Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Curriculum Plans for LionHeart 2017-2018

LionHeart and Ronnie Sidney, author of Nelson Beats the Odds
I can't believe its been almost two years since I did a curriculum share.  It's amazing to look back and see what you said you were going to use and compare it with what you actually used.  That's the beauty of homeschooling, the ability to change gears in mid-stream and do what's best.  This year I am trying something different with LionHeart.  The focus will be more on living books and experiences and less on curriculum, per se.  I have paid close attention to what he loves and incorporated it into our learning. I have also been doing lots of teacher development, first in a 3-day seminar through the Center for African Studies at Howard University focusing on Ethiopia, Mali and Ghana, followed by the Warrior Healer Builder workshop through the AYA Educational Institute.  I feel so full as a mother/teacher and excited to share what I have learned with my children.

Songs of the Baobab Tree

I found this gem at the African Art Museum.  Songs of the Baobab Tree will be the sounds we wake up to in the morning.

Young Living Oils

Everything is important with a Right Brain Learner.  They are sensitive and observant.  I plan to set the morning tone by diffusing Young Living OilsGeneYus and Vitiver essential oils top the list. These oils help supports the young mind in attention and focus. I'll also add a tasty essential fatty acid to the mix. Either Omega 3 Creme Delight or Coromega Omega 3.  Then after a healthy breakfast, learning can begin.

Reading Comprehension

I have found that pairing books with audio books helps LionHeart's fluency and comprehension.  He loved Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  The Red Pencil is written in a similar poetry fashion.  My aim is to create my own African-centered version of Sonlight.

Reading Comprehension and Character Development


A Treasure Within is a book of short stories in which young people have encounters with ancient African Ancestors to learn traditional morals, values, and culture.  The goal is to develop academic skills and cultivate character development as well as cultural awareness.

 Character Building for African Centered Scholars will also be used as a part of our character development studies.  This guide teaches character building principles from Ma’at, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba, the Adinkra Symbols ... I can't wait.  I get so excited because often I am learning too!

Grammar and Writing

We are still using Language Lessons for Today for grammar. I like the literature-based, Charlotte-Mason feel.  LionHeart's Right-Brain learning style tends to do better when learning about pieces as they relate to the whole.  A string of isolated grammar rules will make zero sense outside of a sentence.  We will do more writing this year utilizing a resource I learned about in one of the best books I ever read: The Dyslexic Advantage.  Educators Publishing Service also produces another one of my favorite homeschool resources - Explode the Code.


In addition to our homeschool cooperative classes, LionHeart will do Astronomy at home.  We will look deeply into the Dogon people as a part of our science studies. We'll use Exploring Creation with Astronomy as our spine and have some hands on fun with MEL science.  I will be doing a full review of MEL science later this fall.


Crosswords are a fun way to learn history and an easy way for LionHeart to get started in the morning while I am making breakfast.  In fact, Seek and Learn: Journeys in Black Legacy will be the morning meal ticket.

 History is one of my favorite subjects, so we'll use lots of resources.  We will start from the African center and fan our way out.  We'll use the Howard Zinn Project to plot our timeline.  History is so vast that you can't possibly cover everything, but what you do cover should be important to YOU and venerate your history.  Kamali Academy is where you can find 50 Afrikans You Must Know and whatever you do, get a copy of Dr. Runoko Rashidi's book Assata-Garvey and Me: A Global African Journey for Children and follow him on Facebook.  It will change your life!

Since LionHeart is not yet ready for the seminal work The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (ok, I'll be honest, I have not read it yet),  we will start exploring  Marcus Garvey using the Marcus Garvey Activity Book.

World Religions

Children help you stretch and grow.  LionHeart certainly is doing that for me.  He has a keen interest in African spiritual systems and sadly, very sadly, I know very little.  So we will learn and explore together.  Luckily, we have friends who are Muslim, Buddhist, Akan Priests and more.  This month we will visit a Buddhist Temple and observe Buddhist Monks creating Sand Mandalas.  Our world is a beautiful and diverse place filled with amazing people, cultures and traditions to learn about.

 It was difficult to locate children's resources on the Akan spiritual system.  This series pictured above on Buddhism can be purchased through www.tharpa.com.

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things will be a key feature of our homeschool this year.  I learned about the importance of sharing these kinds of stories with our children during a workshop facilitated by the amazing educator team Wekesa and Afiya Madzimoyo, founders of the AYA Educational Institute.  When we start looking for the heroes in our own families and communities, we are less likely to fall into the super hero trap crippling our minds from thinking that individual people cannot affect change. I picked up these books at festivals.  I purchased directly from the authors.  Nelson Beats the Odds is about overcoming Dyslexia and was written by a school therapist who struggled with learning disabilities. Noah's Walk is about a man who decided to walk 1,800 miles to highlight homelessness.  Truly ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.


Right-Brain learners grasp math very differently.  Sometimes they understand complex concepts, but not the simple math facts.  Their creative side leans toward real life mathematics, like money and cooking.  Personification of math concepts also gives "Velcro" to random math facts for Right-Brain learners.  I have found that if the concept or math fact is wrapped up in a good story, he's got it.  Child First Publications produces an assortment of Right-Brain friendly learning materials.  I love the philosophy of the founder who believes, "in every child’s ability to learn," especially when supported in their own unique gifts. 


Like his father, LionHeart is always thinking of ways to make money.  He definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit.  Last spring he and a friend taught a sports class in our homeschool collective.  I admired his confidence and tenacity.  I have always had a side hustle too, but for some reason didn't think of myself as an entrepreneur.  I'm definitely not a salesperson, but when an opportunity to arose to become a Young Living Essential Oils distributor, I took a leap.  I was told all I had to do was share my story about the oils.  They have changed my life.  My goal is to share what I have learned with LionHeart and one of our projects will be to create a signature cologne, using essential oils, that he can sell at our African Marketplace during our homeschool collective.

Percussion Instruments from Around the World

Last, but certainly not least I plan to use something that he absolutely loves to teach research skills, geography, presentation skills and writing.  There is no curriculum to purchase, so this one I am creating on my own, as I go. We'll attend concerts, seek out musicians, find percussion workshops and just have fun with it.  The resource that I will use to kick off my study is the Glossary of World Percussion Instruments. Studying our way through this list will probably take us all year.  Stay tuned for how it all works out.

I am feeling good about this year and though we may not get through all of it, having a plan is the best way to start.


  1. This is so great! The only thing I'm mad about is that I didn't have this before I spent my money, but these items will definitely be on our 2nd semester curriculum calendar!

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I'm in the middle of purging right now. Thanks for reading!

  3. Thank you for these resources. This is great. I have a couple you may be interested in.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey and resources Mama Monica! You inspire me.

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