Hill Prep 2013-2014: Homeschool Curriculum Choices

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School started this week for the students of the Hill Preparatory School for Girls. The girls were ready and so was I. Summer was fun and restful, but we were ready to get back into our school groove. We have finalized our homeschool curriculum choices for both girls. Yes, “both” – as in, I have TWO students this year. MA is entering 6th grade – A MIDDLE SCHOOLER!!! – and Patterson will be in Kindergarten – KINDERGARTEN!!! It’s a big year for both of them, and I’m thrilled to be along for the ride. When God clearly issued the call to us to homeschool, I had no idea the fun we’d have. It’s such a blessing to me to be with my girls all day every day. It’s a big challenge, no doubt, but we’ve found our rhythm and adore our time together each day.

I feel like we refine our choices every year. This year I’m loosening up on a few places we’ve been too rigorous and clamping down all the more tightly on what we feel is really important. The entire purpose of educating our children (whether through homeschool, public school, or whatever!) is so that they can clearly communicate the gospel of Jesus in whatever circumstance and to whatever group God places them. After all, the best education in the world does not mean a thing if they aren’t regularly discussing THE Main Thing. So with that thought in mind, we have tweaked a little this year. On to our homeschool curriculum…

Let’s start with our 6th grade girl:

Math: Saxon is still our #1 choice for math. We love it. It repeats and repeats and repeats (see what I did there?) so that there really isn’t any room for missing concepts. We’ll be on Math 7/6
this year. Since Saxon jumps around a little, I might take a little homeschooling liberty and teach a complete concept at once. Novel idea, I know.

Bible: We are continuing on our journey through the Bible. We started reading straight from the Bible and discussing the text when MA was in first grade. We’ve made it through Ezekiel and will start Daniel next week. I might have to do a little research, as there is so much prophecy in Daniel. Hoping my student and I can sort it all out. I’d love it if we could finish the books of prophecy this year so that we can move on to the New Testament next year. We’ll see.

I know I’ve said it before, but reading the Bible through has been one of the best parts about homeschooling. It has given us such a fabulous overview of God’s story, but it has also given us time to pick apart details and process them. As the teacher, I’ve had to be on my game. When MA asks questions, she’s not looking for a Sunday school answer. She wants the real explanation, so I’ve had to really dig in to the scriptures to prepare myself. Best bible study EVER.

And because I want my girls to have God’s word stored up in their hearts, we will continue our scripture memory program. We are firm believers in committing God’s word to memory so that it becomes a part of who we are, how we treat people, and what our purpose is. I have talked at length about why we study scripture and the method we use that works best for us. I’d love to encourage you, even if you aren’t homeschoolers, to regularly participate in Bible reading and scripture memory with your family. We so often think our children will just absorb God’s word if we take them to church, but we have to be purposeful and hold them accountable or it doesn’t happen.

Science: We have been quite pleased with Apologia’s science curriculum, so we will be using it again this year. It is a bible-based science curriculum that is not only scientifically accurate, but it presents science from a biblical point of view. Our next book is Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. I suppose sixth grade is a good year to learn some of the differences in boys and girls, so we will use our science curriculum as a springboard for discussion. We will also use What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex I know. I can’t think about it too much or I’ll be a mess. My girl is growing up.

Grammar/Writing: This is a tricky one. We have used Rod & Staff grammar books for the last few years and we honestly loved their resources. But as good as their resources are, MA hates grammar. She just does. So this year I’ve decided to back off on having a formal grammar curriculum and let her write a lot more. After all, good writing is the aim of studying grammar in the first place. And I so desire for her to know how to eloquently and clearly communicate what she wants to say that I’m excited to focus on sharpening her writing skills. I will more than likely use the Student Writing Intensive from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I need to do a little more research on this, as I’m not really sure how to jump into their curriculum. But I’ve been considering their resources for the past few years, and I’ve decided that this is a good time to add them to our day. I’m hoping that by leaving off grammar and moving into a writing-based time, we can put into practice all that we’ve learned from Rod & Staff. At the least, we’ll be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in language development and will know whether to move ahead or go back to a formal grammar curriculum. I’m hoping for fabulous writing that will change the world. Not too much to expect, right?

Spelling: We have moved through learning the spelling rules, so we will now focus on commonly misspelled words. Our history text, science text, and writing mistakes will be the source of our spelling lists. We’ll also pull a few from lists of commonly misspelled words.

History: While we love Story of the World and will continue to use it in the second half of our school year, I have chosen to begin the year with an in-depth study of Greek and Roman history. Even though we have covered those eras twice now, I still feel like there is so much more for us to learn. We have already started digging into Roman history with our study of “Horatius at the Bridge.” It has been a fabulous resource from Memoria Press. After we’re done with that, we will move to Memoria Press’s The Book of the Ancient Greeks. I’m looking forward to this study as much as MA is. She loves Greek and Roman history, and I’ll admit that I’ve picked up on her enthusiasm.

Latin: Visual Latin was our best friend last year, and we will be using it again this year. MA found their videos to be much more engaging and interesting than learning from a textbook. Imagine that! We will use the Latin versions of Olivia, The Giving Tree, and Ferdinand the Bull as reading a “real” story is much more helpful than reading Latin primers.

Fine Arts: We are so sad to say that after much consideration and prayer, we will be leaving the Briarwood Ballet this year. We are grateful for the years of instruction in ballet and godly life that MA has received at Briarwood. This year marks the point at which she would enter their very rigorous intensive program, and she doesn’t want to give up her other activities in order to pursue a career in ballet. She’s just not ready to decide on a career path at this point in life, so we are walking away. She won’t be giving up ballet, however, as she will take from another local ballet studio that doesn’t ask students to give up all other activities in order to dance with their program. This will also allow her to sing in the sixth grade choir at church on Wednesday nights. We will attend as many theater productions as we can, usually about 5 per year. Still working on a way to incorporate more music and painting/drawing into our days, but right now our days are full.

PE: MA is once again playing on a competitive soccer team, which will give her about six hours each week of playing and practice time. She will be running her little patootie off, not that she has anything to run off. She has also been asked to be a regular sub for another competitive soccer team, so I believe she will be getting plenty of exercise.

And now for Kindergarten:

I’m probably way more laid back about kindergarten than most people. I really don’t get too worked up about formal curricula. I have a workbook I will use to teach basic math skills. I will use my Saxon Math manipulatives kit for hands-on learning. We will read, read, and read more. The library is our home away from home, as we go two or three times each week to check out more books. We read fairy tales, bible story books, science books, biographies, story books, and any other kinds of books that look interesting. We will include Patterson in our theater trips this year since she is finally old enough to actually enjoy the plot. She will take a tumbling class weekly and play soccer. We’ll do lots of play dates and church activities. Like I said, it’s a loose plan, but one that works for us.

I know that sounds like a lot of educational planning, but y’all I am not kidding about being more laid back about things this year. I’m realizing that my time with these girls is so short that I can’t spend all my time focusing on book work. If I do, I will neglect the time I should be spending on building character and giving them a vision to reach the nations for Christ. I’ve said it many times, but I really do mean it: If we end the year with two girls who love the Lord, have a desire to serve to His people, and live life with kindness, joy, and humility then I will consider it a very successful year. Even the best homeschool curriculum can’t teach that.

If you are looking for curriculum choices for our previous years, see our fifth grade year, fourth grade year, third grade year, and our second grade year.

PS: All links are Amazon affiliate links. Help a homeschool mama pay for some books, y’all 🙂


  1. I have a Ker and a 7th grader this year. I can’t believe my baby is in K.

    Anatomy was our favorite year of Apologia. You will love it!!

    Popping in from the blog hop.

  2. Ashley Mills Hill says

    Hey, Stefanie! Thanks for hopping over. Glad to hear you all enjoyed Anatomy. Our books arrived yesterday, and my daughter flipped through and said she was excited about science this year. Whew!

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