An Unsolicited & Honest Review of Gather Round Homeschool Curriculum

August 19, 2020

Carrie Fernandez


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

I have been homeschooling for going on 16 years now and have tried a lot of different curricula along the way. When a new product comes out – all shiny and new (such as Gather Round Homeschool), I sometimes jump too quickly and make a wrong choice, resulting in lots of bookshelves with unused homeschool books.

spiral homeschool books on a table

UPDATE: If you want to hear what I think after using Gather Round Homeschool for a full homeschool year, read “Is Gather Round Really Enough?

Gather Round Homeschool

If you are reading this post, you have likely searched for Gather Round homeschool reviews. This review may be different than other reviews because I poured a ton of time into it without ANY compensation from Gather Round Homeschool. It can be hard to tell if a review is an honest review sometimes if it is sponsored. I always look for “verified purchase” on Amazon reviews, so I totally get it.

For our daughter’s sixth grade homeschool curriculum, we have decided to use Gather Round Homeschool by Rebecca Spooner of Homeschool On. This review is not a sponsored review, nor solicited, and I paid for it (big price tag and all!). Read on to find out what I think after using it for a month.

How does Gather Round Homeschool work?

You may be wondering “What is Gather Round Homeschool?” Gather Round Homeschool takes a unit study approach and can be used with all your children at the same time without using a ton of different books.

The idea is to gather around the dinner table for family school. If you have multiple children that you are homeschooling, this is something that most likely appeals to you.

What’s it Look Like?

I am a sucker for pretty curriculum and boy, this is pretty. The graphics throughout the teacher’s guide and student books are superb and beautifully designed.

If you know me, you will know I don’t use nor like teacher’s guides for most things. I promise it’s not what you think, so be sure to read my comments below to understand why I like Gather Round Homeschool teacher’s guide.

Is Gather Round Homeschool Worth the Price?

If you are like most homeschool moms, you stumbled upon this review to help you decide if this curriculum is worth the price. 

I am not going to lie, it’s expensive. I don’t think I have ever spent so much on homeschooling curriculum in my life, however I only have two kids and they are eight years apart; our oldest graduated our homeschool in 2018. I too wondered if it was way too much, but in the end I decided to use it for sixth grade.

Gather \'Round Homeschool Curriculum text with image background of various homeschool workbooks spread out

Gather Round Homeschool Review

After stumbling across a sample of the Gather Round Homeschool’s Africa unit and looking at it a dozen or so times on my computer, I printed off the sample week to use with my 5th grade daughter. Before purchasing it, I wanted to make sure it was a good fit.

We needed a breather in our homeschool because we were butting heads a lot and I thought this might be a good time to try something new. I used the middle school notebook with her so I could get a good feel for what 6th grade would be like.

After our sample week had ended we were hooked. My daughter had the sparkle in her eyes again about learning. I was looking forward to “teaching” Gather Round Homeschool to her. That says a lot. I purchased the full Africa unit in digital format and used it for the last month of our homeschool year.

Gather Round Homeschool

Let’s take a look at what Gather Round Homeschool so you can determine if it could work for your family. Are you ready, homeschool mom?

What subjects does Gather Round Homeschool  cover?

Gather Round Homeschool is supposed to be everything you need to teach all subjects to your children in grades K-12, except math. This may very well be true for some families, but not so much mine; there are some things we will be adding. I will explain more below.

We have only completed the Africa unit at this point, but from what I understand all units are pretty much laid out in the same format. The first year includes ten units that have 20 lessons each. I don’t know about your homeschool, but we don’t complete 200 lessons in a homeschool year, so our goal is to complete 8 units for 6th grade.

10 Units

It’s intended for you to explore a different topic each month, which I enjoyed. I think overall the units cover interesting topics. A year of units in regard to the package is 10 for the entire school year.

There are five units based on continents that will be heavy in geography and five units that are based more on science topics. They all weave in the same subjects with a focus on the topic of the unit. You can use them in any order, which I think is a huge benefit!

Giving my daughter a choice on the order in which we complete each unit is a definite plus to her and makes her feel more in control of what she is learning throughout our homeschool day.

I also think that choosing the units in order of your children’s interest gets them more excited about learning

Gather Round Homeschool Year One Units:

  1. North American Birds
  2. Asia
  3. Space
  4. Europe
  5. Oceans
  6. Africa
  7. Earth Science
  8. North America
  9. Human Body
  10. South America

Since we have already completed the Africa unit, I had her select 8 units that she wanted to do in 6th grade. She opted to skip over North American Birds, which I am pretty sad about.

What we thought about the Gather Round Homeschool Africa unit:

Visually, this is the most appealing curriculum I have used thus far. As I mentioned above, the graphics are stunning. It’s very easy to use and you can just open it and go.

If you know anything about my homeschool teaching style, you will recall I am HUGE on open and go curriculum, which is why we have created our Daily Skill Building Series, which I plan to continue using alongside Gather Round Homeschool.

We learned a ton doing the unit on Africa. I discovered that I would love to visit this beautiful continent one day. I also learned I like African music – totally reminded me of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The animals we discovered were simply breathtaking; I had never heard of some of them!

We learned a lot about Africa’s history, some of it was heartbreaking. We took some rabbit trails and watched videos of Victoria Falls on YouTube and went on virtual safaris.

We found some videos of animals and penguins in Africa (yes, I said penguins!) and I about freaked out over the Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

Did you know Freddie Mercury from Queen was born in Zanzibar and that Zanzibar is super amazing looking with lush resorts? Me neither! So, as you can see, we loved our African learning adventure.

Gather Round Homeschool Subjects

If you are new to the unit study way of homeschooling, you might be wondering what subjects Gather Round Homeschool covers. Let’s look!

What subjects does Gather Round Homeschool cover?

So, onto the individual subjects. I used the middle school level student notebook, so please keep that in mind as you read my review.

There are five different student notebooks that all come in one digital download (one price, you get them all!). If you purchase printed student books you have to select the level individually for the same price.

Here are the student notebook levels included in the digital download, all for one price; great if you have multiple children in different grades.

  • early readers
  • early elementary
  • upper elementary
  • middle school
  • high school

I snapped a picture of some of the insides of the middle school student notebooks so you can get an idea of what it looks like. You can find full samples of Earth Science, Africa, and a Canada mini-unit on the Gather ‘Round website.

six image examples of worksheets

Each day in the unit on Africa I read an overview of the country from the teacher’s guide. We labeled a giant map with the country name and any country that we learned about previously.

By the end of the unit we could both label every country we learned about in Africa by memory (there were 19 countries covered in the unit). We haven’t memorized the locations of most of the other countries though, sadly.

Following the introduction, we read about a featured landmark/location as well as animals, food, history, and culture found in the specific country we were studying.

The teacher’s guide contains the main text for the above topics as well as beautiful, full-color graphics and extension ideas. Sometimes we went off on our own side adventures and other times we followed the suggestions. We were always thrilled with what we discovered though!

Take a look at the inside of a few of the Gather Round Homeschool teacher’s guides (you can also view full samples on a few different units).

eight image examples of worksheets

After you read through the sections, the teacher’s guide breaks down what each student will do in their notebooks by grade level. You do not need to gather anything; it’s all in the student notebook. Gather Round Homeschool really is all-inclusive. The text is included. The notebooks are included. You do not have to hunt for suplies.That was what sealed the deal for me!

Gather Round Homeschool Subjects Broken Down

Learn a little more about what the individual subjects in Gather Round Homeschool look like.

Geography/Social Studies

The geography notebook section involves basic map work such as labeling the countries and capital cities, coloring the flag, and jotting down some interesting facts on a particular subject.

I think we would have liked this notebook page better if my daughter could have written down whatever facts she found interesting rather than the specific topic suggested. It’s just one featured box though, so it’s really not a huge deal.


The African unit focuses on animals for science. You can use the text you read from the teacher’s guide to fill out most of the information on the animal’s diet, life cycle, habitat, facts, etc. but we chose to do further research and look up videos and images online to find out more.

Did you know there are over a dozen animals found ONLY in Africa? Yep, super interesting to learn about these beautiful creatures. You will also learn about habitats in the science section.

Language Arts

Okay folks, here’s where I am super iffy on the language arts portion as all-inclusive. We are an Easy Grammar family and I am very focused on teaching my children great grammar skills. Because of this, I found the language arts portion to be lacking.

The student notebook pages that were included were so below my daughter’s ability that I just threw them away. That sounds harsh, but I am not one for busy work and she learned about sentence structure years ago.

Supplementing Language Arts

Because we are looking forward to a relaxed homeschool year using Gather ‘Round and I feel my daughter’s grammar skills are far beyond what is taught in this curriculum, we are going to use Daily Grams for daily review, rather than the full Easy Grammar curriculum.

Combined with the writing and research she will do with Gather ‘Round I feel like it will be enough for her.Now, your family may be different and the language arts portion could totally work for you.

If you do the language arts notebooking pages and you read over and correct the research papers, have your students take notes (my daughter took notes while I read the text), and take the time to work on spelling mistakes, you may be good to go. I will leave that up to you.

The spelling included was a word here and there and not anything I would consider a spelling curriculum. With that said, we love using Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary and Spelling for the simplicity (one page a day) and will continue using it alongside Gather ‘Round.


We really enjoyed the missionary stories (classified as social studies), but the Scripture copywork and reflection alone is not enough of a Bible “curriculum” for us. This year we are using Not Consumed Bible Studies as well as our devotionals.


I discovered I LOVE history after using The Mystery of History years ago. It is super fascinating to me and I enjoy learning about every aspect of it. My youngest daughter, not so much. No matter what we have used, she has never really enjoyed learning about history.

With that said, we both found the extra history that is included in the student notebook for middle school to be dreadfully boring in the Africa unit. It taught about World War I and II in disjointed sections. It doesn’t flow chronologically or go together well at all in my opinion.

We have covered a lot of history in our years of homeschooling, so I plan to just do some additional research on history topics we find interesting that go along with the unit we are studying for sixth grade. I don’t want to have to add in another full curriculum; I am trying to simplify here!

Thoughts on the other units

Since I started this post I have received my curriculum box from Gather Round Homeschool with the units we plan to complete for sixth grade:

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

I have to say – WOW! I am looking forward to this homeschool year so much. I was very happy to see that some of the units didn’t have boring history lessons like what we experienced in the Africa unit.

For instance, the Space unit covers interesting history topics such as Galileo Galilei, Vincent van Gogh, ancient astronomy, Andrew Carnegie, and more, including some economics type social studies lessons.

Gather Round Homeschool Final Thoughts

  • We are thrilled to use Gather Round this year for 6th grade. We will add in Daily Grams, Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary and Spelling, and Not Consumed Bible Studies as well as a math curriculum, which is not included. We are a Teaching Textbooks family because, well, I need a math teacher!
  • I love that it’s truly all-inclusive. I don’t have to buy a dozen books and we can go to the library searching for extras that we want to read.
  • It’s straight-up beautiful, seriously.
  • If you have several children it is more cost-effective and you can do it all together!
  • If you have one child only, like me, I recommend buying the printed books. It  came out to less even with shipping than having them printed.
  • If you need some affordable printing suggestions check out this post.

How much does Gather Round Homeschool cost?

It has a hefty price tag at $499.50 for a full year (10 units), but keep in mind that it can be used with all your kids in K-12. The printed units are purchased individually, however they are not currently available (8/20) due to an influx of orders (so glad I purchased mine early).

When you compare prices with other all-in-one curriculum available and consider the need to purchase extra books, etc. with various programs, I think it’s a justifiable expense.

If we love our homeschool year as much as we did the Africa unit, it is money well-spent for sure. If you have multiple children, it can be more cost-effective as you are not purchasing for individual grade levels.

There is a Gather Round Facebook Community that you can join and observe before taking the plunge. You can also download a full week of Africa and Earth Science to see if this curriculum would work for your family.

Gather Round Curriculum FAQ

If you are looking into Gather Round Homeschool Curriculum, then you may have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about Gather Round.

Is Gather Round Homeschool Mormon?

Gather Round is a faith-based Christian homeschool curriculum. It’s not Mormon, and I you can read all about their statement of faith on their website.

Is Gather Round Charlotte Mason?

The author and creator of GR, Rebecca Spooner suggests it’s a Charlotte Mason style family curriculum. For staunch CM’ers, you’d probably not classify this as a Charlotte Mason curriculum. In my opinion, it’s more of a unit study style curriculum that has a Charlotte Mason flair to it.

Is Gather Round homeschool Canadian?

The Gather Round family and company are based in Canada, but I wouldn’t classify this curriculum as a Canadian Curriculum. There is a mini-unit on Indigenous People, which is a Canadian unit.

Is Gathering Round free?

Gather Round Homeschool Curriculum is NOT free, however you can download some free samples. This curriculum is costly, as you read above.

How do you use Gather Round Homeschool?

It was different for our family than others because I used Gather Round with only one child. I suspect if you have multiple children, you’ll all sit around the table and take turns reading aloud the text, and then the children will work independently on their student notebooks.

There are some groups who gather as a co-op to use this in a group setting. That would be fun!

2022 Update: Additional Units Now Available

There are now two years of fully-completed units available to purchase. Year three is being released monthly, starting in August.

Year One Gather Round Units:

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

Year Two Gather Round Units:

  • Antarctica
  • Australia and Oceania
  • Artists
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • Inventions and ideas
  • Transportation
  • Botany
  • Career and Trades
  • Creepy Crawly Things
  • Farming and Food

Year Three Gather Round Units (available for release throughout 2022):

  • August: Living off the Land (Homesteading, canning, dehydrating)
  • September: Dinosaurs (with a Creation focus)
  • December: Psychology and the mind (behavior, cognition, dreams, development, the brain, and more)
  • January: Entrepreneurship (math, business)
  • March: Vikings
  • End of April: Real Life Chemistry
  • End of May: Medieval Times
  • End of June: National Parks of North America (camping, survival, ecosystems, animals)
  • End of July: Sports and PE

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a core curriculum for your entire family and you enjoy using unit studies, then Gather Round Homeschool could be a game changer for you. It’s the perfect way to combine younger kids and older kids into one family learning experience.

You can hop around based on your children’s interest and even do extra mini units along the way. You can plan field trips around your units and explore more books based on topics that your children enjoy.

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