Finding Living Books Liberated My Year Five Homeschool Curriculum
The first time I taught a Year five homeschool curriculum, it was a DIY version I put together from book lists and recommendations. I was experimenting with living books as a resource for teaching English, history, geography, nature and science. It was liberating to give up the textbooks.
However, as I documented my plan, I discovered that living books didn’t fit neatly with the registration syllabus requirements. That meant we had lots of gaps in our content. So I began searching for more books to fill the gaps and my book lists were becoming quite bloated.
Most of the living books I wanted were out of print and I spent a lot of time sourcing books and sometimes I couldn’t find a book that had the content I needed. When I was asked to help others put together a Year Five homeschool curriculum it was always tricky because many of the books I used were hard to come by.
I also had another problem to solve! How could I show others how living books could meet the registration syllabus requirements?
Unfortunately, following the registration curriculum requirements is a problem for most Australian homeschoolers.
As registration criteria begins to tighten in each state, many people give up their educational philosophy and go back to worksheets, textbooks and online tick the box products, some go unregistered and hope they won’t get caught, some send their kids back to school and some just lie about what they teach in order to pass registration.
None of these are good options!
But I've found a solution. In 2007, I started publishing resources for Australian home educators and showing them how to use the Charlotte Mason method for registration. And people kindly thanked me and told me our resources and guides were ‘pots of gold’ and it had made their homeschool journey ‘so much easier’. They kept asking for more help.
And when my children had graduated from my homeschool and gone to university, I launched My Homeschool so I could continue serving the Australian homeschooling community and help others successfully home educate their children!
Story by Michelle Morrow (Founder of My Homeschool)
Join Our Community
When you buy a course through My Homeschool you are joining a community that supports and mentors parents interested in educating their children academically and spiritually.
We give you a shortcut to help you get straight into giving your child a delightful and robust education without spending days and days researching and tweaking unsuitable content.
Our homeschool curriculum is written to comply with all Australian states and territories. And we make registration easy because we’ve already done 75% of the documentation you need for your application.
We Care About What Your Children Are Taught
We aim to give you confidence that you can educate your children with a worldview that honours Judeo-Christian principles and has strong academic outcomes. However, our resources are not predominantly Christian. We look for outstanding resources and often a secular resource is the best option.
We have a number of families who use our curriculum who are secular or from other faiths.
We do not include devotional material or specific religious instruction in our curriculum. We leave that up to parents.
We Wanted A Curriculum That Worked For Home Educators
Our curriculum writers have already done the juggle of homeschooling a few children at once.
- We knew how lovely and important it is to learn as a family so we made some lessons and read alouds possible to teach as a group.
- We reduced the time needed for formal academics by crafting our curriculum so our resources and books often teach multiple topics.
- We made each grade fit each state’s syllabus so you can get registered easily.
- We gave you a streamlined intentional curriculum so you could give your children a wholesome integrated education from kindergarten to high school.
- We made sure it was academically challenging so your children will have career options, and a pathway to university if needed.
- We put it all in one place so you weren’t hunting around looking for resources every time you wanted to begin lessons.
- We made it easy to access your lessons and planner when you were out and about or travelling just by picking up your smartphone.
Thank you for putting together this wonderful course. Over the last 4 years I have taken 2 of my children through Years 7 and 8 using a distance ed programme but this year my daughter and I have found this course to be a much less stressful transition to high school. I love knowing that we are still fulfilling the requirements for the Australian Curriculum but I have also been able to give my daughter the rich classical literature-based education that I was looking for. I have been interested in the Charlotte Mason style of education for a few years but until now I was frustrated that everything I came across was based on American history/geography/seasons. Thank you for putting in the time to track down and integrate appropriate Australian resources into the curriculum.
This was my first year registering with the Qld Home Education unit myself so I also found the information that you included regarding registering very helpful.
I have also used the Year 5 and Prep courses this year and found them to be wonderful as well. Thank you again.
We Use A Blended Learning Approach
My Homeschool lessons are provided in a blended learning format.
All our resources are digital and are located on Moodle, a renowned online learning platform used by many schools and universities. Using this format means we give you exceptional functionality which enables you to record your progress, and access your lessons from various digital devices and locations. This format also enables us to keep our resources fresh and dynamic.
A laptop, tablet, or desktop computer is needed to use our courses. Access to a printer is also necessary.
PDFs can be downloaded and printed for offline reading but other resources can only be viewed from our learning platform.
The majority of our classes require reading from a real book or paper-based resource.
Writing exercises involve pencils and paper and many lessons are oral or conversation based.
Video lessons require access to the My Homeschool learning portal.
The Moodle App can be downloaded onto your smartphone for on the go lessons and checking progress but is not recommended as the main digital device for reading and viewing lessons.
Our Course Explained
Primary Lite Edition | Price $330 Australian Dollars| is a condensed 18 week schedule which has been split into 2 terms. It covers approximately 50% of the Australian Curriculum requirements of the corresponding grade. It includes documentation and plans to use for registration for 6 months.
It is a great entry point to our Charlotte Mason Inspired curriculum for families who are not starting at the beginning of the year or for students who are not ready to progress to a higher grade and are just starting our program but do not need to do a full year.
Upgrades to our Full Primary Program can be purchased for an additional $330 AUD. Just contact us and we'll fix it up.
Primary Full Curriculum | Price $550 Australian Dollars| This is a one-year full curriculum of 36 weeks which has been split into 4 terms. It includes documentation and plans to use for registration for 12 months.
There is no time limit on completion of a grade. You can begin our courses at any time in the year.
Continued Membership Rewards
You will continue to have access to your purchased courses, and all the benefits of being a My Homeschool member, as long as you keep your membership current. This means you can use the same graded course again for subsequent children. Inactive members are deleted after 12 months.
- Course Details & Subject Guide
- Australian History, Civics & Government
- Geography, Science & Nature
- Foreign Language
- Health & PE
- Teaching Support
Our literature based approach includes many living books, a key concept of the Charlotte Mason method. Living books have something special about them: they flow, they capture the imagination, and they tell us the facts while they give us the story. A living book is written by a passionate author who communicates this passion to the reader in a literary language.
As Charlotte Mason penned:
“A book may be long or short, old or new, easy or hard, written by a great man or a lesser man, and yet be the living book which finds its way to the mind of a young reader.”
Primary Language Lessons is a key resource used within our My Homeschool graded courses from Kindergarten to Year 6: This resource is used three times per week throughout the year. It includes a variety of lessons that follow a Charlotte Mason approach to learning English. Comprehension lessons are done using narration and conversation. Children are encouraged to explain what they are seeing as a pre-writing skill. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught by using sentences and identifying spelling rules. Reading is encouraged with simple stories using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.
This resource has been written so you can pick up and start the lesson without preparation. Lessons are short, taking a maximum of 20 minutes. Some lessons can be done orally so your child will not get bogged down in worksheets. You don’t need to buy any other books to complete this resource. The relevant passages are all provided within. Written lessons are completed in a notebook (or exercise book) so there is no extra printing of worksheets. Answer guide provided.
Please Note: Our Year 5 Lite offers a condensed 2 term version (18 weeks) of this resource.
Downunder Copywork 3 uses Australian and New Zealand literature. This is done twice per week.
For dictation we use Classic Quotes from well known children’s literature. Please Note: Our Year 5 Lite offers a condensed 2 term version (18 weeks) of these resources.
Comprehension lessons are done using narration and discussion from stories, science and history readers. Children are encouraged to explain what they are seeing as writing preparation.
Written narrations are increased with other lessons and your child will be notebooking from their geography, history and science resources.
Poetry Anthology: We have links to weekly online poetry readings for your child and for those who want a ‘real book’ we have a delightfully illustrated suggestion in our resource list.
Picture Book Links: With living books forming the cornerstone of our approach to learning, we use a selection of picture books in our curriculum that tie in with the themes we are teaching in science, history, geography and English. Some of these are recommended purchases and essential to complete the course, while others are complementary titles to search for at your local library.
Where possible, we link to our selected titles in a video format, so you can watch them being read online. This can be helpful if you can’t find a book, are homeschooling on the road, or if you are watching your budget.
We don’t provide a core math program for Year 3 to Year 6. We want you to pick a core math program that suits your learning style, your child’s ability and your budget. Suggestions are given within the course for math programs homeschoolers like.
My Homeschool members also have access to our 50% discount on Maths Online membership. This can save you $150 per year for a family membership.
We have used a living book approach for our history studies using a selection of history authors appropriate for young children and popular with Charlotte Mason home educators.
Short chapters are given for read aloud lessons and oral narration.
Year 5 includes an overview of Australian history with Our Sunburnt Country by Arthur Baillie . It includes First Australians, European explorers to modern times. We study primary and secondary resources. We also have a selection of historical fiction, literature and poetry from different periods that will help your child become acquainted with Australian history.
Please Note: Our Sunburnt Country is provided as an ebook. If you would like to purchase a hard copy we also give you that option at an additional cost.
You will start your Book of Centuries (sold separately) which is a timeline notebook that can be kept for the next six years with My Homeschool.
Notebooking and narrations using Australian History Notebook will be a way to keep a record of our history studies. Please Note: Our Year 5 Lite offers a condensed 2 term version (18 weeks) of this resource.
Civics & Government
Governance is explored through Australian history including: citizenship, monarchies, Commonwealth and Federation. We also have a one term module Members, Ministers & Citizens resource which includes videos and researching your local members and discovering the roles of Federal, State and Local government.
We have included video lessons and a small project which explores:
- Differences between needs and wants and limited resources
- Types of resources
- Influences of consumer choices
Please Note: This is not part of the Year 5 Lite version.
Nature Study (All Year)
Nature study includes an historical account of Australian nature with A Bush Calendar, and over the course of the year your child will make their own nature calendar and nature logbook. Please Note: Our Year 5 Lite only offers two terms of the logbook portion of this resource.
Our What Bird Is That? nature study resource has been developed to help your child learn about the birds of Australia. It includes bird identification pages, bird discovery pages and online resources to learn about over 40 Australian birds.
Australian Nature Study: Birds. Using Australian examples this book examines: bird classification, bird skeletons, bills and beaks, legs and feet, wings, feathers, bird colours, eggs and nests. This book was written by an Australian naturalist to help children identify our feathered friends. It has been updated with contemporary information and complements the other science resources used this year.
Geography & Earth Science
Through video and online resources, we learn about: Australia’s climate zones, weather forecasting (including floods and fires), and looking after environmentally significant places such as the Murray River. We also include an indigenous perspective.
Our historical fiction is based on the devastating effects of bushfire in a local Australian community (sold separately).
Space Science – Optional
In Year 5 astronomy is studied using The New Astronomy Book: Wonders of Creation by Danny Faulkner (sold separately). This offers a Christian worldview which incorporates up-to-date science but gives an intelligent design perspective. If you wish to choose a secular astronomy resource, you will find many library options on this topic.
We also offer a series of videos and links that give an Australian perspective. Please Note: Astronomy study has not been included in the Year 5 Lite version.
Science Videos & Online Science Picture Books
- We have also included a few Physics and Chemistry Videos that are a part of the Australian Curriculum Syllabus.
- Australian Picture Books Links: Including themes on history, astronomy, nature study, endangered animals and caring for the environment.
Built Environments (NSW Syllabus) is covered in our history studies as we see the building of Sydney town, crossing the Blue Mountains and the development of colonies.
In Year 5 we focus on Indigenous Languages of Australia with resources that encourage an appreciation and understanding of the importance of preservation. We also include an optional resource on translating the Bible into indigenous languages (sold separately).
Learning a foreign language in depth is not compulsory, however, in Western Australia by 2021 all students from Years 3 to 6 will learn a second language, extending through to Year 9 by 2023.
There is no specific foreign language taught in Year 5. If you wish for your child to study a particular foreign language in depth then you will need to use additional resources to teach this, we give suggestions in our Year 5 Course Introduction.
Creative and Practical Arts are taught with other subjects including: nature journaling, literature based unit studies, picture study and music appreciation.
Art and Music Appreciation courses are provided with My Homeschool membership, so you have a choice of rotations, including some specifically developed for young learners. You can simply choose one rotation for your family to use.
Some rotations have additional books to purchase while others have everything you need provided online. Your My Homeschool membership also gives you access to our Handicrafts resource which includes a range of practical art and craft ideas with instructional videos.
We have included a series of fun kids exercises in our online WOW – workout world classes.
Personal Health & Development
This commonsense subject is taught through the activities of daily living and participation in local sports and community events. Healthy Conversations checklists are provided for each stage of the syllabus so you can teach respectful relationships and personal growth as you deem appropriate.
We do not do your registration plans for you. Registration applications are meant to be specific for each individual child and so you, as the parent, are the best person to do this. Registration remains your responsibility.
My Homeschool provides you with plenty of support for preparing your registration documentation, including:
- An Education Plan outlining our curriculum for 12 months in the Primary Full Version and 6 months in the Lite version. This is a Microsoft Word document that you can adjust to suit your own needs.
- A comprehensive Scope and Sequence document using Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabus codes and outcomes.
- End of Term report templates that are mostly done; you just need to add a few details specific to your child and their progress.
- A week by week planner that you can print off, with plenty of space to make notes specific to your child. This means no need to keep a daily diary!
- An end of year Certificate of Completion (Full Program).
- Our Community Forum where you can have your questions about registration answered by experienced homeschoolers.
- Prompts and reminders to collect work as part of your child’s portfolio to show progress and development.
- Tips on a smooth re-registration process.
The My Homeschool State Rego and Planning course guides you through your state or territory’s application process for homeschool registration when using our courses.
The My Homeschool team includes experienced home educators who provide mentor support and help you deal with issues as they arise. We don’t provide tutoring or specific lesson support on an individual, one-on-one basis.
We are always happy to answer questions about our curriculum and how to implement it and we encourage our members to get involved in the Community Forum.
We have a vibrant online community where you can share stories and help others, purchase books you might need and connect with other My Homeschool families in your area.
You are the teacher and you oversee lessons. We provide homeschool teacher training as well through our self-paced courses How To Homeschool 101 and for our more experience members the Boost Your Homeschool.
We are continually adding to our collection of resources to help support you in your role as teacher to your children.
Our Primary Full Version course is 36 weeks of study, organised over 4 terms. 8 weeks are set topics and the 9th week is an assessment and review week that often includes a project. Our Lite Edition gives you 18 weeks of study, enough for 2 terms.
Each week has its own Weekly Planner checklist which is available in an online format or as a downloadable PDF to print and store in a folder, making record keeping easy.
At the end of each term there is a downloadable report of work achieved over the term. Parents add comments and assessments of their child’s progress in each area of learning.
We know that parents want their children to thrive and that testing is popular in many school environments as a measure of progress. When you homeschool you do not need to test your children as much as they do at school, as you are assessing as you go.
We give you tips and support on how to assess your child in a way that suits homeschooling, so you can be confident that your child is progressing well in your homeschool.
There are no formal tests until Year 5.
Will I be able to teach this program? It sounds quite academic.
It’s natural to feel a little daunted when we think about teaching our children. We don’t want to intimidate you, we are here to support you. We won’t send you a bunch of downloads and send you on your way. We also teach you how to teach. Our guides and homeschool expertise will help you instruct your children. You can also post questions on our forum when you hit a snag. You’ll learn some new things and brush up on old things as you teach your children. It’s a very satisfying experience and many veteran homeschoolers report co-learning as one of the unexpected benefits of homeschooling.
I'd like to know what books you use. Can I see the booklists?
Our booklist are carefully curated and are only available as a part of our program.
My Homeschool uses living books in many subjects. Some are for your child to read alone, and some are to be read aloud by the parent. We also include some online and audio book options. Books allocated for reading aloud provide an opportunity for families to discuss them broadly. Parents are able to offer the scaffolding and support which will help their child navigate the literature which may be challenging for a variety of reasons.
We do use secular books and these do not always line up perfectly with a Christian world view. This also reflects Charlotte Mason’s approach. We have tried our best to make good choices in our literature and we have read what we recommend. We have rejected many books in the process of writing this curriculum. Finding a perfect book is almost impossible but our book selection is thought out and many of our books are recommended by others who follow a Charlotte Mason education.
We’ve also included culturally significant Australian literature which often highlights what was happening in the era it was written. For this reason, some of the literature may well be ‘politically incorrect’ or old fashioned by today’s standards, but at the time of writing it was not. These books offer an opportunity to teach your child about the culture of the times.
Our books were chosen with the Australian Curriculum in mind, however we understand that you may not want to read all the books we have chosen. Feel free to replace them with a title that suits your family’s needs.
We offer alternatives and extension suggestions in our My Homeschool Reading Lounge. This is our exclusive online library catalogue of book list suggestions and alternatives.
Can I just buy individual subjects and resources?
My Homeschool does provide many free homeschool resources.
Our curriculum is a structured program so we do not sell our curriculum separately.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the My Homeschool graded courses meet the requirements of the Australian Curriculum, the Western Australian Curriculum and the New South Wales Education Standards Authority Syllabuses.
If you are planning on using My Homeschool as your main curriculum, we suggest you consider your approach to mix and matching resources as you may experience overlap or gaps in subsequent years. For this reason, we recommend buying appropriate grades for each child so that you will have a sequential well curated curriculum.
Will this work for teaching multiple children?
Choice has been built into this curriculum to give you the flexibility you need for teaching multiple ages and adapting to the special needs and interests of your child/children. We encourage families to do read-alouds, nature study, handicrafts, art and music appreciation as a group.
Our World History subject from Year 2 to Year 6 encourages parents to read aloud the history content. When teaching a few children in this age group at once we recommend you only teach one history cycle at a time. Since World History is not part of the Australian Curriculum this will not impact your curriculum compliance.
More details on working with multiple children can be found here.
I already have a very busy life? How much time will this involve?
My Homeschool follows the Charlotte Mason practice of shorter lessons so there is time for the student to follow other interests. Approximately three to four days per week is allocated to group study and parent reading aloud in the primary years. In high school we have written a four day schedule with Day 5 free for other planned educational activities.
Your day will usually include consistent lesson time in the mornings, leaving afternoons free for natural learning and play. You can also get some of your jobs done and pursue other interests.
What a relief and blessing for homeschool families to have all the nitty gritty details of daily homeschool and homeschool registration designed for us. It is wonderful to see how simple registration can be.
Michelle you have created a method for recording that oozes simplicity and that is what we all want. Michelle and Jo you are a very present listening ear and help on the My Homeschool forum and your advice is all about making homeschool work for each one. I have absolute freedom in how I use this resource.
I have not followed the schedule as is but have felt encouragement from you to make it work for my busy family lifestyle, quirks and passions. Year 5 is helping our ten year old to move into written narrations and I have found Our Sunburnt Country broken into small chunks with a notebook page for each reading, is so simple and achievable. My daughter's confidence in writing has grown in the first term of using My Homeschool following this very natural method.
Thank you Michelle and Jo, for your commitment to making homeschool simple. What a blessing you are. Kindest Blessings Renelle x
I enjoy the links to the weeks for ease and love the free content about music. I had to create my own schedule to fit with our family, but have used Michelle's suggestion as a starting point. I love the Amy Mack stories and my kids are enjoying the texts this term.
Seven Little Australians is quite wonderful and opens up conversations with their grandparents.
I like that the codes for the AP are all there and we just tick them off.