One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the ability to choose curriculum that meets the specific needs of my children and caters to their individual learning styles. After much thought, prayer and consideration, this is what I have chosen for our first year of homeschool:
Little Bug (PK4)
I’ve been reading preschool Bible stories to my girls since birth and I really wanted to find a little preschool Bible curriculum to do with both girls this year to add to our reading times. When I didn’t find a suitable “Bible Curriculum” that I wanted to use, I decided to use the resources I already had and create my own!
I am planning to have this “Bible time” at the start of our Homeschool days, but really, the Bible and the truths from God’s Word will be integrated into every single subject and into every single day. That is the beauty of homeschool! I love that all day long I can point my children to Jesus as we are learning.
I bought Learning About God for Kindergarten and Bible Nuggets from A to Z to do with Little Bug and Sweet Pea this year. I thought the girls would enjoy the little activities that correspond with the stories and I liked the letter component in Bible Nuggets from A to Z.
Then I went through the resources I had accumulated through the years and this is what I found to use:
I will plan to focus on a Bible story per week. We will begin each day by reading a Bible story from one of these Bibles, The Beginner’s Bible, My First Bible and The Read and Share Toddler Bible (not pictured).
Little Bug has recently gotten into the Arch book series. These books tell Bible stories through rhyme.
We had numerous Bible story literature in our home library that I will use to teach the Bible stories and the Biblical principles/truths that go with each story.
I’ve picked up these fun Bible Sticker and Activity books as I have seen them on sale over several years. The stickers are reusable.
We also had several Bible story DVDs that I incorporated into the curriculum.
After I gathered all these materials, I made a list of the Bible stories that are in the Learning About God and Bible Nuggets books. Then I made an excel file so I could see what resources I had for each story. From all these resources, I pretty much have it planned where we will do one Bible story per week with 4-5 different lessons for each story using all of the resources above!
Our main academic curriculum will be Ready-Made Preschool, Level 2.
I ordered just the first 10 weeks of this curriculum to make sure it is a good fit for Little Bug. Our main goal with this is to have fun together reading interesting literature and learning letter sounds through a variety of hands-on learning activities. Math, Science, Social Studies, Bible and Literacy will be integrated into these lessons.
Ready-Made preschool is a 30-week curriculum with 4 lessons per week.
For our Calendar Time we will be using this calendar:
Calendar Time is a good way to incorporate some basic math skills in a fun way!
At the homeschool convention I found myself at The Critical Thinking Company’s booth a lot. When I came across Hands-On Thinking Skills for K-1 I thought Little Bug might enjoy doing this. Since I had decided I wasn’t going to start a Kinder curriculum with her this year (that has changed – see below!), I thought Hands-On Thinking Skills would be a nice compromise.
Hands on Thinking Skills is taught using three sets of manipulatives: Attribute blocks, Interlocking Cubes and Pattern Blocks. Here is a sample page/activity from the book:
I have decided to put Saxon Math K in the line up for this year’s curriculum!
I borrowed the teacher’s manual from a friend and took it with me on our recent vacation so that I could read through the manual to see specifically what is taught. I only read through the first month of lessons and realized Saxon Math K really is on more of a preschool level than Kindergarten level. Since my friend is going to let me borrow the manual this year and I already have most of the manipulatives needed, we are going to give it a try knowing we can always choose to put it aside if needed. The only monetary investment to this curriculum I made was to purchase the Student Workbook and a couple manipulatives that we didn’t have already. Not a bad investment for a trial run to see if we like Saxon Math as I haven’t decided for sure what math curriculum we will use for Kindergarten.
Right now, my plan is to do Saxon Math K 2-3 times per week and Hands-On Thinking Skills 2-3 times a week.
At the preschool age, science mostly happens in our every day playing and exploring but I came across Mudpies to Magnets, a preschool science curriculum, and thought it would be a great fit for this year since both of my girls are preschoolers. Mudpies to Magnets is full of experiments to do with 2-5 year olds and covers topics such as nature, the human body, electricity, floating and sinking, and more!
We are planning to do Mudpies to Magnets with Gramps and Grams as a way to incorporate them into our homeschool! We will probably do 1-2 experiments per week.
Little Bug has recently started becoming interested in playing games. From the time she was a baby I’ve been buying games here and there. We now have a good stock in games to use for homeschool!
My parents got Sweet Pea three Leap Frog DVDs (Letter Factory, Talking Words and Number Land) and Meet the Letters for her birthday. I have heard nothing but good about all of these. I am very selective about what my children view on TV and it was time to add some new educational DVDs to our library. I hope both girls will benefit from these new DVDs!
Little Bug has a daily TV time while I prep lunch. So she watches 30 minutes five times a week. Sweet Pea has not taken an interest to watching TV (and I haven’t encouraged her to since I didn’t really want her watching until age 2) but I hope she will like these new Leap Frog DVDs.
~EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES~
When I chose not to send Little Bug to preschool at age two, we signed her up for her first ballet class. She loved it! The following year, we did decide to let Little Bug attend preschool and so we did not continue on with ballet. I am very contentious of not over-scheduling our family! I do not want to be the family that is constantly running from here to there with hardly any time left to just be at home and enjoy time spent together.
Since we decided to begin our homeschool journey this year instead of sending Little Bug to preschool for a final year, we have enrolled her in ballet at our church’s studio. And – extra bonus – I just learned she will actually get to take a tumbling, tap and ballet class all rolled up into one package deal! Little Bug is absolutely thrilled about this!
Sweet Pea (2 years old):
At some point this year, I want to start my ABC Learning Time with Sweet Pea. I spent one week on each letter and focused each activity on the Letter of the Week.
I did not start that with Little Bug until she was 2.5 years old and I will probably do the same with Sweet Pea. In the meantime, I have lots of fun things I plan to do with Sweet Pea during her “Learning Time” which I will start with her once we officially start homeschool. Our focus will be playing as I believe learning through play is the best way a two-year-old learns!
I will work on puzzles, coloring, playing with ABC magnets and learning colors with her. And, most importantly, I will read to her!
Here are some specifics on games, puzzles and toys I plan on using with Sweet Pea:
Animal Pattern Blocks – Sweet Pea got this for her birthday and loves it!
Melissa and Doug toys, puzzles, games
So, in summary, our 2013-2014 homeschool curriculum:
- Bible – daily
- Calendar Time – daily
- Reading tons of books! – daily
- Mudpies to Magnets (Science) – 1-2x per week
- Educational games/DVDs – as needed
- Ready-Made Preschool – 4x per week
- Hands-On Thinking Skills – 2-3x per week
- Saxon Math K – 2-3x per week
- ABC Learning Time – 2-3x per week (once we start!)
- Games, puzzles, educational toys – daily
- Lots of play and reading! – daily
We are going to ease in to everything beginning on August 19th. I plan to start with the Bible curriculum, Calendar Time and Hands-On Thinking Skills. Then I will add in Saxon Math K. After Labor Day, we will add in Ready-Made Preschool. I guess Grams and Gramps can decide when we will start Mudpies to Magnets!
I’m leaving one day open in our week to add a measure of flexibility to our days! Planning to only “do school” four days a week will give us an extra day to catch up if needed, have a day for doctor’s appointments, outings and playdates!
I am looking forward to this year immensely. I pray it is the beginning of the best years of my life! I count it one of my greatest privileges and blessings in this life to be able to homeschool my daughters.
I linked up with the 5th Annual (Not) Back to School Blog Hop! Click here to read what other homeschoolers are doing this year!