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Why We Love Gather ‘Round Homeschool

Because we have followed after what delights our children, I was looking around for something that would build upon our 7yo’s passion for Big Cats. I have followed Rebecca from Homeschool On for years and, when I saw that one of the units of her new curriculum – Gather ‘Round Homeschool – was on Africa, I trialed the free sample.

Within a day, I knew it was perfect for us, so I purchased the whole unit.

And then, within a few weeks, I knew that the whole concept and design of the curriculum was perfect for us as well – so I purchased the entire Year 1! We are absolutely sold on this curriculum for the foreseeable future.

If you haven’t heard about GRH, I would love to share about it because it has been the biggest blessing of our homeschool journey so far.

What is Gather ‘Round Homeschool?

GRH was designed by Rebecca Spooner, a homeschooling mother of five from Canada. After years of trialing all sorts of curriculum and styles, she was tired and drained. She felt that she was constantly jumping between children, trying to give them her best, yet feeling like they never accomplished anything, while the house fell by the wayside.

Oneday, God gave her a vision for a homeschool life. She saw the whole family, with all the children at different ages and stages, gathered around learning the same thing – but then the children having their own resources to work on it at their level.

Very quickly, her first unit – North American Birds – was released and, well, the rest was history (and a complete success and whirlwind!). GRH has now become more than a curriculum, it is a whole community. There is an app, Facebook pages, and there has even been an online conference. Amazing!

How Does it Work?

There are ten units for Year 1:

  • North American Birds
  • Asia
  • Space
  • Europe
  • Oceans
  • Africa
  • Earth Science
  • North America
  • Human Body
  • South America

Year 2 has now started being released, as well as the preschool/kindergarten curriculum for learning to read.

As the teacher, you will have your own Teachers Book to teach from. Your children will then have their own workbook to do their activities in after the daily reading. The curriculum can include all of your children. Yes, that is right.

GRH can be a full curriculum for your Preschooler (which will be released soon), Pre-Reader, Early Reader, Early Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School. (Currently, the only subject not included is Math. This will be in the works in the future.)

Gather around your table, or floor, or couch, and enjoy learning together.

How We Gather Round

The best piece of advice I have been given about curriculum is to use it as a tool, and not be used by it. I took that to heart when we started GRH during lockdown, and I think that is why it has been such a success for us.

Firstly, we don’t follow the suggested schedule. We spread the twenty lessons out over six or so weeks, rather than trying to complete it within the suggested four/five weeks. This gives us time – time to enjoy the different lessons, follow rabbit trails, and enjoy ourselves. We don’t feel pressured to rush through each lesson in order to finish the unit “in time”.

Secondly, I don’t always get the children to do everything in their workbooks nor do I always read everything in the teacher’s notebook. Some topics just won’t interest the children, or are not as applicable for us here in New Zealand.

Thirdly, I use GRH as a “spine” for our lessons, but I add other things. I add in Morning Basket, read alouds, extra language arts, as well as math. This curriculum is enrichment for us, and makes our learning fuller rather than being the learning completely.

Lastly, I branch out each lesson with living books and lots of related YouTube videos. This creates variety and helps with the different learning stlyes between the children.

Why We Love It

I love GRH because of how I use it with the children. I feel like it is a peg in our learning life that we keep hanging really interesting things on. And that is why the children love it – the topics are interesting.

Whether the focus is geography, or animals, or science, or one of the new lessons in Year 2 like Artists – the scope and breadth of topics keeps my young children interested and eager to know more. GRH gets children and their love for fascinating subjects, strange places, weird animals, and incredible facts about God’s Creation.

I also love the faith aspect that threds through the lessons – both in copywork and Mission Focus. These often add new trails of conversations and thoughts about theology that are a real blessing to our learning time.

Our Future With GRH

We will end the year with GRH as our main spine for our lessons. Next year, however, I am planning on using the different units as our Nature Study or Geography subjects.

I have always loved Charlotte Mason and her philosophy of education, and now that we are moving into formal learning (see this post where I explain why we are no longer unschooling), I want to slowly implement her principles more and more.

So, for example, when we begin our new year of school in February 2021, we will use the Oceans unit as the basis of our Nature Study lessons. Another term we will use the South America unit for Geography.

Once again, I am using this amazing curriculum to suit our family. And I think this is the heart of Rebekah and her ministry with Gather ‘Round – a curriculum to bless each family, to suit each family.

Some criticisms I have heard about it, I believe, stem from a family not applying the curriculum to their family situation. If we follow another curriculum, or schedule, or philosophy to a “T” without taking into consideration our family dynamics and season of life, then we’re not being wise about what we have or who we are.

Check out Gather ‘Round Homeschool here, see families on the IG hashtag or find more reviews on YouTube.

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4 responses to “Why We Love Gather ‘Round Homeschool”

  1. […] out my last post if you want to know why we love Gather ‘Round Homeschool and how, in general, I make it work […]

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  2. […] just such a blessing to us and is definitely what God wants us to continue in. I have reviewed it here and shared how I planned our Oceans unit here. We are working through Year 1 at our own pace, but […]

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  3. […] Why We Love Gather ‘Round Homeschool […]

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  4. […] can see why we love Gather ‘Round Homeschool here, and how I planned our Oceans Unit here. We have completed these units, too (although I […]

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