I’m going to begin to share some of the curriculums that I’ve put together for the kids for this coming school year.

I wanted to start with a couple of caveats. Primarily, 98% of our books are ones that we had on our shelves or are able to find in kindle or ePub format online.  We’re operating on a very limited homeschool budget currently.  Many of the chapter books were ones that I picked up at thrift stores when we were living in America.  They could easily be found in a public library, on archive.org, or used at a thrift store. I’m not listing many of the vintage books that are considered more “collector’s items” because what good would that do you?

One of the ways I sneak school into the kids’ lives is by having at least two read-alouds going at all times.  Typically one is an audiobook for during lunch, and one is a hard-copy or kindle book that I will read aloud to the kids at bedtime.  Sometimes the kids will volunteer to read, and I’m looking forward to developing that practice over the years so that I’ll be able to use my voice a little less during the day.

During our “Cast Time” and “Encourage time” the kids and I (and sometimes Michael) get to experience joys and sorrows and challenges of life alongside heroes and heroines.  We get to watch decisions play out in fictional settings that spur conversations about real-life events.  Did this character do what was right?  How could this have gone differently?  It really casts a vision in their little hearts about the kind of heroes they could be and the kind of lives that are worth (or are not worth) living.

Because we have about four other times during the day that I’m either reading aloud to the kids or the kids are reading independently, these stories are a mixture of fantasy and historical fiction and some just plain fun.  The kids are usually either eating lunch or in the evening typically engaged in a puzzle, Legos, or toy soldiers or some other such occupation while they’re listening.

Note: kids’ grades are 5, 3, two 1st graders, and a bonus youngling.  Some of these are re-reads from various years when our oldest was younger, but he’ll still enjoy hearing them again.  This list does lean a little younger—around my 3rd grader’s appetite, but there are a few ones on the list that might be too much for my daughter, and she’ll excuse herself if things get too scary.  (The first Harry Potter book will probably be one of them, and we’re planning it for more toward the end of the year.)

For those concerned about the lack of Tolkien and Lewis on this list (the shame!!!!) they do indeed happen around here.  All of the kids just finished listening to The Two Towers, and I don’t think they’re quite yet ready for The Return of the King.  That is coming.  The king will return, I promise.  Three of the kids are independently reading some of the Narnia books this summer.  So once all four have had their independent fill, we’ll join together and read the series as a family.

Here’s our list of the “free” read-alouds I have planned for the coming school year, in alphabetical order. These could change depending on literary appetites.

Some of these are ones that they’ve already finished, as we’re burning through books at about two a week right now (during our summer schedule.)  There are also quite a few more on my “hope to finish” list.

A Lion to Guard Us
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution
All-Of-A-Kind Family
A Wrinkle in Time
Baby Island
Carry on Mr. Bowditch
Children of the Longhouse
Ember’s End
Fighting Prince of Donegal
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
I, Juan de Pareja
Ink on His Fingers
Just David
Kildee House
King of the Golden River
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Mansa Musa
Mary Jones and Her Bible
Miracles on Maple Hill
Mr. Revere and I (and Ben and Me)
My Side of the Mountain (and maybe the others in the series, depending on my youngest student’s interest)
Mysterious Benedict Society Series (spread out, since I accidentally ordered book 1 and 4 and have not got 2 or 3…. woops!)
Noel Streatfeild: Dancing Shoes, Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes,
Once on This Island
Owls in the Family
Reb and the Redcoats
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Sarah, Plain, and Tall
Sees Behind Trees
Strawberry Girl
The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente
The Bible Smuggler
The Borrowed House
The Cabin Faced West
The Chestry Oak
The Courage of Sarah Noble
The Door in the Wall
The Good Master
The Little White Horse
The Penderwicks
The Psammead Trilogy
The Railway Children
The Singing Tree
The Three Musketeers
The Wilderking Trilogy
The Wingfeather Saga series books 1-4 (spread out)
The White Stag
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Wonderful Garden
The Year of Miss Agnes
Unknown to History
Winged Watchmen


Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  It’s more of an intentional marked place for myself, to make sure I’m not buying more children’s books when I haven’t finished these ones yet.  🙂

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