Don’t panic. Years 1 & 2 of Salt and Light Homeschool aren’t going anywhere. If you make it to the end of this rambling, I’ll have some plans for ya if you need them.
TLDR : Just skip the sob story and scroll to the bottom where it says, “The Plan” for Options 1&2. There are two more options already auto scheduled for the next couple of days. They’re already written for my own sanity and convenience.
I do this a lot. I ignore my body, my health, all warnings and push forward to do what I want to do. For the past five years I have been actively writing homeschool curriculum. Do you know what it takes to release a whole brand new year of curriculum for PreK through Twelfth every single year? I didn’t either until I did it. It is something between a dream of doing what I love and a nightmare of pressure and deadlines.
The house becomes a total wreck, my children do not have my attention, I usually completely stop washing my face, I barely eat and I work 15-20 hours per day. Absolutely no exaggeration. I love writing curriculum, and I love helping other families. It’s part of who I am. Your emails and messages about how Salt and Light Homeschool or Lamp and Light Homeschool has changed your schooling or blessed your family, always bring me to tears. Literal tears.
We all go through things, such is life. Take all that pressure of helping homeschool families and toss in five sweet children that need me, two of them under two, difficult pregnancies and miscarriages, a hurricane that destroyed our island life and uprooted us from home, four moves in the past few years not including driving all over Florida living in AirBnB’s for months, and it almost becomes paralyzing. Oh and we converted from protestant to Catholic in there as well. I sold part of my company [Lamp + Light Homeschool] and the list goes on and on.
Towards the end of summer, before I was pregnant with baby blessing number six, I had this incredible energy! I was way ahead of my writing timeline and was getting so much done. When I found out I was pregnant, after the shock wore off [though some level of shock remains] I realized I could even finish the final installment of Salt and Light Homeschool by April. I couldn’t figure out how in the world I would write year 4 for the following year with three under three so I tried to push to finish it all to help make my life a bit less chaotic.
This surprise pregnancy came with morning sickness [HG] that continues into my now third trimester and unbelievable exhaustion. We are also moving. Again. Staying in NC and building our first home right after baby 6 is born. I can’t concentrate or write like this. At all. I am completely unwilling to release a subpar curriculum that was written with an exhausted mom brain of mush. It could be so bad. Really bad.
This is not the season for writing. This is the season for raising many small children and preparing Lorelai and Brie for high school graduation and beginning college. We even have already finished all that I have written thus far in the Salt and Light Homeschool curriculum within our own homeschool. I don’t even have the energy to wing it and write some new stuff for my own kids. We are going to be using various curricula for my own children this school year and until I come out of the fog post 3 c-sections in less than 3 years [that is 6 c-sections total]. And I always get some degree of post partum depression/anxiety. Very hard to write like that as well.
When I started writing curriculum, I had three self-sufficient kids. They could make their own lunches and do solo school work. I had so much time to read, journal and create products for other homeschool families. I’ve been writing books and in magazines for years but then life changed. I adapted each time, sometimes gracefully and sometimes collapsing into an anxiety ridden puddle of fear. I’m in the second camp as of late.
Through the past few years at least. my friend Jenny, the brilliant creator of The Good & The Beautiful Curriculum, became my dear companion when I felt like I just couldn’t go on anymore. She is the sweetest most compassionate person. I would pour out in emails back and forth to her, snot tears included, about how the pressure was crushing me and I talked through quitting many many many times. We declare that writing curriculum is not for the faint. She could relate and honestly, she is just such a blessing of a friend. Trust me, you need a friend who can relate to your unique struggles. They are gifts from God.
So what now?
I will finish Salt and Light Homeschool years 3 and 4, eventually. I won’t give a date because I do not have one right now. It could be as soon as next year or as far away as 4 years from now. I have no idea.
Opt 1 : If you don’t have a backup curriculum but love the style of Salt and Light Homeschool and are totally cool with making your own plan and discussion questions :
The book list for year 3 is up on the Salt and Light Homeschool Year 3 page and the scope and sequence can be viewed here. The world religions book listed for year three is written in an unbiased way and that was a difficult book to find. I read so many to find that one. I had that sectioned up to go by continent and with each continent studying any Marian apparitions that happened there. And there were going to be maps to map out where the apparitions occurred and learning about the major cities, rivers, mountains, seas, cultures and of course the main religions. Most of the curriculum I was writing myself and completed some but not all so you’ll need to find books that can fulfill the topics if you want to cover those. You can use my recommendations below if you need help with that.
Opt 2 : If you want to do those topics but need a bit more guidance on resources to use :
Faith – Bible, Rosary, Story of the Bible Vol. 2 [Vol. 1 was used in year I, but if you didn’t do it then, do that one now]. We use the audible and the digital books so that everyone can read along on a kindle. The cost of the audible [if you don’t have a subscription] plus the digital book which can be shared on several devices at once, is the same as buying one print book.
English – Journal Daily, Get copywork [by age/ability] from the Harp & Laurel Wreath book, Latin & Greek roots vocabulary, I recommend Word Up by Compass Classroom or Latin & Greek Roots by Memoria. We use copywork for spelling and grammar, but you can use another resource if you like. I am going to be posting a lengthy master literature list for all grades before May if you want help with that, too.
History – Story of Civilization. We have all 4 Volumes and are using the final volume this autumn for the 2021/2022 year. These are also utilized in Salt and Light Homeschool in rounds and are Catholic History, so if you haven’t done any of them, you are in for a treat because they are excellent!
How we use them : We get the audible, and the digital book so each kid, and myself, can read along with the audible on kindle or apple books and also the activity guide to do the chapter review questions. There are lots of other components and activities if you’re a cool mom. I am not, so we just do the questions after listening/following along in a chapter. Anytime there’s a movie that goes with the topic, we stop to watch it. Like Saving Private Ryan with WWII, stuff like that. We also do an art notebooking page once per week of their favorite lesson.
Science – For Nature Study II we use the book Drawn to Nature by Clare Walker Leslie on how to to make simple nature journal entries. I also use this book, How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws, and the free resources on his site. His how to draw birds videos, how to draw mammals and how to draw plants are invaluable and all FREE.
Of course, if you didn’t finish Exploring Nature with Children, add the digital version of Handbook of Nature Study – easier to carry around outside and so much cheaper on the wallet. Lynn is a friend of mine, and the creator of Exploring Nature with Children. She also has many other amazing products like Exploring Nature Around the Year and so much more! She’s pretty much amazing and you can’t go wrong with anything she releases.
Personal Finance – Do this in Middle and High School. It’s worth it and these programs work so well. Dave Ramsey’s Personal Finance for Middle School and Dave Ramsey’s Personal Finance for High School are the exact ones we used. Or you can combine personal finance with the next category “Starting a Business” and save a whole bunch of money by getting the digital bundle. We did those printed bundles, but they now offer this for middle school and this for high school which is way cheaper and updated. I would do the cheaper ones since that is now an option.
Starting a Business – Dave Ramsey to the rescue again with either the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox or Foundations in Entrepreneurship. Out of those, the latter is the best option. Or, again, you can bundle the finance with entrepreneurship.
PreK/Kinder – Catholic Alphabet Book, Animals of God Vol. 1, Animals of God Vol. 2, Our Lady’s Wardrobe, Stories of the Saints, Crayons and a notebook to color in, primary watercolors, some watercolor paper and a mop brush, watercolor holders and Exploring Nature with Children [see science above]. And maybe some shape/color beanbags. Practice counting things around the home, cook together, count things in nature. Those are all natural ways to learn math. This age is about reading a lot, playing and outdoor exploration. Wait…that’s my formula for all grades.
IF I FORGOT SOMETHING, because it’s very possible I did, please comment below and I will update with links to other books for the specific topics to help you out as much as I can!
The next two options will autopost tomorrow and the next day. I’ll come back here to link them for you once they are live.
Those options are :
Opt 3 : Catholic Curriculum I recommend if you’re not sure what to use and don’t have a homeschool backup plan.
Opt 4 : You’re a protestant Christian and want my recommendations that work for your faith.
I hope this helps and please know that Years 1 & 2 of Salt and Light Homeschool are still up and will remain so forever if you want to use those.
Please take care of you and your baby. Also your other beautiful children and Hubby. It took us until December 2020 to finish Year 1. LOL We are not going to begin Year II until August of this year. Your curriculum may look minimal but it's so full.
Thank you for posting information for moving forward. If you ever pick it up again I will look forward to it.
Blessings and Peace,
Congratulations and many blessings on your new addition. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Check out Pink Stork Gut Health. I am a mother of seven and each pregnancy had me sick. Finally found the Pink Stork Gut Health- it is just monolaurin- but it helped me a ton!
I bought year II of Salt and Life and love it. We will be using it for the 2021-2022 year. I hope someday you are able to create the rest of them- you do a fantastic job. I definitely understand why you can't right now! I have one question about books you would choose. I am planning on using everything as is from Year II except the history and possibly the literature. We need to have American History this year. What book lists would you use to supplement Story of Civilization 4 at all levels? I have Kindergarten through 11th grade in school next year. It seems like you correlate history with literature a bit and I was also curious what you would use for the literature aspect? Just hoping for some lists of books you had in mind to use with American History. Thanks so much and God bless you and your family. May you all have peace and happiness as you embark on the building of a new house and the addition of another little blessing to your family!
Stella Maris Jane says
Hey! I will definitely share that list on the blog soon since we are also covering American History this autumn!!!
Thank you so much for your comment and helpful tips!!!
Stella Maris Jane says
Michelle, thank you so so much for your comment. It brought great peace and also joy to my tired mama heart.
Oh I am so sad to hear this. I am sad that you are struggling and can understand the need to take a break. I am also sad because I love, love, love the curriculum and loved the format. I am one of those people that has a million ideas on the go and thinks I will do a thousand new things, but without a guide I end up abandoning it. Hoping and praying I can use your tips to make a new curriculum because it was my favorite. (we had done CHC, and Materamabilis… which MA is good, and lovely books… but so many different streams and not as much guidance).
Prayers for you and your family for this new season of your life with soon to be 3 under 3 (I think?) God bless you all!
Jane Manka says
Oh yes, 3 under 3 and it already was quite a struggle to get year 2 out last year lol. When I read back over the lessons I wrote this far for year 3 it was just not up to the standard I wanted to convey. I think my exhaustion was spilling over into it and I felt guilty putting it out there and be so subpar.
Hoping I can get all the tips up for everyone and book lists. Taking it an hour at a time in this season. 🤍 thank you so much for all of your kind words! I’m so glad you enjoy Salt and Light Homeschool. I do like MA as well for all the literature options!