They have been so helpful to me in creating a curriculum for my family! I was a troubled child who came from a broken home and I struggled through school, so it does not come natural to me. I came to the Lord seven year ago and shortly after felt led to home school our children. It has been a lot of trial and error, but a huge blessing for us and I am looking forward to the years to come. Thanks for all you share and God Bless! ~Brook~

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Brook. Glad you're here.

  2. Why is the "Manners Made Easy for the Family: 365 Timeless Etiquette Tips for Every Occasion" book soooooo expensive? I can't find a copy of it for under $40!

    1. Sorry, I have no idea. I purchased mine several years ago for a much lower price. Perhaps they are out of print. I'm not sure.

    2. Bummer for me but I will keep looking. TY!

    3. I bought the Kindle version for 9$ last year

  3. Thanks a lot Jamie!
    You know, each time I see one of your post, I feel like at a christmas morning in front of the tree: Your posts are all each time a gift to open for me! Glory to god for your involvement.
    I was reassured to read your plan for co-ops this year because I thought similar : Co-ops are very good, but sometimes or at a certain season of life, they may be a bit time-consuming if we wish to explore passion at home in family (or out of the home). But anyway, I am more an indoor kind of girl and going out of the home drain my energy so I’m not a good reference.
    I have a question about how you plan to use loop scheduling. I used the looping method last year for our read aloud and bible time.I was planning to loop history, science and art (and started a bit to test that at the end of this school year) in certain way, it was super. In an another, I felt at one point that I was scatterbrained with all the books to manage and especially for subjects (history, science, art).

    I then start to explore my need of variety with block scheduling and I found that it was genius. For example one week, science, the other, history. For our bible and read aloud time, one week, it was one book each morning and the week after the other. No more than two books to in looping for me (for saving a couple of brain cells). (http://edsnapshots.com/loop-scheduling/
    Now I see that you plan to use loop scheduling. Since you are a good inspiration to me, I am woundering if you already have some good tips to share on how you'll manage your looping. Mayby if I feel that looping, in spite that it is a good idea, in my case it is not so much because my kids are young (6½ and 3½ years old). So, it will probably be easier to use blocks than loops in order to jungle with less. And we will have a baby in november so...You have five kids and are more experimented than me :-) So, I’m curious to know your thoughts about my questionning and situation.
    Others questions :
    1. If you still continue a 4 days week and wish to reduce your co-op participation, what did you plan to do those days? Projects? Family or co-op filed trip? Library?

    2. You plan to do one science unit study per semester, that means two in the years. I really believe in the benefit of delighted directed unit study but I’m not all in in this approach (more ecclectic too). So, I realized that I can’t (limited time) do as much unit study as I wish. I was woundering how much I can figured out to plan in a year. Reading this post, I guess that two will be reasonnable in my case too? Logically, we don’t really have time to do unit study in history in parallel and have to choose in the year, in which subjects we want to explore with a unit study approach?

    3. Last one… The book The A to Z Guide to Field Trips looks very interesting. It would cost me 21$ (CA) to buy it. Do you think it will be worth it?

    Many thanks Jamie!
    Good day!
    Nancy from Quebec (Sorry, I always comment as anonymous because it seems that it is the only way I can. And again sorry for my kinda-novel-style-comments!

    1. Regarding loop scheduling, I have kind of been doing this off and on for a few years, but this year, it will be done on purpose. For me, I don't think it is the best plan for ALL subjects...I've only ever done it so far with our "extras". But, I think it will work great for our morning time too. I would limit it to subjects that don't require a whole lot of review. Because we do science two days a week and history 2 days a week and rotate them, we kind of do a loop for those. But, I know that a block schedule would just not work for us for science and history. I have kids who love science and kids who love history. They need to have access to their subject passions with regularity or else the sparkle of school begins to fade for them.

      Our extra day, we plan to do one of the following: take a field trip, have some fellowship time with another family (play board games, go sledding, go to the park, etc.), work on independent projects, or just get caught up on home responsibilities.

      I think it depends on how often you do the subject. If you do it every day, I think a unit can be as short as 4-6 weeks. but, since we only do science 2 days a week, we have to extend that time. For us, a semester long science unit works great.

      About the field trip book...it's hard to say. I think it's great! It really helps me NOT to have to invent another wheel. The money spent for the book could save you a ton of time which is worth a lot to a homeschool mom. But, you could just brainstorm your area and write down a list of common places and vocations that you have available. Perhaps you could check out a picture book at the library that would go along with that location, read it prior to the field trip, and have a brief discussion about what questions your kids could ask while you attend the trip.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Thanks for sharing what your family will use next year. I like the Bible cards & the manners book. I think they might be a good fit for us also. We also chose not to participate in a homeschool co-op this year. We just found it hard to fit everything in each week this past year. We are making a lot of changes to our schedule and curriculum for this next year. We tend to be eclectic leaning towards CM and Delight Directed Learning. You have some great ideas. Hope your new school year is a great one! God Bless Your Family. :)

    1. CM and delight directed? That sounds like us. We love that approach...it's very natural and lends itself to lots of rabbit trails.

  5. Jamie, we LOVE the Christian Heroes series here! At times, I would get so choked up when reading them that one of my girls would take the book and gently say, "It's ok; I'll read now, Mommy." That's how much they affect me! :D

    1. Me too. I've read a couple and my daughter has read one, but we've not read them together as a family yet. Can't wait!

  6. Hi Jamie,

    I was wondering if your state requires you to get a certain amount of school days in? For us, it is 180 days, so making our week into a 4 days per week schedule would mean stretching out our school year into summer. According to our state, we can also count our school year by hours of school (1000 hours needed per year). Just curious how you still adhere to your state's laws with your schedule and wondering how I could possibly make that work for us. Thanks!

    1. No. Our state only has three main requirements for homeschooling, number of days is not one of them. However, the extras that we do on that fifth day could certainly count as school...co-op, field trips, library, home-ec, etc.

  7. Do you save the old curriculum for your younger learners for the up coming school years?

    1. Yes. I do. Obviously, any consumable workbooks need to be repurchased, but everything else can be used again. Occasionally, what worked for an older one just won't work for a younger one and a new option has to be found. But, for the most part, I reuse everything.

  8. I always enjoy your posts. The plans look great.
    Blessings, Dawn

  9. This is our first year homeschooling and I have a 1st grader and a 4th grader. Together they are using Galloping the Globe with Lapbook, Geography through Art, Christian Kids Explore Biology and Grapvine Studies Old Testament Overview Levels 1 and 2. The 1st grader will be using Rocket Phonics, Math U See Alpha and Handwriting Without Tears. The 4th grader will be reading off a list of literature I am still piecing together, write daily, use The Spelling Bee app, and Singapore 4A and 4B.

  10. How do you poll them about Science? Do you give them a list of subjects or just ask what they're interested in and see what they say?

    1. Katherine, You can find about that here>>

    2. I was just about to reply "nevermind" since I found the link as I was re-reading it this morning. I didn't see it earlier for some reason, thanks for the reply! ;)

  11. I love your blog! I come to it again and again for inspiration and ideas. Thank you so much for all the informative articles. You've challenged me many times and given me good ideas for our homeschool. thank you

  12. Hi Jamie - I noticed you tend to do a lot of unit studies for Science. I would love to try and piece together a unit type study for my kids next year (2nd and Kinder), but I'm at a loss of where to begin. How do you typically structure your science 'lesson' during the day? Do you just read a bunch of books on the subject, or do you have an activity each day? Would you be able to give me a brief run down of what you do for a unit study? Thanks!!