Here we are embarking on our eighth year of being a homeschooling family. This year will bring some new challenges and new rewards. I look forward to the many hours of discussions we’ll have and watching wisdom and understanding grow in the eyes and words of my children even as their physical bodies grow.

Our family vision word for the year centers around life, particularly Yeshua’s life in us. We visited the theme of abundant life two years ago, but this time we are going deeper in the vein of Galatians 2:20. As a homeschooling mother, one of the things that stood out to me as we prayed about this idea of Christ in us and what that is supposed to look like was how Yeshua only did the things He saw His Father doing. My prayer for myself is that I would have eyes to see and a heart to understanding what Heavenly Father is doing in each of my children’s lives. I purpose to join my strength with His, moving and guiding the tender clay of these hearts in the direction He is headed with them. This means realizing anew how important heart connection is and how much more significant the education of the spirit is than that of the mind, though both are crucial to the development of well-rounded people. Relationship with Abba absolutely must be the priority of our school days. This means greater awareness, greater humility, and a greater willingness on my part to surrender those methods, books, curriculum, and explanations that do not fit with the vessels He is trying to shape. It is the very purpose of homeschooling – the freedom to let these tender plants be given the particular nutrients and atmosphere that match their specific needs without weeds getting mixed in and choking out life. But I have seen that I have tended toward forgetting some of the reasons I began to homeschool as I found myself in the weeds several times over this past school year. It is easy to be overwhelmed by options, especially as we enter those middle school years. I felt myself getting bogged down as I considered the burden upon my shoulders, until the Lord placed the very simple words on my heart as a focus for moving ahead – see what I am doing, and follow suit. My greatest desire is to refuse to let the good (even if it’s at the top of Cathy Duffy’s review list!) be the enemy of the best in how we spend our time. Oh, let every moment be redeemed as we navigate these deep waters!

This is my prayerfully prepared list of curriculum for the various ages and stages for the year. Even as I have pored over the books and lesson plans, the thought that thrills me the most is that the scary parts of entering the years of what I have always thought of as “serious” school are seen as nothing more than a thrilling adventure to Yeshua. From His view, He gets to teach me to walk further out on the water than I have before. He gets to draw the children away to Himself ever more this year as they themselves learn to look over the edge of the boat at those tall waves, perhaps hearing for the first time the whisper to come out and trust the hand of God on their own. Press on toward His voice, little children!

Jaelah & Selah – 7th grade
One of changes this year will be laying aside Latin (after working on it for 3 years) and picking up the pursuit of Spanish. I considered having the girls learn the two languages alongside each other, but since we are not on the path of reading Cicero or Virgil in the original Latin (though I admit I thought of it in a romantic daydream or two as a young homeschooling mother starting out years ago), the Latin grammar we have learned thus far has served its purpose and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do two languages. They will be doing some vocabulary exercises separately to stay fresh. Since we are weaving a Great Books experience rather than a history focus as most highschools do, I am steering us through Veritas Press transition history and literature to brush up and fill in any gaps. We likely will be transitioning from Sonlight to Omnibus (unless I find something comparable) so that we can experience some of the great thinkers and works together as a family in the future. The other major addition this year will be the study of formal logic and the first course of Apologia’s upper level science, as well as a civics course that they will complete with Chavah.

Jaelah – Walk! Torah portion devotionals (as part of bat mitzvah preparation and Bible)
Selah – Veritas Press Bible Old Testament
Teaching Textbooks – finish Pre-Algebra, start Algebra 1 (might switch back to Math-U-See; not sure yet)
IEW Fix-It Grammar – finish book 3, start book 4
Writing With Skill – finish book 1, start book 2
IEW SICC-B composition course
Wordly Wise – book 5 & 6
Introductory Logic
Apologia General Science
Veritas Press Transition History & Literature
Uncle Sam & You
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Various health & development books

Chavah – 5th grade
This will be a challenging year for Chavah. I’ve purposely held back quite a bit to wait for her ability to really dig in to develop enough that it corresponds with what I expect of her. While she still would rather do just about anything than sit still in a desk, she has been giving hints for quite a few months now that she’s ready for more. My plan is to allow her a lot of movement and freedom in where and how she wants to learn as long as she completes what is laid out for her (i.e. under the table in a blanket fort is a favorite these days). We’ll probably have to tweak as we go along, but I’ve seen some encouraging development in Chimmy, particularly as she’s started participating more in family devotional discussions and literature talks each afternoon with me and the older girls. She simply needs the time and space to think about how she wants to express her thoughts. And she can’t WAIT to do fractions in math, which makes me giggle.

Veritas Press Bible Old Testament
Math U See – Epsilon, start Zeta
IEW Fix-It Grammar – book 1, start book 2
Writing With Ease – finish book 3, start book 4
IEW SWI-A composition course
All About Spelling – finish book 6, start book 7
Wordly Wise – book 1 & 2
Apologia science – Zoology 2, start Zoology 3
Legends & Leagues geography – north & south books
Story of the World – books 1, 2, and 3
Light Keepers – biographical reading
Uncle Sam & You
Listen in to literature read-alouds with Jaelah & Selah
Rosetta Stone Spanish

Hosannah & Noah – 3rd grade
The twins have expressed a greater interest in more history and science reading, so I am combining them with many of Chavah’s subjects to both save time and inspire them more this year. They have a great handle on reading and basic math, so need less of Mom looking right over their shoulders constantly. I look forward to letting them take a little more independent ownership of their learning this year. They are just starting their Latin journey, which I have found helps SO much in learning English grammar, albeit indirectly. We are doing First Language Lessons right alongside Prima Latina to make sure we don’t miss any language arts highlights as well.

Veritas Press Bible Old Testament
Math U See – finish Beta, start Gamma
First Language Lessons – book 3, start book 4
Writing With Ease – finish book 1, start book 2
IEW Bible Heroes composition course
All About Spelling – finish book 3, start book 4
All About Reading – finish level 4, move to Sonlight chapter readers
Prima Latina, start Latina Christiana I
Wordly Wise – book A & B
Apologia science – Zoology 2, start Zoology 3
Legends & Leagues geography – north & south books
Story of the World – books 1, 2, and 3
Copywork for Little Girls & Boys

Ketziah – preschool
Veritas Press Bible Old Testament
Usborne Wipe-Clean Books – handwriting & pen-control, alphabet, numbers
All About Reading – finish level Pre-1, start Level 1
Classical Math to music – addition & subtraction songs
Wordly Wise K & 1 – vocabulary picture cards

This year already has quite a bit of curriculum scheduled into it, but we have a lot of extracurricular learning opportunities as well. The oldest girls plan to continue with Bible Quiz Fellowship as they’ve really enjoyed being on a team and memorizing the book of Luke with a group of young people this year. All five of the older kids are still going to be doing our homeschool all day co-op classes on Fridays. We are also planning to continue doing string music with Shir Yaffeh, the youth orchestra the kids have been a part of for a couple of years. As far as family devotions, we are going very slowly through Apologia’s worldview books. They are so excellent and incredibly meaty, so it is taking us far longer to complete them than I had originally planned. No matter! Daddy loves getting to guide the children in laying foundations of truth. Another book we’re incorporating around the dinner table is Manners Made Easy, a book which covers a manner per day for 365 days. Our family lacks in some key social graces that are hard to ignore due simply to the sheer number of people in our family, and I believe an easy way to remedy this is to provide instruction that makes it fun and feasible to have manners. Bite-sized tidbits each day for a year fit the bill perfectly.

I look forward to this year’s journey. The moments are precious, the lives I touch daily infinitely more so. I’ve embraced the hum of noise that will fill my days, a cacophony that lately has sounded far less chaotic and is beginning to harmonize more like a beautiful symphony. The tones only become discordant when I take my eyes off Him, so may I live in HIS LIFE this year!