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  • Writer's pictureAmber Bendett

Planning Your Homeschool Year

Where do I start? What curriculum do you use? I’m going to do my best to answer both! I hesitate to share what curriculum I am using each year because I do not believe there’s a one size fits all curriculum for each family. Beyond that, every year your child’s needs change, as well as yours. It’s important also to remember that it will take you years to find your style of homeschooling, and the type of curriculum you will use. You’ll most likely change up curriculum each year, as you discover more and more about yourself and your children—and that’s ok!

Also, my way of schooling is kind of complicated to explain. Here’s why--I am a certified teacher with a few degrees, but I am also just a teacher by nature, and a very creative soul. We all have areas in life that God gifted us graces for, meaning they just come natural. Teaching creatively is what comes natural for me when so many other things do not. But, even if teaching isn’t what you do naturally, I believe we can pray and receive grace to do what God calls us to in the season He calls us to it. So, no worries--if God’s your source, you’ll have the best guide ever.

I tell you a little about me so that statements like “I do not use a curriculum for every subject” make a little more sense to you.  But, I’m going to do my best to explain my ways. Bear with me, I’ll do my best to make this as short as possible!

When beginning to homeschool for the first time, I suggest researching the main philosophies of education. Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Unschooling, Classical, traditional… What resonates with you most? And don’t feel pressure to be dedicated to one.

I don’t prescribe to one set philosophy because I believe there are too many factors that play into schooling your children. I.e. What’s your child’s learning style? What do you as a teacher feel most comfortable with? Also, I agree with parts of each philosophy, so I tend to mix them all together! Call me eclectic if you must have a title.

I could sum my philosophy up like so---

“Reading classic literature, note booking and narration, hands on activity vs. worksheets, lots of nature study, and a whole lot of Jesus.”

Next, take some time to reflect on what you know about your children educationally. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Also, take some time to pray about your child’s heart, their faith, and their character. Is there a core value that comes to your mind that you would like to cultivate within your child’s heart this year?

For example, my son who just turned seven, really wants to read faster and more fluent, like his older sister. He reads well now, but wants to move on to the “big books” in his words--he means chapter books. So, I’m making reading our main focus or goal for him this year. For this reason, we are using “All About Reading” as a guide to accomplish that goal. My daughter, who is eight, is a great reader and can’t get enough of books. But, last year I noticed her desire to write in her journal, or write friends a letter, yet she struggled to spell. She would constantly ask me how to spell words, and didn’t feel secure in her writing. For that reason, I chose “All About Spelling” for her this year.

Now as far as the faith/character element, I noticed that my children (being PK’s), know the main Bible stories taught in Sunday school and within our home. They also know the power of the Holy Spirit and love to pray for people. But what I’ve noticed needs to be established in their hearts is stewardship. They are so blessed. Yet, I want to develop a heart of gratitude, a work ethic, and for them to truly value all that they’ve been given. This is a core Biblical value that is critical for their future success. “Stewardship” is our word for the year.

So, within our morning Bible time--beyond memorizing our Bible passages assigned to us from Co-op, we will read various stories in the Bible, as well as devotionals and books around the topic of stewardship. We will also be implementing some other practical things within our household regarding chores, earning money, saving money, tithes/offering, etc.

Evaluating and praying about each year, and coming up with a word to focus on helps center your school year.

At this point, it’s a great time to start seeking out other homeschool mothers. Are there homeschooling mothers on Instagram that you feel a connection to? See if they have a blog, or message them to ask what curriculums they are using and why. Better yet, find a local friend to connect with. Instagram can be a struggle for so many, but in the area of homeschooling, I have found it so very helpful. I love being inspired by what other mothers are doing within their school days. I have stumbled upon all of the curriculum and materials I currently use by reading various blogs, or viewing YouTube videos from other homeschool mothers. Let me know if you would like to know some of my favs!

After choosing your curriculum, it’s important to create a daily rhythm. What days will you school? How long? What will happen after school?

I will share mine as a reference, but as I said before, every family will look different. These times are not set in stone, but are what we shoot for if all goes as planned. Which is hardly ever! Ha.


  • 7:30-9:00 Chores + breakfast (David + kids handle this while I have QT/Bible)

  • School 9:00-1:00

  • 1:00 Clean up school room, kitchen, etc.

  • 1:30 2:30 (Independent work--read, piano, art, learning games)

  • 2:00-3:30 Free play (30 min ipad, Osmo, typing, outside play, etc)


  • Co-op 9:00-1:00

**Around 1-3:30 are my work hours + I typically workout then as well.

Then, you’ll want to break down your school rhythm. In what order will you teach things? What days will you rotate/loop subjects? I may be overwhelming you at this point, but I promise once these are established, there’s so much flexibility and peace that comes with having a home base. Also, most of the time you’ll have to try out a rhythm first and adjust parts of it, because we all know real life ends up being quite different than what we ideally plan for!

Again, for reference I will share mine.


  • Bible

  • Spanish review

  • Read Aloud + narration (Co-op assigned reading)

  • Short break

  • Math

  • Reading/Phonics/Writing: {One will work with me while other does indep. Work.}


  • Bible

  • Spanish review

  • Read Aloud + narration (Geo/science related)

  • Short break

  • Geography or Science activity

  • Reading/Phonics/Writing: {One will work with me while other does indep. Work.}

If you’re still with me, here are a few more details regarding curriculum and I will link all resources at the end.

Every Friday we participate in a homeschool co-op that I, along with a few other friends created. Our co-op meetings will include verse memory, science, Spanish, geography, and book club/literature.

On Monday-Thursday at home, we will review co-op material, have fun doing supplemental activities, and complete assigned readings and homework from Co-op. So really, Co-op serves as our core.

Curriculum Roundup:

Core:Co-op {Bible, Geography, Science, Spanish, Literature}

Bible: Various Bibles/Devotionals. People in the Bible Conversation cards, The Ology, Wonderworks, Jesus Calling, "I Am", The Action Bible, Indescribable.

Reading/Phonic review:

  • Zion (age 7) “All About Reading”, Explode the code + “Dash into Learning” books.

  • Cadence (age 8) “All About Spelling”, “All Things Fun & Fascinating” IEW, Daily grams Level 3


  • Zion--“Handwriting Without Tears-Printing Power” + note booking.

  • Cadence--“Handwriting without tears—Cursive Success”


*We do not use an official Language arts, geography, science, or history curriculum at this age. All are covered in co-op, unit studies, and through reading books.

*We only do an official math lesson twice a week, but we do daily math review.

*If we notebook, I don’t assign a handwriting lesson for the day.

That was officially my longest blog ever! Ha. But, I want to leave you with this. Above all else, the main thing to think and pray on is “What will matter most for eternity?”. For me, hearing “Well done” and being found faithful is what I center my days and thoughts around.

Otherwise, I can easily let the details and lists of things they "must learn" stress me out and rob me of peace. We get time to steward their hearts, to pray with them, to play, and cherish time with them before they’re grown and gone. It’s truly such a gift from God.

Please let me know if you have any questions!


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