Planning Homeschool Bible Time

We homeschool for many reasons, but one of them is more important than all of the others combined.  It’s our desire to pass on a bold Christian faith that finds our children seeking God with all their hearts and sharing Him with others from here to eternity.

While I know it’s God who does the work in my children (Phil. 1:6), I also know He called us to teach my them about Him and His ways (Prov. 22:6.)  My husband and I don’t pretend for one minute to have all the answers to training little or big soldiers for God’s army.  We have tried, though, to be pretty consistent with a plan of action and that’s what I’d like to share with you today.

How to study God's Word vibrantly as a homeschool subject

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The best situation for Bible study would be to have my husband lead it each and every day.  He works hard for us, though, and the majority of the school week Bible time falls on me.  I take that honor seriously and love this time spent with my children best of all!

During the summer, we mostly just read from the Bible around the breakfast table and have lively discussions.  When the school year rolls around, I get more serious and lay out school-like plans for Bible time.  Every year finds us doing something different, but the general format is pretty much the same.

Planning Homeschool Bible Time

Step 1: Pray

This one is simple.  I try to always pray about what we study.  Sometimes topics are more obvious than others – like when we’ve been dealing with a character issue or current events occur that make us run straight into the Word.  Even when I don’t have a clear answer about what to study, our time is never void of goodness no matter where we dive into the Word!

Step 2: Plan Bible Studies

While I never hesitate to take a break from “the plan” when situations arise (like current events, for example), I do try to lay out a general plan of study for the school year.

During the elementary years, I like to read through a really good chronological children’s version of the Bible at least once.  (It usually takes us two school years to read all the way through.) After that’s been accomplished, I alternate between various types of studies.  You might find us using a fill-in-the-answers type of book like Proverbs People or completing a lapbook on Exodus.  We might go through an entire survey of the Old Testament using God’s Great Covenant or review the entire New Testament with a Grapevine study.  Especially when there are character issues, I will use For Instruction in Righteousness to guide me in teaching a topic.

Sometimes, we replace Bible study with books that teach us about the Word.  Some that come to mind are Secrets of the Vine for Kids, The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, The Seven C’s of Creation and Discovering Jesus in Genesis.  Rarely do I use devotionals with my children.  I just don’t feel like most devotionals encourage anything more than a quick read and superficial prayer.

During the middle and high school years, I like to make sure we read through most of the books of the Bible together at least once.  (Many of the New Testament books will be studied two, three or more times.)  I don’t necessarily read the books through in order. Often, we’ll just read and discuss, using study resources when necessary.  One of my favorite resources to glean understanding through books of the Bible is the Picture Smart Bible – it’s so much more than just coloring pages!

At times, we use guided studies like God’s Not Dead, Christianity, Cults and the Bible, Daniel: Standing Strong in a Hostile World or Experiencing God: Student Edition, among others.  I will often borrow these materials from our church to save money.

A newer resource to me is Right Now Media.  Our church subscribes to this Christian video streaming service and all the church members get free access.  There are several video-based teen studies and I plan to begin dropping some of these into our schedule this year.  Caleb will be so motivated by this mode of learning!

Step 3: Plan Memory Work

This is the area in which I’m the biggest failure.  However, I’ve made an attempt every year even if that attempt seems to dwindle by Christmas time and time again.  The plan every. single. year. has been to commit a new verse to memory each week and practice that verse together during our morning meeting time.  I’m not sure why this has been such a struggle, but I do have a new plan in place which I pray we can stick with…

The Scripture Memory System as outlined by my friends at Simply Charlotte Mason is brilliant.

Step 4: Plan Character Studies

Most of the time, character studies happen alongside Bible study.  Sometimes, they happen in place of Bible study.  All the time, they are meant to encourage understanding of real-life Bible application.  (I’ve included sample schedules below to demonstrate how I use character studies concurrently with Bible study.)

I’ve written before about all the resources I’ve used in the past for character studies.  You won’t want to miss this giant list of goodies!

Our family has found several great books to prompt Bible study and discussion!

In the elementary years, we often read (or listen to) a good character study book after lunch.  I usually take off from “regular” Bible study on Friday mornings to read a picture book that offers a good opportunity to discuss Christian character.

In the middle & high school years, my kids are often assigned character building books to read on their own.  Sometimes in place of independent reading, we’ll read (or listen to) a good book together in the afternoons.  Some of the more recent books include Not a Fan, Crazy Love, Do Hard Things and Before You Meet Your Prince Charming.

Step 5: Plan Service Opportunities

Teaching my children to serve others is very important to me.  We try to do a service project at least monthly when possible.  I keep a running list of contact information for places that allow our entire family to serve together.  We’ve found so much pleasure in these moments!


The Schedule

When people read a big ol’ post like this one and see all the wonderful resources I’m using, they often assume we do school all day every day in order to fit it all in.  No way!  Know this…there are SIX years in elementary and SIX years in middle/high school.  Savor your time together and never rush through resources.  You’ll get through enough of them.  The point is to help your children learn more about God and learn to draw closer to Him – not to use as many great materials as you can.  And, remember, the Bible is the only resource you REALLY need.

Sample Week for My Elementary Son:

Monday: One chapter in our children’s Bible with a peek into Victor’s Journey Through the Bible for reference in the AM | Watch a Torchlighter’s missionary DVD after lunch | (Listen along with big kid’s audio book in the car – see below.)

Tuesday: One chapter in our children’s Bible in the AM | Mom reads two chapters in Charlie’s Choice after lunch

Wednesday: One chapter in our children’s Bible in the AM | Mom reads two chapters in Charlie’s Choice after lunch

Thursday:  Read through a few verses as mentioned in For Instruction in Righteousness and discuss (due to a character issue that arose yesterday) in the AM | Mom reads a chapter from Missionaries and the Millers after lunch

Friday:  Read The Squire and the Scroll and discuss how it relates to the Word in the AM | Play a Bible quiz game after lunch |  (Listen along with the big kid’s audio book in the car – see below.)

Sample Week for High School:

Monday: One chapter of James in the AM | Listen to The Hiding Place in the car in the afternoon

Tuesday: One chapter of James in the AM | Read aloud a chapter of Before You Meet Your Prince Charming in the afternoon

Wednesday: One chapter of James in the AM | Read aloud a chapter of Before You Meet Your Prince Charming in the afternoon

Thursday: One chapter of James in the AM | Read aloud a chapter of Before You Meet Your Prince Charming in the afternoon

Friday: Watch a short sermon clip based on a current event and discuss in the AM | Listen to The Hiding Place in the car in the afternoon

It may very well drive some of you crazy to have so many studies/books going on at one time.  That’s perfectly understandable.  We don’t always have this much going on!  I just wanted to give an example of how you could manage two or three things concurrently.  Many times, we’re just reading the Bible in the morning until we finish an entire book, then we take a little time off from the Bible to read a meaningful book together.

Now that you have a peek into my very full and very busy planning mind, does it make you want to run or stick around?  I hope you’ll stick around.

Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016

As much as I’m going to miss my sweet girl as she heads off to college this year, I have to admit it’s kind of nice only planning curriculum for two kiddos this year.

My boys are in 10th and 3rd grades.  Yeah, we pretty much won’t be able to do any multi-age homeschooling.  It’s okay, though, because the 10th grader will do most of his schooling without my help.  That leaves plenty of time to focus on my littlest man during the school day.

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

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10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Caleb won’t be completely on his own.  We’ll still meet together as a family at the breakfast table for Bible study and I’ll be very involved in his writing instruction.  Before school starts, we’ll map out each semester and set weekly goals for each subject.  A weekly meeting together will ensure he’s sticking to the schedule and comprehending all the subject matter.

Bible/Character Study (1/2 credit)

For the most part, we’ll just read the Bible together and discuss.  I will be assigning a few books (devotions/character/church history) but I’m still praying about which ones to use.  I’ll keep you posted.

Math (1 credit)

We’re going to stray from Saxon this year and give Teaching Textbooks a shot.


English II (1 credit)

I know it seems a bit crazy to use so many materials in one school year, but (in my typical fashion) we are only using bits and pieces of each of these this year.  Writing is a must.  Analyzing & reading living literature is a must.  I think diagramming sentences will give him a great grammar review.  And, it’s important to me that we continue building his vocabulary.  Thus, bits and pieces of several things.  Because we won’t get through everything this year, you may see some of these on next year’s curriculum list, too.


Science (1 credit)

Apologia’s biology it is!  I really appreciate the thorough teaching and Creation worldview in this curriculum.


World Governments & Current Events (1 credit)

I found the world governments book with supplemental CD by chance and really think it’s going to be a great first semester prerequisite to our second semester current events study.  I’ll likely write an entire post on our current events course because it will use a variety of resources.


World Geography (1 credit)

Yes, I know these workbooks say 6-8th grades.  They fit the bill, though, because they cover eastern and western geography and include political geography, population comparisons, physical geography, latitude and longitude, climate, major cities, agriculture, natural resources and more.  Workbook pages make the course hands-off for me, but the assignments within the pages aren’t a piece of cake – even for a 10th grader.  I may supplement the workbooks with a project each semester.


Logic & Critical Thinking(1 credit)

We didn’t quite make it all the way through our logic materials last year, so you’re seeing a book or two on this list from last year.  He’ll work through these one by one until he gets through them all.  I have a feeling he’ll finish these pretty quickly, which is why I have some project ideas stirring in the back of my mind to take him through the entire year.


Foreign Language – Latin (1/2 credit)

Caleb wanted to switch from Spanish to another language this year.  We’re starting with a beginning Latin program to see how he likes it.

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum

I love teaching 3rd grade!


Eli and I will continue reading through The Child’s Story Bible this year and take breaks here and there to supplement with other books to be determined.  I plan to write an entire post on how I pull together Bible and character study soon.

Brain Games

Each morning after Bible is a time we call brain training.  The purpose is three-fold: to warm up Eli’s brain before we jump into book work; to train memory, processing speed, attention, and logical thinking; and to “get in” some of the extras that don’t need to be done every single day.  This time is very game-like and only takes 10-15 minutes total.  You’ll be able to see a list of everything in my brain training arsenal soon!


As with my other two kiddos when they were in 3rd grade, I’m happy to stick with Horizons Math and supplemental living math lessons with Eli.

Language Arts

Now that Eli is a decent little reader, we will begin to add in various short lessons in many language arts disciplines.  Of course, I’ll expect daily practice in reading, too.


As I mentioned in this post about stretching our history cycles, we will be using Story of the World: Ancient Times with some great living literature this year for history.  (Many of our narrations will come from these lessons.)


NaturExplorers studies will fill in most of our science time.  We’ll complete a human body unit study (and maybe another one or two) during the winter, too.  I already have a great human body spine book that I’m really excited to use!

NaturExplorers - a great way to study science!

And that wraps up the bulk of our 2015-2016 homeschooling curriculum choices.  I can’t wait to share some of the nitty-gritty details from each subject as the year goes on!

I’m so looking forward to this coming school year!  I hope you are, too!

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Homeschool Curriculum For Sale

Lots of homeschool curriculum is for sale - all ages and all subjects!Being a curriculum junkie AND a product reviewer, I tend to have shelves overflowing in my house (to say the least!) It’s time to sell some more! I will update the list as often as possible when items sell.

You may email me directly if you’re interested in any of the following homeschool curriculum for sale.



(Side note: Just because I’m selling something doesn’t necessarily mean I endorse it. Please be sure to research whether or not the products are right for your family.)


Homeschool curriculum for sale

Elementary Curriculum

Primary Arts of Language: Reading – Full set. Some of the file folder games are prepared for you already. Some of the phonetic stickers have already been placed in the Phonetic Farm Folder. Very good condition. $40

The Big Phonics Book. Grades 1-3. Barbara Gregorich. Cover is beat up and 2-3 worksheets are written in, but the rest of the 300+ pages are in great condition. $8

(15) Early Reader Books – And I Mean It, Stanley; More Spaghetti, I Say!; Dinosaur Pizza; A Girl, a Goat and a Goose; The Lunch Line; Amazing Lizards; Snug Bug; Once Upon a Springtime; Mice at Bat; Dr. Suess’s ABC; The Secret Cat; Hester the Jester; King Rooster, Queen Hen; What’s the Matter with that Dog?; Harry and the Lady Next Door. About 1/2 are hardcover and 1/2 are paperback. From good to very good condition. $15

Creative Communications: 30 Writing, Speaking and Drawing Projects for Homeschoolers. Sandra Garant. Spiral. Excellent. $7

Daily Paragraph Editing: Grade 5. Evan-Moor.  Very good.  $10

Mega-Fun Multiplication Facts Activity Book. Grades 2-5. Marcia Miller and Martin Lee. Excellent. $4

Building Understanding with Base Ten Blocks. Primary. Peggy McClean. Excellent. $4

Homeschool curriculum for sale

Janice VanCleave’s Astronomy for Every Kid. Excellent. $8

Janice VanCleave’s Biology for Every Kid. Excellent.  $8

Janice VanCleave’s Earth Science for Every Kid. Excellent.  $8

Janice VanCleave’s Gravity. Excellent. $5

Janice VanCleave’s Teaching the Fun of Science. Excellent. $10

Will sell all 5 Janice VanCleave books for $30.

Dinosaurs: Whole Language Theme Unit. Grades 2-3.  Instructional Fair.  Mel Fuller.  Very good.  $5

Science Crafts for Kids: 50 Fantastic Things to Invent and Create. Gwen Diehn.  Hardback.  Very good.  $5

(2) Liberty’s Kids DVD’s – Give Me Liberty & The First 4th of July. Excellent. $5

Latin for Children A (Entire Set): Workbook, Answer Key, DVD/CD, Activity Book, History Reader.  Excellent.  $70.  (Set retails for $117.)

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades: Book 1 – Student Activity Book and Lapbook CD.  Zeezok Publishing.  A few pages in the beginning of the book are completed.  Otherwise, in excellent condition.  (The program requires 7 Opal Wheeler composer biographies which are not included.)  $30

Drawing with Children.  Mona Brookes.  Paperback.  Good.  $6

Homeschool curriculum for sale

Living Literature

Stories Worth Rereading. A.B. Publishing. Very good. Paperback. $4

The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad. Thornton Burgess. Excellent. Paperback. $3

A Home for Virginia. Patricia St. John. Excellent. Hardback. $3

The Black Stallion’s Shadow. Steven Farley. Good. Paperback. $3

(4) American Girl Mysteries – Shadows on Society Hill & The Silent Strangers & Secrets in the Hills & The Stolen Sapphire. Excellent. $12

(5) Mandie Books – Mandie and the Washington Nightmare & Mandie and the Mysterious Bells & Mandie and the Holiday Surprise & Mandie and the Secret Tunnel & Mandie and the Shipboard Mystery. Lepperd. Good to very good. $12



Homeschool curriculum for sale

Middle School Curriculum

A Sentence a Day: Short Playful Proofreading Exercises to Help Students Avoid Tripping Up When They Write.  Samantha Prust.  Paperback.  Very good.  $7

Math Dictionary for Kids: Grades 4-9. Theresa Fitzgerald. Excellent. $6

Super Smart: 180 Challenging Thinking Activities, Words and Ideas for Advanced Students. Stephen Young.  Paperback.  Excellent.  $7

The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History: History for the Thoughtful Child. Rob Shearer. Good. $7

Ecopolis: An Interactive Discovery-Based Social Studies Unit for Grades 6-8 (great for a co-op). Richard Cote. Good. $5

Make Up Your Mind: A Classroom Guide to 10 Age-Old Debates for Grades 7-10 (great for a co-op). Clark Porter. Excellent. $7



Homeschool curriculum for sale

High School Curriculum

Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La. Barbara Shelton. Very good. $15

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Paperwork. Janice Campbell. Excellent. $17

Get Into College in 3 Months or Less. Doug Hewitt. Paperback. Excellent. $8

Horse Schools: The International Guide to Universities, Colleges, Preparatory and Secondary Schools, and Specialty Equine Programs. Angelia Almos. Paperback. Excellent. $12

Hot X: Algebra Exposed.  Danica McKellar.  Hardback.  Excellent.  $10

Latin/History Curriculum High School

Latin in the Christian Trivium, Volume I – entire set. Excellent. $60 ($118 retail)

Latin in the Christian Trivium, Volume II – entire set. Excellent. $60 ($140 retail)

Will sell both sets above for$95.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Edith Schaeffer. Paperback. Excellent. $5

Why Won’t They Listen? DVD. Ken Ham. Very Good. $5

Homestead Blessings: The Art of Herbs DVD. West. Very Good. $5

You may email me directly if you’re interested in any of the following homeschool curriculum for sale.




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Homeschooling High School Is Worth It!

Y’all.  Homeschooling high school is so much better than you could ever imagine.

I just graduated my first who will go on to follow her equine passions in college this fall and I can tell you unequivocally that homeschooling was worth it.  Every minute – the good, bad and ugly – was worth it.  Notice I didn’t say every minute was blissful or easy, but I am so very glad we made the journey to the end.

Homeschooling high school is so worth it!

Not only do we have great memories of doing life together, we’ve also had awesome opportunities to grow together in Christ, in learning, in trials and in triumphs.

As I prepare for the 10th grade year with my second child, I already see some of the frustrations that might come our way – like battling upper level math dragons and helping him see the benefit of buckling down in foreign language studies.  I know there will be struggles, but I also know that working through those struggles together will make us stronger.  I know that homeschooling through high school means my son will have a much better chance to rise above the status quo of teenagers these days.  I know that in his “rhetoric stage” mind, we still have much work to do to build worldviews and prepare him for his Kingdom work and I’m so thankful for that time.

During these years of amazing opportunity, I’ll keep blogging about our adventures to encourage you (and me) that we CAN do it!

Since this page will automatically update when any new high school post is written, you might like to pin it for quick reference.  Blessings on your journey!

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The Four Year History Cycle: Slightly Revised

You may have heard me say before that we follow a four-year cycle of chronological history in our homeschool.  Well, we used to.  My littlest man will be in 3rd grade this coming school year and we’re just now getting into ancient history – year 1 in a four-year cycle.  I still plan to follow a four (or five) year cycle, but he’ll only go through it twice before he graduates – several years from now – which is one less time through the cycle than most classical models.

In order to deeply soak in all of history, I'm opting for a more relaxed study of world history - while still using tried and true curriculum.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Why only twice through the cycle?

My big kids didn’t really need the 3rd cycle by the time they got into high school.  We had studied world history thoroughly twice before and they had a really good grasp.  Of course, we didn’t just skip history during high school.  We still, in fact, stuck with the original plan and completed the 3rd cycle, but it took on much more depth and breadth.

Additionally, I felt like sometimes the big kids and I rushed through great literature or missed some key events trying to fit a particular era into a year’s worth of study.

What did I do with the big kids?  I used Story of the World through the first cycle (with some unit studies.)  The second cycle was strictly project-based unit studies with lots of literature.  And during the third cycle, we took on all kinds of text curriculum, project-based research, video curriculum and literature.

Our four year history cycle will be slightly revised.

Little man and I are going to take our time and bebop through chronological history in a much more relaxed (yet, still rigorous) way.  We’ll begin with Creation and work our way through the 21st century on our own time – and then start the process over again once for good measure and more depth.  The decision feels really good.

You might wonder what in the world we did for history if we aren’t beginning our chronological tour until 3rd grade.  Well, we spent 1st grade focused on cultures around the world (with a focus on missionaries) and 2nd grade taking a tour of the good ol’ USA (with lots of literature which gave us an intro to American history.)  Now that Eli is entering 3rd grade and a good reader, we’re finally ready to hit history harder.

Story of the World will be slightly revised.

I love Story of the World and that’s the curriculum I plan to use during our first 4 (or 5) year cycle.  When I did SOTW with my big kids many moons ago, we did EVERYTHING – all the projects, all the worksheets, all the literature.  I spent HOURS reserving books online and traveling to and from the library.  This time around, we’ll do SOTW on much more relaxed terms.

We’ll hit the text, narrate with the comprehension question, complete the maps and work on our timeline.  We’ll probably only complete the occasional hands-on project (because that isn’t his thing) and I’ll only choose the best of the best living lit books to go-along.

It’s nice to get to a point in your homeschooling journey when you realize relaxed learning is just fine.

These books will be on our informational shelf.

I’m still deciding on the final “best of the best” elementary living lit list to take us through our upcoming ancient history year, but I’m already beginning to gather a pile of informational books that will follow us through the entire first 4 (or 5) year cycle.  We’ll use these to “see” the history we’ve been studying and dig a little deeper at times.

I love that each of these are chronological resources which will help build Eli’s understanding of change over time and relate particular things/events/people with their eras. Since each of the books are colorful and kid-friendly, they will be on his pleasure reading shelf so he can dig in whenever he gets the urge.

Note: Many of these books have at least a mention of evolution-based beginnings. Some of them will also discuss gods and goddesses (which is part of ancient history.) I always read through these types of books once with Eli (if just quickly) to discuss any potential issues before putting them on his read-alone shelf.

What about Eli’s 2nd cycle in middle and high school?  Good question.  We’ll have to see what floats our fancy by the time Eli reaches middle and high school.  I’m sure I’ll keep you posted.  😉

As we jump into the first ancient history cycle this coming August (or maybe September), I’ll be sure to share our journeys with you!  Until then, I’ll be thinking about which timeline we’ll be using this year and gathering must-do lessons from my ancient history Pinterest board.  I’ll also be considering which of my “top 10″ ancient history living books Eli might be ready to read in 3rd grade.

Oh, I do so enjoy lazy summer days of curriculum planning!