Are you curious about The Precious People curriculum for older elementary aged homeschoolers? This review shares our first few weeks with the curriculum, how I’m organizing the materials, and our thoughts so far.
When I chose to switch up curriculum this coming school year, I struggled with what curriculum to use that would feel slow and steady and yet challenging enough for my middle kids. I happened upon The Peaceful Press in the spring, and was impressed with The Peaceful Preschool (Read my Review of The Peaceful Preschool here.) After getting a free sample of The Precious People, I decided this was exactly in lines with the gentle, Charlotte Mason style approach I wanted to take with school this year.
Related podcast: Making Major Changes in Your Homeschool
The Precious People is a world history survey with elements of church history, art study, copywork, and good old fashioned family activities and read alouds. The download for the curriculum comes with several files: The Parent’s Guide, Readings, Student Sheets, Recipes, and you can add on the Saints Cards and Timeline Cards as well.
I chose to send the The Parent’s Guide and the Readings off to The Homeschool Printing Company to be printed, covered, and spiral-bound. I printed the Art prints at home and laminated them, and will be doing the same with the Saints and Timeline cards.
Get the laminator I use HERE!
After much contemplating, I decided to do this curriculum first thing in the morning as a Morning Basket daily activity as the author suggests. I wanted to incorporate some other Charlotte Mason lessons into the plan as well, and I wanted to include all my children in most of the curriculum. That means everyone from age 3 through 17 gathers at the table to start the day out! It was a little rocky at first, but after a couple of weeks of tweaks, it all worked out seamlessly! (I’ll write more extensively on how I use The Precious People with multiple ages and our Morning Basket time in other posts, but you’ll get a little taste of it from the sticky notes in the photos.)
Like the other Peaceful Press curricula, The Precious People has a Supplies List, a Weekly Lesson Grid, and then a Daily Schedule in the Parent’s Guide. These are a guideline, not a rule or written in an order you must follow without deviation. In fact, I often switch things around, remove entire lessons, and add in other things to suit my style (as you will see from the sticky notes scattered throughout my daily lesson plans!). That said, you can simply use the curriculum “as is” and never touch a thing.
I mention in my video review of The Precious People that some activities may seem beneath your older kids, and you can choose to simply put those at the end of Morning Time and dismiss your older children before you continue with your younger crew, or remember that sometimes even “little kid” activities can be fun for older children! My older kids love to reminisce about when they did some of these activities years ago, and as I mentioned in my review of A Year of Playing Skillfully, my middle children missed out on a lot of these “little kid” activities and I have enjoyed giving them some of that childhood back.
In the grid above, you’ll see that the Bible reading comes from The Gospel Story Bible. This devotional is definitely too young for my 12 – 17 year olds, so I chose to put the Bible reading at the end of Morning Time, so I could dismiss them and send them off to do their own Bible Study. You can see the order I have chosen for activities on the sticky notes in my Daily Lesson Plans below:
These sticky notes also include the other Charlotte Mason elements I have added into our Morning Time. If you are doing the curriculum without a lot of variety of ages, you can follow the order in which it is written, but I needed to change things up to accommodate my older kids. You may also want to split things between a Morning Time and an Afternoon Tea Time or do it all in the afternoon like I talk about in my book Flexible Homeschool Planning.
I did not chose to flag this curriculum the way I did The Peaceful Preschool. Instead, I just have the paper clip (from my Grace Notes Scripture Memory Subscription) to hold my place in the book. You could flag the weeks to make it a little easier to find your place, but I still recommend using a paper clip to keep track of where you are in the daily lessons.
What I love about The Precious People curriculum
*It’s open and go. There is very little planning that needs to be done. The supplies list rarely includes anything but household supplies you probably already have on hand. The only reason I have any real planning to do with this curriculum is because I’m adding in extra things like Shakespeare and Hymn Studies, so that’s on me.
*There are lists of books to help stretch the curriculum for multiple ages. I use the book list to give my older kids books to read to supplement what they are learning, and there are books for all the other ages as well. I like that Jennifer thought to include these!
*The recipes! One of my favorite parts of the curricula from The Peaceful Press are the recipes you get to make as a family!
*The gentle and relational approach to schooling this curriculum takes. I have never been much for rigor in our homeschool. I believe the best education comes from long conversations and engaging with the material being taught. The Precious People does just that.
Don’t buy The Precious People if…
*You want a boxed curriculum with all subjects and books included. If you need everything delivered to your doorstep, this is not the curriculum for you. You will need to add in Math, Phonics, and potentially some Science. It is a pdf download, so you will need to either use it from your device or print it out or send it off to be printed. No books are included, so you either need to borrow or buy the suggestions (and you do not need to use only their suggestions – the curriculum does not depend on a certain book being used). I found some great deals on many of the books at Amazon, and you can get many of these titles at your local library.
*You don’t like downloadable curriculum. Although this curriculum is VERY printer friendly (other than the Art Study pages), not everyone likes pdf’s. However, the price is right ($49), and for just a bit extra, you can have it bound like I did.
*You don’t want any extras this coming school year. You might be in a place where you need to focus solely on Math and Phonics. If that’s where you are, then I recommend you spend your money and energy there, and wait a bit to add in anything else.
*You want a rigorous homeschool schedule. The Precious People is not the curriculum for you if you are looking for a lot of memorization, writing, and deep studies of world history and the church. It’s more like an introduction or survey, and is more focused on relationships and activities than rigorous seatwork.
Frankly, I am very excited to have found this curriculum, and the more we dig in, the more I like it! The children have really taken to it, and just feels like a good fit for the slower pace I wanted to take this year. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask, and I’ll do my best to answer or point you in the right direction!