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 Choices 2020-2021

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2020-2021 on The Unlikely Homeschool

Curriculum planning is normally the perfect preamble to the lovely year ahead. I head to my local homeschool convention and spend hours slowly sauntering through the vendor hall. I always go with a tentative shopping list in hand, but usually leave with several fun extras that were not originally on it. 

There's just something about getting to see, touch, and flip through curricula that can't be replicated by looking through a catalog or shopping online.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Sadly, in the spring of 2020, we were all thrown a giant plot twist called COVID-19 which canceled all state and national gatherings, including homeschool conventions. 

My shopping experience this year was less than stellar, to say the least. I didn't get to touch. I didn't get to flip through. No fun extras caught my eye. I made my plan and I stuck to it. I did, however, make a major curriculum change for math. I shelved a program we've known and loved for over seven years and opted for a new-to-us resource. So, as it turns out, I did veer from the shopping list a bit. 

Like in year's past, we will adhere to a four-day-a-week schedule. When reading through our curriculum choices, you can assume that the following items will be used four days a week unless otherwise indicated. An item with an asterisk is new-to-us this year.

With the exception of science, we will do all of these content-rich subjects together. Core (skill-oriented) subjects like language arts and math will be done individually according to grade level. (I will be sure to share those in the coming days.) Technically, I don't homeschool with grade levels, so the following group subjects can easily be adjusted to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2020-2021

Morning Time- every day

Our morning time is a non-negotiable in the schedule--an immovable anchor for the past 11 or so years that has helped to create calm in the daily chaos. While some moms pack their Morning Time full and overflowing, I like to keep it simple. I only include the things that will build our faith and our relationships with God and each other. I figure if I can start our day peacefully with this short but very intentional benchmark, I can count the entire day as a success -- even if the rest of it gets derailed.

Some of the resources in our morning basket will be done daily, while others will be done in a "loop" (Not sure what a loop is? Be sure to check out The Quick-Start Guide to Brave Homeschool Schedules for more info).

To be done daily

  • Review one old hymn and/or praise and worship song from our homemade songbook.
  • Go over one character quality in our Character Cards packs.*
  • Review previously learned manners with 100 Manners to Teach Your Kids Before They Turn 18 list.
  • Read/Answer one DK Bible Quiz Card
  • Each Friday, one of my kids will give a short devotional to the family during our Morning Time. I’ll assign them a verse the previous Friday, writing the reference on a notecard along with the following 4 questions: WHAT is the verse?, WHAT does it mean?, HOW have you lived or not lived out this verse in your life? (Share a personal story.), HOW can we apply this verse to our lives? (We've been rotating short devos like this since last spring and it's been a great way for my kids to grow more comfortable sharing their faith and the truth of God's Word with others.)
  • To be placed in a "loop"

    The Book for Children- 2x a week

    Theology/Christian Living
    Foundations- 1x a week*

    Missionary story
    Jesus Freaks- 1x a week*


    For the fourth year in a row, my house will be divided for science.

    History- 2x a week

    History should never be studied using a dry-as-dust textbook, in my opinion. It should always be learned through living literature, field trips, videos, and conversations with the real, flesh-and-bone people who lived it. 

    My daughter will be taking a History of the Christian Church course from the University of Northwestern for dual credit.

    For my sons, I will be using my trusty Truth Quest guides to create homespun American History units. We will be picking up from where we left off last year with the start of the Revolutionary War. 

    I'll also use the following resources:
    • Timelines of World History- This is a visual timeline that will help my kids see what was happening in other parts of the world during the same time as the event we're reading about in our Truth Quest books.* 

    Extracurricular Subjects

    Following our afternoon read-aloud time each day (which generally happens right after lunch clean-up), my sons and I will do one of four extracurricular activities together.

    Creative Writing- Monday

    Squiggles - These open-ended drawings were all the rage in the mid-80s when I was in school and are slowly finding their way into the writing world again. To make our squiggle picture stories, I'll draw a simple design or unique mark somewhere on a page of their spiral notebook/writing journal. I'll then challenge the boys to turn the notebook page in any direction and use the mark to make a complete picture. Then they'll have to write a story, using their drawing as the illustration.

    Art- Tuesdays

    Artistic Pursuits 4-6 Book 1- In this drawing course, we will learn proper drawing terminology, basic techniques, and creative style. In addition, we will be introduced to some popular artists and their most famous works.

    You Are An Artist Clubhouse- We have a membership to this online chalk pastel art course. We'll complete a chalk painting every now and then to add variety to our art time.

    Presidential Study- Wednesday

    Along with many living literature picture books, we will use the following resources as spines to help us learn about the first twenty-two presidents. We will compile the information we learn in a Presidential notebook that we will add to over the next two years.

    Documentaries- Fridays


  1. I see that you have gone away from LogosPress Noeo Science. Was there a certain reason for the change?

    1. We love Noeo science! I pick our science topics each year based on what my kids are interested in learning. This year, their interest veered us to topics that were not necessarily covered in any of the middle levels of Noeo. So, I had to look elsewhere. We've used and love Sonlight Science over the years, as well. Our curriculum for science is always determined by the topic and which companies offer that information.

  2. It is always interesting to look at other people's home education plans.
    Here in the UK, we haven't been able to run our home education group in the usual way, since March. We have replaced it with several online meetings per week-quite short and easy to run but it has meant that the children have been able to "see" their friends and they have all had something to anticipate each week. I recommend thinking about an online replacement, if you can't meet in person-not as good, yes but a lot better than nothing.

    1. Yes, we did a few online meet-ups with our group this past spring. We're really hoping to start meeting in person come fall.

  3. Hi Jamie. I just found your blog and love your ministry. Would it be at all possible to share a list of the documentary type programs you found on Disney+ . So far I can’t find anything on there that lights up with our values or has any educational input .. thank you.

    1. I'm in the process of piecing my documentary list together. It's not quite done yet, though.

    2. HI Jamie - I was wondering if by chance you had an opportunity to compile some of your favorite documentaries from disney+.. or elsewhere? Did it go well with this during this semester?

  4. Our family has found many excellent programs on Disney+ since subscribing earlier this year. I hope you find some for your Fridays that you like, too!

    We recently watched ten pilot episodes of a new series they've made called "It's a Dog's Life (with Bill Farmer)." While not a documentary per se, each episode follows two different working dogs (in many cases, they were rescue dogs first) and shows how the dogs were trained, the work that they now do, and the positive impact the work has on both the dog and on the humans they help. It's a very G-rated show and appropriate for kids. Each episode is only about a half hour. We learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the series. Hope they make more episodes!

    We also really enjoyed several nature documentaries on Disney+. Some of our favorites were "Elephant," "African Cats," and "Penguins" (there are quite a few others, too). The cinematography in all their nature documentaries is just beautiful, and they're very educational. I think each one is about an hour to an hour and a half. I'd highly recommend them!

  5. Thanks always for your blogs and information and encouragement. I have a question about BJU Science. I am struggling to find a useable upper grade science--sigh. With BJU, you did online right? Did you do all the labs as well? So you have to purchase the course and the labs-- :( How has that worked for you guys? Thanks for your input as always!

  6. Jamie, I’m trying to decide between Sonlight Science and Noeo. I know you’ve used both. Did you switch to Sonlight for a certain reason?

    1. Nope. They are both great. I chose science curriculums based on what topics my kids want to learn. If there's a good program out there on that topic, I grab it so I don't have to invent a wheel. I've used both on and off for years.