Homeschool Reading Bookstack

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Posted first on Electic_Unschoolers for Instagram

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Homeschool Reading Bookstack . . .

AND Homeschool Bookstack and 2020-21 Rough Plans

Required reading for our homeschool this year acquired from Homeschool Potpourri – our Greater Seattle new and used Homeschool Bookstore 📚🖤

What’s on our Homeschool Reading list this year? In part, some of these books I picked up:

Emma by Jane Austen

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

The Red Badge of Courage Crane

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

The rest of the books I picked up are for me:

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Feel free to check out options for purchase at Independent bookstore, Homeschool Potpourri, your local used bookstore, or support black bookstores – links are to my Amazon Affiliate account for your reference!

I’m making my own way through Jane Austen, reading Emma with my youngest for our Boomerang next month, but also finishing our MENSA reading list books with him. We’ll actually be reading 2-4 books per month together through the year, in addition to the books he chooses to read for pleasure.

Pleasure reading, we call D.E.A.R. Time, stands for Drop Everything And Read. We first heard of this time when reading the The Boxcar Children books together and loved it so much, the name just stuck.

As you can see, reading is the crux of our home education. My main goal when we began our homeschool journey was to immerse my children in books. Mainly non-fiction for ‘school’, but plenty of fictional stories from people, places, and ideas different than our own. I had no worries my children would learn my values, and those of their father. My main concern was to pull in different thoughts and values globally. Picture books, comics, short stories, and more were all fair game; they still are.


My next goal is to immerse our children in our environment. Nature, of course, but also our local cities and scenes. We {in a non-pandemic year} go on lots of day trips and “field trips”, attending local events, museums, concerts, and lectures. From our Tulip Festival Day to travel around the world, immersing our boys in the wide world beyond our doorstep is key for them to be compassionate, caring, individuals.

I’m an eclectic unschooler, focusing on my children’s passions, find resources based on what I want them to learn, then making adjustments along the way.

Our homeschool mantra is: GEMs.

I don’t want them to learn from a single source or point of view; I am concerned about them being indoctrinated into the limiting views of society. That’s not what our education looks like. I try to help them recognize their privilege, as well as their obligation, to be the change they wish to see in the world. However, as my children have gotten older, and want to be more in charge of their educations, giving detailed plans for the year has helped them to see the arc of what I want them to learn and they are able to give me feedback on how they’d like to learn it.

I then filter all the other things we need to learn through either reading, travel, or the lens of their particular interests. Specific learning objectives are dictated by Washington State {where we live}, but there are guidelines we adhere to. Annual testing and 11 required subjects are just a few of the guidelines, but I also home educate with the goal of my children being able to enter University – so I’m incorporating those goals, as well as standard expectations of Universities – into my high school plan for each of the boys. I used our local University of Washington admission requirements as a jump point, but as my boys get further into high school, their passion projects and special interests will guide their deep dive in studies.

This year, I had the idea to share my arc for high school, in brief, with my youngest son. If he were in public school, he’d be entering the 8th grade. The overview below is broken into the 11 required subjects under the homeschooling law in Washington State, USA. As a side note, with both of my boys, we’re considering a gap year either after high school or, for my younger son, the year before high school. We’re keeping our plans, as always, super flexible to best accommodate our children, encourage their learning, and promote well-being during the pandemic.

Note: Please refer all questions regarding law for your homeschool to your local/state/municipality – I follow the law for where I live and am not qualified to give legal advice! Thanks!

This is our arc, or overview, for the coming years. It is not complete by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t have all the classes/education listed here, like drivers education, health, specific upper level writing and English classes, 2-4 years of foreign language, and more. However, this is a good way for me to check what we’re doing now against what I’d like for us to accomplish by the time my youngest graduates homeschool high school.

Since ‘The Artist‘ is my second teenager, and my youngest, has the benefit of my learning from home educating his older brother, he gets the advantage of my newfound knowledge and more relaxed homeschooling ideas. This is also for me: I learned the hard way I needed to keep up with transcripts as-I-go. My oldest son, my bibliophile, decided to go back to school this year, and since we still home educate alongside his ‘typical’ class studies, I created a detailed transcript  for him in a few weeks this past fall. I won’t do that rush again, but I learned so much in the process, it was easy to create a second transcript for my younger son once I was finished.

In creating this years transcript, starting with the end in mind, I filled in each ‘class’ with most of my planned content for the year. For instance, the easiest was math. I know we’ll be continuing his math studies this year, and every year, through high school. This year, we’ll be starting with Pre-Algebra, even though we’ll likely be switching to Algebra I mid-year.

With math, it’s really easy to pull out our book and see each lesson we’ll be completing,  give that lesson a number, and calculate the number of days I think it will take us to complete all the lessons I want to complete in the book. Some lessons I anticipate we’ll complete in one day, some lessons will be skipped, and other lesson will be lumped together to complete a few in one day. Once I have all the lessons numbered, I know how many lessons we’ll have for the text and can drop them on my planning calendar. Like I said, with math this year, we’ll likely be skipping ahead as he’s done most of Pre-Algebra previously. Once he’s ready to move on, we’ll repeat this process with the Algebra I textbook, likely in January.


I am not normally a curriculum home educator. Our finally finding a math curriculum my younger son liked helped us to see the simplicity of using curriculum for at least some subjects. My younger son has really loved Teaching Textbooks – though my older son did not. The beauty of home educating is what works for one child doesn’t have to work for the other child; each of my children get a custom education. It’s a privilege I thought was important for my children. But when looking at individual plans, it is SO much easier to do when you have an end in mind. To see the end goal of your proposed class will allow you to better estimate the time you need for each credit hour you’ll add to their transcript, then drop in learning objectives on the calendar.

Remember your high school experience: about 180 hours of learning, or one textbook, equals a credit hour; about half that, or 90 hours of learning, equals a half credit. You can also test out by taking a nationally recognized test, but that’s another post for another day. It’s important to consider what you, and more importantly your student, would like to accomplish during their homeschool years.

However, some goals and classes do have to defer to the adult educator – and in my house, that’s me. How you choose to run your homeschool depends on your own family values and goals. Like I said earlier, getting into University is our goal. Most home educators I know homeschool to give their children more opportunities, not limit them.

So back to our plan.

My goal with the 8th grade year for each of our students is to have one High School credit class. My older son took Literary Analysis for an English credit. My younger son will take Biology with lab. My undergraduate degree is in Biology and Environmental Studies, so my interest and background lend to teaching this subject again. We’ll be following two similar curriculums, but neither had everything I wanted in a high school level biology course. We’ll also have a unit focus on paleontology as this is my 8th graders passion.

As for the rest of the subjects, we’ll continue with our cooking lessons, daily chores, taking some online classes with Bravewriter, and Boomerangs, do a Washington State History study, finish our tour through history with the Renaissance and Modern World, do some art classes, study skills work, read our MENSA books, and film studies. It may seem convoluted, but we really learn so much through all we do. Recording what we do, back it up with projects and testing, adding in games, classes, clubs, and mentorships where we can, rounds out a really terrific education.

Homeschooling during pandemic will present it’s own challenges, but I’ve homeschooled through cancer, as well as many of lifes ups and downs . . . this is just another opportunity to learn and grow through change.

Here’s my arc for my 8th graders year – what are you planning for your homeschool?


Want to know what we were planning last year?

 2019 Homeschool Planning post

2019 Student Homeschool Planner post

2018 Student Homeschool Planner post

2017 Homeschool Summer Planning post and this 2017 Imperfect Summer Planning post

2017 Homeschool Fall Planning post

3 thoughts on “Homeschool Reading Bookstack

  1. Your stack of book titles would almost make, what we call at d’Verse Poets Pub, Found Poetry. That is were your take several books from your shelf and stack them up. Then write the titles in sequence as a poem. Works very well!!

    Liked by 1 person

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