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Aussie NBTS – Our Plans & Resources

Our Worldwide Classroom This week at the Not Back to School Blog Hop Kylie has us all chatting about our plans and resources for the upcoming year.

We’ve been home educating for well over a decade now, we were drawn to home education from the beginning.  Initially we were strongly influenced by John Holt (unschooling/Natural Learning) Raymond Moore and Maria Montessori, later Ruth Beechick and Valerie Bendt (unit studies) were added to the mix and then we met Charlotte Mason.  All these, combined with our love of literature and our Catholic Faith created an eclectic concoction. We enjoy designing our own curriculum, with  direct input from the children that considers teaching and learning styles, is tailored to meet individual needs, and supports our family culture.  Much of our plans are spring boarded from discussions at 4Real and the plans at Mater Amabilis. 

Over the years as our family size has grown and our children have matured, our approach has evolved to suit our changing needs.  In the last several years we have added more ‘textbooks’ to our plans, albeit living style textbooks.  We have, I feel, managed to source some of the ‘cream of the crop’.   Our days have evolved into a more structured rhythm and I plan more, a need I didn’t have with less, and younger children.  We miss our more Natural Learning days, but we’re confident where we are now is a good fit.  However our plans remain a tool only, and I’m always open to being fluid if needed, there is always more than one way to achieve a goal.

Obviously the following plans/resources are not the full picture, they can not show the ‘side trails’ we will take, nor the many ‘extra’ resources the children will read of their own volition, nor the documentaries and you-tubes that will be viewed, nor the new plans that could spring up if old ones are ditched. They do not document the many supporting books that will be read, the computer sites used, the games played, discussions, life skills, building skills and real living.  I decided to take pity on you and spare you, besides many of these belong to the yet, unknown, I have to allow some spontaneity for my creativity:)  Plans for 6+ students makes for alot of reading, if you manage to read to the end of the post accolades to you!

*For ease of your reading I’ll use eduspeak; Pre-school/Infants (K-2)/Primary(Grades 3-5)/Highschool (Grades 7-12 in NSW)
Whilst the ‘3Rs’ resources remain the same throughout the year the other subjects may change per term.

Infants/Primary – Singapore Maths
Highschool –
Life of Fred Beginning Algebra

Language Arts

  • Phonics/Beginning Reading

Infants – Spalding Phonics
Queensland Readers
Variety of basic readers of readers choice ie. Dr Suess,  etc

  • Independent Reading

Each term every independent reader is encouraged to read at least one novel of a high literature standard, one Faith and at least one additional history, geography, nature and science book independently.
Of course they read many more than one literature novel, they all read voraciously.  4Real and Mater Amabilis are most useful when gathering books suggestions.

  • Family Read Alouds

We daily read together a novel for pleasure, managing to complete about 2 to 3 novels a term.  Our novels are chosen via what we have on our shelves and recommendations.  Currently our read alouds are;
Infants/Primary –  All of a Kind Family – Sydney Taylor
Lower Highschool – Lord Brocktree – Brian Jacques

  • Picture Books

Pre-school/Infants – We plan to read at least two daily, which adds up.
We have a large collection of books to choose from.

  • Poetry

All – We endeavour to read at least two daily.  We have a wide collection of poetry book.
I encourage the children to memorise at least two per term.

  • Studied Dictation

Primary/Highschool – Spelling Wisdom

  • Spelling

All – All About Spelling

  • Copywork
Infants/Primary/Highschool (Grs 7&9) – Startwrite
  • Grammar

Primary – Intermediate Language Lessons

  • Composition

Infants – A weekly time where we brainstorm ideas and they dictate a story whilst I scribe.
Primary All Things Fun & Fascinating
Highschool – Elements of Writing – Kinneavy & Warriner

  • Shakespeare

All – Plans from Jimmie and my own

  • Logic

Highschool –The Fallacy Detective 

  • Literary Analysis

Upper Highschool- Windows to the World

Preschool/Infants (K) – New Catholic Picture Bible

Infants (Gr 2)/Primary – Term 1 – Life of Our Lord for Children

Highschool  (Gr 7) – Beginning Apologetics 
(Gr 9) – Introduction to Catholicism
(Gr 11) – Understanding the Scriptures

Infants/Primary – Living book unit on birds.
Using living books and reference books from our branch and home library.  Focusing predominately on Australian birds.  To notebook/narrate findings.

Highschool (Gr7)- God’s Design for Science; Inventions and Technology
To read his way through the whole series.

Highschool (Gr9) –John Hudson Tiner Exploring Series
Our son is currently reading his way through this series.

Highschool (Gr 11) Term 1- Astronomy Unit
Using reference and living books from branch library and our own.
Also including various internet resources such as Barb’s.
Our son is planning his own science program focusing on a different discipline each term, to also include; Physics, Chemistry & Biology.  Currently for Astronomy he is reading many of Dava Sobel’s books. He is notebooking his research.

Infants – Story of the World 1 Ancient History

Primary – American History
Living books from our library, notebooking findings.
Studies directed and planned by our daughter.

Highschool – Story of the World 3 Middle Ages
To supplement with Catholic world-view we have added;
The Story of the Church
How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization

Infants/Primary/Lower Highschool – Trail Guide to World Geographyv

Highschool – (Gr 9) – World Physical Geography
(Gr 11) Autobiographies

Infants/Primary Only

Nature Study
Infants/Primary – To take a nature walk, observe and record at least once weekly.
Some years we are strong here, other years well, it’s on the plans at least;)
Wonderland of Nature, Insect Adventures and many more resources are available.

Creative Arts
We endeavour to add art appreciationmusic appreciation, art and craft.
Note endeavour, some years it happens and many years the creative arts only spasmodically occur.
There are a plethora of resources on the internet for inspiration and guidance.
However materials are readily available and someone is always creating, drawing and music is playing.  The children are all involved in swimming, gymnastics and soccer.

Highschool Only
Current Affairs

PC & I (mostly PC) email our children various current news and discuss

Language- Spanish
(Grs 7 & 9) – Live Mocha

(Gr 9) Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

Last year our teens salvaged and rebuilt computers, this year the focus is more on software and ensuring they are comfortable with technology such as; webcams, power point, Word, excel etc.
The library has resources but often the best teacher is to just ‘dive in’ and use.

Did you make it all the way?!

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  • Anonymous

    I made it all the way … you are an amazing encyclopedia of books and an inspiration for your children's love of learning … you are the best. PC

  • Renelle

    OOhh some great choices in there. I can learn so much from you Erin. Love a lot of your book recommendations and Aussie Book Thread also, thank you. You really do an amazing job and seem very much comfortable in your own shoes re: home ed lifestyle. Look forward to more.
    Blessings, Renelle

  • April

    Wow! Truly inspiring… I don't know how you do it! We have a set of QLD Readers, they are delightful. My son is currently using All Things Fun & Fascinating and loving it. Thanks for sharing, now off to look at some links 🙂

  • Caz

    Wow! I'd imagine plans for 6 would make for a whole lot of EVERYTHING! You must be incredibly organized 🙂 Thanks for sharing your plans for the year!

  • Erin

    You are an amazing support{}

    Aww thank you:)

    small steps at a time, I grew slowly. Hope some links are helpful.

    I never used to be organised, but after baby 5 I had to get my act together. So I can say with 9 kiddoes I'm more organised than with 2. You're welcome.

  • Sue

    Thanks for taking the time to share Erin! Being a newbie to homeschooling this year, and having the 4 school age kids to find suitable resources for has been a challenge! But having others share their experience, especially those with older kids in the high school years is invaluable. Cheers Sue

  • Angel

    Erin, I would love to know (or actually, Katie would love to know) what sort of books you use to study Australian birds!

    Also, my oldest has just spent some time on astronomy — mostly reading. The Teaching Co.'s astronomy course (which may be available for download) seems to be pretty comprehensive and recommends a slew of living books (hs to adult) in the accompanying guidebook.

  • Grace'n'Chaos

    Oh Erin, very impressive. I'm not sure if you'd of guessed but the one title/source I zoned in on is Wonderland of Nature. Just the title sounds great! Please tell us more about it, I'd love to see a thread at 4Real or a post 😀 😀

    BTW: happy super belated 40th birthday!!

  • Sarah

    Hi Erin, I have really enjoyed browsing through your curriculum choices this morning. I like what you wrote under 'Creative Arts', some things I find the children just do naturally. We always miss something that is on my schedule, but I have learnt to not beat myself up over it. xxx

  • Vellvin

    Thanks Mrs. H for your comment on my blog.
    I admit I read a lot of stuff and never bother to mark it as boy or girls types but now you mention the idea its sound capital! 🙂

  • Erin

    It is great when we get to that place isn't it.

    Thank you Rosemary.

    Vellvin let me know when you write more so I am sure to check them out.

    Jeanne, thank you:)

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