How hard is it to piece together a curriculum?

I need some help. We are doing Heart of Dakota this year for 2nd grade, but I don’t think I’m going to do it for 3rd grade. I pieced together preschool-1st grade no biggie. But, I feel a bit overwhelmed with piecing together materials for 3rd grade and also having a Kindergartener (she will be using My Father’s World). I need a daily plan written out every single day or I’ll get overwhelmed…so…how hard is it really to lesson plan for the year on your own if you have no formal training in that area? I’ve been reading on COAH and various places…I guess I’m just a bit afraid to actually do it myself for fear of making the work load too light/hard. Here are the items I’m planning on using, if it helps. (3rd grade)

COAH Cursive Daily Notebook
Art: Draw Write Now and local co-op
Bible: Christian Light Publications
Spelling: All About Spelling
Math: Teaching Textbooks 4
Handwriting: Handwriting w/o Tears Cursive
History: Road Trip USA, adding in a workbook I have and also American Girl history books
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Astronomy
Typing: Typing Instructor Platinum
Vocabulary: Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day
English: BJU English 3
Reading: Christian Light Publications
I also have a few random fun workbooks, and plan on using Reading Eggs as well.

From what I have seen so far you have a lot of writing/handwriting with the cursive notebook, Handwriting without tears cursive, and draw write now. I think if you wanted to do both cursive and print you can pick a cursive curriculum and then practice print in your daily writing. Then with English and vocal, does the BJU English include vocabulary already?
Maybe go through the subjects again and scale back a little? With you teaching more than one grade it will be a lot of work for you. Reading for Christian Light takes a long time to teach so you may only need Reading Eggs as a supplement for when you take breaks etc…

It seems as though you have your curriculum sorted out. That looks like a lot of very good choices.

If you are asking about making your own lesson plans for all of your choices, then I can make a suggestion. I use Sonlight which gives me a lesson plan-they tell you every day exactly what pages in what book to read. I love that.
In addition to Sonlight I use extras. I learned to make lesson plans for all the extras I use similar to Sonlight’s. I made it on an Excel spreadsheet. I just picked up each book and wrote down how many pages, lessons or chapters it has. I then took that and divided it out to 180 days (If I plan on using that book the entire year). Many times I do not need to do every subject every day so I just staggered some of the extras.

Now I have 36 (36 weeks - 5 days a week =180) lesson plans. I like having everything typed up prior to the school year starting. Each day I just keep the lesson plans in front of me and check off the box as we have completed it.

I find it keeps me very organized and on track. Every piece of curriculum I am using is scheduled.

If you are wondering what the lesson plan that I am talking about looks like, you can go onto Sonlight’s website and download a free 3 week sample.


It looks to me like you have all of your bases covered! I am no expert by any means–we are only in our 3rd year of homeschooling, but my daughter will be in 3rd grade next year and I also have a Kindergartener this year who will be in 1st Grade next year. I am also a very structured person and work from a written plan every day :slight_smile: If it helps, here are the subjects we are covering next year (they seem to line up very similarly to what you are doing) for 3rd Grade:
Bible / Handwriting / Math / History / Science / Geography / Foreign Language (Chinese) / Social Studies / Reading & Spelling / Language Lessons and Grammar / Art / Sewing & Baking
The biggest lesson I have learned myself after this year with them in K and 2nd Grades is that we really can’t manage more than 5 to 6 subjects in a 4-hour day. Anything over that is overwhelm, so next year I am limiting our day to 5 subjects a day per child for us :slight_smile: I really don’t think formal training is a must for choosing or implementing great curriculum or teaching your child well–it looks like you’ve made strong choices and have covered very important subjects! Feel free to message me if you have any questions about specific curriculum we’ve chosen for any of the subjects I’ve listed above, and good luck! I hope it’s a great year!

Thanks everyone! This isn’t a concrete list…I’ve been basically obsessing for weeks over this as we are starting our new grades in June. Last year, I was able to score a lot of our readers and even my Teacher’s Manual for HOD used from Amazon or eBay. I’m looking this year, but I’m finding that most of the items I’m finding used are almost the same price as new. I’m not selling anything quite yet, as I’m saving to pass down to my second (and third…and fourth) kids so I’m trying to be as frugal as possible. I forgot that we also have a Spanish program my aunt gave me that we will use…it’s a CD-Rom program so I figure I will toss that in with “computer time” (which is when Reading Eggs, Khan Academy, etc. would be implemented). @Proverbs31 you make a great point about possible overkill with handwriting. I wonder if I could just use the cursive notebook and skip Handwriting without Tears? As far as BJU English, I can’t find anywhere that it does vocab. Looks like grammar/writing only. But, I can check that out when my aunt comes in town and brings the TM for me. I won’t order the vocabulary book until I check that out. I might not end up using DWN if the co-op class is sufficient. I haven’t been to a class yet, so I don’t know what all it will entail. They also offer music, so Tuesday afternoons will be co-op days for those things. I wonder if I can cut out my reading curriculum and just use Reading Eggs…something she could do independently? Maybe pick some read alouds from the library that go with what we are learning at the time?

All that said…the more my brain gets jumbled trying to think how I’ll divide the days up with a 2 year old (potty training) and a newborn…the more I go back and forth about either MFW or Heart of Dakota again. My biggest issue with those is cost considering Teaching Textbooks is what we want to use and it is an additional $120, plus for MFW I’d still need to add in BJU which will cost another $50. Oy. We are turning our dining room into a classroom and I’m buying (mostly used hopefully) furniture, materials, etc. so I’m freaking a bit about the cost of school this year, haha! It’ll be ok. Just need to take the plunge and get it done.

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Not sure if this will help you, but I often order curriculum books used from a company in Nebraska. Here is the link to their website
The prices are pretty reasonable. I have saved a lot of dollars by purchasing some of my BJU teachers books from them.
Most of all relax & don’t try to cram too much in a day. From experience I have seen my children shut down & retaliate when mom has scheduled more work then they can handle. Just take it slow, start with the basics then gradually add in the rest. I found that for my kids this works better then trying to do it all the first few weeks. Enjoy your homeschooling journey & God Bless. :slight_smile:

It seems your main question regards the actual lesson planning? I have found that it’s not hard but it is time-consuming, at least initially. Once you get the first few weeks hammered out and completed (this allows you to know whether the flow is right for y’all), the rest becomes easy-peasy because all you’re adding is sequential pages in the same books. I custom-made my planner and write in pencil all the plans.