Our 2020-2021 Curriculum

by | Sep 22, 2020 | Curriculum, Home Education | 20 comments

This year I’m once again (officially) home educating five of our children. We have a 12th grader, 10th grader, 8th grader, 5th grader and a 3rd grader … plus two college students, a toddler and a baby. Life is full! 

After three challenging years, with difficult pregnancies, new babies, and a move to a new state, I’m really excited about this new school year! Even though we just celebrated the beginning of our school year the week before last, on September 8th, we are actually now in our fifth week. We got started as soon as the older boys left for college last month, in an attempt to get a jump start on some of our subjects (math, Latin, writing) and have some flexibility to take a longer break when the boys are back for Christmas break. Our high school girls had online classes (Latin, writing) begin in August anyway. We’ve slowly added in additional subjects as backordered books (science, more writing) finally arrived! Now that everything has been fine tuned, and we are working on a consistent weekly schedule, I wanted to record and share what we are using this year. 

“Next, Catholic home schooling must be schooling. There must be organization, administration, a pattern, a schedule, and a program. Somebody has to be in charge. Mother and father must cooperate in the home schooling. Home schooling must be sacramental. In other words, the Church that Christ founded is the Church of the Seven Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confession. You, yourselves, should receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession. Train your children to live a sacramental life. Finally, to be authentically Catholic, home schooling must be prayerful. The single most fundamental thing you can teach your children, bar none, is to know the necessity and method of prayer. You must pray yourselves. Without prayer, all the schooling in the world will not produce the effect which God wants home schooling to give, because home schooling is a communication of divine grace, from Christ to the parents to the children. And the principle way parents communicate from Christ to their children, the grace upon which those children will be saved, is prayer.” 

– Excerpted from a speech originally given by Fr. John Hardon, S. J. 
at a home school seminar in Oct. 1991 
.: High School :. 
Twinkle Toes :: 12th Grade

Technically she only needs to take Chemistry+LAB, Theology, and just one elective to complete the requirements for the Summa Cum Laude diploma from Kolbe Academy! 

Theology: (1 Credit)
Our Moral Life in Christ
with Our Moral Life in Christ Student Workbook

Science: (1 Credit + LAB)

English/Literature: (1 1/2 Credits)
Muse on the Loose: Survey of Greek Literature in Translation (Fall)
Muse Re-Loosed: Survey of Latin Literature in Translation (Spring)

She has really loved taking Dr. Fisher’s Latin 1 & 2 the past two years (completing Wheelock Latin) but, rather than move on to translating, decided to take her Literature course this upcoming year. 

Additional English/Literature:  (1/2 semester each) 
The Illiad by Homer with Joseph Pearce
The Odyssey by Homer with Joseph Pearce
using the recorded courses at Homeschool Connections

Mathematics: (1/2 Credit)
Foundations in Personal Finance (Fall)
Possible dual credit Math course in Spring 2021, still undecided

History: (1 Credit)
Government, Democracy, and Citizenship with Ed Rivet (Fall – 3/4 semester)
American Elections:Democracy in Action with Ed Rivet (Fall – Audit Class Oct 1-Nov 5, 2020)
Economics as if people matter! with Philip Campbell (Spring)
using the recorded courses at Homeschool Connections

Fine Arts: (1/2 Credit)

Physical Education: (1 Credit)
High School Golf (hopefully competitive!) 

Chiquita :: 10th Grade

Theology: (1 Credit)
The History of the Church

Mathematics: (1 Credit)

English/Literature: (1 1/2 Credits) 
19th Century Literature (Already completed over the summer)
Mansfield Park, Oliver Twist and North and South 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Fall) 

The 19th-Century Novel (Victorian Classics) (Spring) 
Emma, David Copperfield, and the Barsetshire Chronicles with Eleanor Bourg Nicholson 

using the recorded courses at Homeschool Connections
History: (1 Credit) 
The History of the Church (Core Text for both Theology and History)

Additional literature chosen from Connecting with History, Volume 2 – The Arrival of the King and His Kingdom, New Testament and Early Medieval History:

One Hundred Saints, Their Lives and Likenesses Drawn from Butler’s Lives of the Saints and Great Works of Western Art
A Graphic Life of Jesus Christ
Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome
The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History
Lives from Plutarch

Unit #1: Julius Caesar, Ben Hur (audio)
Unit #2: The Spear: A Novel of the Crucifixion
Unit #3: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem from Josephus, Quo Vadis
Unit #4: Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch
Unit #5: St. Athanasius, St. Monica, Beowulf: Illustrated Edition, Confessions of St. Augustine
Unit #6: Two Lives of Charlemagne
Unit #7: Hamlet, The Ballad of the White Horse

History Through the Ages Record of Time – Timeline

Foreign Language: (1 Credit)
Latin II using Wheelock Latin, 7th Edition
Live online class, Lukeion 

Fine Arts:  (1/2 Credit)

Physical Education: (1 Credit)
High School Golf

.: Middle School :. 
Snuggles :: 8th Grade 

Fix It! Grammar: Robin Hood (Book 2 Teacher/Student Combo)
Phonetic Zoo, continue Level B
Writing Our Catholic Faith – Grade 8 Cursive Writing

The Chronicles of Narnia, Part One and Part Two with Kevin O’Brien
using the recorded courses at Homeschool Connections
Chronicles of Narnia Book Set

History & Geography:
Light to the Nations, Part One

Additional literature chosen from Connecting with History, Volume 2 – The Arrival of the King and His Kingdom, New Testament and Early Medieval History:

57 Stories of Saints
Famous Men of Rome
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Roman Britain
Augustus Caesar’s World
A Graphic Life of Jesus Christ

Unit #1: Julius CaesarBen Hur (audio)
Unit #2: The Bronze Bow, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Unit #3: The Ides of April, Beyond the Desert Gate
Unit #4: The White Isle, Galen and the Gateway to Medicine
Unit #5: Beowulf the Warrior, St. Helena and the True Cross, The King’s Thane
Unit #6: Fingal’s Quest, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills
Unit #7: The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, The Sword of Clontarf

History Through the Ages Record of Time – Timeline

Maps Charts and Graphs Level G: The World
Various Mapping Assignments, Activities, Puzzles and Games

Exploring Creation with Physical Science (3rd Edition)
with Solutions and Tests and Student Notebook

Foreign Language:

Physical Education:
Self Defense / Martial Arts: Jui Jitsu

.: Elementary School:. 

Rose :: 5th Grade
St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (with Dad on Sundays)
The Vine and the Branches (Highway to Heaven Series Book 5)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets

Saxon 5/4 with Solutions Manual and Tests/Worksheets
Saxon Teacher Math 5/4 Lesson and Tests CDs

Language Arts:

All About Spelling
Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1 Teacher/Student Combo)
Writing Our Catholic Faith – Grade 5 Cursive Writing
Supplemental Readers and Additional Literature

The Chronicles of Narnia, Part One and Part Two with Kevin O’Brien
using the recorded courses at Homeschool Connections
Chronicles of Narnia Book Set

History & Geography:

with Workbook and Audio Book

Additional literature chosen from Connecting with History, Volume 2 – The Arrival of the King and His Kingdom, New Testament and Early Medieval History:

57 Stories of Saints
Famous Men of Rome
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Roman Britain
Augustus Caesar’s World
Ancient World (Usborne)
Spend the Day in Ancient Rome
Twelve Bright Trumpets
A Life of Our Lord for Children
The First Christians

Unit #1: Cleopatra, CityBen Hur (audio)
Unit #2: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mary My Mother, Good St. Joseph
Unit #3: City of the Golden House, St. Peter the Apostle, The Apostles of Jesus, St. Paul the Apostle
Unit #4: The Roman Colosseum, Gladiator, No Tears for the Bride: A Story of St. Perpetua
Unit #5: St. Helena and the True Cross, Beowulf: A Hero’s Tale Retold, St. George and the Dragon, Word to Caesar
Unit #6: St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills, The Silk Route, Life in Celtic Times Coloring Book, Color Your Own Book of Kells, Bring Me and Ax: A Story of St. Boniface, King Arthur: Tales from the Round Table
Unit #7: Beorn the Proud, Hide the Children: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

History Through the Ages Record of Time – Timeline

Various Mapping Assignments, Activities, Puzzles and Games

United States Elections Unit Study

Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
with Audiobook, Lab Kit and Notebooking Journal

Fine Arts:

Bud :: 3rd Grade

St. Joseph First Communion Catechism (with Dad on Sundays)
The Life of the Soul (Highway to Heaven Series Book 3)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets

Math Mammoth- Little Blue Series 3

Language Arts:
Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A

Once Upon a Time Saints
More Once Upon a Time Saints
Famous Figures of Ancient Times
Famous Figures of Medieval Times
Time Traveler

Spend the Day in Ancient Rome
A Life of Our Lord for Children
The First Christians

Unit #1: How to be a Roman SoldierCityBen Hur (audio)
Unit #2: Mary My MotherGood St. Joseph, The Miracles of Jesus, Jesus With Us: The Gift of the EucharistThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Unit #3: Pompeii- Buried Alive, Story of St. Peter, Story of St. Stephen, Story of St. Andrew the Apostle, The Adventures of St. Paul
Unit #4: St. Valentine, Story of Agatha, Story of Cecilia, Story of Cyprian, Story of Sebastian, Story of Lawrence, Story of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Story of St. Christopher, Story of St. Lucy
Unit #5: St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland, The Saint Who Fought the DragonSt. George and the DragonNicholas, the Boy Who Became Santa (DVD), Brigid’s Cloak, Story of St. Blaise, The Queen and the Cross
Unit #6: We’re Riding on a Caravan, Story of St. Benedict, The Sword in the Tree, Celtic Treasures (CD), Caedmon’s Song, Saint Brendan and the Voyage Before Columbus
Unit #7: Vikings: Dress, Eat and Play Like the Vikings, Margaret, Story of St. Wenceslas, Leif the LuckyD’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

History Through the Ages Record of Time – Timeline

Various Mapping Assignments, Activities, Puzzles and Games

United States Elections Unit Study

Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
with Audiobook, Lab Kit and Junior Notebooking Journal

Fine Arts:
Meet the Masters

Physical Education: 
Self Defense / Martial Arts: Jiu Jitsu

The rest of our science books finally arrived and these two (three?) are so excited to dive into marine biology this year!  I had been considering an introduction to chemistry course, since our high schoolers are both taking chemistry this year, but they begged for this instead. Their eldest brother (who got scuba certified this summer) might have had something to do with it… This was his favorite science book as a child

💦🦀🐋🐠🦞🐟🐬🐡🦈🦑💦 🦀🐋🐠🦞🐟🐬🐡🦈🦑💦 

Grace :: Pre Pre-K (Age 3)

Catholic Children’s Treasure Box Books 1-10 and 11-20
Feast Day Picture Books
Seasonal Picture Books
Lots of fun learning Toys and Puzzles
Occasional Crafts and Baking with Older Siblings
Nothing formal, yet… basically just living life in a large family!

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery– the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”
(The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223)
Additional Resources: 

#1 – Kolbe Academy 

Our high schoolers all work towards the Magna Cum Laude Diploma. I love the flexibility offered by Kolbe and that we can continue tailoring our curriculum to our family’s preferences and our children’s needs. I submit graded samples twice a year and they keep all the necessary records for the transcripts. We have two students currently enrolled in Kolbe Academy.

#2 – The Lukeion Project 

Charlotte was the one to introduce us to Lukeion and the live classes my high schoolers have taken have all been excellent. After just completing Wheelock Latin, our eldest daughter is moving on to a Literature Course and daughter #2 is taking Latin II. 

To quote Lukeion: “There are many programs now available for younger students. In our experience, however, these programs demand a lot of busy work but deliver very little in the way of learning the functional nuts-and-bolts of Classical languages. Students are not generally prepared to master these languages until they have reached the logic stage. You will accomplish much more in a fraction of the time if you wait until your student is 12 to 15 before you start formal instruction in Latin and Greek. Better still, waiting to start these logic based languages may mean your student will enjoy them more.”

#3 – Homeschool Connections 

We’re still paying the $30 per month for access to all of their recorded classes which the kids can take at their own pace. Middle School favorites have included science classes with MacBeth Derham and history classes with Philip Campbell. For high school we have loved Joseph Pearce, Gregory Pyne, and Eleanor Bourg Nicholson’s literature classes, as well as American Sign Language. My high schoolers can’t get the “Kolbe designation” on the non-Kolbe courses, but they still qualify for high school credit (the high school level courses do anyway, with pre-approval from Kolbe) and they have worked well for us!

#4 – Taylor Science 

My three oldest all loved Mrs. Taylor’s biology class. This year the older girls are taking her recorded chemistry class. So awesome!

#5 – Institute for Excellence in Writing

After taking a couple year break from IEW’s Structure and Style writing classes, I’m so excited to get back to it this year! I was just going to dust off all my old materials, but after checking out the awesome new updated versions, we are making the switch! 

We completed the first three weeks using the FREE LESSONS currently available online while waiting for our package to arrive. It’s so well done!  (Note: We are also continuing on with Fix It! Grammar and over the summer we finished up Primary Arts of Language, but I’ll eventually get back to that once again once our three year old is a little older. I really love all the products offered by IEW!) 


  1. Mary S Pinheiro

    I popped on with a cup of coffee during nap time for my toddler and I am so happy to see this lovely post! Have a great year! We are on week 11 because I'm expecting our fifth baby this November. Your blog is the only one I read. Deo Gratias!

    2020-09-22 18:33:40

  2. Camille

    We are in our 5th year homeschooling (4th gr, 2nd gr, k, 2 toddlers, currently) and I still struggle with committing to curriculum. Jessica, I know you have so many years of experience! How do you determine what to select? I moved to Mother of Divine Grace this year (most families in our community use it) with several swap-outs mainly because I felt I needed a syllabus to follow. I also like Well Trained Mind which I used as a guide last year. I am curious about IEW too and plan to start it next year but maybe I should be starting this year. Additionally, I cannot figure out how or when to carve out time for planning. With a 19 mo old that doesn't sleep well and no napping kids above that, there aren't many breaks. And evenings involve a lot of parenting. I appreciate any wisdom!

    2020-09-23 15:52:57

  3. Jessica Gordon

    Hang in there! You are at a really challenging stage. Be easy on yourself and focus on the necessities. It does get easier once the children are just a little older, reading well, and able to work more independently! I've tried many different curriculum options over the years – switching around a lot when my older children were younger – and have settled on the ones that either I like best and/or the ones that work best for certain learning styles (I have a couple children with learning challenges), as well as those that make life a little easier for me (like the various online classes for my older children). I've never been very successful at following a syllabus, I need more flexibility and really hate feeling "behind" if we get off track for one reason or another, but I'm glad you've found something that seems to work for you! I know many families that use and love MODG! It's not ideal, but most of my planning happens at night after everyone is in bed (like right now), early in the morning, or while nursing a baby… It really is hard to find time to focus! I have older children that can help with the little ones some of the time, but I also work from home 25+ hours a week in my "free time" (secretarial work) so it's just plain hard to keep up with it all… Once I've chosen my curriculum for the year I try to make a general weekly schedule for each of the kids, leaving lots of flexibility, and then fine tune it and add to it as we work through the material.

    2020-09-24 06:15:11

  4. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! ♥ Congratulations on your new little one! How exciting! I'll say a little prayer for a healthy baby and safe delivery!

    2020-09-24 05:43:51

  5. Joy

    Amazing and admirable that you do all of this. God bless you for doing this for your children.

    2020-09-23 16:53:04

  6. Joan

    Love reading the curriculum for all the children. Joan

    2020-09-23 19:05:39

  7. Marion

    I enjoyed reading this post about all the subjects the children are taking. I think Joy wants to be schooled. Marion

    2020-09-23 21:06:14

  8. Alicen

    Your family is absolutely adorable! I have been following you for a while and I really admire you. This is our first year homeschooling! We have 6 children ranging from ages 11 down to just turning 2. I am happy with the educational materials/lessons we have chosen for this year but am struggling to lay out our days and when to do what? Any suggestions or advice when planning out our daily schedule? Thanks so much and God bless!

    2020-09-23 21:21:04

  9. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you! So grateful to be able to stay home and home educate them. God bless you too!

    2020-09-24 06:15:45

  10. Marilyn

    Thank You for this interesting and enjoyable post. The children have a full list of subjects. Grace has a nice schedule. Lily looks interested and ready to start her studies. Marilyn

    2020-09-23 22:53:26

  11. Tiffany

    How do you structure your day to accomplish everything with all your kids?

    2020-09-24 00:46:56

  12. Debbie

    I am in awe of the amazing dedication you have done in teaching all of your children!!!! Your home is filled with such enthusiastic learners. It is wonderful what you are doing for your Dear children homeschooling them! I so admire your dedication and hard work Jessica! Have a wonderful new school year with your sweet children…

    2020-09-24 00:53:00

  13. Jessica Gordon

    How exciting that you are all homeschooling this year! It IS hard coming up with a daily schedule…I tend to plan more of a routine, rather than a schedule, with what I would like to accomplish each day, without giving specific time slots to each thing, leaving lots of margin and flexibility. Every day is different with outside activities and appointments, work obligations, or the various online classes for my older children, not to mention the little ones and not being able to get them on a consistent nap schedule (not sure how I was able to accomplish that with my older ones and not these last two?!)… We tend to start with Math and English/Writing/Spelling in the mornings, and afternoons are spent on other subjects. I do make my children each their own weekly checklists (and one for myself too) so they can work on their own as much as possible. I'll try and share those soon to give you an idea of how I implement and keep up with everything! My children (including the 8 and 10 year olds) also all take a shift each day playing with and watching the little ones, so I have time for one-on-one time with whoever needs me. I hope you can find what works well for you and your family soon! God bless you all!

    2020-09-24 16:29:37

  14. Jessica Gordon

    I just shared a little bit up above in my response to Alicen. I'll try and share more soon, along with all of our weekly checklists!

    2020-09-24 16:31:12

  15. Megan

    Thank you for sharing! Our family enjoys the Apologia science books too. May I ask which lab kits you are using? I bought my kits from Rainbow Resources and they correlate with the experiments in each book. However, my high schooler would like lab work for general science for Apologia and I am not sure if the lab kits I bought will work. I like the notebooks you linked. As always, may God bless your beautiful family and thank you for sharing all that you are doing this school year.

    2020-09-26 22:46:26

  16. Sherri

    Hi Jessica, I hope you got the soccer videos of John that I sent you. I went to your Scribd uploads trying to find two checklists but I couldn't locate them: Latina Christiana I and Maps Charts Graphs Eastern Hemisphere. I found similar looking documents from 2012 to 2013 school year, but not these. I looked all over but couldn't locate them. They are color coded for each school quarter on the side of the documents. I have these exact same ones I downloaded many years ago from you that are filled in ( I wish I had printed a blank spare). Can you assist me please? Thanks and God bless, Sherri

    2020-09-29 22:04:31

  17. Jessica Gordon

    I have been meaning to email you back.. the videos actually didn't come through. I'm not sure why or how to suggest sending them.. If you could try again that would be great! I'd still love to see them!! I will see if I can find those checklists online and get the link to you, otherwise I can search my old computer and see if I still have the documents. I'll let you know either way!

    2020-09-30 04:36:32

  18. Susan Koranek

    I taught mathematics in middle school and high school most of the time in Catholic Schools. I am a strong believer in mnemonic devices to remember formulas, etc. If anybody out there is teaching the quadratic formula and needs a way of helping children remember what x is equal to then here it is: The negative boy couldn't decide whether or not to go to the radical party. The boy was square and was turned down by 4 awesome chicks. The party was all over by 2 am. (but you whisper m because there is no variable m in the formula.

    2021-12-15 07:33:50

  19. anonymous

    Hi Jessica, Thank you for sharing your curriculums. I am just wondering how you manage it all each day. I am assuming most of it is self led by the child? From what age do they do most of the study themselves?


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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