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.


  • Kim

    I remember trying to put together my eldest’s curriculum myself and… well… let’s just say that after awhile I saw the benefits (for me) of purchasing the whole she-bang instead! I think it’ll help when your baby is born that your eldest two are old enough that after some initial instruction, they can carry on fairly well without you having to hover over them the entire day. It does make things easier!

  • Lauren

    I was home schooled for two years of high school, and I loved it. Even though my daughter is still a baby, I hope to be able to home school her for awhile as well. I love your blog, you are such an incredible example of motherhood and your blog is a constant inspiration for me! Thank you for the little peeks into your home!

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am beginning research this year into the possibility of homeschooling part time with a charter school part time as well. We are also looking into a Montessori school. Right now my twin girls are in a Special Day Preschool through the school district. I am hoping to have made a decision on what we will do for them when Kindergarten comes by the end of the year. But I also know that whatever decision we make, we can always reassess if it is not working out for our children. I think you are brave to share this and I am grateful to you for doing so.
    Good luck this year and I look forward to your future posts.

  • erin

    i would very much like to home school my boys & very much admire the way you are teaching your kids. before my oldest started kindergarten i casually mentioned to my in-laws that i was thinking of home schooling. my mother-in-law (who is a teacher) was very much against it, although, truthfully she couldn’t really give me any other reason than teachers go to school to learn how to teach children.
    honestly, if we had more of a social life i would home school my soon-to-be second grader in a heart beat. such as it is, we keep him in public school (for now) mostly for the social aspect. i did home school pre-school with him & plan to with my youngest. also, we do “extra-curricular” learning at home all the time. my oldest boy asks often if we are going to do “mommy school”.
    anyway, i think you have a beautiful family & beautiful children. thank you for sharing peeks into your world with all of us.

  • Allison

    I think the commitment you have to your children is wonderful. I was home schooled for sometime because I couldn’t stand the brutality of the kids in public school. It didn’t work very well for me because I didn’t have a parent there with me to guide me through my days. I’m sure you are faced with judgement on a regular basis because you’ve made this choice but people often judge what they don’t understand. The attention that you can give your children would be far greater than they would find in a conventional classroom. Thank you for sharing this. Also, I hope Plum enjoys The Little Princess – it was a favourite of mine when I was a kid :)

  • meganleiann

    I am excited for this series! I begin homeschooling this year with my 5-year-old. I love looking through all the curriculum.
    I am thrilled to see The Princess and the Goblin on this list! That and The Princess and Curdie were some of my favorite books as a child. No one seems to know about them now.

  • Blanca

    Very brave your decision!!! I´m from Spain and here homeschooling is forbidden and taboo, but I would like to teach my doughter at home, for the moment she is only one year so may be in a future we have the option. I like your blog and how you show us how you raise your kids.
    Greetings from Spain.

  • leah

    Just make sure they are very socialized! I teach high school Spanish and I always feel so bad for the homeschooled kids when they enter high school… coming in after 7th grade is so hard and they are so unbelievably awkward. But at least they’ll never be bullied!

  • Kristen C.

    Thank You James for this post on homeschooling! I too want to homeschool my children when I have them.
    There is so much information on homeschooling, I just can’t imagine where to start.
    Thanks for breaking down the three methods you use for curriculum.
    Please do more posts on this and links for where to go for state guidelines.
    I adore your blog!

  • erica

    thank you for the peek into your homeschool! we homeschool aswell, a mixture of waldorf, unschooling and project based learning. i think kids thrive in an eclectic mix that suits them and their family! looking forward to reading more!

  • Meghan

    This makes me so excited for your kids! It also makes me seriously consider doing homeschooling for my kids someday (my son is thirteen months). It would be wonderful to be at home with him and to blog for some extra income as well. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  • Marie

    I would love to do the same with my future kids!
    I don’t like the French school system. We are in classroom all the day, and we never go outside, like museum, nature walks etc. In my opinion the best way to learn it’s to take break, do something else, like sport. Lile this, you can enjoy the moment when you learn something, and not feel like you are in jail.

  • Kari Rae

    I haven’t read the book, but the movie The Princess and the Goblins was the first movie I ever saw in theaters so I’ll always love it. =) I’m really impressed with your reading list!

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate

    I have been wanting to read up on Charlotte Mason quite often. since many people have recommended it to me when I tell them the curriculum I use. I am sure it would be less stressful doing her method to learn by just living. I’m going to be reading A Little Princess soon myself, haha. I always wanted to read it and used to watch 3 or 4 different movie versions of it. I read The Secret Garden in 3rd grade and just never got around to A Little Princess but have it on my nightstand pile to catch up on what I missed out on in my own childhood. That may sound odd. I am reschooling myself as I homeschool. LOVE all that you are doing for your two school-aged children!!!!!

  • Jenifer

    Its great for you to enlighten others on homeschooling. We unschool so we don’t use workbooks like you do but that is the beauty of choosing what works best for our kids and how they learn best! Its and amazing journey and we are starting our 4th year this year and will be bringing a new baby into the mix this november. Definitely nervous but again, since we unschool and don’t sit and do bookwork each day I am not too worried. We also have a huge homeschool community so we spend most of our days roaming the parks with friends!

  • Madison

    Another great grammar book (maybe for when they are older?) is How to Write a Sentence (http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Sentence-And-Read/dp/0061840548) by Stanley Fish. It’s college level but it takes different famous sentences, breaks down why they are so striking (grammatically) and helps the reader mimic the different tones/styles used. It’s really wonderful!

  • Jenny

    Geez, you are so inspiring to me all the time! I’ve been homeschooling since mine were babies, they are now 9, 6, and 4. In recent months I’ve just been really overwhelmed, well , with life, and health stuffs. When I first started homeschooling I really did it very regimented and rigid, which made things quite boring for the kids and myself. After you started homeschooling I was excited to see your approach. I’ve since looked into Charlotte Mason, and other methods, and I really feel so much better about being more laid back, and not having to be so “by the book”. I wish I had started out this way, but am so thankful that I have discovered other methods of teaching through your sharing. I wish we were neighbors ;) You have a darling family!
    Look forward to hearing more! Thanks your for the book recommendations.

  • kelly hart

    This is interesting and inspiring to me. keep us updated. I am absolutely considering home school when my children get to middle school age.

  • leah

    I love your book list. As a former homeschooler I loved that my mother was able to choose ciriculum that she new I would be stimulated by. It made her job easier and really encouraged self-learning. Now that I have my own little one I am not sure if I will choose to homeschool, but I do know that I will do my best to stimulate her individual learning through books and developing her own interests.
    Good job, and all the best in this new school year!

  • audrinajulia

    I’m not that educated in terms of home schooling but I may like to read more of your post here if you will do it once in a while aside from doing my own research on it. I’m quite interested as I heard mostly about it most especially on some local celebrities here who’s juggling on their time going to normal school routine. I just have a question, if how home schooling can elevate one’s curriculum? or if it’s recognize by some education department? Please don’t get me wrong I’m just curious, but maybe I should elaborate my knowledge more into it. Overall I think it’s much safer to home school kids in some point. Love your selections of books for your kids by the way. I also encourage my kids to read, it’s a nice way to learn things aside from school.:)

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