Choosing Secular Curriculum Part One: Subjects

After reading the relevant sections (first grade and third grade, specifically) of Home Learning Year by Year, I decided the first step to choosing curriculum for the 2020-2021 school year would be choosing the subjects I wanted the kids to focus on.

Because they're still pretty young, I know the focus of the year will be on language arts (writing, reading, grammar) and math.  That said, I absolutely do not want to cut out the "fun" stuff -- art, science, music -- or ignore the rest -- history and geography.  Going into this, I figured that if I did it right, I could include it all.  After all, other homeschooling families seem to do it just fine.

After some research (read: YouTube videos) and deliberation, I decided that my core subjects for the year will be:

1. Handwriting
2. Language Arts
3. Math
4. Science
5. Geography
6. History
7. Other - See Below

For art, I'm planning on highlighting various artists throughout the year as well as incorporating art and drawing into the history, science, and geography curriculum (more details to follow).

For music, we have an old electronic organ that was gifted to us by my sister-in-law.  While it's not a piano (and can't really be used as a piano substitute as it doesn't have the full range of notes), the kids love to play on it and have already been learning some songs from this (super simple) Disney piano songbook I ordered from Amazon back in March.

I also haven't forgotten about P.E.  My oldest daughter is on a swim team and we fully intend to keep that up.  My son has been doing Taekwondo since the fall of 2019 and has really taken to it.  We'll continue with that as well.  Also, now that we'll have more time on our hands during the day, we'll likely take more trips to places like Sky Zone and Pump It Up (once they open and feel safe again, that is).

I also do want them to learn a foreign language but I don't want to overwhelm the lot of us during our first few months of schooling.  We've done some lessons on Duolingo before and it seems to work pretty well.  Once the school year gets rolling I'll probably set the bar pretty low with foreign language learning and try to get them on Duolingo once or twice a week.  My husband and I have also talked about teaching them Latin but, again, I don't want us to feel overwhelmed just yet.  The year is young, after all.

I also want to note here that I intend to be a secular homeschooler and am looking for an entirely secular curriculum.  This isn't to say that we aren't religious or that I don't want to teach the kids religion.  Instead, it just means I don't want any one religion being included in any subject other than the subject of religion (or comparative religions).  If the kids are going to learn about religion, I want it to be in a way that allows them to learn about all religions and choose for themselves what they believe.

That's my thought process on the subjects I want to cover.  Next, I'll delve into the subjects one-by-one and go over the curriculum that (I think) I've chosen and why I've picked it.  Stay tuned (you're on pins and needles, I'm sure 😉).


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