The 2023-2024 Homeschool Orders have begun!

Memoria Scholé Academy Homeschool


February is a slump month, when no matter how excited you are about your homeschool curricula, you start feeling hopeful and desiring to get your hands on that which will come next year. Typically, we are a year-round schooling family, but that is more just because life is school. However, we still have a planned reset date after the summer birthdays have concluded which gives a fresh start into what comes next. In the curriculum world, the sales and encouragement to buy for next year seem to start in February. Lots of sales and promotions come along in March and new prices schemes apply in April. So, it is often a case of what is more important, a lower price tag or the most updated material!


In January, I renewed our subscription to IXL practice and added my youngest student to join his siblings. This week, actually, they even added material in the science and social studies sections so it now comes from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Previously, these subjects started with Second Grade, so this was exciting news. In Math and English Language Arts, however, they start with Pre-K and go all the way through school. We started using IXL many years ago, and I find it to be an important part of our homeschool experience and helps to match and fill gaps we come across. I have reviewed it a few times in the past on my blog.

RELATED: Practice, practice, practice! and it’s fun!! (with IXL!)


The day before I renewed with IXL, we re-registered with HomeLife Academy. This is one choice of umbrella schools that are available in my area. An umbrella or cover school is a non-tradition K-12 school that partners with homeschool families. We report attendance, grades, and subject course material. Counselors and advisors are there to help you along the way. We chose HLA as it was the most highly recommended umbrella available to us. We have never had an issue with them and the people are truly kind.


In addition to participating with an umbrella school, we also register with HSLDA, but that registration for us renews later in the year, but I have it on my budget list to remember for now. The Home School Legal Defense Association is a huge source of information for homeschooling and has specific information and contacts per state. They advocate for homeschool freedom and provide support for homeschoolers of all varieties and stages.

Normally, this is the time where I place my annual Mardel Education order to get a A Simple Plan Teacher Planner for me, and two student planners for my oldest two. I haven’t placed my order yet this year, because there are some reviews that question the quality of the planners this year, and my students are not in love with the designs this year. We may go elsewhere, or we may try them anyway. I have been satisfied with them for the last two years, but so was the reviewer that said they had always used these before. If you have a good planner, let me know about it. We prefer a vertical day rather than a chunk horizontal and would love to have a section for weekends, because sometimes you do school on more than just M-F.

Now for the actual curriculum!

The Good & the Beautiful TGTB

To be honest, TGTB almost never has a sale, and right now they are having a sale! 15% off while it lasts. So, I just had to go ahead and order what we needed for next year. I have a few things already as we were a little too overzealous with our previous plans and got a few things needed in a local barter trade with another local homeschool mama. I’m not sure how many years, I have been using portions of TGTB but we really do love it as part of our homeschool material. There is nothing that quite compares. Note, a few things… the curriculum is Christian, it has Bible references, and good Christian morals. It is not Mormon, or Church of the Latter Day Saints, even though the original person who formed the idea and company personally is. The curriculum writers are from all sorts of Christian denominations and backgrounds. It is not preachy, and I do not necessarily agree with every book removed from their notorious Book List. We use the Language Arts and Literature, Math, and have some older versions of Science I plan to use one day. We have History 1 and it is not organized enough for me to enjoy.

TGTB is amazing. It is beautiful, full of color and there is nothing like it. There is integration with visual, sound, and hands-on effects throughout the cross-curricular borders. All of my children use pieces, but they do not use everything. Some like parts better than others, but I highly recommend you give it a chance and if you’re the download and print variety of homeschooler, there are tens of thousands of pages you can download for free. In our math, we have used both the original and the Simply Good and Beautiful Math. We miss all the biographies that were in the original math. In our science, we have only used a little bits of the original. In our Language Arts, we have used several editions and every time they make edits these seem to get better and better. We also love the Handwriting which incorporates artwork. I also have Typing and Drawing as resources. To be honest, their Language Arts & Literature is cross curricular as they mostly cover all the things including English Language Arts, Phonics, Reading, Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Geography, Art, and Art Appreciation. I think I mentioned it all…


9th Grade: High School 1 + Honors Pride and Prejudice Book Study

6th Grade: Handwriting 6, Language Arts & Literature 4 with a goal of getting into Level 5

3rd Grade: Handwriting 3, Language Arts & Literature 3, Simply Good and Beautiful Math 3

K6: Handwriting K, Language Arts & Literature Kindergarten Prep (30 lessons with princesses!), Kindergarten, Simply Good and Beautiful Math 1, Science for Littles: Fields & Flowers, My First Nature Reader

PreK3: Handwriting Doodles 2, Language Arts & Literature Preschool, and Kindergarten Prep

Use our links, or the code cherryblossom

It wouldn’t be me, if I wasn’t plotting and planning about Memoria Press. Right now, my eighth grade daughter is working on a Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare Literature Class with Memoria Academy (formerly known as Memoria Press Online Academy). Long story short, we did the Memoria Press Supplemental History Readers (mostly American History), and then BookShark 3 and 4 (now known as D and E, and the equivalent to Sonlight D, and E), now she is working at self-pace through Sonlight 100, and next year she has decided that (in one year) she wants to do A Concise History of the American Republic with the associated Memoria Press guides (two years of work). So, okay. Here we go. I haven’t placed my order yet with Memoria Press, but I have lists that I’m making for wishes and needs. We have been fondly using Memoria Press materials since 2012 and there is always something more.

As much as we would love to do more Memoria Academy classes next year, I’m not sure the budget will allow it.

Tentative plans:

9th Grade: A Concise History of the American Republic Part 1 guides set, Part 2 guides set, Geography III set, Christian Studies IV + The Story of Christianity set, Latin, Literature Guides, Classical Studies I sets including The Illiad, The Odyssey, The Book of the Ancient Greeks

6th Grade: Christian Studies I, D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths set, Latin

3rd Grade: all the Copybooks and Copybook Cursive

K6 and P3: collected Enrichment and read alouds from Preschool and K-6

[TAG7] CMM CCC-K Memoria Press First Grade Advice CMM FSRMemoria Press Second 2nd Grade Enrichment discussed on Creative Madness MamaD'Aulaires' Greek Myths Review



It’s hard to tell you what’s next, but I’d assume I have to go with Sonlight Curriculum.* Thinking back, other than Rod & Staff Preschool, which I still recommend highly, I think our first big real homeschool purchase was Sonlight and my fondness of them as a curriculum provider has only grown. The only thing that holds me back on Sonlight purchases is finances, and the desire to save money and buy some bargain books second hand. Otherwise, I’d buy all the things! We have not used the new Preschool/PreK Montessori elements and maths. Over the years, we have used, multiple times!, History/Bible/Literature P3/4 (now known as Level T or Preschool) Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun; P4/5 (now known as Level P for Pre-K) Exploring God’s World, K (formerly known as Level A, but rebranded to Level K this year!) Introduction to World Culture, A (formerly known as Level K, but I digress – it is an appropriate switch!) Exploring American History, B+C a combined one-year version of Introduction to World History (I also have BookShark B, but haven’t used it… notes on this later, BookShark 3 (now D) Introduction to American History Part 1, BookShark 4 (now E) Introduction to American History Part 2, I have BookShark F, but haven’t used it; I have the books for G, H, or W if you prefer World History, and J History of Science, but haven’t the guides or used these materials yet, Sonlight 100 including 110 Biblical Studies, 120 American History, 130 American Historical Literature, 140 language arts and vocabulary supplements switching out Wordly Wise 3000 for Vocabu-lit, 100E including elective materials for History of Art and Logic. I have their MUS and Apologia Science, but shelved those in favor of Saxon and Dr. Jay Wile Science.  I have an old version of 200 (220) History of the Christian Church and 230 Classical Literature, but I think I will be able to update the guide for 230 this year, hopefully. And that’s as far as we are so far… whew.

RELATED: Curriculum, Curricula, is it really Eighth Grade?

I don’t like the new Apologia Sciences, they have really slacked off on material as well as quality. I think, we will be going to Dr. Jay Wile’s new sciences with Berean Builders. We have a few of the Science in the Beginning elementary ones, and also, his old 2nd editions from Apologia. I think the Berean Builders are much better quality to last through several children than the newest Apologia books. I wish they could go back to their quality when we first started collecting Apologia Science for Young Explorers and high school.

Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition (Apologia) {Review}

Homeschool Human Anatomy & Physiology (Apologia Human Body for Elementary Grades) {Review}

Homeschool Marine Biology from Apologia & Swimming Creatures (Apologia Science) {Review}

Apologia Astronomy, 2nd ed. (Apologia) {Review}

*Refer a friend to Sonlight and earn $10 when they make their first purchase. They’ll get $10 off their first purchase too. New customers only. $100.00 order Minimum.


9th Grade: 230 Classical Literature, 240 Language Arts, continue listening in as I finish reading BookShark 4

6th Grade: continue listening in as I finish reading BookShark 4 and go back and read any new or missed books in the equivalent Sonlight D and Sonlight E Introduction to American History

3rd Grade: continue trekking along in Sonlight B+C Introduction to World History condensed, Sonlight Science B Matter, Ecosystems, Earth Systems, and Engineering Design, Sonlight Science C Forces and Interactions, Life Systems and Cycles, Weather & Climate, and Engineering Design, and go back and read and new or missed books in the Sonlight D and Sonlight E, if time appears available. We may need to order Science D, if he keeps trekking.

K6 and P3: continue trekking along with read alouds from P3/4 and P4/5.


Sonlight Curriculum vs. BookShark

Sonlight is the original missionary inspired Christian Homeschool Curriculum to get it all in one box. Their main program is History, Bible, and Literature, to which you can then add their recommended Science, Math, and Electives. BookShark is a newer sister company (same road, different numerical address and some of my Sonlight orders were shipped by BookShark) without the Bible and Christian inspired and missionary stories included. BookShark is not an atheist curriculum as some people put it, but a secular neutral curriculum so that you can add your own faith and doctrine materials to it. I have heard of many Catholic and other families that prefer BookShark over the mostly Protestant based Sonlight. However, I also know people of all faith based systems that love Sonlight. Sonlight is four day or five days options. BookShark is four day. Also, at a glance comparing the Sonlight B+C, this is History, Bible, and Literature, with boxes for extras. I then have additional pages for Language Arts, and Science. My BookShark B is called Reading with History Introduction to World History Part 1 and it already includes a schedule for readers. So, with my current child using B+C he is also using Language Arts 4, so the BookShark B equivalent schedules in readers that are around a first grade level, this makes a big difference to the way we are scheduled, but it does make less moving parts on the behalf of using BookShark. You are able to buy a different Level Language Arts 1-3 to use in addition, but that probably wouldn’t change the Level 1 Readers being on your main schedule. I’m not sure if it continues this way all the way through and I haven’t had a chance to look at their catalog yet, that comes out soon and hints at high school courses! Either way, BookShark is still a very viable option. It is slightly cheaper, has less books, less days of the week, and that might be what you need some years.


I’m not sure I need to order anything new this year, but another company we keep in our resources is Beautiful Feet Books*. Beautiful Feet is a little bit like Sonlight, but it is not quite comparable. Beautiful Feet is much more relaxed in book choices, in my opinion than Sonlight, but you know I love both! Different kids and different seasons call for them. Beautiful Feet has a History of Science but it is for grades 4-7, Sonlight’s Core J History of Science is for grades 8-10. They are both excellent and keep it going! Sonlight is read and discuss. Beautiful Feet is read and notebook, to put it mildly. Sonlight uses encyclopedias and reference books as spines, while Beautiful Feet, in most cores doesn’t really use a spine so much as their Teacher’s Guide. It is so full, often full-color, and includes discussion points, copywork prompts, and more. There are crafts and culinary ideas as well.

Over the years, we have collected quite a few of the guides and expanded our book lists through the inspiration of these guides. They even have some seasonal or holiday mini guides as well. All of their recommendations have been top notch and enjoyable so far. Surprisingly, there is a little overlap, but not fully and we always find something new here in addition to what we discover with Memoria Press Classical Core Curriculum and Sonlight Curriculum. We have not ever just used Beautiful Feet through a full year, but it is always a part of it and inspiration. I do have plans that it may be more involved with my current Kindergartner as she is a different learner from those that have come before her in my little one-room schoolhouse.


K-3, 4th Grades: (K-3) Early American History Primary, Around the World with Picture Books Part I, Around the World with Picture Books Part II, Seasons Afield/Nature Study SCIENCE, U.S. Geography through Literature, (3-6th) History of the Horse, U.S. Geography through Literature, (3-7th) History of Science, (4-6th) Early American Intermediate, Around California with Children’s Books, (7-9th) Early American History for Junior High and High School are just a few things I’ve collected over the years.

In recent years, they have added a scope and sequence and a lesson count with a plan schedule for how many lessons per week for a one-year study or more. Their packs are always highly discounted and many times are a better option than buying the books “new” elsewhere. If you are bargain hunting and second-hand shopping, that’s a different story. I have been very happy ordering directly from Beautiful Feet Books and especially when they have a new product being released is the best time to jump in. Their book content is very inclusive multicultural speaking. There are mapping activities and the teacher guides are getting more and more attractive with each publication. There was  a step down in paper quality after the pandemic, however, they are still very gorgeous and every bit as usable.

Beautiful Feet Books is also the current publisher for the Mitsumasa Anno books, James Daugherty,  Holling C. Holling, Genevieve Foster, as well as, Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire, and many more classic books. So, this is a great source for their new Science, Geography, History through Literature, and collection such as Black History, Fall + Thanksgiving, Winter + Christmas, Spring, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and more author themed bundles.


Now, if I wasn’t going to use a Classical + Modern History approach from Memoria Press, and I wasn’t going to use a Charlotte Mason-esque Living Books approach from Sonlight Curriculum, BookShark, or Beautiful Feet Books… then it might be a student who needs something more structured like a textbook. This is where one of my student’s thrives, and we are often found to be using Notgrass History (or Geography)* with a textbook. These are not your dry, black and white, dull textbooks. This is like a living books spine in the image of a textbook that keeps it all together. There are timelines, maps, music, poetry, literature add-ons, workbooks, lesson review pages, and other bits and pieces available to suit your student’s needs. It is so very flexible. Very God-centered and full of potential Bible scripture memory verses. I’d call it inspirational, but not preachy. Their new elementary material is fantastic. We have so far used (American History) Our Star-Spangled Story Part 1 and plan to continue with Part 2, and are currently using their (U.S. Geography) Our 50 States. We have used units from the older (Government and Civics) Uncle Sam and You, (World History) From Adam to Us, and are borrowing a set of (American History) America the Beautiful 2ed for next year. I am so excited about the prospect of their adding in an Elementary World Geography and World History one day as well as a World Geography for Middle Grades. No time dates for that addition, but I’m excited none the less and hope it to be sooner than later. We haven’t use their high school material, but it does appeal and I wonder if we might head that way at some point. I have heard only good things from most people.

Notgrass is History, or Geography, with Literature and Bible. It can stand for three courses, just as Sonlight can.



Alrighty, we’ve talked about History, both combinations of History, Bible Literature, History with Literature, Reading with History, and Classical Education. We have discussed Language Arts and a little bit of math… Now, first I’m going to tell you about Writing and then I will come back to math and sciences…


Many years ago, we discovered the wonderful world of IEW* and to be honest, nothing compares when it comes to teaching the art of Writing. The Institute for Excellence in Writing is exactly what its name states that it is. We started with Bible Heroes, All Things Fun & Fascinating; Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales, and then jumped into the magnificent world of Structure & Style for Students. I love their theme based writing assignments especially when we can pair it to what we are studying in history or literature. But, the video based lessons are such a wonderful thing and my kids love Andrew Pudewa, doesn’t everyone? We also have used a little of their Fix-it! Grammar program, but they have totally revamped it and I’m curious about the new editions.

Student Structure & Style

RELATED: How to Teach Writing at Home (IEW®) {Review}

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Teaching Writing, Structure & Style {Review}

Fix It! Grammar The Nose Tree (IEW Grammar Curriculum) {Review}

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization (IEW) {Review}

TGTB Math 1

Now, Math and Science. I’ve already made a little bit of mentioning of this, let me really tell you. We have so many math curriculums that we have used and most we adore. I love Rod & Staff Mathematics that we started with under the recommendation of Memoria Press, it is solid straight forward, black and white with worksheets for extra practice. It has the best Preschool workbook in the A-B-C Preschool series “Counting with Numbers” and I will whole heartedly recommend it again and again. Math-U-See was nice when we used it for multiplication in their Gamma book, but it wasn’t our first choice and preference. I have a few of the teacher guides, and an unopened set of Geometry, but not other full sets. We loved The Good & Beautiful Math with all the biographies and manipulatives, but they have replaced it with Simply Good and Beautiful Math, which is wonderful, but different. My Kinder girl is doing great with numbers and jumped right into Simply Math K. My late elementary student loved the original Math 3, but wasn’t happy with Simply Math 4 and we decided to shelve it. My early elementary student loved the original Math K, Math 1, and he is almost completed with Math 2. We have Simply Math 3 ready and waiting for him when he gets to it, and since his sister quit Simply Math 4 about seven lessons in, we have that one for him too. He loves it. Starting at Level 4, there are optional video lessons to help as well.

Somewhere in our experience, we did use Math Lessons for a Living Education. The original versions were awesome. The new ones are gimicky junk and nowhere enough material. I wouldn’t recommend the new stuff, but if you can find some other versions, they are worthwhile and adorable. We also have used CTCMath as a supplement and my kiddos enjoyed it. I was never able to find myself willing to fully do an online math program, but we never had a problem with CTCMath and over the years that we used it they have added more and more good material.

RELATED: CTCMath Online Maths Tutor {Review, 4th Year}

Saxon Algebra 1

We did use Saxon Math 2 and 3 by requirement, back when we were in an online diploma program… that’s a whole ‘nother story. I do not like Saxon K-3 Math and will not recommend these to anyone ever. They are meant to be written in the style of Saxon, and they are not Saxon. They are full of busywork and boring as anything. We love Saxon Math once it gets to Saxon 5/4! I used Saxon when I was in middle school, I taught it when I was working at a cottage school, and have been waiting decades to introduce my own students to it. When my daughter moved to Saxon 5/4, her comprehension and standardized test scores shot up.

Through our experience, we have used Saxon Math 2, 3, 5/4, 6/5, and had 7/6 on stand-by but tested out of it quickly. We are currently using Saxon Algebra 1/2 (pre-Algebra), and fully plan to purchase Saxon Algebra 1 for the next year. When my second student was unhappy with the Simpy Good & Beautiful Math Level 4, she tried Saxon 5/4 and went strongly straight in. She is doing very well now and wants to keep up with it next year. I’m not sure if my middle son will keep with Simply Good & the Beautiful Math. Right now, he loves it (the original and Simply series) and there are Levels K-6 available. Math 7 & 8 are planned to be released in the next few years. So, time will tell what he does. The same goes with my Kinder, as she is loving Simply Math K. For years, we have included IXL practice in our math journey, and that will absolutely continue. All five children are working on it. The oldest two are a little behind my preference, but the youngest three are excelling.


Hmmm… Science! For years, I have been of the elementary science is interest based and passion led. At the end of middle school, I have been trying to be more diligent about it. Maybe I need to rethink this, as my oldest student is really balking at an organized plan for science, but she loves the idea of scientific occupations! We have piles of books as recommended from Memoria Press Enrichment K-2. Our shelves include three books from the Science in the Beginning elementary series from Dr. Jay Wile through Berean Builders and I’d like them all. They also include the original set of Apologia Exploring Creation Young Explorer Series and some of the new ones including the new Astronomy and Earth Science, we have the whole series. The Magic School Bus DVDs are a common seen thing on our TV and my kids are obsessed with Wild Kratts and any extreme documentaries they stumble across. I have two physical sets of older Good & Beautiful Science including Mammals and Energy; and, a few PDF downloads, which aren’t my style of material and I’ll probably forget they even exist. We have dozens of Magic School Bus books and their supplemental books, Discover and Find Out, and Seymour Simon, Gail Gibbons, and related readers. We have a couple Science Encyclopedia (and History Encyclopedias to mention it). Usborne, DK, and Kingfisher are all great brands.

Sonlight Science C

In more recent years, by my son who cannot get enough we started with Sonlight Science K, A, now B, C, and I have E, but the girls pulled away from it and went in different directions. There is a new D and E, but we don’t have those new ones as of yet. I love this version and reading and simple short worksheets. The new videos are also fabulous.

We have some of Memoria Press’ middle grades science readers and sets and they are a calm, very specific subject driven nature study. Through this, we also acquired Novare Earth Science, but my daughter wasn’t very impressed, which is probably more of a her issue, than book issue. Oh, we also have the Tiner Science books for reading. And as I mentioned before History of Science from both Beautiful Feet Books (4-7th) and Sonlight (7-10th), well I have the books from Sonlight, but not the guides, yet.

Berean Builders

Now, when it gets serious. We have the notorious Dr. Jay Wile vintage 2nd edition Apologia texts including General Science, Physical Science, Biology, and Physics. I have the audiobooks for General Science 2ed, as well as the new Apologia 3ed General Science, and Wile’s new Science in the Atomic Age. I do have Exploring Creation with General Science, 3rd Edition (Apologia) {Review} in the full set and like it as well, although this kid decided she liked the way Wile spoke in his writing more. We do have the new Apologia Physical Science 3ed, but it is new in package (paperback!) and I’m not sure we will ever use it. I also have my college textbooks including Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Psychology, and various Nursing texts. Right now, my daughter is leaning toward wanting the new Discovering Design series from Wile.


9th Grade: Discovering Design with Earth Science (need to source this), IXL Practice

6th Grade: continuing to work through the Apologia Exploring Creation books with Young Explorers notebooking journal, IXL

3rd Grade: keep trekking with Sonlight Science B, C, and maybe consider getting D

K6: TGTB Science for Little Hearts and Hands: Fields and Flowers and Beautiful Feet Books Seasons Afield 

P3: Magic School Bus DVDs and listening in with siblings

Seriously guys, I’ve been at this post all day. I’m sure I should have divided it up, but alas. I’m almost there. The last things on my spreadsheet of things to do or note… Great sources, ThriftBooks*,, Rainbow Resource, Seton Testing, and CLT exams. If you want to know about those, let me know.

The post The 2023-2024 Homeschool Orders have begun! appeared first on Creative Madness Mama.

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