This marks our fifth year of homeschooling, using Memoria Press for our curriculum.
We use this classical approach to homeschooling, shifting things around just a bit to meet our needs.
This year, I’m going to have 4 official students. Maeve will be doing preschool, Adam and Thomas will be in first grade, and Rachel will be in the fourth grade. Baby Daniel will be emptying all the workboxes, while big sister Abigail starts her junior year in college.
Let’s break down our relaxed classical homeschool curriculum, grade by grade.
Our Classical Homeschool Preschool Curriculum
I was thrilled to see that Memoria Press recently released a preschool core curriculum. This gentle approach to a classical education is just what I’ve wanted.
This year, we’ll work on reinforcing letters, numbers, colors and shapes, using a literature based approach. Maeve will also start with some simple memory work, learning prayers and a few Bible verses.
Books in Our Classical Preschool
Jesus Is With Me
Jesus Hears Me
Big Red Barn
Little Fur Family
From Head to Toe
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Numbers, Colors, Shapes
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
My First Counting Book
The Animals’ Christmas Eve
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
These are just a few of the books that we will be using. I went ahead and purchased all of the books listed in the curriculum, since I know I’ll be using these books with Daniel later.
My very best resource for purchasing used books is Thriftbooks.com. Orders over $10 ship free!
The preschool plans will keep Maeve’s attention, but not bog her down with busy work. It addresses all areas of her development – from fine motor skills to letter recognition as well as gross motor and coordination practice.
We’ll work on her school in the morning, while the big kids are doing chores. She’ll join us for enrichment activities, music, art and read alouds.
When I have to work one on one with the older children, I have special toys, crafts and games for her.
- Memoria Press Preschool Lesson Plans
- The Book of Crafts, Junior Kindergarten
- Preschool Calendar Notebook Printables
Wondering what you need to stock your classical preschool? Don’t miss the supply list here.
Our Classical First Grade Curriculum
This marks the boys’ third year of using Memoria Press. This fall, we’re heading into first grade.
First Grade Language Arts
First Start Phonics
I love this phonics program from Memoria Press! (Check out samples here) We’ll be finishing FSR this year, working on Classical Phonics for review, then moving on to literature with StoryTime Treasures.
If First Start Reading isn’t your style, many of my friends have had success with the multi-sensory approach from All About Reading.
Classical Literature for First Grade
The boys will be diving deep into some of our favorite books this year – we’re so excited!
Little Bear’s Visit
Caps for Sale
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
Billy and Blaze
Blaze and the Forest Fire
The Story About Ping
Keep The Lights Burning, Abbie
The Little House
With Story Time Treasures, the boys will begin to explore vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, and composition skills
This year, the boys will start with cursive writing. I love MP’s New American Cursive program. It’s a gentle, fun approach to cursive, and less ‘flowery’ than I learned when I was a kid.
Wondering why we learn cursive? Take a look.
Once we finish up with First Start Reading, we’ll dive into spelling. We’ll be using Spelling Workout Level B.
First Grade Math
Memoria Press uses Rod and Staff math. I love it – simple, straightforward and easy for me to teach.
We also use Bedtime Math – an adorable website and smartphone app that uses real life situations to teach math concepts.
First Grade Bible Study and Copywork
Remember the Golden Children’s Bible from when we were kids? This is the basis for our Bible Study with Memoria Press.
The beautiful illustrations and poetic King James Version text are perfect. My kids always ask me to “read one more!”
With our Bible stories, we also have memorization and copywork. Each week, we learn a memory verse and the boys will copy it — working on their penmenship.
Fourth Grade Classical Curriculum
Fourth Grade Language Arts
Last year, Rachel rocked Latina Christana. This beginner level Latin went hand in hand with Memoria Press’s grammar and composition program.
This year, she’s going to tackle First Form Latin.
For review this summer, we’ve been working through our Latin Cursive Copywork book, as well as crossword puzzles, hangman and more in Ludere Latine.
At home, all the kids play these fun Latin games for review. We also utilize Quizlet – Rachel loves playing the matching games there and quizzing herself while I work with the boys.
We’ve recently discovered Headventure Land, where my children can watch Latin cartoons and learn Latin songs! Even Maeve loves to march around the house, singing Latin chants!
Spelling Workout is our spelling curriculum – it’s fairly independent for Rachel at this point. We review spelling words at the beginning of the week, let her pre-test, and focus on the spelling rule she needs to learn.
Grammar and Composition
I’ll be honest. It’s not easy teaching grammar to children. Rachel complains that ‘grammar is BORING!’ I see her point, but it’s a necessary skill.
This year, she’ll continue on with English Grammar and Recitation. Many of these concepts overlap and are reinforced with her Latin class work.
From Memoria Press:
In this initial Fable Stage, students look at a single story or idea and begin learning how to use words to engage the imagination of the audience. They master the structures of thought or ideas that go into a narrative and learn to create recognition by using figures of description. Students learn to restructure facts to tell the same story or idea. They also discover that words are symbols representing ideas, and as writers they can communicate the same idea using a variety of words and sentence structures.
Rachel’s excited, since she’ll be studying stories like The Ant and the Grasshopper as she learns to express her thoughts with words.
This year, the whole family is pumped about the literature selections Rachel will be studying. Take a look.
Classical Literature Selections for Fourth Grade
If you’re studying these books at home, Memoria Press has written a fantastic series of literature guides covering vocabulary, comprehension, and supplemental learning. They make teaching literature so easy!
Over the summer, we explored a few of the poetry selections that matched up with the literature selections from third grade. (Farmer Boy, Charlotte’s Web, and The Moffats)
This fall, we’ll tackle a few more poems that coordinate with the other subjects she’s studying.
We also picked cursive back up over the summer. I’d let it slide, and since I write in cursive, Rachel needed to be able to read my notes!
She balked at first, but she’s loved seeing how pretty her handwriting can be. (plus it’s faster, as she’s learning more!)
This year, we’ll be exploring Astronomy. This will be Rachel’s science course for the year, but I’m looking forward to sharing some of these facts with the boys as well.
I’m excited for this fall, when we’ll embark on a study of the United States. I plan to have the boys nearby so they can listen in, too.
In a few weeks, we’ll start listening to the stories via Librivox, so that we can become familiar with these figures in history.
Christian Studies began in third grade, and we’ll continue it this year.
Family Subjects in Our Relaxed Classical Homeschool
Since we have lots of little people, with different ages, there are some subjects we tackle as a group.
Religious Education and Character Training
We keep it simple. I use the Bible Study selections from the Memoria Press lesson plans, then read them twice during the week. Memoria Press uses the Golden Children’s Bible. We read this version once, then use our Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. I want my children to hear the stories in the same verbage that we hear at Mass.
As a family, we talk about virtues and our faith. I read a selection from Little Acts of Grace, and we talk about how to behave in church, why we kneel, and where we can find the tabernacle.
My children also enjoy having fun with the We Choose Virtues characters. This program can be used in a home, traditional school or even a church program, to help children understand virtues like patience and obedience on their level.
I laminated the cards, and choose one a week to display on our wall. We talk about a virtue, why it’s important, and use the examples on the back to identify times we can emulate the virtue.
Last year, I glossed over the gorgeous Kindergarten Enrichment Guide. This is filled with weekly ideas for a read aloud, music, art and poetry selections, as well as science and social studies to mesh with the read aloud.
It’s gorgeous, and I’m sad that I bypassed it last year.
I’ve put our family on an Enrichment cycle of sorts. I’m starting this year with the Kindergarten guide, and we’ll explore the selections as a family — reading the books, checking out the art and music, and diving into the social studies and science together. Next year, we will tackle the First Grade guide and so on.
When Maeve and Daniel are ready, we’ll cycle back and start through the Kindergarten Guide again — I’ll have the advantage of having already studied it with the big kids, and will enjoy reading old favorites again and again. The older children can even help out.
The Enrichment Guide covers a wide variety of topics: art, music, read alouds, social studies, poetry and science.
We’ll take the Kindergarten art cards from Memoria Press and explore those together as a group. If we find an artist we all love, we’ll study more about him.
I’m also planning on building time in to explore the fantastic chalk pastel lessons from my friend Tricia. My daughter Abigail will be busy with her college classes, but I know she’ll enjoy taking a break to teach the littles some art.
We’ll be doing a combination of MP’s kindergarten music selections from the enrichment guide as well as Making Music Praying Twice. This system is based on the liturgical seasons of our Catholic Church, including both children’s music and traditional hymns.
I’m not musically talented, but we have loads of fun playing with our instrument box and singing together.
Rachel will be tackling Astronomy, but for the younger kids, we’ll be following the suggestions in the Enrichment Guide , with a big focus on nature studies.
I love the preschool science printables that my friend Maureen created. We’ve got room for a hummingbird feeder right outside our window in the kitchen.
- Calendar Time
- Little Acts of Grace
- We Choose Virtues
- Blest Are We
- Saints Books
- Making Music Praying Twice
- Book of Crafts
- Chalk Pastels
Are you using a classical approach in your homeschool? Have questions about the resources we’re using? Chat me up in the comments — I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!