Helpful Guide for Choosing Homeschool Literature for K-12

Last year at a nearby homeschool convention I sat in on several sessions by Adam Andrews from Center for Lit. After pouring for quite some time over their resources, one of the books that made it into my bag was Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12.  Since that day, there are multiple dog-eared pages in the book and it has become one of my favorite helps for choosing books for our children.

Reading Roadmaps literature suggestions for homeschool

Yesterday I shared a post on Instagram about this book and immediately received several emails from readers asking to know more about the book (and why I liked it). So – here goes! For those of you wanting a peek inside the book, watch the video clip below.

feed subscribers can view the video here

Reading Roadmaps contains and entire year’s literature suggestions for each grade level from K-12. The lists are sequential (so they build in difficulty) and multiple models are provided. You can choose a weekly, monthly, six week, quarterly, or seasonal model which will vary the reading and study time.

Each book title recommended includes the following: plot summary, conflict, story themes, stylistic devices used (alliteration, rhyming, etc…), additional resources if available, and an alternate story suggestion. The last few chapters of the guide offer a variety of literature teaching helps: assigning and grading essays, grade level objectives, grading and credits, and time periods in the history of literature.

Overall, this has been a great ‘go-to’ resource for me and is how I am building each of our children’s literature lists for the year and one that is kept handy and within reach.

Reading Lists for Our Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our children this past year? Check out our reading choices for this year by clicking on the images below.


4th grade homeschool reading list 6th grade homeschool reading list 9th grade reading list

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Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List: Free Printable

free Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List

Every year I have a list. Or two. Or three. Sticky notes and crossed out lists of the curriculum we need with prices highlighted so I know if I’m getting the best price – especially if I happen to hit a great used curriculum sale. This year I had enough of the multiple lists and consolidated it all into one simple list that I can carry around with me to convention.

A Curriculum Snapshot

curriculum shopping list example

While I typically have my phone with me to do a quick price check, it’s great to know if a special a vendor is offering is worth grabbing right then – and it’s always helpful to know if I already own an item (not that I’ve ever purchased something twice – cough).

The literature list for each grade level is something that can quickly overwhelm me, so I made a special area for tracking what books we need to purchase as well. The overall list is a great snapshot to see what areas we may need to beef up a little academically.

Color-coded lists

You may notice there are four different colored lists. Maybe you remember that we color code our kids (don’t judge – please). It really does help me visualize which child needs what curriculum, so the four colors you see are to help me remember who the curriculum is for. It’s something silly and simple, but it works for me. (grins)

If you think this would help you out too, just click below to download a copy for yourself – and please feel free to pass along the link and let your friends know too!

—-> Download the Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List HERE <—–

Attend a Homeschool Convention

This June, I am SO looking forward to the annual Home Educators Association of Virginia homeschool convention. Aside from the amazing used curriculum sale and extensive vendor hall, they have a lineup of fabulous speakers as well (Voddie Baucham was just confirmed as another speaker, along with my friend Crystal Paine, Ken Ham, Todd Wilson and more).

If you live anywhere close to Richmond, VA (even if it is hours away!) – make plans to attend this year’s convention. This is one weekend that is automatically grayed out on my calendar each year. My husband has attended with me in the past and loved it, but otherwise a few friends and I travel together and just wander, listen, and learn. It is SUCH an amazing weekend.

Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention

Attending a homeschool convention can be a HUGE help and boost to your homeschool year. Workshops provide teaching and encouragement for families while vendor halls and tables provide an up close and personal look at resources you may need for your children’s education. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my tips for attending a homeschool convention, print off a copy of the Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List – and get ready to have some fun!

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Hamburger Essay Outline – Free Writing Printable

Hamburger essay outline for literature

This year we’ve been working on essay writing in one of our co-op classes. A lot. The kids are at different points with their writing skills: a few of them are all about writing out a detailed outline, complete with color coded paragraphs, while a few others need a more visual approach to grasping the concept of outlining.

Just for fun, I asked Laurianna to help me create a visual outline that would give everyone a little start on writing  and completing a five paragraph essay. Their essays and the outline needed to include:

  • a thesis
  • three key points/paragraphs
  • a conclusion

One of the things that I continually stress to our kids is the importance of being able to write a strong thesis and/or introduction, make valid points that support and prove their thesis, and then end with a strong concluding paragraph to tie it all together. Sometimes a simple visual can help them map their thoughts, make sure things flow together properly, and ensure they aren’t getting off topic.

The kids can start with the hamburger essay outline to map out their initial thoughts, and eventually they build a more detailed essay outline like below:

  • Thesis and ‘hook’ sentence
  • Main paragraph idea #1: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Main paragraph idea #2: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Main paragraph idea #3: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Conclusion

The hamburger essay outline is just a simple pencil/pen sketch that we had fun coloring in, but it has been a help to several of our kids and the kids in co-op – and we wanted to share it with you all as well!

Feel free to download a copy here – and please feel free to share with friends!


p.s. on a completely unrelated note to anything, it just makes me giggle saying ‘hamburger’ because then I picture Steve Martin as the Pink Panther trying to say the word hamburger… and I get completely sidetracked.

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Homeschool Made Simple – Learning Through Literature

Some of the most enjoyable and memorable times in the years of our homeschooling have revolved around reading together and learning through literature. When Compass Classroom asked me to take a peek at a new video series, Homeschool Made Simple with Carole Joy Seid, well – let’s just say I was excited. Literature-based learning is something that speaks to my heart and we’ve seen such great results in our own family because of it.

The Homeschool Made Simple Video Series

In the Homeschool Made Simple video series, Carole Joy Seid’s heart comes through as she speaks to parents on how to focus their learning on great books and keep reading as the core of their learning. Through literature, whether a biography, classic literature of a period, or books about a historical period, we can learn a variety of subjects – and learning can be as uncomplicated as we make it.
For families new to homeschooling or seasoned homeschoolers, there is something for everyone in the series. Think of it as a seminar that comes right to your home to refresh you. There are many different methods of homeschooling available to us as families (and I am so very grateful for that!), and many of us will agree that books and stories are the base of so much that we learn together. This series from Carol Joy Seid is so much more than showing how literature can be the core of all we do; it is also a huge encouragement to parents and a model of how homeschooling can be done simply, be enjoyable to everyone, and also affordable.
Homeschool Made Simple

Workshops in Homeschool Made Simple:

There are six workshops in the Homeschool Made Simple series, available in either DVD format or as a download, and an included book list. You can watch when you have time, take notes, and revisit later through the months and years if you need encouragement or a refresher.


1. Children & Reading
2. Choosing Books
3. Building Character in Children
4a. Math, Writing, Science, Art & Music
4b. Bible & A Typical Day
5. Children & Media
6. Teaching History Using Literature

I love that the setting of the series is ‘intimate’ – not videos taken at a large conference, but rather in someone’s living room and almost in a more 1:1 format – you feel like Carole is talking and encouraging you personally. Watching these videos (and I’m still finishing up the series!) has been a great reminder to me to slow down and re-evaluate plans – and simplify in a few areas.
Take a few minutes and watch a trailer of Homeschool Made Simple with Carole Joy Seid and get a feel for the class. You can also view a one of the workshops, Children and Reading, for free.



I would SO encourage you to watch the Children and Reading workshop today and rediscover the love of reading and learning through literature! How have you integrated reading into your curriculum for learning?

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Middle and High School Planner Printables for Homeschool

Middle and high school planning printables

Now I don’t know about you, but despite my best intentions, I seem to always forget something that has already been purchased, curriculum ideas for upcoming years, or what may already be on our bookshelves to use for our younger children. Sticky notes and random sheets of paper just don’t cut it, so the Middle and High School Planner pages were put together to make life a little easier for myself overall. (And let’s face it, these are a lot prettier than the random sheets of notebook paper that were accumulating in my binder).

I’m printing off a copy for each of our children and it gives me a central location to jot down notes, ideas, and what we’re doing as we go along. Overall, there are sixteen pages in the Middle and High School Planner pages (plus one that you don’t have to print at the end), and two different versions – a blue/green color-themed set and a rainbow color-themed set. Laurianna saw me working on them and said she thought hers should have more color, so I had to readjust them. (grins)

If you’d like to see what we’ve been planning for homeschool high school so far, don’t miss our Homeschool High School Plan post that was shared earlier. In addition to walking through our overall plans I share how overwhelmed I was to begin with and some tips on laying the foundation for the upcoming years. There is also a link to a simple overview printable that you may prefer to this more in-depth one.

A Quick Look & Overview Planning

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

Use the first two pages to plan out subjects and curriculum for each year. In the left side column there is room to track the subjects and then plan out what you will use from 6th grade through 12th grade. Be sure to keep track of what you already have on hand – and don’t need to purchase!

High School Outline, Requirements, and Schedules

high school daily schedule and requirements

This section allows you to plug in all the information that your state may require for graduation, AP placement, decide your grading scale, and brainstorm elective ideas for your child. There is also a sheet that can be printed off yearly to create a weekly schedule for your child.

Tracking High School Credits

credit and class tracking for high school

Keep track of the credits your child is earning, books read, extra curricular activities and other important information you might need for high school transcripts. There are five pages for this section: one for early credits (prior to 9th grade if your state allows it) and four pages, one for each year of high school.

Course Descriptions

Early and high school course description tracking

This section allows you write a short course description of each class that your child takes for credit (may come in handy for college admission later).

–> Download the Middle School and High School Class Planning (blue/green)  <–

–> Download the Middle and High School Planning Pages (rainbow)  <–

Questions about Homeschooling in High School?

Homeschooling in High School

There’s nothing that can strike fear in the heart of a veteran homeschooling parent like the thought of homeschooling high school. Despite what may be years of successful homeschooling, thinking of high school can bring all the fears and doubts of the early years resurging in a homeschool parent’s heart. Read the post Homeschooling in High School for tips and resources from a veteran homeschool mom who has homeschooled and graduated a high schooler.

If you would like to share, please share a link to my blog or to the page that hosts these files. Please do not link directly to just the PDF files, but directly to this post. Please feel free to print this pdf file for your own personal use. They were created for private and non-profit use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

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