2017-18 Curriculum: St. Bruno’s Smallest Class To Date

Since I only had to write out lesson plans for two kids this year, I considered bagging my usual curriculum post, however, even though I’m not writing out 10,000 words on everything for five grade levels, it’s probably still useful information to someone, and nice for my archives. Last year I did manage to do a follow up on what was working (while conveniently leaving out the fact that I was in the process of enrolling the younger two in school). A follow up post will definitely be in order this year, not so much to follow up on the curriculum outlined here (though if everything falls apart I’ll be sure to let you know), but to share what the future might hold for Fulton and Teddy. Someone hold me accountable lest I forget please! (This post is littered with copious amounts of Amazon affiliate links because PENNIES FROM HEAVEN. )

At home this year is Addie, who is doing 10th grade through Queen of Heaven Academy (you can see her syllabus and booklist here), Byron who is in 8th, and Edie who is in 6th.

Once I had Addie’s schedule in hand, I created our school schedule so that the older three could do art together. We’re still using the Drawing with Children program, and later in the year I’m probably going to buy a few of the intermediate online lessons from the DWC creator Mona Brooks. I also decided to host a handicraft fair before Christmas for my kids and some other local homeschoolers so they could work on a craft skill and then showcase and swap their wares. It’s my first time doing anything like it, so hopefully it doesn’t totally backfire.

We’re also reading Shakespeare together. This trimester’s play is Julius Caesar. My goal is to also do Macbeth and then a comedy to round out the year. I’d also like to host a Shakespeare performance in the spring, but Tony thinks I need to simmer down and just because it seems like I can take on all these new things now doesn’t mean I should. I’m hoping I can squeeze in children’s versions of these stories with Fulton and Teddy when they’re home so we can still watch all the plays together.

Edie and Byron also have a few subjects together; history, geography, science, French, and dictation: thankfully, we’re sticking to our schedule thus far and not coping out on these subjects.

History – As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re using ‘The Story of Civilization; The Medieval World’ from TAN publishing. Plus I selected a few historical fiction books for them to read that tie into the current time period. I’ve covered a wall in the dining room with a timeline and we’re cutting apart the timeline from TAN and also adding others images and events.

Science – We are reviewing basic science facts as part of our memory work then reading a corresponding chapter from the Usborne Science encyclopedia. I’m also letting them select a new science book every week or so, to study, summarize, and share. This week Byron chose ‘The Science of Harry Potter’ while Edie is reading through the Basher Book of Physics. I like the mix of guided study while allowing them time to learn more about something that interests them.

Dictation – Currently using our memory work or the weekly poem, though I will probably move into using the selections in ‘Harp and Laurel Wreath’ later in the year.

Geography and Mapwork – Again, this is tied into our daily memory practice. I selected general geographic knowledge I felt was lacking and each week we do a lesson while reviewing the information daily. Right now we’re learning to draw the world freehand as we study latitude and longitude, and then we’ll work on drawing the U.S. the same way as we memorize the capitals. We’re not using any specific text for geography, but we are using a historic atlas to help with mapwork related to history.

French – We had some random French curriculum. I took French for five years. I wanted them to start studying a modern language so, boom, daily French lessons. We’re memorizing basic phrases mostly. I’m not sure how advanced we’ll go but it’s been fun so far.

We’ve also started our days with morning time, although there was much consternation over what to call morning time because ‘morning time’ sounds lame. I came up with morning meeting but because that was my idea, everyone hated it. Other suggestions included homeroom, morning round-up and morning pow-wow all of which were soundly rejected. So now I usually start the day by calling everyone to morning round-up in my best Western voice and everyone collectively groans and that makes me happy.

If you get my newsletter, you saw my morning pow-wow agenda so you know it includes prayers, saint or feast of the day, poem of the week, today in history, filling in our French calendar and then reviewing memory work. Depending on how much we review, it takes less than half and hour. Then we do dictation together and then I do spelling with each individually. (For the record, I bought this title as a day in history reference and it sucks. If anyone knows a better option, please comment below. Our morning pow-wow thanks you.)


Literature – About three literature and three historical fiction books a trimester (depending on length.) This trimester he’s reading Hound of the Baskervilles, Lord of the Flies, Hunchback of Notre Dame, When Augustine Came to Kent, Son of Charlemagne, and Stories of Beowulf.

Spelling – Sequential Spelling

Latin – Latin Alive, Book 1, Classical Academic Press Once again, Tony is taking charge of the Latin. Since he’s working from home, he goes over Latin with them in the morning (at a much more reasonable hour as opposed to when he worked in an office). Everyone seems to be learning and not wailing too much so, I’m sure it’s going fine.

Math – Abeka. The math program nobody but me likes! Yeah!!! But it gets results. They muscle through by listening to music during math time.

Writing – Outline the history chapter, outline the science chapter and do a writing assignment related to your literature each week (I created a list of about 20 potential writing prompts they could choose from). Both enjoy this more than the previous year’s writing programs. I’m using a newly created writing rubric to assess their work and help them pinpoint problems and where they need to focus improvement. (You can view it here if you read rubric and though I was talking about a cube.)

Religion – He’s reading the Act of the Apostles and answering the questions found in ‘Designing Your Own Classical Curricluum’. He completed the Confirmation level CCD class at our parish last year, but his Confirmation won’t be until Nov. 10th.

Logic – The Art of Argument, Classical Academic Press. Addie took a live class using this same text two years ago. This year I bought the teacher’s manual and am going over it with Byron myself. I enjoy using the program and learning ways to refute the arguments of my teenagers. Can’t let them get smarter than me!

Music – Piano lessons and daily practice. Byron had his first recital at the end of last year and itĀ inspired him to pick harder pieces for his performance this year. He loves to listen to movie soundtracks when doing school work, so most of the music he enjoys playing is soundtracks. Part of me would like to push more classical compositions, however, I have a teen son who practices piano without any prodding on my part so I don’t think I’ll rock the boat.


Literature – Same amount of books as Byron, just at her level. This trimester she’s starting with Anne of Green Gables, Princess and the Goblin, Pinocchio, Saint Benedict, In the Days of Alfred the Great, and Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws

Spelling – Sequential Spelling. Edie struggles with spelling the most of any of my kids and I’m glad I finally have the time to work with her using this program. She enjoys it more than a workbook and I think it’s easier for her to learn spelling patterns this way. They have a free online assessment test to help figure out what level to use with your child plus five levels of the program are now available as an online program. If you prefer to use a text, know the teacher’s manuals are affordable and non-consumable. You don’t need the student books.

Latin- Latin for Children, Primer A, Classical Academic Press

Math – Abeka

Writing – Same process as Byron.

Religion – Faith and Life through our parish’s homeschool based CCD program. We’re lucky that our kids only need to attend CCD once a month and then we complete the rest of the work at home. I’m grateful I don’t have one more evening activity, but I still get someone else to correct the work.

Logic – Building Thinking Skills, Level 2, Critical Thinking Press This is a step up from the Mind Bender puzzles she’s been doing over the last few years. It’s still more fun and games then anything, but it’s helping her to think in new ways. I really like a Ā lot of Critical Thinking Press’ products, especially because they are self-checking. Afer completing her assignment, she can flip to the back and see how she’s done.

Music – Guitar lessons and daily practice. Edie’s teacher picks out some fun songs for her to practice and he’s very supportive of helping her learn pieces she selects. Again, I never need to remind her to practice and we’ll see if this year she transitions to the electric guitar she’s had her eyes on for awhile.

Any questions? Let me know! We just started week five and I’m still happy with our daily flow. That might be a first! Curious about previous years? Check below!







  1. Hello, Kelly
    I’ve not posted here before, but sometimes read your blog. I have a recommendation for a “today in history” book that we’ve used in our whatever-you-want-to-call-it (morning/prayer) time. It’s The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. Really like this one… I notice some days my children will just pick it up and read it even if we’re not doing morning time – or if it’s a weekend day. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it’s easy to almost fashion a curriculum around this book. If the daily reading mentions a state/country, we can look it up on the map or globe – or draw free hand (geography), if it mentions a particular historical figure/war, we can select a related book to read (history), if it mentions a poem or hymn, we can recite/memorize the poem – or sing the hymn (humanities/music), if it has an inspirational quote, it’s great copywork (language arts). You get the idea… I also like that this book has a list of movies that are classic/patriotic/historical in nature, and most are very family friendly. It also has a section of patriotic songs, folk songs, etc. This book is really great! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
    God bless you and yours!
    Catholic convert, homeschooling mom to 8, aspiring writer/blogger

    1. Thanks Melisa! We actually have this book, but since we’re covering the Middle Ages this year I was hoping to find a ‘day in history’ resource that focused on world history, not just American. But I definitely planning on using this when we study American history again! It is a wonderful resource.

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