Children Learned to Read Before There Was Curriculum


So, I had an epiphany.

I was probably in the bathroom when this epiphany occurred because, let’s be honest, that’s where most good thoughts occur.

It was this:

Children learned to read before there was ever curriculum. 


I do not need curriculum to teach my child to read. I need to just CHILL OUT, pull my son up on my lap, and read with him, teaching him through simple books and sounding out letters.

{And she sang…}

FREEDOM {picture me dancing here friends, dancing}

For real though. Sigh of relief.

I felt I needed to share that little nugget of joy with you today. Perhaps it will help you (mainly homeschooling mamas) to be a bit less neurotic and a bit more… released.

Keep on!

Love, Sarah Mae


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I couldn’t resist! So cute – The 10 Commandments (as sung by my 5 year old)

(Can’t see the video in your email? Click HERE - I promise it’s worth it!)
I found this on my old YouTube channel and it just does me in (she was 5). So cute! Grab your little ones and enjoy!

Sarah Mae

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Apparently, You Want to Know More About My Homeschooling Plans


You all left some great questions in the comment section of my homeschooling revamp post, so I thought I’d use a post to answer them.

First of all, please remember, it’s all an experiment. I am not a seasoned homeschool mom. I’m a “Hey, let’s try that new thing” homeschool mom. And did I mention this is my first “for real” year of homeschooling? I’m actually responsible now. To the state. For educating my {almost} eight-year-old.

As you read the answers to my questions, keep in mind the fact that my babes are young and I’m still learning how to do this homeschool thing well. It’s all a process!

Okay, here goes…

Will you share the character traits and accompanying Scripture that you’re doing each month?

I’m using the Character Concepts for Preschoolers flash cards and book that have the character trait and scripture. Depending on how things go, I *might* add in Our 24 Family Ways this year. I don’t want to be overly ambitious, so I’m waiting to see how our first month pans out before I add anything else.

Will your little ones be involved in all of your older ones learning?

Yep, just not as thoroughly. I’ll have age-appropriate things for them to do that correspond with the theme of the month and what I want them to learn.

Are you getting your unit study information/curriculum from anywhere in particular? Or are you just picking and choosing from books and other sources?

I’m just picking and choosing. Yay for Google and the library! Oh, and as I come up with ideas, I’ll share them for each month.

What day are you starting?


Can you recommend any good character training books?

I really like Character Concepts for Preschoolers https://www.thelearningparent….
Even though it says it’s for preschoolers, I use it for all my kids.

My oldest is 3 and I want to start homeschooling! Where do I even start?

Start when they’re 6/7! Seriously, just play with your babe – they are always learning. The biggest mistake I made was trying to homeschool too early. Just relax, have fun, sing songs, go places, but don’t feel like you need to do anything formula-ish until they are older. My four year does worksheets here and there because she wants to be a part of schooling with her older brother and sister, but it is very simple and fun work. My son is six and we just do a few things, but nothing intense. Some math, and reading lessons, and letter and number writing, but we go slow. My oldest didn’t start reading well until nearly 7 1/2 years old, but now she is an avid reader. No rush!

Can I attend your homeschool next spring?

Yes. ;) But you have to bring your own food. My babes are eating me out of house and home already!

I did see your other post for this year’s homeschooling and was curious as to why you changed it up?

I don’t know, I think it had to do with Clay and Sally Clarkson’s philosophy to not rely on curriculum (except math) and my own revelation that putting theme’s into months could be fun and a great way to focus and engage on a topic. I’ll still use pieces of the curriculum I mentioned in that post, I’m just not going about them systematically (except maybe the spelling book – not sure yet).

Do you have a daily schedule/routine? I’m just starting my son with preschool material in 2 weeks and trying to figure out some sort of schedule.

If you mean a preschool schedule, my opinion is that preschool is a time to just be a kid and you don’t need to do anything formal. They are always learning, and when you’re in the car sing a verse and the alphabet song, when you see ants outside say they are insects; when you go places point out the colors, and count cars, and it’s all just really natural. My routine with my four year old is to print out a few worksheets for her (because she loves them) and have her practice her letters or numbers or patterns. I don’t get worked up about how they look, I’m just trying to let her enjoy and get used to the idea of school work, as it were. It really depends on your child, where they’re at personally, their bents, etc. I definitely wouldn’t push anything though. Honestly? Just read to your preschooler a ton.

If you mean our schedule in general, it’s flexible. I’m up around 6am every day (something I’ve committed to and have been doing for a month and half now) and my babes have to be up at 7:30 to begin the day: breakfast, jobs, school work. My mornings are going to be sacred this year; no plans until after we finish school work each day. Other than that, we are pretty wide open!

Are you hand picking each thing? How do you go about doing this type of thing with portfolios/submitting to school districts?

I am picking each thing, except for math (Math-U-See) and a few other resources here and there. I’ll be using the library and Google for books, craft and field trip ideas. :)

I love the Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson, and in it they say forgo curriculum (except for Math). I feel confident enough to do that. Also, I just connected with an evaluator today (she’s great) and she said this will work just fine as long as I’m meeting their learning needs as set by the state (we will). And good for you for just taking it easy with your four-year old. Just let her be little and play and have fun – she’s always learning! “School time” will come soon enough!

How do I figure out exactly what is needed for state and assessment tests?

Your state will have a department of education website and that will tell you what you need to know. As far as a general assessment (and I do stress *general* because all kids learn at different rates and that’s fine), see here:…

Here’s another good article, “Stepping Outside the Grade Level Box”…

And just for fun:

Click here to see an info. graphic on how American Homeschoolers measure up!

Keep on!

Love, SM

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I’ve Revamped Our Homeschool Year – Want to See?


Well, I’ve gone and revamped our homeschooling.

And I’m pretty jazzed about it.

I’ve decided to break down our year into unit study months. Each month will be broken down into weekly categories that fit with the larger monthly theme. Want to see? Oh good, because I wanted to share it with you! :)

September: Our Immediate World

  • Seasons
  • Trees
  • Safety
  • Our Bodies

October: Our Universe

  • Planets
  • Continents
  • Maps
  • Bodies of Water

November: America

  • States
  • Presidents
  • Pilgrims
  • Native Americans

December: Jesus Messiah

January: Artists

  • Monet
  • Van Gogh
  • Picasso
  • Norman Rockwell

February: Composers

  • Bach
  • Vivaldi
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven

March: Poetry

  • Emily Dickinson
  • Robert Frost
  • Shakespeare
  • Hebrew Poetry in the Bible

April: Nature

  • Birds
  • Flowers
  • Bugs
  • Mammals, Amphibians, & Reptiles

May: To Be Determined

The {almost} everyday staples are math and reading lessons. I will read scripture to them at breakfast, and we will study and memorize one character trait each month along with a corresponding scripture.


I am really looking forward to this year. What are you most looking forward to as we head into fall?

Love, SM

P.S. My new book is rockin’ and rollin’ and I am LOVING writing (and living) it. I can’t wait to share it with you! That’s all. Such a tease, I know.

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Homeschooling Resources {Kindergarten Through 2nd Grade}


You already know I finally enjoy homeschooling, and a large reason is that we’ve settled into our curriculum choices with confidence. I’m not even going to CHAP this year because I don’t want to be swayed by all the wonderful choices! It feels simply wonderful to keep moving forward without second guessing myself. If you’ve chosen your curriculum, fantastic! If you’re looking for some ideas for what to use with your babes, perhaps you’ll like some of what we’re using. Take a peek:

spelling workout Spelling Workout

Easy, cheap, and effective. It’s $10 a book, two pages a day (no prep), and using it has massively improved my 7-Year old’s (who starts second-grade in the fall) reading and spelling. We’ve nearly completed two books and will continue on with the third this month (and continue through the summer). I will start Caed (my almost first-grader) on it after he completes 100 Easy Lessons (see below).


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

I have to admit, I did not like this reading program when I used it with Ella, and the feeling was mutual with her! We made it to lesson 84 and threw in the towel (it wasn’t sticking, and she was miserable). But Caed? He likes it, and sometimes he even does two lessons in a day. Go figure! Whatever works, right?


First Language Lessons, Level 1 and Level 2 

I like the simple lessons, the copywork, the narration, the poetry, and the ease in which the building blocks of grammar are taught. It works really well with Ella, who has a brilliant memory and enjoys memory work. I’m going to give it a go with Caed in the fall (when he’ll be in first-grade) and hopefully it will work for him as well (although I’ll go much slower with the memory work – too much of it frustrates him).



I’ve used Math-U-See with Ella for two years now and will be continuing on with Beta in the fall. Caed is working through the Primer (he loves it) and will begin Alpha in the fall.


Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times

My babes listen to this at night before bed, and on long car rides (I’m secretly tucking history into their brains). All three of them enjoy it, and how can you not with Jim Weiss as the narrator?!

Speaking of Jim Weiss, his Shakespeare for Children is superb!

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 6.17.44 PM

Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason inspired)

I love Ambleside Online and am so grateful for their articles, resources, and recommendations. We use their book lists and loosely follow their weekly reading recommendations.

As for science, I recently decided to forgo an official curriculum and follow suit with what my friend Laura has to say about it.

For other subjects and interests, we use the library.

And last but not least, we love Lamplighter Theatre (Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is our favorite). Excellent, excellent, excellent character building stories!

Okay friends, your turn! What are some of your favorite resources for homeschooling?

Love, SM

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