Erin Rathier

musings of a ragtag heart

We have had a very busy couple of weeks around our house.  Birthday parties, baby showers, work trips and, the start of a new homeschool year!  The start of the school year always seems to sneak up on me.  I know, I know, it happens around the same time every year, but I am never fully prepared.  It is always the Sunday night before we begin, and I am just now looking through curriculum, making an assignment sheet for each of my three kiddos, and realizing I am missing books…sigh.  This is my tenth year homeschooling, you would think I had this thing figured out by now…

What I HAVE figured out, is what works for each of my kids…for the most part…and I thought I would share that here.  I am not saying any of this curriculum is the best, but I have found it is the best for us.  One of the freedoms I love about homeschooling, is the ability to structure the learning around my children as individuals.  They are each different, and most times, what works for one, does not work for another.  Through some trial and error, tears and successes, I have found what works well for each one.

My oldest is 16, and in her junior year of high school.  We found out at a young age, she is highly gifted in language arts.  She loves to read, talk and write, mostly about Jesus.  She is currently managing social media accounts for 3 different organizations, and is co-director for a blog called Devos For The Journey on Instagram, in addition to her own blog (which she is currently updating).

My middle child is 13, and an 8th grader.  He loves to build and has since he could pick up blocks.  As long as he has been on this earth, he has been driven to create with blocks, building, building and building.  But he also loves learning God’s Word, in an expository fashion.  He wants to know the details, the verses, the history…and he remembers all of it.

My youngest is almost 11 and in 6th grade.  She also loves to create, but much more artistically.  She loves to draw, make things out of discarded items, create a variety of art projects, and she loves to cook.  She is mathematically gifted and sees Jesus through people.

As you can see, each one is very different, so I am trying to teach them in ways they can connect with the content, and see their learning come alive.  Sounds idealistic, I know, and they are not always cooperative.  However, this year, I feel like we have found all we need to have an incredibly successful year!

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Here are our curriculum choices for 2018:


  1. Math – Math U See Algebra 2 and Generation Change (Dave Ramsey)
  2. Bible – She is driven in this area, so I let her choose
  3. History – We use an incredible site called Ambleside Online which offers a full plan for a classical education.  This year, we chose A History of the Twentieth Century: The Concise Edition of Acclaimed World History.  As well as a variety of the speeches and biographies recommended on Ambleside.
  4. Literature:  Ambleside will also guide us on Literature.
  5. Science:  Nutrition Concepts and Controversies 13th Edition (She already took most of her sciences, but needed one more)
  6. Writing:  She is taking a writing course with our local co-op.
  7. Christian Worldview:  Also through our local co-op.
  8. Student Leadership:  Co-op
  9. Robotics Team Business Manager:  Manage social media, create 500 page presentation notebook for competitions, write and submit grants for team.


8th Grader:

  1. Math U See – Pre-Algebra
  2. Bible – Ambleside reading plan and creating a notebook of learning.
  3. Spelling:  Spelling Workout
  4. Cursive:  Handwriting Without Tears (Yes. Still.  His is atrocious)
  5. Vocabulary:  240 Vocabulary Words Kids Need to Know (found this at used curriculum sale).
  6. Science:  Apologia Physical Science
  7. History:  Time Travelers The American Revolution (Grandma teaches this)
  8. Writing:  IEW US History – with our local co-op
  9. Literature:  Silent Reading – The Gregor Series, Family Reading – The Little House Series
  10. First Lego League Robotics Team
  11. Basketball Team


5th Grader:

  1. Bible:  Ambleside reading plan and creating a notebook of learning.
  2. Spelling:  All About Spelling (I was working too much her first few years and she is struggling a bit.  We needed to go back to basics).
  3. Math:  Math U See – Delta
  4. Cursive:  Handwriting Without Tears
  5. Language Arts:  Abeka 5th Grade
  6. Science: Abeka 5th Grade
  7. History:  Time Travelers The American Revolution (grandma teaches her as well)
  8. Grammar: A Well Trained Mind
  9. Literature:  Silent Reading – The Clementine Series, Family Reading – The Little House Series.
  10. Writing:  IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (through our local co-op)
  11. Art with our local co-op
  12. First Lego League Robotics Team
  13. Dance


Phew, that list was longer than I thought…looking at it, it seems a bit overwhelming.  However, you can see, the kids all do classes with our local co-op, and my mother teaches the younger two history, which is an amazing help!  I do try to find most of my books used, through, Facebook used curriculum groups, or, to help keep the costs down.  As I said at the beginning, I do not think we have the “best” curriculum out there, there are many great choices.  However, for now, it is the best for us.  I am constantly watching my kids and evaluating when it is time to do something new.


Thank you for reading today!  Please comment below with your favorite curriculum choices.  I always like to explore new things.  Also, please enter your email on the right, so you do not miss a single post, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!  I hope you have a great week!

2 thoughts on “Homeschool Curriculum: What’s On Our Shelf?

  1. Mari Landreth says:

    Thank you for such a complete list. I had never heard of Ambleside. I will definitely check it out!

    1. erinrathier says:

      You are so welcome! Thank you for reading Mari!

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