I mentioned in my recent what to do when the homeschool curriculum isn’t working out article that season’s change, and we have to be flexible enough to change with them. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you CAN shift gears when needed. We’re shifting gears this coming year with our curriculum choices and switching to Gather Round Homeschool for our core curriculum.
Gather Round Homeschool
What is Gather Round Homeschool
Gather Round Homeschool is a curriculum that is designed to cover all subjects (science, social studies, history, spelling, grammar, writing, some reading and comprehension, art, Bible, geography, and more) except math for every grade from Preschool to Grade 12. It is a unit based curriculum that has 10 units per year. Each unit has 20 lessons and comes with a teacher’s guide, that is used for all students. Every unit also has corresponding leveled student notebooks.
The levels include:
- pre-reader (for kids aged 4-5 years old)
- early reader (for kids aged 6-8 years old)
- early elementary (for kids aged 8-10 years old)
- upper elementary (for kids aged 10-12 years old)
- middle school (for kids aged 12-14 years old)
- and high school (for kids aged 15-18 years old)
Currently, Year 1 has been published and Year 2 will be published throughout the 2020-2021 school year with one unit published each month.
Why Change Anything
We are entering our 8th year of homeschooling. When the kids were younger, homeschooling multiple grades was different. I wouldn’t say easy, because homeschooling takes effort, but it was manageable. This past year, our 7 year old was in 1st grade, our 11 year old was in 5th grade, and our 12 year old had a mix of middle school classes in the 7th/8th/9th grade range.
It was all going well. And then, in February, we bought a new home and moved. Then we prepped our old house and sold it. Between those life events, personal health challenges, and teaching my youngest to read while teaching my oldest algebraic equations, I started to feel stretched… thin.
Then our homeschool co-ops were cancelled courtesy of COVID in mid-March. As a result, I assumed the role of finishing up their co-op classes in addition to what we were already doing at home. Deep breath. We were already doing morning devotions and morning basket together, so I started trying to combine as much as I could. The reality, though, was that only so much could be combined.
I’d heard of Gather Round Homeschool at the beginning of 2020. When I learned about Gather Round Homeschool curriculum, I joined the Gather Round Homeschool Community group on Facebook and occasionally watched the group postings. I noticed my friend Jody, from Mommy Moment , was in the GRH group, so I DM’d her. I mentioned that I felt like a ping pong ball some days and I just wanted to be doing more together. She responded with a resounding “Do this!!!! It’s so amazing for multi grade families.”
Admittedly, the concept of using one curriculum for all three kids really intrigued me. I downloaded a free sample of Gather Round Homeschool. At the time, it was a sample of the Europe unit, specifically Greece. The kids and I used one of our “free days” to learn about Greece together. Not only did they NOT fight, they actually enjoyed it.
The Coming Year
My husband and I spend time praying at the beginning of every year about what we’re supposed to do for school for the coming year. Every time I would pray about this coming school year, I kept coming back to wanting us to learn more together, and the fact that I don’t like the ping pong ball feeling. I loved how our morning devotions and morning basket times impacted the rest of our day this year.
So, I talked with Hubs about the Gather Round Homeschool curriculum. We prayed about it. We decided to bite the bullet and purchased the Year 1 Full Digital Package, as well as the Year 1 Lifer package.
Gather Round Homeschool Year 1 Digital Package
The Year 1 Full Digital package includes the following units:
- North American Birds
- Earth Science
- North America
- Human Body
- South America
Gather Round Homeschool Year 1 Lifer
The “Lifer” package for Year 1 includes cursive books for each of the 10 units, recipe books for the Connecting Continents units, and three mini units (Christmas, US Government, and Canadian Indigenous Peoples).
We are going to start with the North American Birds unit, and I’m seriously excited about it. We’ll do the Asia unit after that, and then I’m not sure what order we’ll go in.
We chose to get Year 1 because I really want to do the Connecting Continents units with my kids, and year 1 has the bulk of them. I just want my kids to learn to love the cultures and communities that surround us. The best way to do that is to hear from and interact with those who know and love the cultures themselves, so we have inviting friends who are either from or who’ve traveled or lived in various countries to share with us. We will also be adding videos, field trips, read alouds, etc to our units. We’ll also add in some additional high school stuff for our oldest. I’ll share more about those in our upcoming curriculum guides.
The co-ops we attended last year have actually been cancelled due to local restrictions. One was cancelled for the entire 2020-2021 school year, the other at least for the fall. We are exploring another co-op option, but honestly, I’m just not sure how I feel about it yet. We have a few more days to decide.
You can see all of our past curriculum guides under our Homeschool tab, but here are quick links to last years guides:
As a side note, if you’re going to be printing beautiful curriculum of any kind, do yourself a favor and get some good paper to print it on.