You asked, I answered. I’ve had a few requests to hear what we’ve chosen this year as our curriculum. I am going to do my very best to keep this succinct, but let’s be honest – we all love a good curriculum sharing post, do we not? So without further ado, here are our selections for our secular classical curriculum for 2019-2020.
I’ve included links in this post to as many of the curriculum resources as I can. Some of these links may be affiliate links – which means that my site earns a small commission on your purchases, at no extra cost to you. You can see more in my Disclosure policy.
Goals, Vision, and Values
One of the pitfalls I tend to struggle with is focusing too much on curriculum. I have, in the past, thought that some new approach or some new shiny curriculum was going to make our school year the best ever. Heading in to our seventh school year as a homeschool family, I’m finally (FINALLY!) learning a few lessons.
I spent this past summer agonizing over our curriculum selections, like most of us do. I spent MORE time considering our goals, values, and vision for our homeschool. No matter what amazing curriculum we buy and use, if I don’t have the foundation properly set then it’s going to be a rough year.
I’ll go into more detail about this in a few future posts – but this year, every curriculum selection has been closely weighed against our goals for each of the kids. I’ve been purposeful, and thorough in my decision making process. This made for a little more work in the front-end, but I think it will really pay off in the long run to make sure that we’re being very intentional about what curricula my children are using.
Enough rambling – let’s get to it!
Sixth Grade Secular Classical Curriculum Choices
For my sixth grader, we’ve decided that the sixth grade core curriculum package from Memoria Press will serve as the foundation of her school year.
As a secular homeschooler, we did take a few things out. We also substituted as much from their new Charter & Public School line as we could. They don’t (yet?) have full core packages from the Charter line, but they do have a lot of the materials available.
While Memoria Press is going to be the core of our school year, we have also added in a few other bits and bobs from other places.
Sixth Grade – Goals and Priorities
My big goal for her school year is to use each piece of our curriculum to help her refine her writing skills. She is a naturally talented writer, she reads well and she reads widely. We’ve let her run with that on her own without a curriculum for years. This year, we will be more intentional about giving her as many opportunities as possible to challenge herself, grow in her writing, and add as many rich experiences as possible for her to draw from.
I also want her to start developing more independent study skills – slowly, and with partnership from me as she needs. Having a curriculum like Memoria Press as our core will allow her to work more independently but still stay on a consistent path.
I am planning posts that will look more in-depth at a lot of these resources and subjects, but as we get started these are our sixth grade secular classical curriculum choices:
Secular Classical Curriculum – 6th Grade:
- Grammar School Latin (MP Charter School)
- I Speak Latin (Quidnam Press)
- First Form Latin (MP Charter School)
- Famous Men of Middle Ages (MP Charter School)
- Memoria Press 6th Grade Literature Set: Adam of the Road, The Adventures of Robin Hood, King Arthur, The Door in the Wall (MP Charter School)
- Memoria Press “What’s That Bird?” Study (MP Charter School)
- Memoria Press Book of Astronomy
- Memoria Press Geography II (MP Charter School)
- Memoria Press Greek Alphabet
- Memoria Press Teach Yourself Cursive
- Memoria Press English Grammar Recitation II (MP Charter School)
- Math-U-See Gamma/Delta
- Classical Writing: Aesop & Homer for Older Beginners (this has been a recent decision so we also have Memoria Press Classical Composition and English Lessons Through Literature Level D in the wings as possible composition programs)
- Spelling Workout G
- CM Plenary guide to Plutarch’s Publicola (together with her brother)
Eighth Grade Secular Classical Curriculum Choices
Planning for my eighth grader has been exciting, terrifying, and a bit anxiety-inducing. He has started to express some interest in attending a public high school in 9th grade and just the thought of it has got me all up in some feelings.
The ‘big high school decision’ has not been made yet, so I’m trying to plan with either scenario in mind. How do we prepare him to enter high school with an easy-as-possible transition? How do we set the stage for homeschooling the high school years? How do we make sure that we hit the academics but also have fun?
For my 8th grader, we also settled on a core package from Memoria Press. We’ve made a few tweaks and substitutions to the eighth grade core curriculum, but it will serve as our main curriculum this year.
Goals and Priorities for Eighth Grade
I got myself all sorts of stressed out trying to decide what to do with my eighth grader this year, but ultimately I took a step back and took a VERY deep breath. I laid out our goals for this year, and every single piece of our curriculum for him were measured against these goals.
He wants an academically challenging year. I want him to enjoy his year, dig deep, and whether this is his last homeschool year or whether he keeps schooling at home – I want this year to feel relaxed and beautiful.
As it happens, our biggest priority for him isn’t even homeschool related. He participates in the Canadian Air Cadet program and is very invested in it. So, this year, we want school to be scheduled and planned so that he has room in his days/weeks/year to really take advantage of all of the amazing opportunities that come with the Air Cadet program.
We made one tweak to the classical studies plan from the 8th grade syllabus. Instead of jumping right in to Book of Ancient Greeks, we’re taking one term off from Ancient Greece and we’ll be studying Ancient Rome. My son wants to write the National Latin Exam this year, and Roman history/culture is a big part of the exam. So prepping and focusing on Roman history will be our focus in the first term. More on that later!
All that said, here’s what we have on the agenda as we get into our year:
Secular Classical Curriculum – 8th Grade:
- Memoria Press First Form Latin (Charter School version – finishing what we didn’t complete last year)
- Memoria Press Second Form Latin (Charter School version)
- Memoria Press National Latin Exam Intro Prep Guide
- Memoria Press Famous Men of Rome (charter school version
- Memoria Press Book of Ancient Greeks Set (Charter School version)
- Memoria Press Iliad and Odyssey sets (Charter School version)
- Memoria Press Geography III set (Charter School version)
- Memoria Press Poetry & Short Stories: American Lit
- Memoria Press Eighth Grade Literature Set: As You Like It, Treasure Island, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Wind in the Willows (Charter School versions)
- Memoria Press Classical Composition Books 2 and 3 (Charter School version)
- Memoria Press Teach Yourself Cursive
- Memoria Press First Start French (Charter School version)
- Math Mammoth 7B
- Prentice-Hall Algebra 1
- Moving Beyond The Page: Age 12-14 Science Package
- Lost Tools of Writing (CiRCE Institute)
- CM Plenary’s guide to Plutarch’s Publicola (with his sister)
A Look at The Year Ahead
When I list it all out like that, it sure looks like a LOT. However, in reality we won’t be working from all the resources throughout all the school year. We are deeply grateful to be on this classical path of learning, but at my core I still value simplicity and having a relaxed homeschool environment.
I’m still playing with different scheduling ideas and have a whole post coming on the different ways you can plan your Memoria Press curriculum. Instead of following the 36-week syllabus as written, we are very likely going to opt for a block schedule this year.
I’m looking for a purposeful, intentional year. I want my children to be able to dig in, spend time in each lesson and not feel ruled by a checklist or syllabus. So, I’m breaking my school year into six 6-week terms, with each term separated by a one week ‘break’. The break time will be used for resting our brains, catching up on chores or projects, making sure we’re on track, etc.
Each term will include our “core” subjects: math, latin, composition, and classical studies. We will work on one or two other subjects each term, for longer lessons each sitting. If all goes to plan, we should be able to complete all the material in our core curriculum packages but in a way that fits our family’s needs.
If we don’t get it all in this year, that’s totally cool too. I’m not on anyone’s timetable but my own!
I’ll be writing posts detailing and reviewing many of the resources I’ve listed in this post.
If you see something you’d like to know more about, or would like to see closer – drop me a comment below or reach out to me via email/social media!