(Note: This is Year 5 in the New Zealand Curriculum)
How To Stop Using Textbooks For Your Year Four Homeschool Curriculum
My homeschool friends, Helen and Margaret, were Charlotte Mason evangelists. They could see that I wasn’t coping with my textbook approach to homeschooling and they were trying to help me see the value of using real books for educating my kids. They were always suggesting this or that book and I just couldn’t see how I could add all those extra books into my day – I was already overloaded!
Finally I read a book on how to use the Charlotte Mason method. Now that I saw how it could be done, I switched to living books. This was the turning point in my homeschool.
But I had one other problem to solve! How could I get registered if I gave up textbooks?
Unfortunately, following the government curriculum requirements is a problem for many homeschoolers.
As regulations 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 homeschooling community and help others successfully home educate their children!
Story by Michelle Morrow (Founder of My Homeschool)
I started this year with my 9 year old boy, so I'm definitely not an expert at this at all. It's been an adjustment period but I enjoy having my son home and watching him learn, he's having more fun and I can tell how much he is progressing in just the short amount of time he's been doing it.
Starting off the journey is scary, and we have just had our 3 month moderator visit us for the first time. I was so nervous! We passed with flying colours and she was very impressed with everything my son has been learning.
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 the Australian curriculum. 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.
We Use A Blended Learning Approach
My Homeschool lessons are provided in a blended learning format.
All our virtual homeschool uses the Moodle LMS software, 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.
New Zealand Curriculum Grades: New Zealand students need to drop a grade when using Australian Curriculum. Our Kindergarten is equivalent to Year 1 in New Zealand.
International School Grade Comparison Chart
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.
I'm really enjoying having Michelle's years of experience to know what resources are quality, like science... The music appreciation sites are good.
I love the pick up and go nature of the Primary Language Lessons as well as the Pleasant Talk of Places. Love the copywork books!
- Course Details & Subject Guide
- Global Goodies – For International Students and Extension Work
- Social Studies
- Health & PE
- Foreign Language
- Teaching Support
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.”
We use a customized version of Moodle for our learning platform.
Our Global Goodies are not part of our core curriculum but are available to give you an additional element of flexibility to our courses and to give international families an alternative to some of our Australia specific resources. They are also for families looking for additional Charlotte Mason inspired resources.
You can swap out similar resources or add them as extension work. These resources are not written into your Weekly Planner.
The Year Four Global Goodies include:
- Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley— USA edition
- New Zealand Nature Stories
- New Zealand Flag Lapbook
- Hymn Copywork (Italics Cursive)
- Scripture Copywork (Italics Cursive)
Hymn Copywork and Scripture Copywork are found in the Global Goodies section. You have the option to choose these as alternative copywork.
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 Dolch word lists. 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 15 minutes. Many 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 4 Lite offers a condensed 4 term version (18 weeks) of this resource.
Copywork is a key element of the My Homeschool English program. In Year 4 children work on consolidating their cursive handwriting using Foundation Font, the recommended font for Australian schools. We use three copywork resources.
- Downunder Copywork 2: Cursive – is a selection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction from well known and classic Australian and New Zealand authors.
- Aesop’s Fables Classic Copywork: Cursive – Classic short fables teaching life lessons. You can choose to do this or the Scripture Copywork. Please Note: This is not part of the Year 4 Lite version.
- Scripture Copywork – this includes a collection of Bible verses that can be used in cursive handwriting lessons. You have the option to choose this or the secular copywork option of Aesop’s Fables. Please Note: This is not part of the Year 4 Lite version.
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 4 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. However we do provide some math drill practice with our Math Copywork timetable & math words revision.
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.
Science Videos: Using inspirational online picture books and science video lessons for kids we cover the Australian Curriculum topics of science as a human endeavour, earth science, physics, chemistry and digital technology. Topics include: solids, liquids, gas, heat, electricity, underwater exploration, finding bugs in computers, animal care, famous scientists and inventors.
Nature study is a practice and pursuit that you may associate with the Charlotte Mason method. It is something that is encouraged throughout your child’s education and continues through to our high school graded courses.
To help you with this, in Year 4, we use Plant Life in Field and Garden: Australian Edition by Arabella Buckley and Michelle Morrow. This is a classic science and gardening book popular with Charlotte Mason educators. It is written in a narrative style that encourages children to look at the plants in the gardens and the bush.
It includes studies on flowers, vegetables and the lifecycle of plants. Your child will also be encouraged to do some small experiments such as grow a seed and grow some herbs, vegetables or flowers. Nature journaling activities are suggested after each lesson. This version has been revised and updated. Illustrations and Australian plant examples have been added.
Our Built Environments project studies the architecture and historical features of your local area. We also use some living books and videos to examine Cathedrals and the changing shape of land through development over time.
We also include a range of Australian Nature Stories and some field study authors from Australia. Topics include birds, sea life, wildflowers, and tree studies. Additional New Zealand Stories are found in your Global Goodies. Please Note: These stories are not part of the Year 4 Lite version.
Our geography lessons give an overview of the continents using Pleasant Talk of Places. Your child discovers world geography through mapping exercises and literature. They learn how to use an atlas and explore the world’s cultural and climatic diversity. Please Note: A condensed 2 term version of this is provided in the Year 4 Lite version.
We also include a black line master for your child to mark up as they read about each continent and read stories from that region.
The idea of “place” is also examined through our built environments project. Local nature study and nature stories continue to develop the skills of observance.
World 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. This year we have chosen books that work with our geography resource Pleasant Talk of Places. From your couch you can travel the world using this delightful selection of award-winning books.
These titles are provided in a video format, so you can watch them being read online. You may wish to purchase these books or borrow them from the library, but it is not required. This can be helpful if you can’t find a book, are homeschooling on the road, or if you are watching your budget.
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. An optional history notebook can also be completed.
Some historical fiction has been suggested appropriate to the period studied. These would also be read aloud.
The goal is not for children to memorise names and dates but rather to understand the flow of history. This is the beginning of their history studies which will be covered again in the high school years.
A chronological approach to history is taught from Year 2.
Child’s History of the World: 1066 to 1925 – This My Homeschool edition (revised and updated) includes short narratives on history from William the Conqueror to World War One. Please Note: A condensed version of this is available for Year 4 Lite covering history from 1066 to 1600.
Timeline Folder & Timeline Figures: Your child will make their own timeline as they read through history with you. Each timeline figure is linked to the chapter read in the lesson. Please Note: Our Year 4 Lite offers a condensed 2 term version (18 weeks) of this resource.
Year 4 is the beginning of Australian history studies in the Australian Curriculum. Using living books, we learn about indigenous Australians’ first contacts with European explorers, some indigenous history and culture. We conclude the year looking at a story using Sydney Cove as its geographical backdrop.
We also study the life and voyages of Captain Cook as he travels the Pacific Ocean and discovers, with his crew, Hawaii, Tonga, New Zealand, and Australia.
Our recommended historical fiction is about a young boy who travels with his family on the First Fleet to Australia. His father is an officer and works closely with Captain Phillip.
Please Note: The Story of Captain Cook and the First Fleet historical fiction are not part of the Year 4 Lite version.
Civics and Democracy
Governance is also discussed as different models are presented through world history including: The Magna Carta, citizenship, monarchies and dictatorships.
Our Australia Flags Lap book teaches children about democracy and the flags and emblems of Australia. This is a fun hands on resource. New Zealand Flag Lapbook and links to an American Flag Lapbook are also provided in the Global Goodies. Please Note: Our Year 4 Lite does not contain these resources.
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.
The influence of history on languages is seen with Latin, French, Celtic and Old English. Our geography lessons include the study of other countries and their languages.
We also provide information, tips and recommended resources for those families looking to pursue instruction in a foreign language. We are happy to include this resource in both our Full Version and Lite Edition so your child has a great start in learning languages.
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.
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.
I am a Kiwi. Can I still use your curriculum?
Yes you can! We already have a New Zealanders using our program.
My Homeschool is very much a curriculum that New Zealanders can use. The Australian Curriculum and the NZ Curriculum are different in their organisation, but they are both considered to be of the same rigour.
My Homeschool offers a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that considers the Australian curriculum but we have a global approach and so include lots of global goodies. For example, you will find world history and geography in all the primary years.
We have a reasonable amount of NZ content in our curriculum.. We include NZ literature, NZ nature study , some NZ civics. We don’t cover a lot of specific NZ history but we do have some when it overlaps with Australia. There isn’t any Māori content. You can source that however from your library.
You’ll find there is a lot of overlap with NZ and Australia and so we certainly have a lot there for you.
On the purchase of a course you are provided with a planning template, Scope and Sequence, and Weekly Planner to help you plan out your year ahead with ease and confidence. We also include Term Reports so you can also give evidence of how you are assessing your child. This will make your homeschool application/exemption very easy as we have already done most of the work for you. We are homeschooling parents who know what all homeschoolers need!
One thing to note is that in New Zealand your Year 1 is our Kindergarten in Australia, so you will need to use the grade below what you would normally use in New Zealand. We still have the same amount of years you just finish at Year 13 and we finish at Year 12. Our My Homeschool Curriculum only goes to Year 11 New Zealand (Year 10 Australia).
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.
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.
I'm actually really just liking the balance of everything. Thank you again for providing such a fabulous curriculum.
I just wanted to say thank you for all the effort that’s been put into My Homeschool! I had my AP visit yesterday and it went great! He’s giving me 12 months registration and said if he comes next year and I’m still using the My Homeschool curriculum then he’ll give two years, even for my kindy child who’ll be a new registration. Thank you so much for helping make this transition to homeschooling so much easier and providing such detailed documents. I’m truly grateful!