Creating Electives with Online Resources

Creating Electives with Online Resources

89: Creating Electives with Online Resources

In this episode, I first explain why I believe homeschoolers should add electives for high school and then I dive into the topic – creating electives with online resources

Find content for electives in the following places:

  • Great Courses
  • Your public library’s online resources eg Lynda, documentaries
  • MOOCs
  • Youtube look for playlists on topics, How to videos if the elective is a hands-on
  • Google – Look for an outline of what should be covered in the syllabi of high school or colleges courses, videos, games, tutorials, and contests (these often include practice material)

** The Linguistics contest I mention is NACLO

Evaluation and assigning a grade

If you find a MOOC or other class that you can use as part of the elective, it may have tests and assignments you can use.

Otherwise, get your child to do one or more projects to show what they have learned. The project could be to create a video, slideshow, website, children’s book or a portfolio if they are doing something creative. (See many of our other episodes for ideas on these)

If you want ready-done for you electives, take a look at the ones offered by our sponsor FundaFunda Academy

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode.

Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #114, Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan

In “Easy DIY 5-Year Homeschool High School Flexible Plan” episode #114, Meredith Curtis shares easy ways to plan ahead and take advantage of educational opportunities for your teens to get every high school credit possible and make sure the core classes are completed by graduation. Meredith explains that education is a gift and helps you define what gift you want to give your teen, when you should start planning, and how to make and keep the plan flexible. Breathe easier through the high school years with a plan that is purposeful, proactive, and easy to tweak.



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Show Notes

You can homeschool high school! Really! You can do it!

I decided to make a 5-year plan instead of a 4-year plan for high school from 8th-12th grade.

  • some courses you can use on their transcripts from 8th grade so I thought it would be good to include that in our plan
  • gives us more time and flexibility to get everything done we want to accomplish

What Do You Want to Give Your Children?

Education is a gift.

Gift of a Christ-centered, well-rounded education that will bear good fruit in their lives for years to come.

Think of things you want to teach your teen in high school that will bless them in years to come.

Make a list of your dreams for your son or daughter.

What gift of education do you want to give them?

My list for each child includes things that are the same and things that are unique for each child.

  • Read Communist Manifesto in high school so that they can understand the socialist agenda in American universities and colleges
  • Study worldviews so that they can recognize the different worldviews that are predominate in our culture
  • Memorize God’s Word, applying it to all of lifeRead classic books that have changed the world
  • Use Bible study tools
  • Make and live on a budget
  • Understand physics, chemistry, and oceanography
  • Grow in their gifting of:   (fill in the blank)

Don’t just shove a bunch of classes at them. Choose courses that will benefit them for life and lay a solid educational foundation if they will be going on to college.

What Does Your Teen Want to Learn?

Now it’s your teen’s turn.

What do they want to learn in high school?

Some of them may have a career goal in mind.

Others may have a dream of playing sports at a particular college.

When Should You Start Planning?

Summer before 7th or 8th grade

Build confidence by:

Reading a few books on homeschooling the high school student

Talk to other moms who have (or are!) successfully homeschooling teenagers. Other homeschooling moms can lead you by the hand and help you through the questions and decisions.

Make It Flexible

I sit down and make a five-year flexible plan for each child. This way you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Realize that your plan will change over the years, but it is good to have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish.

What is Your Goal?

I keep a folder for each child’s homeschool plan on my computer with a high school plan file. Each year, I adapt the plan as opportunities arise for them to take various classes.

Pretend that the following is your high school plan for you high school child.  

Eighth Grade: Old Testament Survey/World History I/Algebra I/Western Literature (3.5)

Ninth Grade: Church History/World History II/Geometry/Biology/Oral & Written Communication/British Literature/Spanish I/P.E./Drama (0.25) + Piano (0.25) = 0.5 Fine Arts Credit/Growing in Christ (0.5) + Courtship & Dating (0.5) = 1.0 Character   (8.5 credits)

Tenth Grade: New Testament Survey/USA History/Algebra II/Chemistry/Essays & Research/American Literature/Spanish II/P.E./Sewing (0.5 Homemaking)/Godly Womanhood (0.5 Character)    (8 credits)

Eleventh Grade: Worldview & Apologetics/Government & Current Events & Politics/Pre-Calculus/Shakespeare/Fiction Writing/Drawing & Watercolor (0.5) + Drum Lessons (0.5) = 1.0 Fine Arts Credit/The Christian Family (0.5) + Starts own Business (you make it a course) (0.5) = 1.0 Life Skills    (6 credits)

Twelfth Grade: The Great Commission/Economics & Business & Personal Finances/Calculus/Great Books/College Prep Writing/Runs own business as course 1.0 Life Skills/Leading worship as a course 1.0 Fine Arts   (6 credits)

Total credits (32 credits)

Juggle Things Around Every Year

When Opportunities arise, I take advantage of them–make changes in my high school plan so I can make sure that my teen takes the important/required courses.

So, pretend there is an opportunity to take chemistry with a pharmacist, I will switch chemistry and physics around. Or maybe the pastor is teaching a worldview course in my teen’s freshman year. I sign her up, but change my plan, moving worldview to ninth grade and church history to eleventh grade.

Some classes, of course, need to be take consecutively (like Math!), but most classes do not!

It helps to have the basic plan, because I realize that all the classes have to fit in somewhere.

Another Idea:

  • Do an intensive class in a month during a break from normal school
  • Do semester classes like colleges do

With math and literature, I don’t recommend shortening the time frame because your child can only do so many hours of math a day before he is burned out! But, this can be a great way to get something “out of the way” quickly.

Your flexible 5-Year Plan is a servant, not a master. In my life it has been a great blessing and helped to guide us through the high school years. I hope it will be a blessing to you!

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American Literature & Research British Literature & Writing High School Class Communications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Class Foundations of Western Literature by Meredith Curtis
Real Men 103: Leadership Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class HIS Story of the 20th Century by Meredith Curtis HIS Story of the 20th Century: High School Workbook by Meredith Curtis
God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ God's Girls 103: Courship, Marriage, and the Christian Family High School Class God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis

More Podcasts You Might Find Helpful

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #107, 7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio, Podcast #074, How to Get Into College with Meredith Curtis Podcast #050 The Real Kingdom and the Counterfeit Finish Well Radio, Podcast #035, Happy Birthday America!

7 Ways to Save Big on Homeschool Curriculum

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #113, 7 Ways to Save Big on Homeschool Curriculum, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

7 Ways to Save Big on Homeschool Curriculum

In “7 Ways to Save Big on Homeschool Curriculum” episode #113, Meredith Curtis shares practical ways to plan ahead and take advantage of opportunities so you can save money on homeschool curriculum. We all want to save money! Yet, we want to give the best to our children. You can do both! Learn how today!



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Show Notes

We all want to save money! Yet, we want to give the best to our children.

You can do both! Learn how today!

Plan Ahead

The further you plan ahead, the more opportunity you will have to take advantage of money-saving opportunities.

I like to think 1-3 years ahead with curriculum. It doesn’t mean I’m locked in to it, but it does help to keep my eye out for something that is coming ahead.

Explore Curriculum You Like

I keep a notebook of curriculum, homeschool resources, and living books that I’m interested in purchasing. Then I try to see them in person at other homeschooling family’s homes or at homeschool conventions. I like to see and touch.

Is it attractive to me? To my children?

Does it look easy to use?

Is it from a Christian worldview?

Is it full of content that will expand my children’s knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

E-book or Print Version

As a publisher, I publish most of my books, curricula, and Bible studies in print and E-book format. It’s just smart because each family is unique in what they need and want.

However, some things (like lapbooks) I only sell as E-books.

Families don’t need to print the directions to put the lapbook together; they can just read it on their electronic device, but each family member will need to print the booklet pages so it’s just easier to have an E-book to print from. It’s not always easy to make copies from a print book.

Use Freebies to Explore Curriculum or a Publisher

Speaking of E-books, when it’s time to explore curriculum, I keep my eyes out for publishers who give away freebies. You can get a feel for a publisher from their freebies and samples.

Many writers and publishers offer free newsletters that have monthly freebies.

My company, Powerline Productions offers a monthly freebie for subscribers. You can sign up here:

Our host network, Ultimate Homeschool Podcast offers a freebie each month if you sign up for their newsletter. Sign up here:

Homeschool Freebie has  been around a long time and offers incredible freebies. You have to sign up on their mailing list:

How about your favorite publisher? Are you on their mailing list?

Here are some other places I go to look for Freebies:

Homeschool Giveaways:

Homeschool Family Freebies & Giveaways Facebook Group

Homeschool Deals & Freebies Facebook Group

Don’t forget you are gathering information to decide what curriculum to use with your children. Jot notes down on your notebook.

Try to narrow down what you are looking for.

Watch for Sales from Your Favorite Publisher

Once you know what you are looking for, watch for sales.

e.g. Rosetta Stone

e.g. Alpha Omega April annual April sale

e.g. YWAM

Used Curriculum Sales

Used curriculum sales are such a blessing!

Make a list of what you are looking for and keep your eyes out for bargains. I have acquired some very expensive curriculum that is hardly worn at these sales.

Bundle Sales

Bundle sales are another amazing way to acquire very expensive curriculum very cheap! It’s amazing! You can get a collection of high school curriculum valued at hundreds of dollars for 85-90% off the price. I love to stock up on E-books this way!

My favorite bundle sale is Build Your Bundle. I have been shopping there for years each May when they have their annual sale!


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God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis Let's Have Our Own Luau by Meredith Curtis Old Testament Survey Class by Meredith Curtis Foundations of Western Literature by Meredith Curtis
HIS Story of the 20th Century Cookbook by Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette

More Podcasts You Might Find Helpful

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #096, How I Teach English in High School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #106, 7 Reasons I Teach Newspaper Reporting In Middle School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio, Podcast #075, How Our Co-op Began with Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette Finish Well Radio, Podcast #053, DG: The Secret to Success

Online resources to help you select curriculum

Online resources to help you select curriculum

Episode 44: Online resources to help you select curriculum

In this episode, we look at 6 steps to use online resources to help you select curriculum that is a good fit for your child.

Please refer to episode 36 – Tips for buying and selling curriculum online to help you find the best prices for whatever curriculum you finally decide on

1. Offline brainstorming

Take a piece of paper and write down everything you can think of that can narrow down what you need. Think about earning style, what has/hasn’t worked in the past, whether they are likely to study this subject at college etc.

2. Online places to ask for advice

3. Reviews of curriculum

  • Once you have narrowed it down to a few options, Google the product’s name + “Review”. Take into account if it is a sponsored post or if the blogger received the curriculum free in exchange for a review.
  • Also, look at reviews on the product website if that is a feature (it is at our sponsor FundaFunda Academy where you can read what the student’s thought)
  • Look for video reviews on Youtube

4. Free trials and demos

Most companies do offer this – even the smaller ones. If you can’t find it on their page ask. SHOW your kids – get them involved at this point.

Our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy, has a demo classroom where you can see a module for each of their full-semester classes. You can find this on the home page or on the FAQs.

For their web-based unit studies, they offer a free “lite” version of their Intro to Game Programming” unit study. AND if you listen to the podcast before the end of July you will get a coupon to reduce the cost of the Around South America in 30 Days unit study to just $5 (from $20

5. Online curriculum fairs

These usually happen over the summer. Google to find them.

6. Keeping track of it all

As you research, store ideas and links in Evernote, a spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) or on Trello

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

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Online resources to help you select curriculum #homeschooling #podcast #selectingcurriculum

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Episode 36: Tips for buying and selling curriculum online


If you are buying or selling curriculum online this summer, here are some tips to help you.

And be sure to join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast. We will carry on the conversation there.

Some places to buy and sell curriculum online

1. Facebook groups

Look for local groups first. A good national group is Homeschool Curriculum Marketplace (over 70 000 members)
Also look for groups that specialize in the curriculum you use eg Sonlight or classical homeschooling

2. Forums

If you are a member of a homeschool forum, see if they have a classified section. Well-trained Mind is the one I used.

3. Used curriculum websites

Homeschool Classifieds has an out-dated look to the website, but it works well and I have bought and sold a lot of curriculum there. You get a certain number of listings free. After that, you can pay, or share info on local field trips etc to earn extra credits.

4. Amazon and eBay

So many options on both these websites and you can often find real bargains. You will likely end up making less if you sell through them, but you are also more likely to make a sale because of their huge audience.

General Tips for Buying and Selling Curriculum Online

You will need to get a PayPal account for buying/selling on all the places listed above except Amazon

Create a spreadsheet and use it to record your research before you start buying and selling curriculum online. Keep track of the new price for the item, how much you see it selling it for, the date you buy/sell it, when it ships, how much profit you make, etc.

Tips for Selling Curriculum Online

Remember you will need to pay for postage (and fees if you sell on Amazon or eBay).

A postage scale can be a great investment

Get your kids involved. Either pay them an hourly rate or give them a cut of profits. They will learn real-world skills and you will get some help!

Save Amazon boxes and padded envelopes throughout the year.

Don’t sell single paperbacks – it just isn’t worth it. Bundle a few together, or state in your listing (if you are listing on a FB group) what the minimum amount you are willing to sell is. That way people can make their own bundles.

Take photos as post whenever that is an option as people like to see what they are getting.

If you plan to sell on eBay, I would suggest you list it as “Buy it Now”. You can see what your item usually sells at by setting the filter to “Buy it Now” and then scrolling down and on the left look for “Show only”. Check Completed Items and Sold Items and you can see what your item has sold at recently.

Tips for Buying Curriculum Online

To find the cheapest website selling used books, go to

But before you do that, if you have use Chrome or Firefox and have the Library Extension you may realize you can just borrow the book from your local library instead.

When you use eBay, I suggest selecting “Buy it now” unless you absolutely love the thrill of trying to win an auction.

If you know the item(s) you are wanting will be hard to find, start looking in May and buy as soon as you see. If you know there will be plenty available you can hold out until August when you might snag one for a better price as people get more desperate to sell.

Got more tips? Share them in the comments or in our Facebook group.

Be sure to take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s online classes and web-based unit studies.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Tips for buying and selling curriculum online

Creation Anatomy: A Study Guide to the Miracles of the Body is great for ALL ages

Having multiple children in different grades, I have found that we really enjoy a curriculum that we can all use together. Science is one of those subjects that can easily be done with all ages if you have the right curriculum and guide to help you with that. If your children are interested in learning about the human body, you are going to enjoy using this study guide from Media Angels.

Look for a sample of the Creation Anatomy Study Guide below!
creation-anatomy-study-a-guide | Having a study guide that covers all ages is such a money saver! | #homeschoolcurriculum #creation #anatomy

Creation Anatomy: A Study Guide to the Miracles of the Body will help your entire family to learn about the wonderful systems in the body and how we are incredibly made. Your children will learn how to refute the errors of evolution by learning how the entire body system defies Darwin’s theory of evolution! The complexity of our bodies and how all the parts work together, point straight to God, the Intelligent Designer. It is so refreshing to teach science from a Creation Science, Christian World View and not worry about evolution!

This Creation Anatomy Study Guide makes teaching multiple ages very easy, and keeps science fun and engaging! The book includes easy to follow lesson plans with a teaching outline for grades K-12. There are outlines and lesson plans that are easy to plan as they are broken down by grades K-3, 4-8, and 9-12. There are over 300 activities and experiments that you can pick and choose from. I love how the Lesson Plans include a teaching outline for each day of the week and how to incorporate Bible time with scriptures, language arts, math history, music and art suggestions. There is also an empty planning page for you to record what you will be doing for that week, which makes it very easy to customize to pick and choose what you would like to do.

This series has even made Cathy Duffy’s 100 and 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum!

To make the book even more enriching, you are going to love the Hands-On Science Experiment Activity Pack. This packet has printables that you can copy for use with your whole family. There are printable vocabulary pages, experiments, notebooking pages, crossword puzzles and more. These would be great to create your very own Creation Anatomy science notebook. You can get this as an instant download in the Creation Bundle.

If you want to learn more about Teaching Creation Anatomy you will enjoy listening to this episode of the Creation Science Podcast.

Creation Anatomy | Teaching Creation Anatomy iis an amazing way to study God's handiwork. #podcast #homeschool

Here is a sample of the Creation Anatomy Study Guide! Right Here – (right click or command-click to open)

Until March 25th, you can get the Creation Anatomy Study Guide along with 39 other products valued at $500 when you make a donation to help a local homeschool mom fight her battle with cancer! You can grab all these awesome products HERE!


HSHSP Ep 133: How to Handle it When the Curriculum is Wrong for Your Teens

This week on HSHSP Ep 133: How to Handle it When the Curriculum is Wrong for Your Teens.

 HSHSP Ep 133: How to Handle it When the Curriculum is Wrong for Your Teens We are discussing what to do when curriculum is a bad fit for your teens.

HSHSP Ep 133: How to Handle it When the Curriculum is Wrong for Your Teens

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym tackle the uncomfortable topic: What to do when you bought the WRONG curriculum for your teens?

What if you invested in a curriculum that YOU hate? or your homeschool high schoolers hate?

There are a few options, and they are good. Here’s how to handle it when the curriculum is wrong for your teens.

  • Remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school?
  • Remember: It’s okay to have options, so forsake your perfectionistic ideas about curriculum and your choices.
  • Remember: Some curriculum providers have a money-back guarantee (, for one)
  • Remember: Are you having a curriculum issue or an attitude issue. (Teens have to learn that they CAN do things they don’t want to do…moms, too! Sometimes teens have never truly hit this issue before. They had never truly hated a school subject before, but high school has required credits, even if teens DON’T like those credits.)
  • Remember: Ask yourself, is this ONE subject that your teen doesn’t like or is it ALL subjects? If it is all subjects, it may be other issues besides the specific curriculum? Ask yourself: Is this character, anxiety, health, self-care, wrong publisher?
  • Remember: Model flexibility, adaptability, willingness to change, humility for your teens.

Remember: Ask yourself if you have the wrong curriculum, for instance: a college-prep text for a non-college-bound teen? Why waste time, energy and self-image on unnecessary rigor in a textbook. That’s why 7Sisters curriculum is easily adaptable for college bound teens’ needs AND non-college-bound teens’ needs.

Here are concrete ideas:

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a lively discussion and enjoy these posts, too!

Electives for Homeschool Transcript: History Electives


50 Ways to Scrap Your Schoolbook


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HSHSP Ep 133: How to Handle it When the Curriculum is Wrong for Your Teens

Alphabet Smash and Lifeschooling – Christina Brown

Alphabet Smash and Lifeschooling - Christina BrownI was privileged to talk to friend and author Christina Brown about her homeschooling journey and why she created Alphabet Smash, a wonderful resource for preschoolers that focuses on one letter at a time and brings in multiple activities from various subject areas to teach the child about that letter and it’s sound. Christina is heavily involved in leadership in the homeschool community in Charlotte, NC, and she also spoke at and helped plan the Lifeschooling Conferences.

Christina  is a homeschool momma of three and the author of and Alphabet Smash.  Her work has been featured in Proverbs 31 Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Home Educator Family Times, Greenhouse and others.  She is a hopeless logophile and always brakes for yard sales.  She enjoys yoga, running, photography and wants to own some chickens! Her writing is inspired from her faith in Jesus Christ, adventures in NC with her Adventure Group, and her 25 year marriage to best friend, Richard.  She has homeschooled for more than 18 years, serves on the board of ZOE Teens, Co-Moderates CCHNet (Charlotte Christian Homeschool Network-the largest online support group in Charlotte), and serves as a Region 4 Liaison to NCHE. Christina’s passion is to encourage others to intentionally connect faith, family, and fun. You can connect with Christina on her website, www.AKAhomeschoolmom.

Here is what I talk to Christina about on this episode:

  • Christina, you are part of our Lifeschooling Conference team and a huge help to me every year on that event. And this year, you spoke at one of the workshop sessions. I know you’ve done some public speaking before. How was that experience?
  • How was your school experience?
  • Did you always want to homeschool?
  • How did you get started homeschooling?
  • Tell us about Alphabet Smash. What was the idea behind it? How and why did you write it ?
  • Give us an example of a letter of the week and tell us how you can incorporate music, Bible, math etc. into this curriculum.
  • Your talk for the 2017 Lifeschooling Conference was about being intentional. Can you define intentional for us? I also understand that your next goal is to write a book on that subject.  How is that process going?
  • How long have you homeschooled and do you have any that you have graduated yet?
  • What do you most want listeners to know?

If you would like to grab a copy of Christina’s book, Alphabet Smash, you can find it here.

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

Introducing: FPEA’s Florida History Adventure+ Bundles

Florida History Adventure BundlesIntroducing: FPEA’s Florida History Adventure+ Bundles

Podcast #56

Homeschooling in Florida? Don’t forget to include Florida History as part of your students curriculum. This may not be so easy! Until now! We are SUPER excited to offer our NEW Florida History Adventure+ Bundles! This episode we will go over some of the details you can look forward to with these Florida History Adventure+ Bundles.

Join us over the next 12 months and learn so much more about the state you live in. We will cover Florida History, but so much more. While these bundles will satisfy your your Florida History credit, these bundles will not just cover History, but will include so much more. Get out and explore some of the excursions we will have listed in the bundles. Science and Literature will be part of some of these bundles. These will be rich with information and many things for all ages to learn and do.

These bundles will include many different items for both young and older students! This bundle will fulfill your Florida History credit. We are making this awesome bundle available FREE to members! There will be a new bundle available each month.

Things you can expect to see in our bundles:

  • Florida History
  • Science
  • Literature
  • Craft/Project Ideas
  • Vocabulary
  • Excursions
  • Field trips
  • and so much more!

Each bundle will feature a related Florida field trip and local excursion suggestions. Some of these field trips will be FPEA excursions! And we hope you will join us. Some of the excursions will be suggested places to visit in Florida and in your local area.

We will also include a Road trip Tracker! Complete 7 of the field trips and there will be a special surprise for you at the 2019 Convention! Watch for more details on this later!

Join us this September in Sanibel Island for both fun and learning. Make a stay-cation of of this FPEA STEM Conference. Sanibel is a beautiful area with lots to explore. Learn more at


Sanibel STEM

How Should we Study Grammar in our Homeschool

LCP 6: How Should we Study Grammar in our Homeschool


Join Katie with the Literary Cafe Podcast for tips in How to study grammar in your homeschool #homeschool #homeschooling #grammar #language arts #english

Every homeschool mom eventually asks herself, “How should we study grammar in our homeschool? Should I use diagramming or not? How do I apply the grammar to learning how to write?”

Join Katie Glennon as she shares years of experience in her own teaching and homeschooling to answer these questions and provides easy to use tips and suggested resources to use in your homeschool.

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage or her Facebook Group.

You’ll walk away more confident in tackling this sticky area of Language Arts.

How Should we Study Grammar in our Homeschool

How Should we Study Grammar in our Homeschool (PDF download for you to print)

Show Notes

How to Study Grammar in your Homeschool

Grammar Resources

Use your learner’s writing to assess what skills they need to review and practice each week.

Other review and practice for grammar skills can be found with these resources –

Diagramming –

Rod and Staff – (books go up to 8th grade, but the concepts and skills are up through high school work.) These books use diagramming and are very well explained. If you have a learner that loves following and making lists of steps and learns best this way, you might want to try diagramming. However, if it is frustrating or challenging for you or your learner to understand the “diagramming process”, it may not be worth using that method to learn the grammatical concepts.

Old Warriner’s English and Composition textbooks are a secular alternative that provide valuable instruction and practice with sentence diagramming for all grade levels starting with upper elementary through high school grades. You may find them on Amazon or Ebay or used book store websites.

Hands-On Grammar –

If you have a hands-on learner, you may want to check out Winston Grammar. This program uses a hands-on approach and labels parts of speech and how the words are used in a sentence. Basic and Advanced levels are available.

Non-diagramming –

Another program I recommend is the Easy Grammar series. The Easy Grammar books have the text and instruction to learn and practice new skills and the Daily Grams are workbooks that have a daily review with 5 different kinds of grammar concepts with one sample of each per day for a total of 5 quick review samples to practice. Loved this! As your child moves into high school, you may want to use the Ultimate Series that has the text and instruction and the practice in each. There are placement tests on the website to assist you.


Incorporating and Practicing Grammar Skills in Writing

Narration –

When your learner retells back to you what they have just heard, it not only improves their listening, recall, and comprehension skills, but also the process of organizing their thoughts, practicing vocabulary, and formulating sentences to express their thoughts. These are all important skills in the “Pre-Writing” process, and what a writer needs to be able to do before putting pencil to paper.

After getting into the habit and practice of “Narration” in this manner, the next step we followed was – writing down what they just told me orally.

For my younger guy- this might be drawing a picture of what he just told me about and writing just one sentence about the picture.

For my older guy- this meant starting with the first sentence of his oral narration to me – writing only one sentence at a time as he says it aloud.

The grammar came into play when some of their narrations on paper – were used to review proper grammar. We would read each sentence together and make corrections to certain errors I felt we had already learned and needed practice. So that the next narration on paper they did, I made sure to look over their shoulders and point out to them the mistake they made last time so that this time and next time, they wrote it correctly. We repeated this process every few narrations and always reviewing and adding a new concept or two to correct and practice in their writing.

Dictation –

We would practice dictation with our spelling words. I would dictate a sentence to them for each spelling word they had for the week. This would be for a weekly spelling test. I would grade them for the correct spelling of the word. But use the sentences to see how they were doing with their grammar. I would pick and choose which mistakes to review with them and make sure that in future writing I would steer them in the proper way to use that particular grammar concept.

Copywork –

Copywork – was sentences I would select from novels we were reading aloud together or novels they were reading on their own.

This might be C.S.Lewis or Tolkien or Mark Twain. These were quality classic type books. – even starting with something like Charlotte’s Web. I would look for a passage (the length depended on their age and ability) that contained various skills and concepts of grammar that they had or were in the process of learning.

They would practice copying these passages almost every day for a week. I would look at it with them and point out punctuation, capitalization, and other grammatical features and any corrections needed.

This also gave them practice in their handwriting. I would print out worksheets with the copywork passage at that would show the proper way to write the letters as well.

I began to notice, that as young as fourth grade, my guys would want to write their own stories and their writing started to sound like Tolkien from doing so much copywork from that author.

Their natural sentence structure and vocabulary was influenced by the practice of this copywork.


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