Lessons in Learning

Last week Snakelover asked me if I am using a curriculum for homeschooling.  The answer is a resounding YES.  I realize some people can successfully un-school (?) their children, but when the FringeFamily is left to their own imaginations, life gets pretty shallow.

I fear we would sit around all day watching stupid YouTube videos like this (FringeBoy loves this video and now the song is stuck in my head…help!).

So instead, we will diligently follow a lesson plan that includes all the essentials – Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic.  Maybe we’ll throw in a little YouTube for good measure.  Better yet, maybe we’ll make our own silly video!

In honor of my picture loving daughter, I’ll show you as I tell you what books we are using.


– Abeka 3rd Grade

– Spectrum Math 3rd Grade

– Manipulatives (counting blocks, clocks, money, flashcards, etc.)

– Teaching Textbooks 5th Grade


Please don’t make me list all our books!

In short, I am using The Story of the World as a launching pad.  This year we will be studying Ancient History and progress through time over a four-year period.  Instead of using one ginormously boring textbook, we will use a variety of whole books and unit studies on the people, places, cultures, and religions from ancient times.  I have a list of library books a mile long.  In order to add variety, I also purchased four videos from the Drive Thru History series.  They all correspond to countries and time periods we will be studying.

In addition our literature and art will coincide with our history program.  For instance, when studying Ancient Egypt, we will create our own hieroglyphics or make a paper mache mummy.  The library has fabulous art books based on ancient cultures.  All subjects will tie into history, creating a cohesive and repetitive learning experience.

That’s the plan anyway.

ENGLISH:  (Sorry about the weird picture layout.  I can’t seem to fix it.)

We will be using Writing and Grammar books from the author and publishers of The Well Trained Mind.  I like this program for many reasons.  It introduces children to great works of literature, includes memorization of poetry, and focuses on giving kids the technical foundation they need in order to become good writers and analytical readers.  They learn to recognize parts of speech and diagram.  They gain listening and thinking skills through dictation, narration, and copywork.  Most of all, I appreciate the strong foundation this program offers.  Without a good foundation, life ends up in a heap of rubble.


Apologia will be our base program.  We will use the library for additional resources.  FringeKid’s lessons focus on Land Animals.  FringeBoy’s lessons will focus on Anatomy and Physiology.  Both children will be journaling and doing hands-on experiments.  This curriculum offers a variety of additional projects for each lesson.  Online ‘extras’ are a bonus.  The program encourages children to dig deeper after the lessons are technically over.


– Phonics for FringeKid

– Handwriting for both kids

English from The Roots Up (a program that teaches the Latin and Greek roots of our language)

– Bible from Memoria Press


The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

– The Well Planned Day (a lesson plan calendar created specifically for homeschoolers)  If you homeschool and need a good calendar for your lesson plans, I highly recommend getting this.  I think it was around $20, but worth every single penny.

The other night FringeMan commented that he’s never seen me so on top of my game.  Since he lived through me in graduate school, I’ll take that as a compliment.  A large part of me still thinks I’m slightly crazy for homeschooling, but I think a little crazy is ok.


There’s so much great curriculum out there, it’s hard to make the final decisions about what books to use.  Since every child is different and the homeschooling parent has the ability to tailor a program to fit the child, I am certain every family uses different curriculums.  I am in no way saying my choices are best for any other kids.  They are simply my choices.

I also joined two homeschool groups.  Every Wednesday morning we will spend time with other homeschool families in our area.  The kids will do a variety of activities together, including art, music, free play, swimming, games, etc.

If you are homeschooling or have homeschooled, do you have any favorites?

If you are a teacher, what’s your favorite book or teaching aide?

If you have any other questions on my book choices, leave a comment or send me an email.

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19 thoughts on “Lessons in Learning

  1. Pingback: Lessons in Learning | Buford Corn Maze a Night of Family Fun

  2. Elizabeth Channel

    I love all the Well-Trained Mind stuff–especially the history and writing! We used those off and on for several years and still listen to the history tapes on a daily basis. I also love English from the Roots Up, a Greek and Latin vocabulary builder.

    You are making me want to pull mine out and homeschool again with all those shiny books!

  3. patti

    As a former teacher (Sunday school, elementary kids, public junior high, public college), I will have to say, I’m mightily impressed with both your curriculum and your organization!
    You go, FringeGirl!

  4. Laura

    Wow, I’m tired just looking at that!
    I want the “English from the root up” book. I took 1 semester in Latin first year in university…I always regret that I didn’t tough it out.

  5. Leigha

    Having been a homeschooled kid myself for most of my schooling days (minus 3 1/2 grades), I can say that Saxon math books are EXCELLENT. I aced Calculus 1 as junior in high school and did it pretty much on my own. The Saxon books explain things really well and it gives repetitive learning a new standard. What you learn in lesson one, you’ll still be doing practice problems on in lesson twenty.

    As you get plugged into a homeschool group (those are a lifesaver, esp as the kids get older) you’ll find lots of used books to trade for or buy. Plus there are curriculum fairs that generally have a few used book dealers. Except for workbooks, etc, buying used is a wonderful way to save money.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Jill

    I am incredibly impressed at the expanse of your curriculum choices! I think both Fringekid and Fringeboy (and possibly FringeGirl) will be challenged this year!

    I use mostly ACE stuff. I work with a homeschool organization that helps with everything, including the electives and extra stuff I need to add in. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

  7. jenn

    Is this your first year homeschooling? What made you decide to homeschool. I’m fascinated/terrified/intrigued by the idea, and some of the shortfalls of our local high school have me considering it.

  8. Cathy

    Okay, thanks a lot for getting that in my head! lol

    My kids used the Abeka stuff in their private school. I remember that math book very well!!!! Sounds like you are going to be a very busy woman, but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun too.

  9. Andrea @ Notes from a homeschooling mom

    I am a big fan of Critical Thinking workbooks and have had good success with teaching textbooks…. I love the fact that I can resell the curriculum when I am done for 3/4 of the purchase price, so avoid writing in the workbook if you can.

    I am partial to free online programs like hippocampus.com and UC COLLEGE PREP OPEN ACCESS

  10. bdrex

    I collect old books. You wouldn’t believe how advanced the courses were in the 1800’s. Fifth graders were doing logic and they studied words and usage much more. If you can find some of these old books they might be fun to go through. bdrex


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