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The little book with BIG resources!

10 Best & Easiest K12 Homeschool Curriculum Ideas

Are you considering homeschooling or have homeschoolers that need a fresh start?! Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team is back with her two-part series sharing her top 10 homeschool curriculum ideas for families today on the blog. Take a look…

homeschool ciriculum

Hello, Kansas City! Last year (relax, it was only a few weeks ago), I shared several different homeschooling programs that are available to your family in the first part of my two part series on homeschooling. Today, I’d like to share some of the best and easiest homeschooling curriculum options to get you started. When my family started homeschooling, there were already many k-12 homeschool programs out there but, to be honest, I feel that number has likely trippled in the short time my homeschoolers have been learning.

Starting a journey like this can be overwhelming in many different ways. You will begin to question your every move (and so will onlookers who are watching you). Knowing that you have a solid, well-rounded, and liked curriculum will take so much of the pressure and self-doubt off of your shoulders. So, let’s get the ball rollin’! Here are 10 of the best and easiest homeschool curriculums to start with!

10 Best & Easiest K12 Homeschool Curriculum Ideas

homeschool ciriculum

#1 All in One Homeschool

I debated if I would let our curriculum choice be known, but I love it so much I had to just tell you! This was our third curriculum choice and it had been perfect for us! Most of the work is online but there are options to print a lot of it out. This curriculum is free and is fitting for grades Prek- HS. I am able to keep track easily with their daily tracker and layout.

#2 ABCMouse

This is another favorite in our house! This is designed for toddlers- 3rd grade readiness. While this one is not free, it is very reasonable and  has a lot of “life learning”. Kids can take care of pets, clean rooms and even dress their avatars. ABCMouse has a learning path for each level to ensure they are learning age appropriate lessons. Students can even head to their classroom to pick their own interests!

#3 MobyMax

This was our first curriculum and since we started using it, it has undergone some major improvements! MobyMax is great for elementary middle school students. MobyMAx was designed to fill gaps in subjects and to help students learn at a faster pace. With this program, you are in charge if picking subjects, time frames and how often it should be completed. While they do track progress in subjects, you will need to keep a daily log of subjects to make sure your child is working on all the appropriate lessons.

#4 Time 4 Learning

This program is for Pre K HS. Time 4 learning is also mostly online but does offer printable lessons as well. With this program, you can change grade levels on individual subjects to fit your child’s needs. They even keep track of your child’s work for your HS portfolio.

#5 Abeka

This is a Christian based curriculum and can be done in 3 ways. Abeka offers “School in a box”, digital curriculums and video lessons. With Abeka, you really can’t customize each subject for your kids. If they are ahead or behind on a specific subject, you may need to use a different resource for supplemental materials.

#6 Sonlight

This is also a Christian based curriculum set. Sonlight is for those wanting to only use book and can be used for Prek- 12th grade. They even include college prep lessons as well. Sonlight is a little more customizable than Abeka as you can purchase individual subjects. If you are not sure which lesson to purchase, they even have a shop by level so you can ensure you are selecting age appropriate material.

#7 Starfall

Starfall was a program we used when Thai was in kindergarten. We used the free version to help with her reading and it was wonderful! Starfall also has a membership program which opens up more learning activities. Starfall is designed for Prek-2nd grade and is 100% online with the option to create printables to supplement.

#8 Alpha Omega Publications

This is a one stop shop for Christian homeschooling. They offer options for book learning, online learning and student or teacher led learning. You can select which style works best for you and your family.

#9 K12

This is a public school at home option. Even though you will be at home, K12 offers teacher led classroom lessons, projects and check ins with you! K12 is designed for students in Kindergarten – 12th grade. K12 offers private school education or public education and they provide you with most of your materials needed for learning.

#10 Create Your Own

This method may or may not work with your family. All of the planning, teaching, reading and record keeping is your responsibility. While it may take more time organizing lessons and projects, you will be able to fully customize your child’s own curriculum. This will ensure your child in interested and you know what and where their strengths and weaknesses are.

All of these homeschool curriculum ideas have been used for years by many families. Each one loves one for their own reason! When picking a curriculum, keep in mind that it’s not about the most expensive, the most elaborate or the one with the most books. The best curriculum is one your child loves to work on, keeps them interested and pushes them to do more! I hope this 2 part post has helped you get ready to start your homeschooling journey!

From iFamily to Yours,

Homeschooling – Part I: 7 Great Options for Alternative Learning

When it comes to learning, there are many options available for your family from homeschooling to traditional public schools and just about everything in between. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, is a homeschooling parent here in the community and is sharing some incredible options that are available to your family if you’re ready to explore k-12 homeschool options for yourself. Take a look…


Homeschooling – Part I: 7 Great Options for Alternative Learning

Hey KC! As you prepare to start a new year off on the right foot, you may be considering making some major changes in your family life. For a lot of families, homeschooling may be one of them. Most families tend to withdraw their child or children at the end of the year to avoid any chaos with planning and major changes. Another favorited time to start a homeschool journey is in between semesters. Again, there is less going on and families can make what I call a “clean break” from public school and an easy transition into homeschooling. If you are planning to go the homeschool route at any point, I have compiled a guide of different methods for you to choose from!

Each of these methods are unique in their own way and you never really know what is best for you and your soon-to-be homeschoolers until you try it!


#1 Project Based Learning

Project based learning is almost polar opposites to the learning styles of public schools. There are a lot of projects, hands on learning materials and your child really can “direct” themselves in learning about topics they choose. When doing PBL, it is important to remember that your homeschooler is in control. Try resisting the urge to correct their projects or be helpful when they are creating. Learn more about Project Based Learning to discover if it’s the right fit for your K-12 homeschool needs.


#2 Unit Studies

Unit studies approach is also similar to PBL when it comes to homeschools. Unit Studies focus on a theme and all of the subjects are based off of the chosen theme. For example, when picking a theme you would do research on the history of your particular theme, study the scientific process of it and make a replica of it out of clay. Unit studies really focus on your child’s interests and they are incorporated throughout the learning process.


#3 Unschooling

Unschooling is one of the most unique approaches homeschooling programs where your child takes the lead. They learn things they want and daily living is their teacher. From a simple trip to the grocery store to daily chores, unschooling  allows your child to explore the world around them.


#4 School at Home (School In a Box)

This is one of the more traditional approaches to homeschooling. School in a box is very similar to the public school learning style. You can purchase a full curriculum and complete assignments through text books based on grade levels. There are also many online homeschools that meet this criteria as well.


#5 Montessori

The Montessori learning method is more rigorous in terms of language, numbers and life skills. Simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves or washing their own dishes teaches them more independence in their daily lives. If you’re considering the Montessori approach, dive into researching this homeschooling option before you make the choice.


#6 Classical Approach

This approach teaches children to think as opposed what to think. This approach focuses more on thinking, grammar and speech. With different stages of learning, the classical approach is very rigorous and requires more formal study habits from your homeschoolers.


#7 Eclectic Homeschooling

This approach combines the best of all styles. Eclectic homeschooling is a lot more relaxed than most methods but still maintains more structure than some.

With so many methods to choose from, it can feel overwhelming and confusing. It took me almost 2 years to settle into an eclectic learning method before I felt confident! Remember, no two families are the same, no child learns the same and every family knows what works best for them. I hope this list is easy to follow and helps you find the best approach for your family!

From iFamily to Yours,

The Road to a New Language

Thinking about trying something new as a family?  Learning a new language, perhaps?  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad tells us about his family’s newest adventure!

new language

The Road to a New Language: Learning Spanish at Home

When I decided to stay home with my girls this year, I knew that I wanted to make the most of it.  I wanted to make sure that we try to have as many new experiences as possible.  Also that I would never let the fact that I am outnumbered or that it might be difficult, stressful, and mind numbingly slow to be the reasons that we would not go out to have a new experience. Our latest of which has been to try to learn a new language, Spanish to be more precise!

We love to travel to Mexico and try to get out there twice a year, but usually only make it once. We have taken the girls, despite the fact that our friends told us we were crazy to take them and our families consistent reminders that Mexico is dangerous. Both of which are topics for another post! We have been talking about trying some extended stays off of the all-inclusive resorts lately and so it was an easy choice for us to start having the girls take Spanish. My wife and I are somewhat of traditional Americans in that I took Spanish in 8th grade (because my English grade was good enough) before switching to German in 9th and 10th grade because:

1. It is obvious that German will be easier than Spanish.

2. If you have any desire to go to college you have to have two years of a foreign language.

3. And, most importantly, the German class included a trip to Germany!

All I can do is count to 10 & ask “what?!” in two languages.

My wife, on the other hand, took Spanish all throughout high school and into college, but her inability to find the class when she had to go to a new school is the only thing that stopped her from becoming a full-fledged bilingual woman after college. Our own experience also taught us to make it a priority to have the girls start learning a second language as early as possible.

Like any good parent, I took to my best resource (other than iFamilyKC) and asked Google if there were any Spanish classes for kids in KC. Sure enough, a couple of different websites popped up and we chose the one that had the best website. Now, once a week, we go to a small church to sing and play games in Spanish for forty-five minutes. We listen to the songs in the car from home to practice.  I’m happy to report that, after three weeks, I have no idea if my kids know any Spanish!  But, I am okay with that as we have several more weeks to go and, since we are not truly bilingual at home, it’s going to be something we are always working on so that they don’t lose the skill.

Taking classes is a good idea.  I get to go learn with them as well and the teacher gives tips on how to help at home. (Most of the students do not come from multilingual homes.) My wife and I will get better about using Spanish around the house which will help a lot, too. There is a part of me that suspects a switch to flip one day and start speaking fluently.  This way we can travel and attend Spanish events for Kansas City families. In the meantime, we will keep singing our songs and I’ll be sure to let you know how we progress.

Pro Tip: Learning a new language can be hard but there are resources available to your family to make the process a easier. Check out The Language and Music House for details on signing up to learn French, German, Japanese, or Spanish. Classes are available for ages 2 and up!

From iFamily to Yours,

Summer Learning: A Lesson On Telling Time

The kids are out of school but that doesn’t mean that summer learning has to stop. Becky, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, has some great tips for continuing that learning for your kids over the summer. Take a look…

summer learning

Summer Learning: A Lesson On Telling Time

It’s summer time and the living is easy—unless you’re in my house and there are lessons to be learned! Chop, chop! Last week, it was all about introducing our 6-year-old to the concept of time. It was time well spent (sorry, had to). Here’s how I did it:

Get A Clock

summer learning

Get a clock, or better yet, make one together with a paper plate, some paper, markers and a brad. We already had this puzzle clock that worked great as a teaching tool. Or, take one right off the wall and take the battery out to use how you please. Hot tip: The Dollar Store also sells signs with moving clock hands like this:

summer learning

Use this clock to demonstrate time, quiz your child on time, and keep it throughout the day for the child to update the time.

Worksheets… I mean FUNsheets!

Every morning, practice with these FREE clock-themed worksheets here. For an incentive (it is summer) give him/her a bonus 5 minutes of TV/tablet/book time for every final worksheet answer they get correct.

summer learning

Schedule It!

Give your child a schedule to fill out and try and stick with it. They will quickly learn how you really can’t do everything in one day.

summer learning


Finally, a real answer to “Are we there yet?” Let your child use your stopwatch app on your phone in the car to get a better understanding of how long it will take to get somewhere.

summer learning

Books & Dvds

Get a week’s worth of books and DVDs that are time-related from the library. From educational to silly, there are all kinds of kid books around the theme of time.

summer learning


Bonus! As an award learning how to tell time, at the end of the week take a field-trip to shop for a watch together. (Feel free to set a time limit on his/her decision.)

From iFamily to Yours,


Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three, and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog

Beat The Summer Slide: A How To Guide

Avoiding the summer slide can be difficult, especially when your children are eager to get out and enjoy pool time, run around with friends, and get away for that much needed family vacation. Make sure that your child doesn’t fall behind before the new school year starts with these six simple (and fun) ideas from Erin. Take a look…

beat the summer slide with six steps

 Beat The Summer Slide: A How To Guide

School is out for the summer!  My kids and I are embracing summertime full force with picnics, parks, pool time, and nature walks. We are loving summer and I know the “official start” to summer may be up for debate but it has definitely started in our house!  I definitely plan on sharing some super fun summer activities and boredom busters later on this season! However, I thought it was important to share with you some tips on beating the summer slide, where knowledge and skills are lost over the course of summer.  I read a statistic recently that said when kids go back to school in the fall that teachers will spend around six weeks re-teaching old material to make up for lost time.  My kids’ education is so important to me, so hearing that stat made me think about some ways to beat that summer slide and keep the kids learning and on track for the next school year.  Take a look at some ideas here and feel free to add your own ideas below in the comments.

#1 Read

Read 20 minutes a day. Read aloud. Have your child read to you. Listen to audio books. Lead by example and encourage your kids to read by enjoying a book yourself. Let your child pick out a book based on their own interests.  Read outside on sunny days or build a fort on rainy days and read inside the fort. Make it fun and engaging!

#2 Visit The Local Library

The MCPL branches have a fantastic summer learning program going on now until July 31st for ages birth to 19 years!  Kids can earn points by reading, doing small various activities at home and attending programs throughout the summer. Book prizes are awarded with each completed level and drawings are taking place throughout the summer for tickets to the Royals, Legoland, Powell Gardens, Coco Key, and much much more! Check it out and sign up online.

#3 Sharpen Math Skills

There are some awesome math apps out there like Reflex, which uses fun games to practice math skills.  You can also create good ole fashioned flash cards for addition and subtraction, multiplication and division facts.  Workbooks and activity books can be fun for road trips or for the daily commute. I’ve found some great flashcards and workbooks at Dollar Tree and Five Below.

#4 Take Field Trips

KC has SO many things to do for kids! Make it fun and educational by visiting fun places: Union Station and Science City, Money Museum, SEALIFE, KC Zoo, Harry S. Truman museum, Burr Oak Woods, National WWI Museum and the list goes on and on.

Pro Tip: Check out FieldTripGuideKC.com for inspiration on enriching activities for your kids! 

#5 Learn Around The House

Use everyday tasks you can encourage your kids to learn different things.  Take the kids grocery store and give them a chance to practice math skills, cook together, do fun science experiments with everyday household items, measure things inside and outside the house, chart the weather highs and lows and different weather patterns.

#6 Play Board Games

Uno, Monopoly, Bananagrams, Battleship, Memory, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Checkers and Chess, Dominoes are all great games to boost brain power!

By providing opportunities for your kiddos to keep learning throughout the summer months, you will give them an excellent head start to school in the fall and have some fun in the meantime!  And the teachers will thank you for it too!

From iFamily to Yours,