As you know, I’ve helped to start LutheranHomeschool.com. This year being as it is, I’ve had a number of people ask how to find a Lutheran box curriculum. In other words, what can give them, out of a box, every single thing they need to homeschool. Mostly I’ve pointed elementary folks to Wittenberg Academy, which offers free curriculum for Kindergarten through sixth grade, which I understand is primarily public domain, aka, truly free. Still I thought I’d also share my 2020 Lutheran homeschool plan for the year here so that, if you know someone feeling clueless about Lutheran homeschooling, 🙂 they can look here and feel a bit better. I do so here since Lutheran Homeschool doesn’t really have a place for personal sharing.
For what it’s worth, I pursue Classical Education and am something of a fan girl for Memoria Press curriculum. My 2020 Lutheran homeschool plan revolves around their boxed curriculum options. Having said that, it isn’t all we use.
Here’s our morning:
- We sing Matins, which includes a Bible story from the Story Bible (you can read about that here), a section of the Small Catechism (out of our LSBs), and the psalm & hymn of the week from Around the Word. It takes us between 20 and 30 minutes. If a place is mentioned, I try to follow up Matins with a map to show where, for instance, Ur, Haran, Shechem, and Bethel are. (We’re on Abraham. Maps are included in the Memoria Press Christian Study books.)
- Next we clear up from that and do memory work. Although I had been using something free from Simply Charlotte Mason, now we’ve turned our attention to the weekly verses included in the Memoria Press religious curriculum. (To best understand Memoria Press, I’d read their catalog, which includes descriptions of everything and a layout showing what is included for each grade. You can buy “box curriculum” per grade or buy things individually.)
- Then Memoria Press recitation (which teaches a few facts or review points for each week) and I’m throwing in the free election unit by Sonlight since it’s election year. Unit studies are nice in the morning—a way to tuck in something interesting for everyone together before folks separate into their leveled subjects.
- I’m reading through elementary Apologia texts aloud, roughly a chapter a week (or two to four pages a day). Apologia elementary science is organized around the days of creation. Right now we’re studying creatures that fly. (It’s a broad approach to supplement Memoria Press’s more specific approach. MP has a class on birds and a class on insects.). At this point, I’m only reading the textbook aloud and doing occasional experiments with a kit from here. I’m teaching the kids to take notes, although we aren’t notebooking or doing other extra. Next we’ll do Astronomy since my third grader is starting Astronomy in MP.
- Then I have the olders do math followed by Latin, while I help my twin kinders. We get through kinder math and phonics and then I rotate through spelling with the others. I really like Memoria Press’s Traditional Spelling for grades 1 & 2 for my middles. Older than that we go to Spelling Power.
- At this point my olders are often watching a video lesson or going through their own curriculum guides from Memoria Press. (We buy the complete packages except for Math, Spelling, and I’ve gone back and forth on grammar.) They’ve gotten good about leading themselves from one subject to another and just asking for help as needed (or directed to in their books for discussion or dictation).
- After spelling is grammar (the free Gentle Grammar for my kids in first through fourth and then the kind of hard core intermediate grammar from Well-Trained Mind. That does need teaching, so you know, but the Gentle Grammar is largely self-explanatory for a child who can read.). And I have my older children (maybe fourth and up?) grade their own math & grammar against the answer guide so we know if something needs extra clarification or work.
- We do literature through Memoria Press (reading & workbooks), and Memoria Press likes to offer some things once a week, which is how we fit in geography, ancient history, Christian studies, science, etc. I love how their curriculum guides tell you exactly what to do in what order.
The Memoria Press forum & Facebook groups also have a lot of great things like dictionaries for the various grades. That helps a lot. Kids look up vocabulary instead of making me do so.
Also, I’ve typed up for myself a list of novels my kids are expected to read. That way, if I ever just need them to read quietly, I can direct them to something already suggested or thought through by me. When in doubt, 30 minutes of quiet reading is a GREAT relief to me. That or a spontaneous recess!
I basically try to get us started all together and then finish up the youngest first, then the next youngest, etc. Once kids get used to it, they learn to reach for the next subject in their pile themselves. (I do make piles of books for the youngers, though from second on up they know where their books are kept on our shelves so they can retrieve and store them themselves.) My job becomes double-checking that subjects get done (and thoroughly) and that nothing’s forgotten or, sigh, lost yet again. (Not everything includes lectures!)
We aren’t perfect. But homeschooling is doable, even for a large Lutheran family like ours. I never took any teaching or pedagogue classes (though Memoria Press now has a college for their homeschooling parents!!!! Offering a Master’s degree for classical educators! AWESOME! Maybe some day!). And more and more Lutheran curriculum options are being written as we speak! Even if there isn’t a Lutheran “Memoria Press-like” boxed curriculum option with easy to follow lesson plans.
I do use screen time. I let the kinders use Reading Eggs (at least for the free membership trial, ha haa), Train Your Monster to Read, Starfall, and ABC Mouse (the only subscription we have & which they got as a birthday present). NOT ALL ON THE SAME DAY! We set 20 to 40 minute timers for everyone, except for during this free session of Reading Eggs. (I really, really want them to be able to read and get so nervous about this stage!) I let the middles and olders use Seterra for geography games, Prodigy for extra math, and DuoLingo for the modern language of their choosing (if they want as they get older.) Also Typing.com.
Well, there it is: my 2020 Lutheran homeschool plan. 🙂 More details can be found by looking up Kindergarten, Second, Third, and Fifth on the Memoria Press curriculum descriptions. My seventh grader is enrolled in Wittenberg Academy’s online school so that’s a big, exciting change for us! (Wittenberg Academy’s online school offers a full schedule for sixth through twelfth.)
I started the first several steps (Matins through Apologia) about a month ago and then added everything else this past Monday. God-willing, everything will proceed smoothly. As we get overwhelmed, ha haa, we’ll move some of the smaller subjects (like States & Capitals) to the summer.
For what it’s worth, singing Matins or Morning Prayer has really helped me to center better and relax more.
I’m happy to help & answer questions if that’s helpful. Blessings on your school year, however you pursue it!
*Updated to add our 2020 Lutheran homeschool plan shopping list
- Boxed curriculum from Memoria Press (minus a few things) (mostly just consumable sets since we’ve been with Memoria Press for a while)
- An Apologia elementary science book or two (with one science kit, so far)
- Well-Trained Mind Grammar Intermediate Grammar (We’re actually reusing what we got two years ago. We have two and plan to simply rotate.)
- Mammath Math (We bought this as a bulk deal. We have a PDF for first through seventh.)
- A box of printer paper and printer toner. We print a lot.
- We use color-coded-by-child binders, notebooks, & folders. 🙂 A binder each for math, a folder with clips for grammar, and one or two spiral notebooks for spelling quizzes & note-taking during Apologia time. Plus an extra or two on hand for when things go missing or fill up.
- Pens, pencils, crayons, markers (We have scissors, tape, hole puncher, rulers, etc., already.)
It can also help to have something like a recipe box for review cards, memory work, flash cards, etc. Many even a recipe box per child, though I haven’t actually gone that far yet.
Again, if I had it to do all over again, I’d try Wittenberg Academy. I just fell in love with the Memoria Press curriculum once I’d had it for a few years. <Shrug> Wittenberg is a well respected classical Lutheran school though, with a great focus on a Lutheran understanding of vocation, so I expect our kids will start enrolling there in sixth after this year.