One of the most popular homeschooling questions I receive is, “What is the best curriculum for….?” I will be the first to tell you that there is no one right answer to that question. There are many factors that go into choosing the best curriculum for your child. However, I always like to share what we are using in case it helps someone find a program that works well for their family.
My son turned five in April and is beginning his kindergarten year this fall. Earlier this summer, when I was working on goals with my older two children, he wanted to set his own goals. I suggested learning to read or to write his name. He, however, had other ideas. He let me know that he wanted to learn to cook pancakes and fish, climb trees, and more about Jesus. While I don’t think this is all we will learn in kindergarten, I did think they were worthy goals and a great insight into the mind of a five-year-old boy. I’ll leave the tree climbing lessons to his siblings but I do plan to teach him to cook pancakes and fish (though not together) and I am always happy to teach my children more about Jesus.
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In addition to his goals, I have planned out some fun curriculum for us to use to cover additional academic subjects. We do believe in a relaxed approach to kindergarten and what I have planned should take us about an hour a day not counting field trips, nature walks, and his fifteen-minute violin lesson. Since he is not yet showing any interest and has been resistant to learning letters and reading, we will be waiting to start formal phonics until at least January. I will re-evaluate his readiness in January and possibly start All About Reading or work some more in The Learning Dynamics Reading Program. I am also going to have him continue to use his Starfall subscription a couple times a week to continue his exposure to letters and phonics.
I will be using Five in A Row as our primary curriculum with him this year. This program is a great way to encourage an enjoyment of good children’s books and incorporate other areas of learning. Using this program, we will read the book of the week five times (once each school day) and complete various activities coordinating with the book. Five in a Row includes activities for social studies, math, language arts, art, and science. Each week I will choose from the variety of activities to engage and challenge him.
While Five in a Row includes some math, it is not a sequential math program. I believe that math in the early years should mostly be hands on and as real life as possible, but I like to have slightly more structured program. Therefore, I am using a Calendar Math set and the Building a Foundation with Kindergarten Math course from Schoolhouse Teachers to create a math program for him. He loves doing math and is looking forward to getting started. He has really enjoyed using the Pattern Block Pack from The Crafty Classroom so I will also use those a couple times a week for independent work.
For science, we will be doing a mostly nature focused science study in addition to some of the science activities in Five in a Row. I am going to use a primary journal so that he can draw pictures of what we find in nature and then dictate a sentence about it for me to write at the bottom. We will use our Peterson’s field guides and other resources to learn more about the things he finds. I am also planning to get him caterpillars in the spring so that he can learn about the life cycle of the butterfly.
We will be studying North Carolina History as a family. At the kindergarten level this will mostly be listening to me read aloud, having family discussions, lots of field trips, and some fun coloring pages. We also already to historical interpreting as a family, so he has lots of exposure to history and has developed a love for the revolutionary era. I believe that this will be a great introduction to the study of history for him.
For art, he will continue to work on lessons from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels. He has been doing the preschool lessons, but as he gets more comfortable I will have him do some of the regular lessons that are a little more challenging. He enjoys these lessons with ‘Nana’ so much and just last week as we were coloring a picture he told me that my picture was “almost as good as Nana’s.” For music, he takes violin lessons from Practice Monkeys. We love this gentle and convenient approach to music lessons and looks forward to them each day.
In addition to these programs, he will be joining us for Bible study each day and our morning time which will include read alouds, music appreciation, missionary studies, and more. Of course, there will also be lots of free play, field trips, and hands on adventures to keep the real life learning going. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing more about what we are using for our morning time as well as the programs I am using for my older children.
What are your favorite kindergarten resources?
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