Tag Archives: Education

Year 3 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Year 3 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Average weekly time: Together (3 hours), Kid Uno independently (13), total 16 hours


Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments.

Any changes for next child?

[My answers are italicized]



New Testament AO Selections

Dislike. I don’t really like reading the Bible. The thing picks out a lot of stories that I don’t like.

Like. She narrated well.

Old Testament AO Selections

Dislike. It’s very boring.

Dislike. The AO schedule was so confusing. I need to change it for coming years.


Like. It’s very fun, it has good stories.

Like. I think Kid Uno mostly liked the beautiful girl martyrs, but they were all good. I thought the level might be too easy for her, but it wasn’t.


Child’s History of the World

Neutral. Some parts I like, and some I don’t. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s boring.

Like. I love this book—I have learned so much. The last chapter about world peace was fluffy and skippable…I think I might read the Matthew passage about wars and rumors of war instead. 

Our Island Story

Dislike. It has a lot of dates I should memorize. All those battles.

Like. I actually haven’t read this. I wasn’t going to schedule it but Kid Uno asked to read it so I said yes as long as she wrote a narration after each chapter. It could be as long or as short as she wanted. I gave her a spiral notebook with some suggested questions to answer or help prompt narrations. She did well, and her illustrations were pretty great.


Dislike. Very, very dislike. So boring. Well, neutral—it’ll help me remember stuff but I don’t like writing it.

Neutral. Kind of a drag, but it’s only every three weeks, and it pays off later.

Theresa of Calcutta

Like. She helped the poor and it was a very interesting book.

Like. I haven’t read this since I was a kid, so I skimmed each chapter and we went through some concepts and vocabulary before she read and narrated.


Minn of the Mississippi

Dislike. Very boring.

Neutral. It’s okay. I like Holling C. Holling, but his use of dialogue to narrate doesn’t work very well, especially for read alouds. it gets confusing, especially in this book. I think Kid Uno liked the turtle parts, but didn’t learn much geography from it.


Neutral. It had some exciting parts but it’s all “I” [first person].

Like. We discussed communism and the USSR before she read. She filled in a printed map with some of the locations of the bike trip. I think it gave her a taste of Russian culture.

Little Tiger in the Chinese Night

Neutral. Like and dislike.

Like. We discussed communism before she read it. She filled in a printed map of China but she did it at the beginning of these two books, so I don’t know if she remembers much.

Children of China

Dislike. It wasn’t a very good story. I like stories, not like history. I don’t like non-fiction at all.

Like. We discussed communism before she read it. She filled in a printed map of China but she did it at the beginning of these two books, so I don’t know if she remembers much.


One Small Square Woods

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Neutral. Very Eastern—we don’t have those kinds of woods around here, so when we tried doing a small square on the Jordan River, it didn’t work so well. And it was winter 😉

One Small Square Seashore

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

 Like. Read right after their trip to Florida, so some of it came alive.

One Small Square Savanna

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Like. This one is easy to follow.

One Small Square Pond

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Like. Fairly interesting. Some overlap with Among the People.

Among the People

Like. It’s really fun, and it’s also interesting, and it’s also stories, but I still learn something.

Like. I thought the eels crawling through mud was totally out there, until I googled it and it is true! And the humor is great at times.


Neutral. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s fun.

Like. This is one of Holling’s better ones. We learned a lot about hermit crabs, and a little about the ocean and food chains.

Wild Season

Like. Cuz it shows the food chain, it’s also really fun.

Like. This is a great book; that’s why I assigned it. J Rather than verbal narrations, she had a little notebook and I told her to do a one page illustration of the main idea of each chapter. They were great. And I think she picked up on the food chain concept pretty well.


Dislike. It’s science and I hate, hate, hate science, completely hate.

Neutral. This is such a great concept but I so dread implementing it. And Kid Uno whined about it. So halfway through the 3rd term, I just found all the non-fiction we own that line up with the ideas, assigned her a book to read, and discussed afterward. That worked a lot better. I have re-done my schedule for BFSU 1 and 2 for next year in the same format, but will be beefing it up with projects and videos.

Nature Journal

Dislike. Cuz I can’t pick what I like to draw, and it’s nature.

Like. Term 1 was the best, when I scheduled topics ahead of time. The other terms were haphazard, which was ok.

Nature Connection

Neutral. Cuz I ran out of projects and had to do it three years.

Neutral. I think it is worthwhile, but it is redundant now that I have more experience and more resources for nature study. This is Kid Uno’s third year with it, and that’s more than enough.


The Heroes

Like. Cuz it’s a story.

Like. Although I haven’t quite finished it 😦 I need to pre-read faster! A good, fairly short intro to mythology. Kid Uno read it on her own.

Princess and the Goblin

Like. Cuz it’s also a story, and it’s very fun cuz she finds her grandmother.

Like. Kid Uno had already read the abridged version, so she was a bit nonplussed to read this again. But she liked it, and kept asking to read ahead.


Neutral. Cuz sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s not.

Like. Especially Hamlet, since I’ve never read it before. I get some of the others mixed up since they are formulaic, but they are all good.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Dislike. Hate. The worst story imaginable. The younger one [Little Pilgrim’s Progress] is much, much better.

Dislike. Thanks, John Bunyan, for making me explain rape to a nine year old, and victim-blaming while you’re at it. Ugh. I keep waffling on whether to drop this, but I keep thinking who am I to argue with previous generations’ acclaim for a lauded classic….or something. But I am postponing it till Kids Dos and Tres are in Year 3 and 2, so I don’t have to read it again next year.

People Could Fly

Like. It has fun stories.

Like. This is one of my minority tweaks that I am really happy with. The stories are great, and Kid Uno picked up on the allusions to death.

Tom Sawyer

Like. Love. It’s so fun, and he goes on the best adventures.

Like. This was a great sub for Children of the New Forest. We did three chapters a week for one term, which was a lot of reading, but it was a good one to do together since she doesn’t understand a lot of the context. There were a couple boring chapters, but most was much better than I remembered as a kid.

Jungle Books

Like. Love. Fun stories. Very interesting. And I learned a different language about how to say animal.

Like. Kipling has really grown on me. This was amazing. Took about 45-60 min per chapter, so it was a lot of reading, but again a really good one to do together.

American Tall Tales

Like. It’s not true but it’s really fun.

Like. Classic tall tales. She’d already read most of them in another book, so I think we skipped some narrations.


William Blake

Like. It’s very pretty and nice and sweet.

Like. My only exposure to Blake was a terrible college class which took weeks to discuss Tyger and I hated it. Kid Uno and I read Songs of Innocence and Experience, and they were pretty cool, especially the original illustrations.

Vikram Seth

Hate. They’re not very good poems for me, and I don’t like what he writes.

Like. These were great story-poems (Beastly Tales), and another of my non-western additions.

Marilyn Singer

Like. They’re really good, and they’re backwards.

Like. We read Mirror Mirror and  Follow Follow. Very clever.

Sara Teasdale

Neutral. Some are good and some I don’t really like.

Like. But I think these would be more appreciated by an older someone, say 14ish. Kid Uno didn’t really get into them.


Rays Intellectual, Practical, and Test

Dislike. Hate. It’s the worst schoolbook in my whole life. It’s hard, it’s confusing, it’s very un-fun.

Like. I know Kid Uno doesn’t like it, but it is so simple, effective, and short. Although I assigned way too much long division at the beginning of that section, until I realized 10 problems took her 2 hours!

Strayer Upton

Like. It’s easy and fun and it tells the stories that goes along with it, and it makes it easy for me to understand.

Like. We finished half the red book. Kid Uno loves it (compared to Ray’s), and I like that I can pick sections where she can use some easy practice. It could be fairly self-teaching. Not as advanced as Ray’s; it’s probably about grade level.


Dislike. Hate. It gives me problems that sometimes I don’t understand; sometimes it’s really easy, sometimes it’s really hard. I like stuff to teach me but be very easy.

Like. The perfect complement to Ray’s. Kid Uno doesn’t love it, but she doesn’t complain about it much. She will finish it in Year 4.

Life of Fred

Neutral. I’d like to go into older books cuz it’s very easy. Some easy things I like, some I don’t.

Dislike. Actually closer to hate. Just inane, and she learns absolutely no math. The only redeeming quality is that she associates something funny with math. Kid Uno has been reading them on her own; I am done reading them forever; considered selling but will probably hang on to them and just let the kids read them when they want to.


Dislike. If it showed all the cards on the computer it would be faster because I wouldn’t have to flip cards over.

Like. She does multiplication or division a couple times a week, and has been getting faster. Takes about 10 minutes per set.


Pentime Grade 6 and 7

Neutral. I don’t like long things but I do like short things.

Like. Cheap, quick, effective, and pretty.


McGuffey’s Third Reader

Dislike. I like reading stories better than all that Bible stuff.

Like. This book is fairly boring, but it has been great for elocution. I’ve also used it as an early intro to dictation. She picks 2-3 spelling words at the end, studies them for a minute, puts the book down, and copies them.


Scott Foresman 4, 5

Like. But I’d rather be able to skip around

Like. We’ve continued using these for art projects. She is self-directed, and there is some good variety. We’ll move on to something else next year.

Pencil Drawing Books

Dislike. Not at all fun because I can’t draw what I like, and I like drawing people. I don’t like drawing their way.

Like. She has been working through her choice four weeks at a time, and I think it’s added to her skill.

Theatre at Children’s Theatre

Like. Our teachers were really good and nice.

Like. It was rough getting Kids Uno and Dos to classes during the winter at naptime with a new baby. But they really enjoyed it, and I think they learned some vocal and public speaking and memorization skills.

 Picture Study

John James Audubon

Like. It’s fun, and interesting.

Like. Good way to learn observation.

Georgia O’Keefe

Neutral. Some of her paintings I liked, some I didn’t. It’s not my type of drawing.

Like. The book I ended up with was tiny so I may upgrade for future kids.

Salvador Dali

Dislike. Hate. All that scary stuff and weird stuff and naked people.

Like. I thought Kid Uno would dislike him, but she was pretty into it.



Dislike. I don’t really like singing it together the way we do it.

Like. I love when we have learned one, and then we sing it at church, and she is happy because she knows this one!

Haydn, Beatles, Harp, Aaron Copeland, U2, Steel Drums, Debussey, Selena, French Horn

Like. Love. SELENA—she’s the best singer in the world…

Like. This was a fun assortment. I’m pretty sure Selena was the favorite.

Violin Lessons

Like. It helps me learn about all the notes, and I’ve been able to learn a little piano, and it’s been very fun.

Like. Her violin lessons have been very worthwhile.



Dislike. Hate. Because I don’t like memorizing. Unless it’s songs from movies. I don’t like being made to memorize. Maybe we should memorize songs instead.

Like. She doesn’t like to put much time into it until the end of the term. I thought letting her pick a passage would be more enjoyable, but she just picked the shortest ones possible.


Neutral. It’s not that fun.

Like. She doesn’t like to put much time into it until the end of the term. Maybe learning some techniques for memorizing would be helpful?


Emily’s Co-op

Like. Love. It’s so much fun, and I can make so many new friends, except I don’t get to see them a lot. Like A—he’s a friend of the C–. M—he was really fun, and we got to be great friends. Also A–.

Like. Emily was amazing to do this. Three hours every Friday morning for several weeks. The three older kids all learned some finger-knitting and Spanish, played parts in a fairy tale play, and did some nature journaling, and loved being with friends. The kids loved it.

Knitting, Weaving, Beeswax Candles, Microscope, Pet Care, Decorating Church for Easter, Clay, Making Rose Hip Tea, Origami, Making Lunch, Opening Pomegranates, Grocery Shopping, Legos, Beading, Gingerbread House, Baking Cookies, Brownies, Cake, and Pies, Felting Soap, Paper Cutting, Play Doh, Hand Sewing, Fairy House, Eco Art, Paper Fans, Building Fort, Harvesting Pine Nuts

Like. It’s fun.

Like. It’s all good!

Outdoor Exploration

Perseid Meteor Shower in West Desert, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, Peace Garden, Sheepdog Festival, Week at Cabin in Grover, Tracey Aviary, Wheeler Farm, Neighborhood Seed Walk, Jordan River, Cattails, Aerospace Museum, Stockton, Treehouse, Tulip Festival, Thanksgiving Point, Discovery Gateway, Camping in Uintas, Week in Florida

Like. It’s very fun.

Like. One of the best parts of homeschooling.

 Sport/Physical Activity

Ballet at Missio

Like. Love. I even want to become a ballerina when I grow up. The teachers help me understand so that I’m able to do it right, and they are really patient and understanding. They always help me with it, even when I have lots of trouble. They say “you can do it”. Especially Laura—because she teaches my class and is always really helpful. They even give us breaks (which I don’t ask for).

Like. It’s free, the quality is equivalent to SLC Ballet which is not free, it’s nearby, DH usually takes them, and their performance was very sweet. It’s a keeper. Kid Uno is gifted at ballet; I need to look into whether she should take more or harder classes.


Neutral. It’s pretty hard, but it’s kind of fun to get rewards for it.

Like. DH times the kids running around the block, and tracks their records on a spreadsheet. And Kid Uno ran her first 5k this year!

Hikes, Bike Rides, Tennis, Yard Golf, Bounce House, Snow Play, Sledding, Ice Skating, Swimming

Like. They’re really fun.

Like. All great activities.


Like. It’s fun.

Like. All four older kids took several weeks of classes at the rec center. It was a good cheap way to see if they were all really interested like they said they were. I think we’ll do it again this winter.

Overall evaluation: Our family is very strong in spending time reading, crafting, sporting, socializing,  and spending time outside. We have acquired Legos and more board games this year; Kid Uno has enjoyed both. She is a very self-directed learner…needs a little instruction, and she’s off. Comes up with a lot of her own ideas and implements them on her own. She did most of her work independently, and is all set for complete independence in Year 4.  She took the ITBS and DORA/ADAM. The DORA/ADAM were much more useful for me. She’s at or above grade level in everything except geometry. I need to look ahead and see if our maths cover that more next year [since Kid Dos also tested low in that area], or if I should add something. Origami? 😉 She’s a super reader, and I am always scrambling to find more free reads for her. I’d eventually like her to enjoy reading books written in first person; they are the only ones she won’t read. We didn’t use much media again this year; next year I am putting some movies/documentaries/music right on the schedule so I remember to do them. Kid Uno does enjoy Storybird, Oregon Trail, online math games, and watching ballet and sports. I’m happy with the changes I made to Year 3 (compared to the AO version). It ended up being a bit more time consuming for Kid Uno than I wanted it to be (I was aiming at about 15 hours a week), but she rose to the occasion (and I eventually cut back on math). The distribution of work throughout the week was perfect, but I want to protect her daily free time, so I’m keeping that in mind in my Year 4 planning. No more than 20 hours a week next year, I hope.





Goals of Education

When Kid Uno was about five years old, DH and I brainstormed some pretty rough educational goals for our children. Four years later, I have more specific goals for our kids. Everything beyond Year 3 is very much a work in process, and the years we have completed (so far, Years 1-3) will continue to be modified for each child. These goals will be modified and updated at least once a year 😉 I picture each of our children receiving an education somewhat tailored to their interests and gifts, while also exposing them to common cultural knowledge and developing necessary skills. I like the idea of starting broad, and narrowing/deepening as they grow up, and grow into themselves. At this point, I am only considering ages 6-14; after that, I expect them to have a fair amount of input as to the direction they want to take with their lives. Maybe an Associates Degree at age 18? Maybe some shadowing or technical training for a chosen field of work? Maybe college, grad school, internships? Maybe studying at home with me? Who knows!

So here are my very-much-in-process goals and curricula for the next few years (the first part is goals, and the second part is subjects broken down by year):

Goals for Years 1-8 (age 6-14)

a ? or blank space means I’m undecided or playing with ideas or haven’t researched enough yet

special studies means something tailored to the student or designed with his input

AO is Ambleside Online and MA is Mater Amabilis



  • to learn to read fluently through phonics and plenty of practice reading aloud
  • to enjoy reading and be competent in various types of reading
  • to pronounce words correctly, have pleasant elocution, and be comfortable with public speaking
  • to separate personal opinion from that of the author
  • to be able to comprehend the main point of a text upon a single, careful reading
  • to have a long attention span and an ability to concentrate on and understand difficult text


  • to learn to print and to write and read cursive
  • to be precise and neat
  • to be exposed to lots of good writing
  • to learn to summarize through oral narration
  • to learn to compare/contrast, notice setting and character, order events chronologically, assign motive, etc. through oral narration
  • to learn to type
  • to master English grammar and spelling
  • to be able to write effectively in any format


  • to master addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction, percents, ratio, English and metric weights and measure, time, money, algebra, geometry
  • to enjoy math competency and see how it is used in daily life
  • to understand statistics
  • to manage personal finances
  • to be aware of higher math which might be required in or enhance various fields


  • to observe carefully
  • to replicate what is seen by using perspective, line, shading, etc.
  • to achieve a level of proficiency which makes drawing an easy and enjoyable way to communicate


  • To have very minimal use of screens at young ages
  • To learn word processing and programming at appropriate ages (when needed for efficiency)
  • To know her way around a computer (able to create, save, and organize files; navigate the Internet; make purchases; send emails; etc.)
  • To use reliable sources for research
  • To use common sense in communication


  • to be exposed to all forms of lit (rhymes, fables, folk tales, fairy tales, myths, novels, plays, sci fi, utopian, dystopian, humor, essays, speeches, satire, allegory…)
  • to have deep and broad cultural literacy of western civ
  • to have broad literacy of non-western cultures and non-dominant viewpoints (ie, Anansi and other trickster stories, creation myths, Sherman Alexi…)
  • to learn empathy and to look at life from various points of view
  • to enjoy Shakespeare and appreciate his role in shaping culture


  • to enjoy the beauty, power, and humor of reading poetry
  • to strengthen memory by regularly memorizing portions of poetry
  • to have deep and broad cultural literacy of western civ
  • to have insight into and enjoy flavor of other cultures
  • to appreciate the role of oral traditions of the past (epic poetry)


  • to spend many hours outside daily to build connection to local nature
  • to spend time traveling and exploring to be exposed to diverse nature
  • to have many real experiences with things and events so science remains tangible
  • to enjoy the world and be amazed at natural phenomena and human technology
  • to see patterns and organization in the chaos of life
  • to have resources and time to create and experiment
  • to read at least one living book on every topic imaginable, including topics usually left for specialists (ie, architecture, anthropology, coding, cartography, time travel, medicine…)
  • to regularly go deeper with topics of personal interest
  • to learn to separate science from pseudo-science
  • to thoughtfully consider origins
  • to identify hidden agendas in the sciences


  • To have a bird’s eye view of human history from creation to present
  • To understand integration of Bible and church history with world history
  • To view church history from different denominational and cultural angles
  • To know when events happened worldwide in same time periods (ie, American and French Revolutions)
  • To read many biographies of key people
  • To read several narratives of time and events
  • To understand difference between primary and secondary sources
  • To approach several controversial events (ie Civil War, Trail of Tears, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam War) from at least two opposing viewpoints
  • To become familiar with family history and learn about the past through older relatives
  • To visit local areas of historic interest
  • To spend time traveling and exploring to be exposed to diverse historic interest
  • To give more attention to world rather than American history
  • To study history through various lenses (ie, art, horses, explorers, inventions)


  • To understand different types of government and how American government works
  • To appreciate the role of individuals within societies (Plutarch?)
  • To have a working knowledge of societal systems (economics, law, taxes, community resources)
  • To learn to serve others and live in communities


  • To be able to locate and identify everything on the globe
  • To understand how physical features influence political events
  • To appreciate our neighbors’ cultures (Samoan, Tongan, Mexican, Salvadoran, Burmese, Cambodian, Sudanese)
  • To be familiar with Canadian and Mexican history and culture
  • To be able to read road and topo maps and orient oneself


  • To begin studying Latin around age 10 for logic and deeper knowledge of English language
  • To study Greek and Hebrew [maybe][this might be good for Bible study, but I don’t know how useful otherwise]
  • To speak, read, and understand a living language of her choice (or ASL or Braille) to communicate with many other people and to appreciate more cultures
  • To be at least somewhat familiar with Spanish if it is not her language choice


  • To be exposed to diverse musical styles
  • To learn to listen carefully
  • To understand basic music theory (rhythm, melody, harmony, tones)
  • To identify diverse instruments and musical forms
  • To study an instrument to the level of enjoyment
  • To learn common hymns and worship songs
  • To learn folksongs for fun
  • To be comfortable singing and be able to carry a tune to some degree


  • To be exposed to great global works of art
  • To learn to observe carefully
  • To understand basic art theory (color, line, perspective, shading)
  • To identify diverse works of art and schools of art
  • To experiment and create with various media
  • To become proficient in some art form of personal interest
  • To be able to critique current art—film, photography, architecture

Bible/Spiritual Reading

  • To read the entire Bible at least once
  • To memorize books of the Bible, passages of scripture, a creed, several prayers
  • To learn how to read and study the Bible critically
  • To read bios of saints and influential Christians from all three streams (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox)
  • To be familiar with basic doctrine and why it is important

Practical Skills/Handicraft

  • To learn enjoyable hobbies
  • To become proficient in skills necessary for competent adult life

Sports/Physical Activity

  • To enjoy using bodies
  • To use energy and competitiveness in a healthy way
  • To learn teamwork
  • To understand the rules and basic play of several major sports (basketball, baseball, soccer, football, tennis)
  • To enjoy some form of personal physical fitness




YR 1: complete phonics, practice McGuffey primers and 1st reader

YR 2: practice McGuffey 2nd, read aloud poetry, practice other readings

YR 3: practice McGuffey 3rd, read aloud poetry, practice other readings

YR 4: Practice McGuffey 4th, read aloud poetry, read aloud one reading per week

YR 5:

YR 6:

YR 7:

YR 8:




YR 1:  complete printing, begin cursive, oral narrations (summaries)

YR 2: continue cursive, oral narrations (mostly summaries, sometimes other questions)

YR 3: continue cursive, oral narrations (summaries and other prompts), begin dictation (words), one uncritiqued written narration per week

YR 4: finish cursive, oral and written narrations, dictation weekly, begin critiquing written narrations, begin daily grammar

YR 5: oral and written narrations, perfect essays, dictation weekly, continue daily grammar

YR 6: oral and written narrations, perfect essays, dictation weekly, continue daily grammar

YR 7:

YR 8:




YR 1: work through Ray’s Primary at least add/subtract, work through Miquon, read I Love Math books

YR 2: work through Ray’s Primary multiply/divide, begin Intellectual and Practical, work through Miquon, read I love Math books

YR 3: continue Ray’s Intellectual and Practical up to fractions, work through Miquon, SU half of red, read a few non-fiction math books

YR 4: continue Ray’s Intellectual and Practical through common and decimal fractions, finish Miquon, SU half of red, read a few non-fiction math books, Number Stories From Long Ago

YR 5: finish Ray’s Intellectual and continue Practical through percent and ratio, SU half of yellow, use some fun supplements

YR 6: finish Ray’s Practical, SU half of yellow, SCM business math?, AOPS?, begin Jacob’s algebra?

YR 7: Jacob’s algebra?, SU half of blue

YR 8: Jacob’s geometry?, SU half of blue




YR 1: start yellow book

YR 2: finish yellow book

YR 3: work through drawing book options (Colored Pencil, Human Figure, Drawing Lessons)

YR 4: Private Eye and drawing options, (Colored Pencil, Human Figure, Drawing Lessons)

YR 5:Private Eye, Prang?, anime?

YR 6:

YR 7:

YR 8:




YR 1: informal

YR 2: informal

YR 3: informal

YR 4: learn typing?

YR 5: learn word processing?

YR 6: learn spreadsheets?

YR 7: learn graphic design/video/photo?

YR 8: learn coding?




YR 1: fables (Aesop)(Just So Stories), fairy tales (Blue Fairy), animal stories (Herriot), Shakespeare (Lamb’s)

YR 2: Understood Betsy, Wind in the Willows, myths (Robin Hood), Shakespeare (Lamb’s), Pilgrim’s Progress

YR 3: fairy tales (Princess and Goblin), myths (Heroes)(American Tall Tales)(People Could Fly), Tom Sawyer, Jungle Book, Shakespeare (Lamb’s), Pilgrim’s Progress

YR 4: Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island or Kidnapped, myths (Bulfinch or Hamilton), short stories (Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, Isaac Asimov), long poems (Paul Revere, Hiawatha, Evangeline), Shakespeare (audio) 2-3 plays

YR 5: myths (Bulfinch or Hamilton), King Arthur and His Knights, Oliver Twist, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea?, Shakespeare (audio) 2-3 plays

YR 6: Shakespeare (audio) 2-3 plays, Oscar Wilde play?, myths (Bulfinch or Hamilton), The Hobbit, Animal Farm, The Illiad, Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie

YR 7: Shakespeare (audio) 2-3 plays, Don Quixote play?,  myths (Bulfinch or Hamilton), Spanish lit? CS Lewis Space Trilogy?

YR 8: Shakespeare (audio) 2-3 plays, myths (Bulfinch or Hamilton), Russian lit?, Jane Austen? Willa Cather?




YR 1: A. A. Milne, R. L. Stevenson, anthology, memorize 3

YR 2: Walter de la Mare, James Whitcombe Riley, Christina Rossetti, memorize 3

YR 3: William Blake, Vikram Seth, Marilyn Singer, Sarah Teasdale, memorize 3

YR 4: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Aussie Poets (Lawson, Paterson, James), Emily Dickinson, memorize 3

YR 5: Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Naomi Shihab Nye, Canadian poets?, memorize 3

YR 6: Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, memorize 3

YR 7: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, ?, memorize 3

YR 8: John Donne, Pablo Neruda, John Milton, memorize 3




YR1: four One Small Square books, Among the People, non-fiction organized by BFSU

YR 2: four One Small Square books, Among the People, non-fiction organized by BFSU

YR 3: four One Small Square books, Among the People, non-fiction organized by BFSU, oceans (Pagoo), food chain (Wild Season)

YR 4: non-fiction organized by BFSU, human body (Golden Book), architecture (Building Book)

YR 5: non-fiction organized by BFSU, astronomy, oceanography (Cousteu? And Kon Tiki?), inventions

YR 6: non-fiction organized by BFSU, periodic table, weather, geology

YR 7: non-fiction organized by BFSU, history of science, origins, psychology

YR 8: non-fiction organized by BFSU, original writings (Faraday, Darwin, Mendel, Newton, etc.),  naturalists (Abbey, Muir, Carson, Thoreau…)




YR 1: stories (50 Famous, Viking), American bios (Pocahontas, Franklin, Washington, Buffalo Bill)

YR 2: half of world history read aloud (CHOW), British/French history (Little Duke), Signature bios

YR 3: half of world history read aloud (CHOW), British history read independently (OIS), Signature bios

YR 4: world history read independently, age of exploration through Landmark bios

YR 5: state history leading into US history, special studies through Landmark bios,

YR 6: sideways history through Genevieve Foster, special studies

YR 7: sideways history through Genevieve Foster, special studies, Daughter of Time

YR 8: opposing viewpoints through primary sources




YR 1: informal

YR 2: informal

YR 3: informal

YR 4: Bill of Rights, Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner

YR 5: Plutarch, government (Courts of Law), economics (Penny Candy?)

YR 6: Plutarch,  Constitution

YR 7: Plutarch, religions

YR 8: Plutarch, Utopia by More?, essays by Francis Bacon?, statistics




YR 1: US/Canada (Paddle)

YR 2: US (Seabird, Tree in Trail)

YR 3: US (Minn), Asia focus (MA Russia, China), India (Mother Theresa bio)

YR 4: World (explorers bios), Americas focus (MA)

YR 5: State and US, Africa focus (MA)

YR 6: World E and W (Halliburton)

YR 7: physical? Horse? Food? Guns, Germs, Steel?

YR 8:




YR 1: Spanish exposure

YR 2: Spanish exposure

YR 3: Spanish exposure

YR 4: chosen language

YR 5: chosen language, Latin

YR 6: chosen language, Latin

YR 7: chosen language, Latin

YR 8: chosen language, Latin




YR 1: Great Composers, instrument

YR 2: variety, instrument

YR 3: variety, instrument

YR 4: Young Person’s Guide to Orchestra, instrument

YR 5: history through music?, Story of the Opera?, instrument

YR 6: instrument

YR 7: instrument

YR 8: instrument




YR 1: picture study, begin Usborne,

YR 2: picture study, finish Usborne, begin Foresman

YR 3: picture study, finish Foresman

YR 4: picture study, Private Eye, Draw 50 Buildings

YR 5: picture study, Mapping World Through Art or Geography Through Art

YR 6: picture study

YR 7: picture study, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages?

YR 8: picture study, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages?


Bible/Spiritual Reading


YR 1: AO Bible, Saints I, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 2: AO Bible, Saints II, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 3: AO Bible, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 4: Special Studies, Screwtape?, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 5: Special Studies, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 6: Special Studies Bible, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 7: Special Studies Bible, memorize 3-6 passages

YR 8: Special Studies Bible, memorize 3-6 passages


Practical Skills/Handicraft


YR 1: individual

YR 2: individual

YR 3: individual

YR 4: individual

YR 5: individual

YR 6: individual


YR 8: self-defense


Sports/Physical Activity


YR 1: individual

YR 2: individual

YR 3: individual

YR 4: individual

YR 5: individual

YR 6: individual

YR 7: individual

YR 8: individual

The Purpose of Education

What’s the point of all this planning and the long process of educating our children? I thought you might enjoy seeing how DH and I brainstormed our goals. We were driving home from southern Utah on an anniversary trip, and it was right before Kid Uno started school. So here are our very rough, unedited, and ungrammatical thoughts on what we are trying to accomplish by the time the kids are 16ish. Looks like we have our work cut out for us! 🙂

Purpose of Education: To raise children who are rooted in the knowledge and love of God, prepared to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, and equipped to persevere by the grace of God.


Spiritual formation

  • We’ve brought them to the feet of Jesus
  • Love God
  • Love each other and love their parents
  • Know the Word
  • Know how to pray
  • They’ve grown up around people who model the love of God
  • Willing to act on it
  • They know church history
  • Solid grounding in biblical theology


  • Honest
  • Others-centered
  • Tough – mentally and physically
  • Able and willing to serve
  • Not afraid to take responsibility for mistakes
  • Good leaders
  • Good listeners
  • Diligent
  • Willing to work hard
  • Responsible
  • Self-starters
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Humble
  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Generous
  • Compassionate

Prepared to Bear Fruit


  • Basic knowledge of
    • economics
    • politics
    • human sexuality
    • American history
    • law and the legal system
    • philosophy
    • church history
    • Logic
    • Science
    • Latin
  • Appreciate music
  • They’re not afraid of math


  • They have discovered and developed their God-given talents
  • The are effective at communicating through writing and speaking and art
  • They can type fast and accurately
  • They can read cursive
  • Excellent writers
  • Comfortable with public speaking
  • Able to research


  • Funny
  • Look people in the eye
  • Good conversationalists
  • Good etiquette for proper situation
  • Able to let loose and have fun
  • Confident in trying new things
  • Have areas of interest that are uniquely theirs
  • Able to form deep friendships
  • Have at least one good friend each


  • Fit
  • Comfortable with their bodies
  • Enjoy being active
  • Tough
  • Enjoy the outdoors

Equipped to Persevere

Life Preparation

  • Critical thinking
  • They are aware of and knowledgeable about competing worldviews
  • They love learning
  • They love reading
  • They’re thirsty for new knowledge
  • Able to understand other people’s motivations (marketing, surveys) – not gullible
  • Shrewd as serpents, innocent as doves
  • Able to sniff out logical fallacies and poor reasoning

So there it is…nothing fancy. But for me, at least, when I am immersed in the daily round of multiplication, cursive, science, and lit, it helps to remember the bigger picture. So the ten minutes of copywork every day isn’t just about writing pretty cursive sentences, it’s also about learning consistency, paying attention to detail, completing a whole book by breaking it into tiny chunks, developing mental and physical discipline, and practicing something to perfection (or practically perfect). Having a big picture gives me the freedom to drop a book because it does not convey church history in a way that is appropriate in our view, or the freedom to take a day (or week) off from school because it will give them an opportunity to spend time with grandparents. And it helps me mentally validate things like selling lemonade (entrepreneurship), buying an entire series of fairytales (love reading), washing dishes (willing to work hard), helping with the baby (willing to serve), or tearing apart the living room to build a fort (able to let loose and have fun).

Education seems like just an extension of parenting to me…and it’s nice to know what we are aiming for at the end of the day!

What Charlotte Mason Means to Me

Have you read Charlotte Mason’s original writings? I haven’t — I have read a fair amount of the paraphrases done by Ambleside Online, and most of the books published about a CM education. I’m not one of the WWCMD [What Would Charlotte Mason Do] type of people.

Some things just won’t work for us. Picture her ideal of a mother sitting outdoors on a blanket for 4 hours, while her children cheerfully bring back natural objects for her to see and talk about. That’s where I start laughing (or crying, depending on the day). Hahahaha….what happens when the very-pregnant mother is desperately searching for a restroom 30 minutes later? Or the 2 year old falls in the creek and is turning purple and we forgot to bring a change of clothes? Or the three older kids are fighting and someone needs some discipline and someone else needs a snack and someone else needs some alone time…and we are supposed to do this every day?!

But what I take away from that ideal is that outdoor time is beneficial, and so the way I accomplish that is by sending my kids outside to play…while I nurse the baby in a comfortable chair and get stuff done around the house. Or we spend a weekend camping. Or go for a hike on a Saturday when DH is here to wrangle kids with me. Or meet a friend at a park or the zoo. And we encourage cups and jars full of bugs and worms and spiders, and bouquets from the yard or the mountains, and getting dirty and playing in the treehouse with friends. All of that helps accomplish nature study, in a way that is practical for us. Anyway, here are the main ideas that add up to a CM education for our family:


  • Literature-based learning. This means we use very few (if any) textbooks, read lots of real books, and supplement with DVDs, excursions, classes, concerts etc.
  • Living books. The books we read differ from textbooks in that they are written by a single author with a passion for and knowledge of the topic, and are written in an engaging style. Living books are not necessarily old! There are old “dead” books, and new living books.
  • Slow readings. Reading lots of books spread out over a long time (a term, or 1-2 school years) allow time to chew and digest the material.
  • Short lessons and lots of subjects. We cover lots of topics, but spend a short time daily or weekly on each. We want to expose the kids to as much of the wide world as possible. Alternating subjects allows the brain to rest. Short “school” sessions equals more time for childhood.
  • Narration. At this stage (age 7 and under), I read aloud, and then the child tells me back in her own words everything she remembers. This trains the child to listen carefully the first time around, helps her assimilate the information, and lays a foundation for future written compositions and public speaking skills.
  • Emphasis on nature and outdoor time. This is great for children’s development and health. They also gain familiarity with and ownership of nature, and get first-hand experience with concepts they might otherwise just read or hear about.
  • Beauty, truth, and challenge. We aim to give our kids material that is beautiful and true, and that challenges their ability to understand, think, and express.
  • Good habits. Obedience, diligence, persistence, helpfulness, neatness…these are all things we work on while the kids are little. They are essential qualities for (relatively) smooth school days, and are characteristic of the kind of adults we hope they become.
  • Delayed academics. Our kids do nothing academic before age 5, and very little before age 6 or 6.5. More on that in another post.

It seems most useful to me to figure out the “whys” of what CM did what she did, and then decide how to incorporate those principles today, rather than to try to re-create what she did. Around here, practicality trumps mostly everything else! 🙂