Elementary Homeschool Curriculum Picks for the Large Family
Large family homeschooling curriculum ideas from a mom of 10. These are actual products we have been using in our homeschool.
This year I have 2 boys in elementary, ages 8 and 10. When I add in the 12 year old boy, they are collectively known as the “little boys,” but the 12 year old will have his own “Middle School” post since that’s where he technically falls this school year.
Frankly, things get a bit muddy with these boys. While they have their own individual school work and are required to sit through all of Morning Time, they will also often join the little girls for projects and activities from Nourishing Nature (and other curricula). However, since they are older, I do not require them to do these “little kid” activities.
I wrote about how the older kids like to join in with the younger kids in my Review of A Year of Playing Skillfully. It is something that makes my mama heart smile.
So, what all this means is that the day runs as normal, and then in the afternoon the boys sometimes join in with the little girls and sometimes they pursue their own interests.
Morning Time for Elementary Ages in a Large Family
Our Morning Time has always been done first thing in the morning with everyone altogether, and I tend to “teach to the middle,” meaning I choose curriculum, topics, and information that are most relevant to the child or children who are in middle of the ages I am currently teaching.
So, for this year, my 10 and 12 year olds are my middle ages, and so I am focusing on upper elementary and middle school and then supplementing extra literature and projects for my high schoolers and coloring pages and fun projects for my little girls.
READ >> Morning Time with Multiple Ages
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Morning Time, let me begin by explaining that Morning Time can be ANYTHING you want it to be. You can use the time to do something simple like Bible and a Read Aloud (Read >> Making Morning Time Easy) or buy a full-blown Charlotte Mason Morning Time curriculum. (Our favorite is The Homeschool Garden.)
In our homeschool, we start with Bible (more on this in a moment). After Bible, we do a combination of The Homeschool Garden and the history lessons from Tapestry of Grace, with lots of extras mixed in from Music in Our Homeschool and You ARE An Artist.
Rather than get into the details in this post of how we put all of this together, I have a post where I share exactly what our Morning Time currently looks like, so you can get an idea of how I incorporate all of these curricula!
READ >> What Our Homeschool Morning Time Currently Looks Like [COMING SOON]
However, I will share each of these components one by one below:
Bible Study for Elementary Age Homeschoolers
Last year, we started GrapeVine Bible Lessons (that link goes to my review). It’s been really good for this age!
However, we are getting close to the end and so I chose a whole new way of doing Bible compared to what my kids are used to – Obedience Bible Study from Not Consumed.
The reason this is so different is because I’m not doing THE SAME thing with ALL of the children. Not Consumed has each member of the family do Bible study on their own and then come together to discuss the topic. I’m really excited about trying something different!
History for the Large Family Homeschool
I have always preferred to do History as a group because years ago I found a curriculum that allowed me to do this and I fell in love!
Tapestry of Grace is that curriculum, and although we have taken a few breaks from it over the years, I have always come back to TOG because it is so robust, so comprehensive, and so wonderful in its concept that I simply cannot stay away.
Take a look at my Tapestry of Grace page here on Raising Arrows to learn more about how I make this curriculum work for our large family!
So, we do lessons from Tapestry of Grace as a family during Morning Time. You can see this in action if you read my Large Family Homeschool Life posts!
Fine Arts for Elementary Homeschoolers
I also really like to supplement the Tapestry of Grace lessons with lessons from Music in Our Homeschool! These music-based lessons are so wonderful and so easy to use. Everything is online and works well with a variety of ages. And there are so many topics to choose from!
This year, we are using:
And for holidays, we’ll use:
We are also using their Charlotte Mason Fine Arts class off and on this year. I LOVE the art appreciation questions included in the class!
But these are just the tip of the iceberg! Take a look at the website and start dreaming up ways to incorporate music into YOUR homeschool!
Art for Elementary Ages
Once or twice a month, we do art projects during Morning Time as a family. I usually do this toward the end of Morning Time and usually on a Thursday (the last day of the week we homeschool since we do a 4 Day a Week Homeschool Schedule).
My philosophy on art in homeschooling is that it needs to be:
- Simple with few supplies.
- Integrates with what we are already learning.
- Something I can do with the entire family.
That’s why I chose You ARE An Artist chalk art lessons for our art! Chalk is a very forgiving medium and everyone can participate.
Once Morning Time is finished, I send everyone off to do their independent school work. At the elementary age, they still sometimes need my help, but for the most part, they are doing a lot of it on their own.
Individual work for this age includes Math, Handwriting, Spelling, Science, and for the younger ones, Phonics. They also learn to play the Piano a bit, but currently we are not doing formal lessons.
I also want to note here that Tapestry of Grace has Literature included in the lesson plans, so I assign them books to read based off the recommendations from TOG. They read these books as part of their individual school work.
Before I get into the specifics of their individual school work, I would highly recommend you get my ecourse Creating a Homeschool Schedule You Love! This ecourse will help you put your entire homeschool day on autopilot, including your children’s individual school subjects. GET IT HERE >>
Homeschool Math for Elementary Age
From Kindergarten through about 2nd grade, we use Horizons workbooks for our math.
Then, we move to Teaching Textbooks, which starts at 3rd grade. Teaching Textbooks is really great for a large family because it is so flexible – especially the 4.0 app version!
READ >> Teaching Textbooks 4.0 Review
Handwriting for Elementary Homeschoolers
For years now, we have used A Reason for Handwriting.
We like ARFH because the letters and words our children learn are put together to form Bible verses they write out to send to grandparents or post on the refrigerator. It gives handwriting meaning!
We start with A Reason for Handwriting K in Kindergarten and then work our way up through Cursive during the elementary years.
Spelling for Elementary Homeschoolers
Spelling is a tough one for me because it seems like it just isn’t a one size fits all kind of subject.
First of all, you have the kids who don’t need a spelling program at all. Yes, that’s right – I said NO spelling program. READ WHY HERE >>
Then, you have the kids who can use just about any spelling program, so your best bet is to find something that is simple for YOU as the homeschool mom to manage. In our homeschool, those kids use an app called Simplex Spelling (I bought the bundle, in case you are wondering).
And THEN, you have the kids who need help…lots of help…with their spelling. These are the children who will probably need spell check as adults, but you are just wanting to get them spelling decently, and you are at a loss for how to do that! I hear ya!
The program I have been using for my elementary students who fall into this camp is Phonetic Zoo. Years ago, I listened to Andrew Pudewa of Institute for Excellence in Writing talk about Spelling and Brain. This program from IEW uses those concepts to teach your children to put letters in sequential order. It is super helpful for auditory learners, but great for any child struggling to learn how to spell.
Homeschool Elementary Science
Once my little ones are reading well, I introduce them to Apologia Science books. I usually start with Zoology I and eventually let them choose what book they would like to do next.
They read the books on their own and do any of the experiments that interest them. By the time they are ready for General Science in middle school, they have read most of the books in the series.
Phonics for Kindergarten
For many years, we have use Phonics Museum to teach our kids to read. But, this one is a bit difficult because although we have taught all of our kids to read using this program since 2011, the company revamped it (not for the better, in my opinion) a couple of years ago. I only have 3 kids left in Phonics, so I decided to find an old copy of the workbooks to buy for Mercy and Aspen and continue with a program I knew and loved, rather than try to reinvent the reading wheel.
So, while I’d love to offer you a Phonics option we personally use that you can go right out and purchase, that’s just not the case. I’ve been at this a long time, so I guess that’s what happens when you are an “old” homeschooler!
HOWEVER, there is a really neat program called Wild Reading (there is also a Wild Math) that incorporates nature into lessons and has a lot of hands on activities that might be a good fit, especially for these younger years. You can check them out here:
More Elementary Curriculum We Love
One other thing I’d like to mention here that we are not currently using, but will be soon and have used in the past with great success are the products from The Peaceful Press.
I cannot say enough good about the curriculum and how easy it is to use with a large family!
During Morning Time and Afternoon School, we have used The Peaceful Preschool, The Precious People, and The Kind Kingdom and are currently using Nourishing Nature with my little girls. When we start learning about the pioneers in Tapestry of Grace, we will add in The Playful Pioneers. (I’m so excited!)
READ >> Review of The Peaceful Preschool
READ >> Review of The Precious People
By the way, if you want to see all of this curricula in action, I write about them nearly every week in my Large Family Homeschool Life posts. READ THEM ALL HERE >>
Reading those posts will give you a taste of what all of this looks like in real time! Enjoy!
You can find all of our Homeschool Curriculum Choices HERE >>