“Not” Back to School 2020-2021

Because we are home-schoolers, we are
“Not” Back-to-School.

(We’re basically just at school all day, every day around here.)

This will be my third year of this “Not Back to School Series”.
To see posts of how we’ve done things in previous years, you can check those out here:
“Not” Back to School 2019-2020
Series Intro.
Our Homeschool Organization & Space
Our Homeschool Yearly Schedule & Terms
Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 
Our Homeschool Daily Schedule & Routines
Homeschool Planner 
Our Story of How We Decided to Homeschool
Our Favorite Homeschool & Educational Resources
Summer School

Today, I’m here to give you an update for this school year. I get asked ALL the time about what curriculum we are using, and since we use a variety of things… not a boxed curriculum – it’s much easier just to put it all in a blog post! I also love sharing the resources and supplies that have become our favorites over the years.

**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I do earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Our 2020-2021 Curriculum Choices

Lyndon – (He’ll turn 2 in December; Tot School)
He’s #4. This is the point where I relax as a mom and a homeschool teacher. Right? Maybe. I don’t really know if that’s in my nature, but we’ll see. For now, we’ll focus on his play kits from LovEvery. Intentional Play IS all the school we need. I might be interested in starting Tot School Printables in January after he turns 2 mostly to work on teaching him new words and expanding his vocabulary, but we’ll see. It’s just intentional play with guided educational concepts. No biggie. And it’s something I printed when Lawson was this age, laminated, saved, and have used with all of them 😉

Layten Bradleigh – (She’ll turn 4 in October; Pre-School)
Layten absolutely LOVES to do school. She even asks if we can do school on Saturdays sometimes. I’m so glad she loves it so much. It definitely makes things easier for me.

We have enrolled Layten in the local preschool class here for 3 year olds where she will go two or three mornings out of the week. Her two older brothers got to go to this preschool, so now it’s her turn.

On the days she’s home, I’m sure she’ll still want to do school though. We’re working through See,Hear,Do Books and she’s even begun tracing her letters now, and she does very well with it. This is the first time she’s actually been able to remember the sounds that the letters make. (Remember we’ve been going over them since she was 2.) Either it was just time after all of the multiple and meaningful exposures she’s had, or these books really work. I’ll let you decide.

See, Hear, Do Book
See, Hear, Do Coloring Book
See, Hear, Do Tracing Workbook

If she’s home full-time, and we decide not to put her in preschool, I’m going to go ahead and order My Father’s World Kindergarten with her. We’ll spread it out over two years if we need to, but I think she’s ready for it. Some friends of ours use it, and I really love what I’ve seen. It is quite pricey so I will only justify the cost if I can find it used or if she doesn’t end up going to preschool where we’re paying for monthly tuition.

Linkin – (age 6; First Grade)
For Reading & Language Arts, we are finishing up The Good & The Beautiful the Kindergarten Course, and then we’ll begin the Level 1 Course. We LOVE this curriculum for so many reasons. I’ve looked at others to think about switching, but none other compares in my book. They cover SO MUCH, and it’s all included… but without all the “fluff” if you know what I mean. It’s just great! The curriculum includes everything you need – Mini Book readers, phonics cards, an activity packet so we’re good to go!

For Handwriting / Creative Writing, we are using Writing Workshop. This is not really a “curriculum choice” but an idea I learned from Samantha at Our Homeschooling Journey. They get to draw a picture of whatever they’d like (or sometimes something I assign from our Read Alouds or to review something we’ve learned), and then they write about it. I work with them closely to correct errors as they happen so that he can learn as he goes.

In Kindergarten, I only required him to write one sentence, and I would write the rest for him as he dictated it to me. This year, for First Grade, I will require 2 sentences. Lawson was required 3 sentences for 2nd Grade, so he’ll write even more this year, but I haven’t decided how much is appropriate just yet. This has helped his writing skills tremendously!

For Math, we are using Master Books… although I’m definitely going to be purchasing games and things to supplement. Math has come very easily for Linkin, and he tends to fly through it and needs more of a challenge. I mostly chose this level of curriculum for him because it has him practicing to write his numbers more often, and he needed that extra practice.

Lawson – (age 8; Third Grade)
Language Arts – Lawson did The Good & The Beautiful Level 3 for a semester last year, and then we decided to go back to level 2, which we’d skipped for the second semester. He breezed through Level 2, and we will continue to breeze through it again this semester and then skip back to finish up Level 3.

Math – Masterbooks Living Math, Level 3 I love that this math is very open and go with very little prep work. Occasionally there are extra projects and real life  things where we can apply the concepts he’s learning, but it’s just the perfect amount of it for us.

Handwriting – Writing Workshop

Elective – The Good and the Beautiful Typing, Level One

Extras – We’re planning to supplement with some computer things… XtraMath, Starfall maybe, Adventure Academy, etc. I’m not quite sure yet… the Math will be for extra practice which is needed, but the others simply because my kids ask for it and love to do things on the computer so I want to have safe and educational options for them.

Group Subjects:
While I don’t “require” these subjects for Kindergarten or below, I do encourage them to participate if they want to. They are more than welcome to do these with us, especially the hands-on activities! Linkin will actually work through these with us this year, and Layten will more than likely just learn with us too because she usually just picks up on whatever we’re discussing in little ways here and there.

Religion: We’re using More than Words, Level 1. We’ve done Bible Road Trip in the past and loved it. We might come back and try to add it in later if I see we have time for it, but for right now I’m loving that More Than Words is so open and go. There is no extra planning on my part, and that’s a win! I’m taking a minimal approach to homeschool these days instead of trying to do ALL the things because I know my tendencies and the challenges we’ve faced in our homeschool.

Memory Work: We’ll focus on the poetry from their language arts courses, catechisms reviewing what we’ve already learned and circling back around to the newer stuff, and our scriptures and concepts from More Than Words.

Morning Time Read Aloud: Mom’s Choice (I’ve got a few selected to supplement our Science and History lessons.)

History: We’re slowly making our way through Mystery of History Volume 1 . I LOVE that the lessons are short and simple, it works across multiple age-groups, and it includes TimeLine and Mapwork. We LOVE our school room timeline!

Science: Nature Studies is where our focus will be this year. I don’t know why I always feel like I need “an actual textbook curriculum” for this…. we don’t! My kids learn so much more from living literature with our read-alouds and hands-on things like Nature Studies and discussion.
We’re using…
Nature Study Hacking: Trees
Nature Study Hacking: Insects
Julia Rothman Books

Lawson – hopefully Football in the Fall, maybe Soccer again in the Spring or Baseball
Linkin – Probably Soccer again in the Spring, and maybe Kids Cook Real Food
Layten – Dance

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

  1. My Levenger Planner Cover
  2. My Levenger Disc-bound Planner Divider Tabs
  3. My Editable HomeSchool Planner
  4. Our “Notebook Paper” Assignment Dry Erase Boards
  5.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  6.  Our Favorite Pencils
  7. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens – I use these to color-code my lesson plans.
  8. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters – I use these to highlight through what we’ve completed in my lesson plans.
  9. Erasable Colored Pencils
  10. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors – They come in several varieties – SO MUCH better quality that what you’d find in most back to school sales.
  11. Disc-bound Covers -The kids use these with their printable curriculum.
  12. Metal Discs – We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the “customizable” flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  13. Laminator
  14. Dry Erase Markers
  15. Wet Erase Markers
  16. Printer
  17. Label Maker
  18. ESV Children’s Bible
  19. 365 Great Bible Stories
  20. 66 Books One Story
  21. Window on the World
  22. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  23. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  24. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  25. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  26. The Student Bible Atlas
  27. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  28. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  29. Teaching from Rest Book
  30. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  31. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  33. Raising Arrows Podcast


Our Home School Wish-List:

Just ask any teacher out there… every single one will have a wish list. Whether it’s written down or just in our heads, there’s always something else we’d like to add – whether supplies or resources. We prioritize the most-important things. These things haven’t made the cut… yet. (This is more of just a reference for me to have and come back to when I’m looking for ideas. You’ll probably slowly see me add these things in to our home school as our budget allows.)

I think most things are self explanatory but

  • Mindful Games Cards are for us to practice body and emotional awareness, such an important skill and we need work on this with our attitudes sometimes in our homeschool.
  • I love the ABC rug… it’s small so it would be perfect to place in front of our shelf with the Montessori toys and activities but still look nice in our school room. (Layten is mad because I just moved the rug from her room into the school room for this area, so I need to prioritize getting this so I can make her happy.)
  • The wooden organizer would be for our memory work and cards. It just looks so much nicer than what we’re using now.
  • Financial Peace, Jr. is something I really want to teach the kids early on… how to manage money well.
  • We want the Montessori letters to use for practicing spelling.
  • The Montessori numbers and counters would be for practicing math, obviously. We love when we can take a hands-on approach to what we’re already learning.

  • The story cards would be great to give my kids ideas for what to write and draw for Writing Workshop.
  • We have a couple sets of Hot Dots that we love, but we only have one pen. This is mainly for Layten to have her own pen and to have something to do while we finish up school because she gets done first.
  • We love these GeoPuzzles to supplement what we’re learning in History. I’d like to collect them all because it gives the kids a way to practice geography, other than the same ole labeling a map every day.
  • This Handbook of Nature Study is recommended everywhere, so we’d like to add it to our collection.
  • I want the menus to put our Memory Work in. I just feel like that will elevate the paper folders we’re using now, but it will also give us room to use dry erase markers for maps or tracing inside them too. Who wants to go in with me and split that pack of 10? It seems to be the best deal! 😉
  • My kids love games and they don’t even realize that they are helping them with educational concepts at the same time. Win Win!

    Some other ideas… NOT found on Amazon:

    Kids Cook Real Food
    Preschool Fall Video Art Lessons
    Fall Video Chalk Art Lessons
    Classical Collection History Art Lessons
    Hymns Video Art Lessons
    Illustrated Nature Journaling
    LovEvery PlayKits: Lyndon
    Panda Crate: Lyndon
    Koala Crate: Layten
    Kiwi Crate: Linkin
    Tinker Crate: Lawson

I'd love to hear from you!