2021-2022 Master Books Curriculum Picks - $400 Budget - K-3rd grade - Affordable Homeschooling


Picking your #homeschoolcurriculum is a huge task, that can seem overwhelming. When your child's education rests on your shoulders it can feel like quite the undertaking.

Personally, I love picking curricula. I love researching and perusing samples and planning out years to come. But more than that, I love when we find a good fit, and I am so looking forward to our 2021-2022 year because we've found different series that have really worked well for our family.

We started our homeschool journey using Sonlight, and a few other resources. We found Master Books a couple years ago. Subject after subject I found us switching over, and this coming academic year we are exclusively using Master Books resources. I love that Master Books is a trusted resource for our family that I can find several different choices for various subjects. This fits perfectly with our eclectic style.

Ok, so our picks for the 2021-2022 school year, exclusively using Master Books! I have 3 school age, and a tag along toddler who listens in. We spent roughly $400 and have math, language arts, history, art, and science covered. These are our picks for third, second, and kinder (ish) ranges. One thing I love about MB is the ability to pick leveled courses based on skill rather than age or grade. So you'll notice a mix of levels that may not necessarily line up with grade, and that's totally ok!

Family Style Subjects

With multiple children I find it easier to teach some subjects as a group. I teach to my oldest, and adapt lessons for the younger children as needed. Very one room school house style.

Our family subject courses this year are...

Art: Living Art Lessons by Savannah Barclay

This course is geared towards students who are a bit older than my children, but my two oldest are very art inclined and I feel they are ready. I purchased two Artist Journals so they could each have their own. The younger kids may listen in, but won't participate much in this course.

History: America's Story 1 by Angela O'Dell

In the past we've used Sonlight cores for history and this last year I pieced together our history using Story of the World and Mystery of History which admittedly worked fine, but was a ton of work! We will be using America's Story as a read aloud, and my oldest will be completing the worksheets. I will pick and choose assignments for my second oldest, but plan to have her use narration and note booking more than the student worksheets included in this course. I also chose to purchase the timeline pack, and it is beautiful! I highly recommend snagging that affordable resource!

UPDATE: I originally only purchase one Teacher's Guide and planned to make copies for each child. That lasted a week or so! Ha! Too labor intensive for my liking. I now have a Teacher Guide for each child. I did the same thing for each Family Style subject.

Science: Elementary Zoology

Again, this course is intended for a higher grade range than my children, but my oldest two have an aptitude for science and really wanted to do this course this year. I will adjust assignments as necessary, but after looking through the workbook, feel that this course will be suited fine for them. My younger two will listen in and participate where they can. This was a bit of a splurge compared to the other courses, coming in around $100, but the value is definitely there. (And if we're being honest this is very budget friendly in the vast expanse of the homeschool curricula world). The books included in this course are beautiful, and my kids spent hours looking through them the day they arrived. #homeschoolwin

That wraps up our "one room schoolhouse" subjects. On to individual subjects - the three "R's" as they are called. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

Third Grade Picks

E will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 4 and Language Lessons for a Living Education Level 3. We love both of these series. E started the Math Lessons series in Level 2 (affectionately called "doggy math") and we have seen massive improvements in skills, retention, and enjoyment while using this series. I'm sold! She used Basic Language Skills (which has been revamped into Language Lessons level 1, and is currently using Language Lessons Level 2). Again, we've seen the same type of improvements in skills, retention, and enjoyment while using this series. If anyone has questioned if either of these series are "enough" let me just tell you for us they most certainly have been! I've found them to be developmentally appropriate, and find my kids meeting the same milestones as their peers. (Informally observing them with Sunday school peers, sports team mates, and friends).

Second Grade Picks

R will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 3 and Language Lessons for a Living Education Level 2. Similarly she has been using both of these series for a while now and is thriving. She started in "piggy math" (Level 1) and is progressing through level 2 currently. R says she is sad to leave Level 1 of the Language Lessons series, but only because she's convinced the cartoon on the cover was modeled after her! haha

Kinder Picks

M is currently using Simply K and Math Lessons Level K at a slow pace. I don't push school with her (she is 5). She'll move on to Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 1 and Foundations Phonics and we plan to still move gently. We plan to use the full year schedule for Foundations Phonics instead of the semester option. We've done both Foundations Phonics and Language Lessons Level 1 in the past, and the full year option worked great for us. Many other families choose to use Phonics and Language Lessons Level 1 as a year course for first grade, and I've heard that works well too!

We've found Master Books to be very easy to use- truly open and go. And talk about minimalist friendly. Our entire coursework for 3 children fits on a single shelf with room to spare!

If this whole post, and the fact that we've selected Master Books courses exclusively, doesn't portray a raving review then let me clear that up! We LOVE Master Books (and no this is not sponsored in any way. 100% honesty from one homeschool mom to another!) Personally I haven't found any other publisher that offers a more theologically sound, apologetics focused, developmentally appropriate, eclectic and varied curricula.

Until next time, Happy Schooling!