This year, we are using the 3rd Grade Whole child, Healthy Planet Curriculum Guide from Global Village School as our springboard for homeschool. You can see what they are about by going to their website via the links. The curriculum is centered around the Earth Charter.
Global Village School can basically be as structured or as relaxed as you want it to be. There are many levels. You can buy the curriculum guide and use it as a reading list and starting point for your own style of homeschool, you can sign up for their "school" and have a teacher do all the organizing for you and do grades and all that, and you can pretty much do anything in between.
Basically, what I do is take the curriculum guide, which is exactly that, a 94 page "guide" giving you suggestions (most are very relaxed anyway!). They suggest ways to use the books, ways to expand your child's learning, they discuss GVS's learning philosophy. The entire guide takes the tone of "suggestions." Then I purchase or plan my library lists for the books. There are "core" books, which are the necessary ones, then there are recommended ones and optional ones, which you can use your discretion about using, depending on the type of home school you have (spelling and grammar, for example, not everyone teaches formally at these younger grades). After getting the books, or looking at them in the library, I decide how long to spend on each, how I want to use it, in what context, etc. I personally like to do the immersion project type things with my son, that's how he learns best. I plan about a week or two in advance, enough time to gather my materials but not too much time so I have to worry about glitches in schedules and falling behind. In the younger grades for GVS, there are no schedules in the curriculum guides, they leave it pretty relaxed so you can do what is best for your child, since their philosophy is 100% about getting your child to love learning. The guides also have suggestions for art and music, pretty much all the bases are covered I think. They even mention PE, one of the first guides I have seen to do so!
The curriculum guides seem expensive for what they are, but personally, I think they are worth it, simply because I love all the books they recommend, I love their philosophy, and I really want GVS to be there when my son is going to be older, in high school, when I plan on perhaps actually enrolling him (they offer a diploma program)! I really don't mind supporting them because they are one of the very few places I have found that shares my philosophy about homeschooling, and are tolerant of and encourage diversity and celebrating life and differences, truly helping others no matter who they are, etc.
I will be posting more in the future, as specific projects take shape. Our first project for the year is going to be about India. I have taken two of the books on GVS's reading list, and have collected resources around them from the internet and from the library. More on those later!