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By Request: the homeschool curriculum we’re using this year

Through the years, readers have asked about the homeschool curriculum I use, and though I’ve written about that a little, I haven’t done a thorough list.

I’m gonna fix that today!

math dinosaur

So.   Here’s what we’re using this year.

(disclaimer: Just because I like a particular curriculum doesn’t mean that I think it’s the best for every family. We’ll be us and you can be you and all that.)


All of my kids are using Saxon math.   It’s not the most colorful curriculum ever, but it is THOROUGH and I love the constant, cyclical review.

homeschool math outdoors

I splurge a little and buy the solutions manuals rather than just the answer key because I want to spend as little of my life as possible painstakingly figuring out where math problems went wrong.

And we use the newer version of these books, mainly because I really really love that next to each problem is the lesson number where that problem was taught.   This makes it super easy for the student to know where to go in the textbook for help.

This year we’re in Math 65, Math 76, and Algebra 1, and Joshua’s just reviewing Algebra 2 in preparation for a college algebra class in the spring semester.

(There IS a newer, revamped version of Algebra 2 available, but I read that the solutions manual has some errors, and after having a terrible experience with the errors in the first edition of Saxon geometry, I’m gun-shy about buying a brand new version of the book.)


All of my kids use Easy Grammar and Wordly Wise.   These are consumable daily workbooks and none of them take a ton of time each day.


Only Sonia and Zoe still do a handwriting curriculum, and they’re using Handwriting Without Tears, which is what I’ve used with all my kiddos.

(Disclosure: all four of my children cried about handwriting at some point. So, just because it says no tears….well, that doesn’t necessarily mean your kids will be dry-eyed.)


Luckily for me, my mom teaches all of my kids Spanish.   Sonia and Zoe are doing a middle school curriculum, Como Te Va, and Joshua and Lisey are using Spanish Now.

Plus we use the free DuoLingo app. 😉


My mom also does this with my kids.   She’s been teaching composition for a lot of years, and for some grades, she does her own thing and for others, she’s used the Wordsmith books.

clean school desk


I love, love, love Story of the World.   I’ve always thought history was an ok subject, but oh my soul, I really, really have loved doing history with Story of the World.

The books are so engaging and interesting, and reading the chapters aloud with Sonia and Zoe has often inspired me to go learn more about whoever we’ve read about.


We got started on the Story of the World train at a weird spot, so Sonia and Zoe and I did the last two books first, which means that this year, we’re starting with Story of the World 1, which is ancient history.

(I’ve never been wowed by ancient history, but I’m optimistic that SOTW can change that for me.)

Lisey did ancient and medieval history the last two years, so she’s doing SOTW 3.

And Joshua is doing an ancient history book by the same author, but it’s meant for high schoolers. I ordered the teaching guide to go along with the textbook. This is my first year using that curriculum, so I don’t have much of an opinion formed about it yet.


I’ve never been a huge fan of reading curriculums per se, partially because they usually seem like a lot of busy work and also because I feel like they tend to suck the fun out of reading.

Plus, since my kids have all been good readers (such a sweet mercy!), the phonics that go along with these curriculums has been largely unnecessary.

summer reading

That said, I know that in standardized testing, there’s some workbook-ish reading comprehension type of stuff, so I’ve had my kids do the BJU reading curriculum through grade 6.

I’m not generally a fan of BJU, and I’ve come across a few things I don’t agree with in these books, but overall, these books are ok, and they allow me to check off the reading requirement for grade school.

But for super-duper fun reading that is actually way more educational than reading curriculum…well, we read books.

summer reading

We’ve always got a full library bin, and I’ve actually found Story of the World to be really helpful here.   Every chapter comes with literature recommendations, so I always put those on hold at the library, and those books keep my kids pretty busy.


We’ve been using Apologia’s titles for the last few years, and I really like the conversational tone of the books.

(The tone isn’t very textbook-y, which is almost always a good thing in my mind!)

apologia anatomy and physiology

Sonia and Zoe are doing Anatomy and Physiology, Lisey’s doing General Science, and Joshua’s doing Marine Biology (complete with a dissection kit.   We currently have a preserved shark, along with other marine animals, waiting for dissection.)


The kids and I do a martial arts class together, and Sonia and Zoe do ballet.   Plus there’s plenty of informal activity like trampoline-jumping, bike-riding, scootering, rollerblading, and whatnot.

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Reader Molly reminded me to add this!   I teach piano to all four of my kids.   I use the Alfred basic piano series and then after that I typically pick and choose the songs I teach, not using a specific curriculum.

Joshua also plays guitar, and Lisey plays a little ukelele and bass on the side.   😉


Alrighty! I believe that covers the basics of what we’re doing for school this year.

(Although I’m sitting here wondering if I’ve left out some super obvious subject that we do.   Ha.)

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!


P.S. You may have noticed that we don’t currently use a spelling curriculum.   I did use one when my kids were younger, but eventually I decided it was unnecessary.   Spelling is not a big challenge for any of them, and they get enough spelling practice through their other subjects (especially vocabulary and composition.)

P.P.S. I’m not affiliated directly with any of these curriculum companies, I’ve bought all of our books myself, and my choices are made completely independently. I’ve used Amazon to link to some of the resources, which means that I get a small kickback (at no cost to you) should you purchase through Amazon.

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Saturday 12th of September 2020

This is a super old post but now that my kids are doing remote learning I went back and read it. I was wondering what you did for spelling ( you mentioned you had a curriculum when your kids were younger.). Thanks!

Emily M

Thursday 31st of December 2015

Hey Kristen! So, can I ask a question that may be too controversial to discuss here? You should feel free to delete if you feel like it'll open up a can of worms that you'd prefer to keep off your blog. :)

Does the fact that you use Apologia mean that you pretty much solely teach your kids creationism? My understanding of their textbooks is that they mention evolution, but in a very dismissive way. I personally have been struggling in my faith over the past few years, and part of it is that I just can't get behind a lot of the politics, etc, that it feels like mainstream Christians are 'supposed' to believe, especially considering my extensive public school/college education (ie. evolution theory). Like if I recognize evolution and believe people can love who they want, then I'm a sinning non-believer to a lot of the Christian community - so what's the point?

I'm sincerely not trying to start an argument - I've just respected a lot of your take on faith, environment, etc, so I'm curious to hear your view.


Thursday 31st of December 2015

Haha, I did have second thoughts about making a list of curriculum for this very reason.;) We teach our kids creationism, but they do also know about evolutionary theory. And creationist resources are not all they are exposed to (nature and science shows and books, museums, etc.) And while I am not convinced about evolution on a large scale, I do think that microevolution within a species is valid.

I think that the validity of one's faith depends on recognizing, confessing, and depending on our need for Jesus' sacrifice in our place. All of us will be wrong about other things here and there, but that is what is bare-bones essential to me.

Totally understand not getting behind a lot of the politics in Christendom. I really, really don't think Christianity is either Democratic or Republican and I hate it when people try to put Christianity in either camp. Or when people try to equate being a Christian with being an American (vice versa). I think all too often we Christians put so much time and energy into trying to change the world through politics instead of trying to reach people, and gosh, I just don't see a whole lot of precedent for that in the Bible. We should want to reach people's hearts, not create white-washed tombs, yk?

I don't know if that's a helpful answer or not!

Leigh Ann Hicks

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

We love Saxon Math. I researched the newer versions since Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt purchased Saxon. The New Geometry book (which I found brand new at a used curriculum sale) was not written by John Saxon and the recent (in the past few years)4th edition versions of their other books are not either. We were not impressed and went back to the 2nd and 3rd editions.


Thursday 22nd of October 2015

I am curious if you do any read alouds and what type of literature you use for high school? And I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know what your daily schedule looks like when you homeschool. I am homeschooling four kids, two in ninth grade, one in fifth grade & a kindergartner. I feel I am very good at time management, and yet I am TERRIBLY struggling to get everyday life things done around school these days. Thanks so much!


Thursday 22nd of October 2015

How often do you do your martial arts class? Also, do you do the activities that are in the SOTW activity book?


Thursday 22nd of October 2015

Our class is once a week during the school year and multiple times per week during the summer.

We do some of the activities in the SOTW book, but not all. I pick and choose based on what I think would be a good fit for the kid in question.

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