Illuminations Curriculum Outline

Illuminations Year 1

I was given Illuminations Year 1 and was compensated for my time in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Illuminations Curriculum

Here you will find an outline of what Illuminations Curriculum Year 1 looks like put together. In my next post, I will share the hands-on activities that surround each subject and the benefit they offer my daughter as she works through Illuminations Curriculum.

The Mystery of History

The heart of Illuminations is The Mystery of History. Year 1 of Illuminations takes us from creation to the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Mystery of History is essentially a textbook. On their own, I am not terribly fond of textbooks. But there are now two that I enjoy and are well written, not merely spouting off facts. Mystery of History is one of them. The text is engaging and a kind of pre-cursor to reading living books that correlate with the lessons.

So, while my daughter is reading lessons on Creation she's also reading relative Literature, such as Adam and His Kin. When she reads about ancient Egypt, she's also reading Mummies and Pyramids. I see Mystery of History as a way of "whetting the appetite" for further learning; to want to go deeper. In the Appendix is a list of living books you can include with the lessons.

For my daughter, who is older (11), I choose one or two books as mandatory reading. For younger children, I think the text could stand alone, and you could have a "book box" that includes the selections listed in the appendix for the lessons, and simply encourage the children to read them, rather than make it mandatory.

The Mystery of History also includes a number of ways to interact with and reinforce the lessons. You don't need to do ALL of the suggestions. But picking 2 or 3 might be a good idea. We have chosen to do the memory cards, timeline, and crafts.

The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide

The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide


This book is packed with goodness! I am fortunate to have children who love to study geography and my eldest just can't get enough. There are so many activities to choose from, no one should attempt to do all of them {in one year} for the sanity of you and your children!

This book teaches both the teacher and the student how to learn geography in a variety of settings. Whether you learn it through a curriculum or by itself (just geography).

I love the flexibility of this guide, though. I can jump around to where I want, to correlate with whatever we're studying should I choose to work from a more unit study method.

The section on timelines teaches about two different ways to create and keep a timeline. This is one area I lacked as a teacher and sorely wanted to tap into.

There are tips and ideas for how to create and keep a timeline. We've decided to keep one timeline for all levels, in one, large binder and use dividers for each time period. This book even offers a template and figures to include in your notebook! 

Hands-on Geography

Hands On Geography

This book goes beyond the map. While maps are a large part of geography (obviously), there is a depth to geography that is often missed. Geography brings history to a greater depth and it offers perspective as we study mission work, nature, and read biographies.

Hands-On Geography offers the study of geography within different parameters, such as studying the migration and habitat of birds, Christmas Around the World, Literature (Around the World in Eighty Days) , plus several others. This will certainly spark your own ideas, too!

The Christmas Around the World section invites children to read the Christmas story from the Bible and locate the places mentioned in the passage.

Then it has the children learn about Christmas traditions in different countries and cultures.

Christian Kids Explore Biology

I gave my daughter the option to choose whether she wanted to do Christian Kids Explore Biology or Apologia. She's loves them both so much that she chose to do both of them. I know, crazy isn't it?! That's the beauty of allowing some freedom of choice in homeschooling. Sometimes, our children can surprise us! Why not allow them to learn more of what they love?

The lessons in here are simple, but offer a rich learning experience with hands-on activities.

For example, the lesson on fruits and vegetables teaches the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, explains how seeds travel, and offer students the opportunity to explore their environment and look for seeds. They then would compare the similarities and differences. Furthermore, the children can then make a collage out of their seed collection.

The section with the hands-on activity has the children "dissect" fruits and vegetables, which engages more of their senses to really solidify the lesson. So, they gather 3-4 different fruits, and 3-4 different vegetables, cut them all open and compare the insides. They are also encouraged to taste each one and note each characteristic.

There is so much they are learning within one lesson!

Literature books are also a part of this curriculum, but the books are bought separately. We purchase ours as we make our way through the curriculum. Right now my daughter is reading The Golden Goblet.

Included lessons plans:

  • Bible reading
  • Copy work
  • Natural Speller
  • Write Shop 1 and Foundations to Writing
  • English From the Roots Up
  • Grammar (Choose 1): Winston Grammar or Easy Grammar
  • Supplemental Resource Ideas
  • Plus an early learners schedule


Illuminations is an all-inclusive curriculum, which means you can teach several levels simultaneously.

We are really enjoying it and I look forward to sharing all of our hands on goodness in my next post. Watch for it at the end of October!

Check out Illuminations here.

Check out their schedule interface (read: all lesson plans completed for you)!