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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2022-23 (with a 15-year-old and a 12-year old)

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

This school year, my 15-year-old Alina daughter continues her self-directed studies alongside our all-together schooling and I am doing more one-on-one schooling with my 12-year-old son Ian. We're also working on learning more about the principles of freedom and the Constitution specifically. This post will detail our curriculum and resources for the 2022-2023 school year.

Character Comes First

Education is much more than academic learning; it involves our emotional and spiritual development as well. I believe that teaching my children to be honest, responsible, kind people is more important than the acquisition of academic knowledge. I intentionally focus on character development through:

  • Household responsibilities

  • Discussion of character during read-alouds

  • Service within our community

  • Relationship development

Life Skills

When my kids were younger, I focused on teaching them life skills that we worked on together. Now that my kids are older, I’m teaching independent life skills, to ensure that my kids will be ready for life on their own.

Household Responsibilities

Both of my kids have a fairly large list of household responsibilities, which they have been taught and are expected to complete on their own. They are working to master all aspects of home care, including laundry, cleaning, maintenance, etc.


Each of my kids cooks dinner for the family once a week. They get to choose the menu for their assigned dinner days.

With Ian, I often help him learn to cook new recipes. However, for Alina, being a 15-year-old who has a harder time accepting instructions and feedback from her parents now ☺, she generally prefers to learn to cook simple new recipes on her own rather than alongside me.

Besides simple sandwiches, quesadillas or pizza, some of my kids’ current favorite meals to prepare are:


  • Grassfed beef hamburgers on sourdough or sprouted grain buns

  • Mongolian beef with rice

  • Beef and okra stew


  • Slow cooker roasted chicken and potatoes

  • Einkorn pancakes topped with smoked salmon, cucumbers, green onions, capers, and sour cream

  • Ground beef and broccoli teriyaki bowls

Individual Needs and Interests

The homeschool philosophy we love is Thomas Jefferson Education. In this homeschool model, rather than children being in specific grades, they are in “Phases” which each have a specific learning focus. There is more info about the Phases here, and in brief, they are:

  • Core Phase – Age ~0-9 – Focused on character development, right and wrong, good and bad, etc

  • Love of Learning Phase – Age ~8-13 – Giving the child the opportunity to fall in love with learning through nurturing their own interests and providing opportunities for exploration of academic subjects

  • Scholar Phase – Age ~13-17 – Focused on study in a wide range of topics with increasing ability and commitment

An important part of nurturing a love of learning in my kids is through encouraging them to pursue their own interests. One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is that my children have as much time as desired to follow their passions. I'm supporting my children's current interests as follows.

Egg Business

My kids are partners in a small chicken egg business. They work together to take care of the chickens daily, and each earn a small amount of money for every dozen of eggs that are sold. Owning their own business has given my kids the opportunity to learn much about raising and caring for animals, handling and saving money, profit vs. loss, the value of hard work, perseverance, and long-term commitments. They're becoming experts in management of the flock, and they make the hard decisions about keeping their business viable throughout the productive and unproductive egg laying years of their hens.

15-year-old daughter Alina – Scholar Phase

Alina is in self-directed Scholar Phase. This means that, in addition to our all-together schooling time, Alina is also pursuing her own studies independently. There is more info about our self-directed Scholar Phase here.

Thus far, Alina has chosen to alternate each semester between creating her own study plan and using the TJED High liberal arts online mentoring program. This has given us a good balance of making sure that Alina has time to dedicate to her own passions (writing fiction stories, reading classic fantasy novels, sewing, and drawing) as well as giving her exposure to topics of study which she doesn't tend to gravitate towards through TJED High (such as finances, the Constitution, Shakespeare, and leadership).

Here is Alina's Scholar Contract for Fall 2022. This lays out her responsibilities and benefits, as well as her general plan for her Scholar Studies. (She asked for some leeway the first few weeks in determining how many study hours she will do per week for the coming semester, so that has not yet been finalized.) There is more about how to create a Scholar Contract in Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning.

Alina developed her own curriculum of books to read for the coming semester (with my guidance). As recommended in Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook, Alina works on a list of 10 books at a time. Alina intends to complete her Scholar studies for the semester by Thanksgiving, so she will have time to work on Christmas crafts and presents in late Nov-Dec.

Alina’s Fall 2022 10 Book List

  1. Bambi by Felix Salten (with Mentoring in the Classics content)

  2. Rhythm of War (Book 4 of Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson

  3. Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter (with Mentoring in the Classics content)

  4. Basic Math and Pre-Algebra by Cliffs Study Solver

  5. The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Alan Cohen

  6. Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens by DeMille and Brooks

  7. Brandon Sanderson's BYU Creative Writing Course Videos (not a book, but important for Alina since she aspires to be a writer 😀)

  8. The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Chapman

  9. Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter

  10. Adventures of Perrine by Hector Malot

Back-up Books, in case there are books on the above list that are just not working for Alina:

Additionally, Alina is still currently very interested in sewing stuffed animals. Resources for supporting this interest include: