If you want a secular literature based homeschool program that is ready to use without tons of planning, I highly recommend Build Your Library. If you are like me, and love planning, then I recommend building your own library.
My eighth grade son is on track to read about 60 books this year. I read 15 books in February alone. When I started homeschooling a year ago, finding a literature based curriculum seemed like the best option. I looked at the book lists associated with a few different open and go literature based curriculum and then proceeded to create my own.
My eighth grade son has been studying US History this year. I purchased a plethora of books and then figured out how to break up the chapters to put them all in chronological order. My son has learned a lot from all this reading, but he needs to do more than just read. Early in the year, I started purchasing worksheets and other assignments from Teachers Pay Teachers to add to the books my son was reading. I fairly quickly realized that even at only a few dollars per worksheet, I was spending a lot of money on worksheets. I needed an actual curriculum, that would work with the stack of books I already had.
Build Your Library is one of the sites that I looked at when trying to decide what books to buy in the first place. Build Your Library is a secular literature based homeschool curriculum. US History is divided into two years and taught in 5th and 6th grade, then taught again in 12th grade. I was teaching all of US history in 8th grade, but didn’t decide I needed a curriculum until halfway through the year. So I purchased the 6th grade curriculum. It comes as a pdf lesson plan with weekly and daily breakdowns of reading assignments, associated writing assignments, projects, and even the occasional worksheet.
My son is not reading all the books included in the BYL Level 6 history curriculum, but he he’s reading a lot of them. Even reading them in a slightly different order and adding the writing assignments, projects, and worksheets included in the BYL program to my sons daily reading has greatly improved the quality of his history program.
Next year, this same son will be in 9th grade. I have already purchased both the Build Your Library Level 7 and Build Your Library Level 9. He is going to complete a lot of the BLY Level 7 as an elective (Geography and World Cultures), and he is going to combine parts of the BYL Level 9 science and history into his science course. When it comes to language arts and history, the main heart of the BYL program, I’m going in a very different direction than either of the BYL courses I’ve purchased. I’m creating my own World Literature course for language arts, and my own World History course for history. A few of these titles I pulled off the reading list from BYL Level 10, but I feel no need to purchase that curriculum.
The Build Your Library curriculum is relatively inexpensive. Purchasing all the books can get pricy, but the lesson plan is very affordable. I’m sure there are lots of people who want a secular literature based program and enjoy following the Build Your Library curriculum exactly. I’m not one of those people. I really enjoy researching titles and considering my child’s interests when developing my own curriculum. But I’m also really glad I have a BYL writing assignments, projects, and worksheets to use where they fit both this year and next.
If your student enjoys reading as much as mine, I highly recommend building your own library.