Q&A Friday: What curricula will you be using next year? (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Over the past month we’ve heard from all of our contributors, each sharing the resources they’ve found helpful (or not), along with their homeschool plans for the upcoming year.

I hope this information has been helpful to you as you contemplate your planning for the fall. I know I’ve jotted down a few notes here and there of recommendations for future years, as well as browsing through materials I’d never heard of before. And all from the comfort of my laptop!

Now it’s your turn to share!

Whether you’re an unschooler, a traditionalist, a Charlotte Mason fan, a Waldorf follower, or any and all in between, at Simple Homeschool we respect the unique choices you make for your family. And I’d love to hear from you today.

If you’ve written a post on your blog about the curriculum you use or will use, please feel free to share your link in the comments. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still leave a comment letting us know about your favorite resources. Enjoy browsing through the links–I’m looking forward to your responses!

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.


  1. I am really enjoyed reading the Curriculum Fair posts. Here are our plans for first grade:

    Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith’s latest post: Gathering experiences rather than  “stuff”

  2. Here are my plans for my kids for next year – 1st, 5th, & 6th grades:

    Angie @ Many Little Blessings’s latest post: Many Little Blessings- May 2011 Recap

  3. I’m planning on using My Father’s World for Kindergarten with my 5 year old daughter in the fall. I’m looking into reading curricula for fhe summer and fall – not 100 Easy Lessons, maybe something else? Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading…? We’ll see….

    • Erin I’m doing MFW K with my 5 year old and will be using Ordinary Parents and Explode the Code for phonics. My son loves doing the worksheets and have really progressed with his CVC words using Ordinary Parents.
      LaToya’s latest post: Summer Vacation

      • Thanks for letting me know that you’re enjoying Ordinary Parents. I was hoping that 100 Easy Lessons would work, but my girl does not like it and I figure at 4-5 years old, I want to make learning to read fun. I’ve held off on doing it since she started to not want to do it. But, reading is super important and I want to try something else. Thanks for your feedback!

        • My son didn’t care for 100 Easy Lessons either. He does well with Ordinary Parents. We have sandpaper letters and I use the word family inserts from Education Cubes to make it a little more fun and he LOVES it.

          Good luck! You are right that its so important to read that it needs to be as enjoyable as possible for them and us.
          LaToya’s latest post: Summer Vacation

    • I would also rec. looking into McRuffy, maybe it’s more formal than you desire, but it looks like a solid program that I plan on using with my 1st grader next year.

    • I would wholeheartedly recommend Ordinary Parent’s Guide. I used it with my daughter who just finished Kindergarten and will be using it (going very slowly) with our 3.5 year old this fall. In my experience it is excellent, but if you have a younger child you may need to go more slowly that one lesson a day. We would just do a lesson for as many days as it took for mastery…one of the lovely things about homeschool : ) Happy reading!
      Paula’s latest post: Homeschool Curriculum- What We Love

  4. Here is a link to my blogpost outlining our language arts studies for 1st, 4th, and 7th grades:

  5. It has been great reading all the snippets and about the amazing products that are out there… we are Sonlight fans through and through and I blogged about the Instructors Guides… http://www.se7en.org.za/2011/06/03/so-whats-inside-a-sonlight-instructors-guide

  6. Here’s a link to my post on curriculum choices for next year. This will be for 3rd and 6th grade.

    Rachel E.’s latest post: Curriculum for 2011-12

  7. Here are our K5 plans for the fall. I’m preparing for a leap into the classical education curriculum Tapestry of Grace in first grade (a year from this fall). Check out what we are using here: http://growingngrace.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/curriculum-wrap-up-for-2011-2012/
    Tracy’s latest post: Prayer Tips for Young Moms and Other Busy Women

  8. Next year, we will be using Christian Light Education and Apologia! :o)
    Katy~TheCountryBlossom’s latest post: The Fawn

  9. Lindsay Sledge says:

    Next year will be my first homeschooling year with my 7 year old daughter. I have been reading and praying about homeschooling since she was a newborn. I’m excited to finally be doing it after years of doubting. I decided to go with the package kit from Sonlight. I do love their philosophy. After laying out all our plans I realized that if stick to the curriculum all the way I will be missing out on some of the things I really wanted to share with dd. So I’m going to incorporate many of my own books and ideas and basically just try to remember why I wanted to homeschool in the first place when I get boggled down with all the expectations I have.

  10. Here are our current adventures with 2011 curriculum – we are halfway through our homeschool year in Australia. We use Michael Clay Thompson and Life of Fred amongst others that you can read about in my blog…

  11. My 5 year old with be doing My Father’s World K, Handwriting without Tears K, Explode the Code 1, 1.5 along with exercises from Ordinary Parents Guide and Saxon K for some math (his favorite subject I think next to reading)

    My soon to be 3 year old with be doing activities from Before Five in a Row and letter activities from Confession’s of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week curriculum.

    And we are going to be doing weekly science experience and art projects with some friends in a mini, unofficial co-op.
    LaToya’s latest post: Summer Vacation

  12. I use some of this and some of that- and I keep it frugal. As a blogger I’ve received some of what I wanted for FREE in exchange to review it 😉 this past yr and some of that was… Math Mammoth for 1st grade ( and I liked enough to BUY my 2nd grade math for next yr), ClicknKids phonics and spelling (online)- we get it free as long as I review and keep a link on Facebook page for them, I also use my swagbucks to earn Amazon egift cards so I can save money on purchase expensive stuff like Story of the World and Veritas Press History Cards for next yr.

    Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms’s latest post: Healthy Snacking on the Go! Sargento Cheese Fridge Packs

  13. Here are our plans for a 2nd grader, Kindergartener, pre K and a busy 1-year old as of this fall:


    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series. Thank you!
    stephanie’s latest post: 2011-2012 Homeschool Plans

  14. We just made an out-of-state move, and have chosen not to enroll in preschool in our new city in anticipation of homeschooling in a couple of years. Might as well get used to having them with me full time. 😀 So, we are preschooling this year, with my kids who all have birthdays later this month. They will be 4, 3, and 3 (twins). We plan to start in the fall with the Sonlight P3/4 read alouds and some relaxed work in Kumon first steps workbooks (coloring, folding, cutting, pasting). In January (at 3.5 and 4.5), I plan to add All About Reading and Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K. We’re excited!

    • Your family sounds a bit like ours, Erin, with three so close together like that! Makes for an exciting life, for sure!! 😉

      You’ll love the Sonlight P3/4 – so fun!

      • Yep! That’s one of the reasons I like reading your blog–it encourages me that if you can homeschool and being an intentional professional mommy with three kids who are more or less the same age & stage, then I can too! We also have both bio and adopted kiddos. My oldest was adopted through the foster care system and my twins were conceived when he was just 4 months old. An exciting life for sure!

  15. Kristin says:

    I will have a 1st grader, 4th grader and a 4 year old this year. The 4 year old will be doing Rod and Staff’s preschool workbooks, as well as some phonics (probably a combo of Starfall, Leapfrog DVD’s, and 100 Easy Lessons). First grader will be finishing up 100 easy lessons (we took it way easy this year), Math U See, and Explode the Code. My 4th grader will be doing Math U See Delta, Apologia Astronomy, Sequential Spelling, Story of the World 3, and I feel like I’m forgetting something. :) I’m a little confused about language arts, so we are kind of trying things out. We’re starting out with Karen Andreola’s book (Simply Grammer?…I’m not sure), then when that is finished we will be using First Language Lessons. I also bought Easy Grammer, so we’ll see how things go! I feel like I might need a little more hand holding for writing (my least favorite subject), but haven’t found anything so far.

    • We have done Apologia Astronomy twice (with two different children) and it is my favorite in the series! Hope you enjoy!

  16. I’m still working on what we will do for next yr but in addition to the Math Mammoth I mentioned above and ClicknKids we will be using Rod &Staff Readers, and Natural Speller, Story of the World and Explode the Code. I don’t necessarily follow any of the “guides: how to”. I incorporate the subjects as I wish so we don’t use all of the work books, etc..
    Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms’s latest post: Healthy Snacking on the Go! Sargento Cheese Fridge Packs

  17. Melanie Rudd says:

    I will have a 4th and 10th grader this year! My 9 year old daughter will be using The Prairie Primer, Story of the World, Apologia Zoology 3, Italics handwriting, copywork for Girls, Dance Mat Typing and Math-U-See Gamma,and lots of great books and narrations for literature. We also have All About Spelling, which we use sporadically.

    I love the Charlotte Mason method and believe that most children pick up great spelling and grammar skills through reading good literature. This has definitely been true for my older son, who had a bit of spelling in 2nd grade before I settled into our method of education. He is a great speller and writes very well. However, I am working him through some more formal grammar now that he is older to make sure he’s prepared for the SAT.

    My 15 year old son will be using Saxon Algebra 2, Apologia Chemistry, Truthquest Age of Revolution 2, The Institute for Excellence in Writing, Tell Me More Spanish, lots of classics and narration for literature, and Easy Grammar Plus along with Jensens’s Grammar. We also have tons of electives that he is slowly working his way through and he is preparing for the PSAT.

  18. For kindergarten the plan is:
    Reading: Ordinary Parent’s Guide, BOB books (and other early readers), and Explode the Code A, B, and C (I’d rather move quickly through those three books rather than jump into book 1 and it be too far ahead.)
    Math: Saxon 1
    Handwriting: Zaner-Bloser Kindergarten
    Bible: Continue family devotions and weekly scripture memorization
    Everything else: Five in a Row
    And LOTS of read-alouds. We’re compiling our list with help from Honey for a Child’s Heart, How to Raise a Reader, The Read Aloud Handbook, and the list found here http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000-primary.html.

  19. Cool! I’m looking forward to reading about what others are planning :-)

    Here are our plans for fourth grade and kindergarten (and a little bit of preK) next year: http://www.rockingranola.com/2011/06/planning-for-next-year-fourth-grade-and.html
    Kara @Simple Kids’s latest post: Rhythm of the Home- An Interview with Kara Fleck of Simple Living Media

  20. We’re heading into our second year of homeschooling–next year with a 1st and 3rd grader. This year’s Memoria Press pre-packaged classical curriculum with lesson plans worked so well for us we’re doing it again for the next grade levels. I’m excited about 3rd grade–we’re adding subjects like astronomy and Greek mythology. I don’t know anything about these fields so I’m excited to get my own education!

    We’re adding Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World for history.
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: Revisiting Rilla of Ingleside

  21. I haven’t blogged about Noah’s curriculum for this year yet, but will be doing so soon. We started using the Well-Trained Mind a few months ago (well, started using it consistently) and we really like it. For those who don’t know, Noah is 9 1/2, is nonverbal and has severe autism and mild cerebral palsy. So his lessons have to be refined and they do go at a slower place. We are really concentrating on getting him to spell by pointing to letters on a letterboard and will try to introduce handwriting this year. Will be hard because he can’t hold a pencil, but that’s our goal. So, Story of the World I, Language Lessons A, Science according to the Well-Trained Mind, LOTS of reading out loud and spelling words to him as we read. Math is really hard for me b/c it’s my least favorite subject and Noah’s favorite. Last year, we just did all the math homework that my 1st grade brought home with him from public school. Will probably do the same this year. And because I firmly believe that Noah is a typical 9 year old trapped in a body that fails him, and because I firmly believe that he hears and understands everything that goes on around him, we read a lot of age-appropriate books and do a lot of audio books in the car and story CD’s while travelling to various therapies… Jim Weiss is our favorite. We also supplement his school work with BrainGym exercises and lifeskills work… like working with him on learning to dress himself, brush his teeth, empty the dishwasher, put clothes from the washer to the dryer. It’s hard and exhausting but seeing his progress is so worth it!


    • Leslie, it is SO good to hear from you!

      Blessings on all of you this year – wish we could get these girls of ours together. Maybe one day?!

      • I love hearing from parents whose children need adaptations to curriculum who are homeschooling! I got my masters in special education and as much as I love love loved my work I think 1:1 time is so important for all students, but especially my students. Who better to give that time than the one who loves them most?

        I also love all the age appropriate reading you are doing. My “someday” dream is to write easily phonetically de-codable books that are age appropriate for middle/high schoolers.

        Nice work mama!
        Sarah G’s latest post: Friday Favorites- Broth from Bones

  22. This is our plan for the 2011-2012 school year!


  23. Our older two have graduated from homeschool. Our daughter graduated from college this year with a BSN in Nursing. Our middle son is a junior in college and our baby will be in fourth grade this fall. We’ve tried many things over the years, but I’ve summed it up here:

    Southern Gal’s latest post: Lilies

  24. Here are my plans for my boys (K, 2nd, and 4th):

    I reviewed our language arts materials in depth here:
    Heidi @ Mt Hope’s latest post: While Mom’s Away the Boys Will Play

  25. Here is our plan for the upcoming year! Thanks for the invites and all the great ideas! – http://declareduntohim.blogspot.com/2011/05/2011-2012-curriculum-fair-final-plan.html

    Andi’s latest post: The Homeschool Mothers Journal- 3

  26. We have been homeschooling for 19 years now! EEEEKKK! That just slipped out, sorry. :) Over the years, we have tried many different things. We have settled on a group of resources that work well for our children.
    I Live in an Antbed’s latest post: Even Dogs Can Skype

  27. We have a 2,4 and7 year old . I plan on learning math through hands on experiences like baking, cooking, money management and games(yhatzee etc). Science will be mostly outdoor explorations and nature journalling plus experiments.Lots of reading , writing letters stories and poems, playing scrabble, arts and crafts,,) theme nights for different countries and a few extracurricular activities. Obviously this just scratches the surface but you can see the idea!

  28. Found your site by stumbling. Very few stumbles result in a follow but I think you shall! Here are a couple of curriculum posts I blogged about a year ago.



  29. love love love to look at everyone’s plans. so many great ideas…and not in that guilt-inducing “i should be doing something different, something MORE” way. it’s just nice to see that this homeschooling journey can take us so many places!

    here are a few resources we are using with our 4 year old and two year old!

    kort’s latest post: what to do if your unschooling preschooler falls in love with worksheets

  30. We will be homeschooling for the first time this fall. I have three children ages 10,7, & 4. My four year old will be going to a small 4 day/week preschool while I homeschool my 10 & 7 yo. I may begin homeschooling him in kindergarten. I’m going to see how this first year goes. :)

    We will using the classical education model. I’m gathering many of my resources from The Well Trained Mind. I do not have all the curriculm set in stone yet. I do know we will be using Saxon Math and Susan Wise Bauers SOTW for history.

    Again, thank you for this series. It has been so helpful to read everyones advice and suggesstions.

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Sara S’s latest post: Trial and error with chocolate

  31. I have really enjoyed reading these posts! It would be easier to navigate with a Mr. Linky.

    Here is my curriculum post for my 7 year old:

    Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC’s latest post: Connors Curriculum for Next Year

  32. We are going to be entering our 2nd year with Sonlight. My girls are going into grade 6 & 4. Sonlight was a wonderful experience for us this year. We will use Teaching Textbooks, Wordly Wise, Apologia Zoology, and Canadian supplementation to round out the year.

  33. We will be using Heart of Dakota Bigger Hearts for His Glory for my 3rd and 6th grader next year, along with the Essentials of the English Language program from Classical Conversations for my older. Also some Apologia Human Anatomy and Singapore Math for my littler and Life of Fred Math for the older. Love looking at these posts!
    Schooling in the Sun’s latest post: Thankful on Thursday

  34. Does anyone have any Language Arts suggestions for a 7 year old, very active little boy? He is a very visual, hands-on learner and he is an advanced reader (reads simple chapter books like The Magic Treehouse on his own). I could really use some suggestions!

    Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC’s latest post: Connors Curriculum for Next Year

  35. We use (and will continue using) one of your sponsors- Oak Meadow. So far I’ve used it for my daughter for 4th grade and 5th grade, and in the fall I will be moving on to Oak Meadow 6 for her, along with Oak Meadow K for my son. I really love Oak Meadow- the way it’s more gentle in the early years, and still manages to be more creative and hands on in the later years, the way it integrates so many different subjects using living books and craft projects and recipes and literature and choices of interesting writing assignments and so on. I have a pretty detailed review of Oak Meadow on my blog if anyone wants to take a peek, the review can be found here: http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/124071.html

    …with that said, there is one subject I don’t use Oak Meadow for from 5th grade on, and that is math. For 5th grade math we used Teaching Textbooks and I loved it so much, that I bought it for 6th grade, too. It has helped my daughter LIKE math, stop feeling like she’s BAD at math, has built up so much confidence in her… AND her standardized test scores were very good this year for math! I have a review of that up, as well, and it can be read at: http://nancextoo.livejournal.com/124221.html

  36. We use a mostly Classical curriculum with some Charlotte Mason influence with our soon-to-be first grader (and her 3 yr old sister and 8 month old brother reap the benefits, too : ) Here are some of the curricula we love:
    Paula’s latest post: Homeschool Curriculum- What We Love

  37. We are eclectic relaxed leaning homeschoolers who adore Charlotte Mason. This is the beginning of our 2nd year. We will have 4, 5 and 8 graders. (Yikes, 1 more year before High School!!!)

    Taunya’s latest post: Joshua Tree National Park- California

  38. I love reading other family’s plans for their curriculum – it gives me great ideas. Here is what we’re following for next year:

    Kim Monaco’s latest post: Curriculum Plan for 2011-2012

  39. I’m an eclectic schooler with 4th, 2nd, K and baby.

  40. Stephanie Fallon says:

    For our 6 year old (first grade) we are using Five in a Row, Kumon math and Bob books. Can’t wait for the new school year to begin.

  41. We are using My Father’s World, First Grade for my 5-yr-old. I will probably be adding in a few things, but mainly sticking to the boxed curriculum. That’s the plan so far anyway, guess we’ll see! This is my first time using a boxed curriculum, but having gone through it and planning it out, it looks great! Just have to see it in action!
    Jade =)’s latest post: 31 Days to Clean- part 5 of 5

  42. Here’s what we are hoping to do next year, both middle school and grade school.


    I also have a tab on the top of the blog with all of our current curricula and reviews.

  43. Thanks for running this series. I enjoyed reading through the various materials lists that were posted. It was helpful to see the philosophical influences at the beginning of each post (smart thinking!).

    I am influenced by Charlotte Mason with some Classical thrown in as well. I posted what we used for 1st and 3rd grades here: http://thoughts-of-home.blogspot.com/2011/06/education-book-lists-and-looking-back.html

  44. I love Simple Homeschool and have really enjoyed the Curriculum Fair! Next year will be our first year homeschooling all of our school age kids. We will have a 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 8th grader and three under 3 years. We are going to use Christian Light Education for math, language, and reading with the 8th grader using Math Without Borders for algebra. They will all use Apologia, Human Anatomy for littles and General Science and Physical Science for the biggies. We will all do All About Spelling and Beautiful Feet for history. Foundations 1 by Ann Elliott will be our Bible. Oh, and Writing with Ease and Wordsmith. I am so excited to get started and see how the year goes!

  45. We will be using Math U See for my preschooler and 1st grader – they both LOVE math and this program just resonates with their learning styles. They love the humor and rhyms, and short assignments that leave lots of time for playing with the manipulative blocks. We will also be using handwriting without tears. We’re finishing up 100 Easy Lessons (that drug on for 2 years!) and I don’t know what to use next, any suggestions? I do a lot of reading to them so I’m not sure if a formal curriculum is needed or not? We also will make our way, slowly through, A Child’s Geography – we did two chapters these last few months and enjoyed it a lot! The rest (poetry/art/science/nature journals/writing) we’ll integrate using lap books with great science experiments and field trips. I would like to use Song School Latin in the Spring and Shurley English with my 1st grader, but that may be pushing him into too much seat work. We’ll see how the ebbs and flows of 1st grade jive with my busy busy boys!
    Melissa’s latest post: Do You Struggle With Reading Your Bible Part 2

  46. Thanks for the Fair! It actually encouraged me to write a blog post about what I had planned…. I really can’t wait to get started! If you decide to come over and check out my list… please feel free to add any opinions in the comments. I like to have a good idea about the pluses and minuses for each curriculum!

  47. I am definitely sticking with Sonlight. I switched to Right Start Math and it is incredible – so i will definitely continue with that as well!
    Leslie’s latest post: Weekend Reading

  48. I’ve been dabbling in some preschool/K curricula and little learning-at-home routines this year with my eager learner, about to turn 4… She’s been in a morning only T/Th program at our church while I work, but that finishes in two weeks. And with the baby coming, I’ll keep them both at home next year, arranging for a little in-home care during my working hours. So excited to really jump into homeschooling now! Here are my plans… http://www.purpleforparenting.net/2011/06/two-weeks-until-preschool-graduation/

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