this years school books are slowly trickling in each day. an exciting time for us, not only because we get to see what we will be learning this first term, but also there are packages arriving on our doorstep and packages are always exciting for kids to open.

the list of reader questions on the subject of homeschooling is quite long. i have attempted to answer them in a giant post that is saved in my drafts titled "why i homeschool" but there it sits, unfinished and nowhere near completion. i figure it would be good to share a bit here and there and answer a question or two rather than trying to tackle them all at once.

so here goes…

Q. how do you plan on juggling homeschooling your two older children with a toddler and newborn baby at home?

A. i plan on doing just that, juggling. to be completely honest i am not all that worried about the homeschooling aspect of it. i am more nervous about bringing a new baby into our family, as i think most expecting mamas are no matter how many kids they have at home. it will be an adjustment. the schedule that we used last year may not be the same one we use this year. things will change, but we will figure it out. we always do. i should be able to answer this question better once things settle into place after the baby is born.

Q. what curriculum do you use?

A: we do not use or follow one set curriculum. there are so many different options out there and there are so many different ways to learn. i found it important to try different methods to make sure that we found something that fit the lifestyle and mold of our family. what we have found what works best for us is a good combination of the charlotte mason method, montessori along with some unschooling. i will go more into depth about each of these and why there are right for us in the future, but right now i will share some of the books that we are using this first term, as many of you wanted to know. most of them are not your standard textbook, as textbooks tend to be dumbed down for children with the sole purpose of cramming a lot of information into a ones mind. we try to read books dedicated to the subject so we can fully understand and get the whole picture of what it is we are learning about.

history / for julian: The Story of Mankind. for milla plum: Leonardo Da Vinci.

geography / for julian: The Story of David Livingstone. for plum: Adventures of Marco Polo.

natural history and science / for both: The Handbook of Nature Study.

science biography / for julian: Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (Barrons Solution Series).

penmanship / for plum: Italic Handwriting Series Book C.

spelling / for both: The ABC's and All Their Tricks.

grammar / for both: Simply Grammar.

math / we use: Teaching Textbooks.

foreign language / we use: Learnables French.

poetry / for julian: Robert Frost. for plum: William Blake.

literature / for julian: The Hobbit. for plum: The Princess and the Goblin.

free reading / chosen from a list of recommended books… for julian: The Swiss Family Robinson. for plum: A Little Princess.

again, these are our first term books in each subject. once we have finished them we will move on to other books. we do many things when homeschooling, it's not just reading… we do fun science projects and art projects. we take field trips, go on nature walks and use watercolor journals to reflect on the things we have learned and discovered. the kids take outside group classes for their other interests such a music lessons, tennis and ballet class. it's a good mix and we love it.

i also plan on starting some light pre-school learning with birdie a couple of times a week.

i hope that this answered a couple of your questions. if you have more, feel free to ask them below. but please no rude or judgemental comments about our choice to homeschool. thank you.


  • Amanda

    I love reading about your family’s homeschooling. :]
    I wish I could homeschool and maybe one day I can.

  • Tess

    I love the text book choices. I completely support homeschooling. I feel they’ll learn so much more in detail and really appreciate what they learn. Good luck this year!

  • Rae

    I was homeschooled from Gr.1 to 12 and this post just brought back all the excitement of getting new books and beginning a new year of school! I haven’t been able to muster up the courage to homeschool my own three so I have nothing but admiration for your commitment to provide such a wonderful education for your children!

  • Molly Clark

    I am so glad that you plan on sharing more about homeschooling with your readers. I am a stay at home mom of one 18 month old girl. My husband and I decided as soon as we found out that we were expecting that homeschooling her was a big priority for us. Since she’s coming up on 2 fast, it’s time for me to start looking into how I’ll do it. It seems so scary and makes me feel even more pressure as a parent not to fail her, but I also know it will be the greatest use of my time as a stay at home mom. Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to more on the subject. :)

  • Emma

    Ohh some great books you’ve got there. It reminds me of my mom and how she home schooled me and my siblings. We had such an amazing time. Plus reading the full stories were so much more informative then trying to read tiny bits about everything that was going on. Can’t wait to read more about it :)

  • Catherine

    I’m 19 and find your blog a real inspiration. I would love to have kids of my own one day and it’s good to know that someone out there is doing the homeschooling thing so successfully. I’ll definitely do the same for my kids. Wonderful.

  • Briana navarro

    hi james! I’m thinking about homeschooling my child as well, the things I see on the news regarding schools is so depressing that I feel like I need to take this into my own hands BUT at the same time I do not want her to be “under my wings” 24/7. I want her to have friends and experience situations that she wouldn’t always confront with me always being right next to her… if that makes sense? So my question/s is : Are you going to homeschool until they’ve finished entirely , will julian experience high school ?
    Thank you!

  • shannon

    I did the same thing when I homeschooled my two little ones. I used a combination of cirriculums that worked for each subject and need. Along with Montessori, I also liked Waldorf. What a lovely post! I learned so much about you and your family.

  • jaclyn

    so rad. so excited to start this year!!!! it’s always helpful to see what others are doing and how we can improve. thanks for posting! kudos to you and best wishes in the new school year!

  • Sarah Ann Noel

    James! When you were thinking about homeschooling and asking opinions, I commented and mentioned that I had been homeschooled growing up and that it didn’t really work for me. But after following along with how you’ve tackled it over the past year, my husband and I are now super excited to likely homeschool Iris (and our next little girl on the way!) when they reach school age! I’m so sorry to hear that people have been rude or judgmental about your obviously researched and sacrificial decision for your family. But please know that there are so many of us reading along, being inspired! Thanks for sharing!

  • Alicia

    Thanks for this! It is so nice to read about how others choose to homeschool! It is my first year homeschooling all three of my children. I am so excited and so encouraged by your posts! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Amber

    Exciting times! If I could borrow just an ounce of your patience and commitment :P

  • Carly

    James, thanks for sharing! I imagine it sucks to get rude comments on such a personal choice.
    Just wondering — were you or Aubrey homeschooled as a kid?

  • Meagan {Green Motherhood}

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m praying that God will lead my family in the best direction for us. I have a passion to homeschool (as a former educator) my little one(s), but my husband is very resistant. I know if it is the right thing for our family, God will show us the way. You are so inspiring. I cant wait to share your posts with the hubs. :)

  • Siobhan

    Sounds just wonderful and worlds apart from the super strict curriculum they have here in Ireland. The books sound fantastic, the setting ideal, and I wish I had been homeschooled now! x

  • Kristian

    Thank you for sharing a little into how you home school and especially at what books you are looking at. They sound great; I’m going to check several out. As a teacher it sometimes makes me a little sad that some places schools are so poor, but it is good people are really looking at what is right for their kids and are willing to put in the work homeschooling requires.

  • Gabrielle

    This is great! I’d love to hear your opinions on making homeschooling a success when you work full time outside of the home in some fashion (be it onsite or remotely). I’m a single mom, and I telecommute and I would love to be able to home school my daughter. Not even sure if it’s realistic, but sites like this inspire me to figure out a way to make it work. thank you!! :)

  • Alexa

    thanks so much for a peek onto your bookshelves! i am pretty far from having children of my own, but it’s so fascinating to see different families finding ways to make it all work best for them. you continue to inspire me—and i am sure i’ll be referring back to this information down the road! :)

  • Alexis

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and it is by far my favorite. I’m 21, I’m not married and I don’t have children or own a home but I find your lifestyle extremely inspiring and brave. For those who criticize and belittle your choices…that absolutely blows my mind. I cant see any fault in a woman who is strong enough to make the commitment to take such a huge role in her children’s lives and educations, all the while exposing them to beautiful places and experiences that many people do not take the time for. As far as I’m concerned, you’re doing an amazing job.

  • Betty Scandretti

    Beautiful post! I was homeschooled on and off through primary school, and for all of high school, and loved it. Now I lecture at university and wish all my students had learned to explore and read widely at home… your kiddos are very very lucky :)

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