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I don’t know about you, but I have come to rely heavily on a product’s reviews when I’m making a purchase. Even while cruising around Wal-Mart I often catch myself thinking “hmm, I wonder how many stars this has compared to that other brand”. Kinda nerdy, but I’m okay with that. It was no different when I began looking for our kindergarten homeschool curriculum.
I had one close friend that I went to with my homeschool questions. Other than that, I trusted Christianbook.com’s product descriptions and customer reviews. Their descriptions are detailed and usually include a few page views from inside the books. Which I like because it lets you feel like you are actually in a bookstore flipping through a book (nerd alert).
And yes, even Pinterest (what isn’t Pinterest good for?). There are so many mommas who have shared what they use in their homeschools (as well as things that haven’t worked so well).
Hopefully my post will be helpful in your family’s homeschool journey as well!
Let’s backtrack a second and start with where Miss C stood academically when we started kindergarten.
She had already learned the basics in our homeschool preschool; including identifying letters, shapes, colors, counting to 20, writing her name, etc.
At the start of kindergarten she was five, turning six halfway through the school year – so we call this her K5 year.
For kindergarten I wanted something that would hold Miss C’s attention, be challenging, and still be fun. I wasn’t able to find an entire curriculum set that did that for all of the subjects at a kindergarten level. So I decided to mix n match to make our own.
Plan your homeschool year with this FREE printable!
What We Are Using
The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer has been my go to when it comes to the structure of our homeschool. It was passed on to me from a dear friend. She used it for her daughters, and recommended it as a starting point for me. In it, Susan Wise Bauer lays out the basics for each grade. Including the order that lessons be taught and the amount of time each day to devote to each subject. She helps you connect the academic lessons with the Biblical lessons.
Thanks to this book I had a healthy starting point to build my homeschool kindergarten.
First, I made a list of the subjects that needed to be covered, and then tackled each one individually.
Note in regards to record keeping: Here in Pennsylvania we are not required to register with our local school district until our kids turn 8 (third grade). That being said, I still keep track of Miss C’s work and attendance in a portfolio/binder for our records (see how here).
This area covers reading, handwriting, and grammar. Language Arts and Math are the most important topics for this grade.
We use the Explode The Code series for grammar. It has short one page exercises, no teacher manual required. For the first semester we used Explode the Code 1 and for the second semester we are on to Explode the Code 2.
This entire series gives lots of opportunities to practice handwriting as well. Miss C is a big fan!
Handwriting Without Tears – Letters and Numbers for Me Student Workbook, Grade K uses fun, easy to remember, prompts to build proper letter and number formation.
Extras: Handwriting without tears also has lined sheets of paper that are great for practicing what is taught in the lesson book and for journaling in other subjects.
Honest momma moment here – I was really nervous to teach my daughter how to read. I knew to start with letter identification and sounds, but after that I was totally lost.
The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (By Jessie Wise & Sara Buffington) came to my rescue! It is a phonics based program, with lesson plans that progress from individual sounds to consonant blends, all the way to multi-syllable words. There are no pictures, which has been a pleasant surprise. This way I know that she is really reading the words and not guessing by the pictures.
My First Bob Books: Beginning Readers, Set 1(By J. Maslen) have been a great reading supplement! Miss C can read them from start to finish, and that is something we haven’t been able to do with a lot of library books. And no complicated character names… woot woot!
Math Lessons for a Living Education: Level 1, Grade 1 (By Angela O’Dell & Kyrsten Carlson) has been a big success! Even though it is made for first grade, it has been a good fit. If your child has a grasp on numbers one to ten and basic shapes you should be fine as well.
The lessons are set up as part of a faith based story line, with five lessons per chapter – one for each school day. It really goes deeper than just drills and memorization. It explains the concepts of number values and place value (why wasn’t this around when I was little?!).
Extras: index cards, counting manipulatives (buttons, beads, beans, etc), sheet protectors/laminator, dry erase markers, empty containers
Last year we were reading one story a day from our 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories(By Daniel Partner). That is until my friend gave us the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook (By Sarah Young) for Christmas. The pictures are vibrant, and the stories are written in a way that kids enjoy and comprehend. We both love it!
Extras: Veggie Tale DVDs from the library, lots of craft supplies (check frugal craft supplies ideas here).
Following The Well Trained Mind, we chose three different areas of science to study in kindergarten. The animals, human body, and plants – in that order.
- Animal Kingdom – we simply use library books. We’re there every week anyway 🙂
- Human Body –The Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia (recommended by The Well Trained Mind) covers everything needed with colorful illustrations. As an supplement we also use The Care And Keeping Of You. This book has some parts that are way too advanced for kindergarten girls, but there are topics that are age appropriate. Miss C has started showing a greater interest in self care, and has been super excited for this book!
- Plants – No textbook required. Simple hands on Spring time activities will suffice here.
Story of the World: Vol 1 (By Susan Wise Bauer) – is also recommended for first grade. Miss C has enjoyed the stories, and I’m sure most five and six years olds would as well. A lot of the lessons are easy to tie into your Bible lessons, which helps solidify the validity of the Bible for young minds.
That’s it for our kindergarten textbooks! Don’t be afraid to cross “grade level” boundaries. You aren’t restricted to a grade designated on the cover of a book. But remember that a good home education is not just built on textbooks.
It includes lots of library books, real life lessons, and community involvement. And patience… lots of patience.
If you would like a FREE curriculum planner printable, check out my post on how to Start Your Homeschool In 5 Easy Steps!
What are you using, or thinking about using, for your homeschool kindergarten?
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