This begins our first official year of homeschooling with our daughters, Little Bug, who is a BIG Kindergartener and Sweet Pea who is three years old and in preschool!
I loved having babies, but I am especially looking forward to this next phase of life as I nurture my daughters’ hearts and lead them to know, love and serve the Lord, educating them with a Biblical worldview and cherishing the moments as they are just five and three years old. Above all, I desire to captivate their hearts so they will know they have a mother and father that stand behind them always and a Heavenly Father that desires to lead and direct their paths all the days of their lives.
With all that said, this is our curricula line-up for the 2014-2015 school year!
Little Bug ~ Kindergarten
All About Reading Level 1 – I debated long and hard over doing the All About Reading Pre-Level or Level 1 with Little Bug. I actually bought the Pre-Level first, took it to the hotel, looked through it and decided that Little Bug would be bored with the Pre-Level. The Pre-Level teaches letter recognition (capital and lowercase) and then letter sounds. Little Bug has mastered those skills since that has been our focus during her preschool years. However, I was hesitant to purchase Level 1 because, developmentally, I am just not sure Little Bug is really ready to learn how to read. I am absolutely against pushing children to read at age five simply because they are five and in Kindergarten. Some children are not developmentally ready to read at age five and that is fine! They most likely will be ready to learn to read somewhere between the ages of 6-7 years old.
I went ahead and took the Pre-Level back and bought the Level 1. We will give it a try at the beginning of this school year and if I see that Little Bug is not developmentally ready, I will hold off with it until after Christmas Break or even the following year when she is six years old and in 1st Grade. There are 49 lessons in Level 1. If Little Bug shows that she is ready for AAR Level 1 this year, we will start by doing 1 lesson per week, taking 1-3 days to get through that one lesson. I will see what is best for Little Bug and make lesson plans accordingly.
Little Bug has taken an interest to Chapter Books. We read these Chapter books during her PK4 year. We will start with these titles this year:
(During the summer, we read 6 of these 11 titles! I need to find more Read Aloud titles!)
PeeWee’s Tale by Johanna Hurwitz, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, Anne of Green Gables (Great Illustrated Classics) by L.M. Montgomery, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Mystery Behind the Wall (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #17) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, Twister Trouble (Magic School Bus) by Ann Schreiber, High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House) by Mary Pope Osborne, Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Because Little Bug loves books and stories, we thought she would enjoy Life of Fred – Apples. We plan to use this as a Read Aloud this year and will not have her complete any of the work on paper. I could see Life of Fred becoming a supplemental math for our girls because they both love stories and learning math concepts through a story does sound intriguing!
Handwriting Without Tears – Little Bug’s weakness is fine motor skills but I am very hopeful that the Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten program will help strength Little Bug’s fine motor skills. The pencils and Chalk Bits in this program are designed to force the child to hold the pencil correctly while writing. Any curriculum that has manipulatives and is hands-on is going to be a good fit for Little Bug. I am hopeful this program will help Little Bug learn to write her letters and numbers this year – and without shedding tears over it! There are 180 lessons. We will do 3-4 handwriting lessons per week. We won’t finish the K level this year at that rate, but my goal here is not to finish a curriculum but to continue to establish a love of learning in my daughter. We will start the 1st Grade book whenever we finish the K book, whenever that may be!
Horizons Math K – After much debate in my mind between choosing Saxon Math K and Horizons Math K, Horizons won out! When I looked at both with a fine tooth comb I realized that Little Bug had already mastered the majority of the concepts taught in Saxon Math K. I had been told that Saxon Math K was more suited for the preschool level (4 year old) and, after looking at the scope and sequence, I totally agree. I was hesitant to choose Horizons because of Little Bug’s lack of writing skills, however, once I actually got my hands on the first workbook, I saw that in the beginning especially, it is a lot of circling, crossing out, drawing simple lines and coloring rather than writing actual numbers. There is handwriting practice beginning in the first lessons, but we will skip over that and go back to it once Little Bug is writing. When Little Bug needs to write numbers to answer something, I will write the numbers for her or she will stamp the numbers in with stamps and an ink pad. Overall, I am much more impressed with the scope and sequence of Horizons K over Saxon K. Fortunately, the manipulatives I already had for Saxon will be able to be used with Horizons. I no longer feel there are math wars in my head over choosing between Saxon and Horizons and I am very hopeful Horizons is going to serve us well this year.
There are 160 lessons. We will do 3 math lessons per week. Again, with this schedule, we will have about 40 lessons left at the end of the school year, but we will just keep working on the K level until we finish and then move on to the 1st Grade level after completing K.
Sweet Pea ~ PK3 ~ 3 years old
Ready-Made Preschool Level 1 – No surprise here that I am going to do Ready-Made Preschool with Sweet Pea! I am excited to see the Level 1 and confident that it will be just as awesome as Level 2 was for Little Bug last year. Is that not awesome that EVERYTHING (besides some common household objects and books that I can easily get at the library or Amazon) I need to teach Sweet Pea this year is in this picture?!
This year during Ready-Made Preschool Level 1 Sweet Pea will learn to recognize the capital letters, be introduced to the letter sounds, learn sequencing, patterning, number identification to 10, ordering and counting to number 10, opposites, rhyming and much more!
Play dough Mats – I used these last year with Little Bug. This is such a great way to write the letters without using pencil and paper.
Little Letter Books – I know Sweet Pea will enjoy reading these books again! There’s one book of poems and songs for every letter of the alphabet.
Sticker ABC Book – I was browsing Amazon for birthday gift ideas and found this sticker book for $2.46! I think Sweet Pea will enjoy doing this book.
As we did last year during our guinea pig homeschool year, we will begin each day with Bible Time. This year we plan to read stories from The Beginner’s Bible (again – my girls love this Bible), The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook.
As another fun way to read the stories of the Bible and ingrain the truths of God’s Word into their little hearts, we will read Arch Books.
I want to be vigilant with Scripture Memory this year and these books are excellent resources to find Bible verses that go with the ABCs: My ABC of Bible Verses and My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts. The girls will also attend AWANAs weekly at our church. We will incorporate their AWANA lessons and Scripture Memory work into our Bible Time.
We will also do a Preschool Calendar Notebook. I chose a Preschool level because I mainly want to use this to practice number recognition with both of the girls and this particular notebook has great pages for practice with number recognition 0-31.
~SCIENCE & HISTORY~
Because of Little Bug’s intense love of books, our Science curriculum is going to be centered upon living books that teach Science concepts. Little Bug’s Grams and Gramps gave her The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature and The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series DVDs for her birthday which we will use to learn about Science this year.
I also plan to take Little Bug to the library and let her check out books from the series Let’s Read and Find Out Science Stage 1 and The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library. I compiled a list of the Science topics taught in these four resources. There are seven main Science topics/concepts that we will focus on this year. They are: Weather/Seasons, Animals, Human Body, Seeds, Outer Space, Habitats and Nature. We will begin with learning about the Human Body!
~SONLIGHT P3/4 READ ALOUDS~
At the convention, I was constantly drawn to Sonlight’s booth. Both of my girls love to be read to and we love to learn through living literature. That is basically what Sonlight is. Learning through reading books together! I decided to check out Sonlight P3/4 titles (for preschool age) from the library and read the books to the girls during our Read Aloud time.
~EDUCATIONAL GAMES AND DVDS~
Christmas and birthday presents added these two games to our collection this year: What’s Gnu? and Learning Resources Sum Swamp Game. What’s Gnu? will help Little Bug learn to spell and read CVC words and the Sum Swamp Game will help her learn basic addition and subtraction facts.
Eric Carle’s ABC Game, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Goodnight Moon My World ABC Game and Super Why ABC Letter Game were some of our favorite educational games for Little Bug during her preschool years and I am looking forward to enjoying them with Sweet Pea this year. These games reinforce learning letters, letter sounds and learning basic counting skills.
Leap Frog DVDs are my top educational DVDs for preschoolers and young children! My girls love them. Their collection of these DVDs grew this summer with both of them receiving at least one new DVD for their birthday. The newest titles we have are Word Caper, Talking Words Factory and Phonics Farm.
My plan is to have 3 days of the week where we focus on reading, writing and math lessons at home and then the other two days of the week will be for activities outside the home. We have joined a Homeschool Group, we will continue doing Science experiments at Grams and Gramps’ house, we will go to Story Time at the library, go on fun outings, have play dates, Little Bug will take Ballet and both girls will participate in AWANAs at our church.
My goal in planning this year was to not over plan and to keep our learning as hands-on as I possibly can. I think all these choices meet that criteria and I am looking forward to a wonderful year!
In Summary, this is the plan for 2014-2015:
All About Reading Level 1 – 1-3x/week
Read Alouds (Chapter Books, Sonlight, Life of Fred) – daily
Handwriting Without Tears – 3-4x/week
Horizons Math K – 3x/week
Hands-On Thinking Skills – 1x/week
Ready-Made Preschool Level 1 – 4x/week
Play dough Mats – 1x/week
Little Letter Books – 1x/week
ABC Sticker Book – 1x/week
Bible – daily
Calendar Time – 2-3x/week
Science & History – 2-3x/week
Read Alouds (Picture Books, Sonlight) – daily
To read what we used last year, click here.
Click here to go to the 6th Annual Not Back to School Blog Hop to see what other homeschool families are using this year!