I feel like making curriculum choices for my girls this year wasn’t difficult at all because we are now just continuing on to the next level of what was begun last year, with some minor tweaks here and there. This year we are going to start Year Round schooling. Our first day of school will be July 13th! I plan for us to school four days a week with one of those days being our Classical Conversation Community meeting day. Since we are schooling year round, we will have the flexibility to use one day a week for life because life is bound to happen. The house will need to be cleaned, the laundry will need to be put away, there will be doctor appointments and, of course, play dates, park days, and days where we just want to play outside all day instead of doing school work.
I am really looking forward to this year. This year begins our 3rd year of homeschooling (if you count our first year when Little Bug was four, which I do!). Last year was nothing like I had planned it to be, but it was a wonderfully successful year of homeschool and I learned a lot as a homeschool mom. This year begins with a new perspective of homeschooling. I want cultivating relationship with my children to be at the forefront of my mind at all times. If I don’t have a healthy relationship with my children, I cannot lead them to Christ. Leading my children to Christ is of utmost importance during these days. Everything else falls under the umbrella of that number one goal.
Little Bug ~ 1st Grade ~ 6 years old
All About Reading Level 1 – We got 14 lessons into All About Reading Level 1 last year and when we put Little Bug in the 3-day a week school, I realized two phonics programs was overkill. We loved AAR and I wanted to do it right so I decided it would be best to shelf AAR until the new school year. We will review everything from the first 13 lessons and then pick back up where we left off – lesson 14. I think we will be able to complete about a lesson per week. As always, I will go at Little Bug’s pace.
Explode the Code Book 1 – Little Bug did the Explode the Code Primer series this summer and she loved them. I’ve heard excellent things about this phonics series and I think it will be very good reinforcement of what she is learning in AAR Level 1. The lessons are quick. 10-15 minutes per day is all you need for this.
A Reason for Handwriting – Handwriting, oh handwriting. Little Bug has come a LONG way with handwriting since the beginning of last year. Last year I intended to do the Kindergarten Handwriting Without Tears level with her. When I looked at the K workbook I thought it would frustrate Little Bug because the letters were so small. So I found a used copy of the preschool workbook and had Little Bug work in that instead. Then, we enrolled her at the school in January and the class was doing HWOT 1st Grade! Little Bug’s writing took off, honestly, I think, because of peer pressure. In this case, it was a positive thing for Little Bug. If I would have tried to get her to write in the 1st Grade book, I know there would have been much resistance. But when she saw all her peers writing in the 1st Grade book like it was no big deal, she put her pencil to the paper and started writing! The only problem with this is that Little Bug has not had any formal instruction on how to form her letters, and I feel she really needs this.
I also decided to switch over to A Reason for Handwriting instead of Handwriting Without Tears. I still think HWOT is an excellent handwriting program; I just don’t think it is the best fit for Little Bug. HWOT only has 2 lines whereas A Reason for Handwriting is traditional with the 3 lines. I think Little Bug needs more guidance which three lines will provide. I went ahead and bought both the Kindergarten and 1st Grade A Reason for Handwriting books. I will use the K book to give Little Bug the formal handwriting instruction she missed last year and then we will move to the 1st Grade book once I feel she is ready.
I chose A Reason for Handwriting because it is traditional with the 3 lines and because it has the child writing and copying Scripture. I like that much better than writing random words, phrases and sentences.
Horizon’s Math 1 – We love Horizon’s Math. The amount of work per lesson in the K book was the perfect amount. Sometimes Little Bug doesn’t want to do all the problems but I think this would be an issue no matter what math curriculum we used. I allow her to work some of her problems on the dry erase board and that helps her keep going. I was extremely impressed with the concepts taught in Horizon’s Kindergarten math. It is advanced compared to other curriculums out there. Little Bug will finish Horizon’s Math K before beginning Horizon’s Math 1.
Sweet Pea ~ PK4 ~ 4 years old
All About Reading Pre-Level – I did Ready-Made Preschool Level 2 with Little Bug at this age, but decided against doing that with Sweet Pea for several reasons. RMPK is expensive compared to AAR Pre Level. I decided to save some money by going with AAR. Sweet Pea is not as in to crafts as Little Bug was (and still is) at this age. RMPK was a perfect fit for Little Bug, but I think AAR will be a better fit for Sweet Pea’s personality. Plus, truth be told, I didn’t really want to go through RMPK again and wanted to be able to do AAR! I think this program will give Sweet Pea the solid foundation needed to begin phonics instruction next year in Kindergarten.
Explode the Code Primers Set – Little Bug started these books at the end of last year and completed them this summer. She loved them and would even get them to work on during free play time. I bought a set for Sweet Pea. We probably won’t start them right away because she isn’t ready for the handwriting practice that is in this set, but she will probably start them at some point this year or next. They are ready – whenever she is.
Ready-Made Preschool Level 1 – Another reason I didn’t choose RMPK Level 2 for Sweet Pea this year is because we are still working on finishing Level 1. We have completed all but six of the lessons that were seasonally themed. I saved them to do this year with Sweet Pea. We will take one week off AAR Pre Level during the months of August through January so we can complete these lessons in RMPK Level 1.
The Measured Mom Handwriting – The Measured Mom is my favorite resource for homeschool materials! For handwriting, Sweet Pea will work through The Measured Mom’s handwriting printables as well as through our other fun, hands-on ways of practicing to write the letters.
The Measured Mom Math – The Measured Mom has so many wonderful ideas for teaching math concepts to preschoolers through play!
Sarge ~ 1 year old
Independent Playtime – Besides developing skills to entertain himself, Sarge having Independent Playtime will give me a block of time to do school with the girls without a toddler underfoot! This will be more important once Sarge is no longer taking a morning nap and will be awake during the bulk of our school mornings.
Reading Books – At this age, playing and reading books is all Sarge needs to grow his mind. We are reading Board Books now and Sarge enjoys them. Here are 6 Board books that all three of my children have loved.
Sonlight P4/5 Exploring God’s World – After finding the complete core on a homeschool classified ad, I purchased this with a great discount and it’s been sitting in my closet for a year! I was waiting to pull it out to do with both girls when they are 6 and 4. I am so excited to begin. Reading books has always been such a huge part of our daily routine and I am so looking forward to beginning our homeschool each morning with Sonlight. This will cover Bible, History, Science and our Read Alouds.
Classical Conversations – Foundations, Cycle 1 – We are taking the leap and joining a Classical Conversations community this year! I did not think I would ever be interested in CC, but once I started learning more about what it is all about, I began to see the value of a classical education. Both girls are enrolled in a Foundations class. I bought the Cycle 1 CD so we can listen to our Memory Work for the week every morning while eating breakfast. Each week the girls will have a history, geography, Latin, Science, Math and Timeline fact to memorize. I am excited about learning right along side my girls. There are three cycles so we will go through each cycle twice so I am not concerned at all about them memorizing every single fact this year. I once could not understand why I would want my children to memorize a bunch of “meaningless” facts, but after seeing the big picture of CC, it all makes total sense. The idea is that children memorize these facts to be able to use them in discussion and in writing when they are in middle and high school.
Little Bug ~ 1st Grade
- All About Reading Level 1
- Explode the Code Book 1
- A Reason for Handwriting K & A
- Horizon’s Math K (finish) & 1
Sweet Pea ~ K4
- All About Reading Pre-Level
- Ready-Made Preschool Level 1
- Explode the Code Primer’s Set
- The Measured Mom’s Handwriting & Math
Sarge ~ 1 year old
- Independent Playtime
- Reading Books
- Sonlight P4/5 ~ Bible, History, Science, Read Alouds
- Classical Conversations ~ Foundations Memory Work