Lena has just started her first "official" homeschool year, so I guess that makes her a kindergartner. One of the main reasons that we're homeschooling is because it allows us to tailor her education to her specific needs and abilities.
Since Lena is a fairly competent reader and has a good grasp of basic math, we chose mostly first grade curriculum for her. She also works quickly, so while this curriculum may look intense for a kindergartner, so far she has been able to finish her schoolwork before lunch, which still gives her plenty of time to play.
It's important for us that Lena learn that working hard is more important than any natural ability that she may have. We're not going to let her coast through school, just because many aspects of academic learning come easily to her.
All children are different. All children need different things. This is what works best for our family.
Our choices are mostly based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind. We plan on following a classical model of education, so for now this is our primary guide book. Let's break it down, subject by subject!
Update: Read about how we ended up feeling about all these choices in my End Of The Year Curriculum Review.
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For math, we chose to go with Saxon. It has a great reputation among many the homeschool community. I also like that it is fairly repetitive, so Lena will really have a chance to master the concepts. It does 'spiral', which means that it covers one topic, moves on to another, and then comes back to the first topic again. For now the repetition and spiraling doesn't bother me, but we haven't really gotten to challenging concepts yet. We'll see how it goes! I know that some kids don't like worksheets, but Lena loves them (she tells me it makes her feel like real school.)
We're scheduled to finish Saxon 1 and move on to Saxon 2 midway through the year. I think that many kindergartners could start with Saxon 1. This link from the publisher shows you the table of contents and sample lessons for Saxon K-3 so that you can get a sense of where you may want to start.
I taught Lena to read as a preschooler using the Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading. We stopped using the book when we were about 1/3 of the way through reading seemed to just 'click' for her. But for school, we're going back to finish the rest of the book so that she can learn the phonics rules to help her sound out words that she doesn't know.
In addition, she'll have some assigned reading every day, to do with me in order to make her pause and sound out words that she doesn't know; when she reads on her own she just skips them or guesses. Some days her assigned reading will be related to her history or science lessons, and other days I'll just pull things from our shelves.
I like the format of the "Spelling Workout" books. Each lesson contains a simple vocabulary lists, and so far we're just getting used to the idea that spelling matters! We hope to finish Spelling Workout A & Spelling Workout B this year.
For writing and grammar, we're sticking with The Well Trained Mind authors. We're using First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind for grammar. It's simple and straightforward. The lessons take us about 5 minutes. I love that it includes poetry selections to memorize. Lena (and Maggie!) both love learning them.
For writing, we're using The Complete Writer Level 1. It is essentially a workbook, with passages for copywork to work on handwriting and short excerpts from literature to use for narrations.
Our science curriculum choice is Sassafras Science Adventures: Volume 1: Zoology. I wanted to stick with the suggested order of topics in The Well Trained Mind, but the recommended format (choose an animal, read about it, do a narration about what you learned) didn't seem to provide enough structure for me. The "Sassafras Science" books are science learning cloaked as an adventure novel. In addition, there is an activity guide that provides a suggested lesson schedule, TONS of additional activities, recommended reading and more. We also got the log book that provides a simple format for recording the information she's learning.
My husband is a history teacher, and I was as well before I began staying home with the girls. We are history nerds, so you better believe that history will be a huge part of the girls' education.
Story of the World: Ancient Times presents history as a story. This book is divided into short sections, each about 2-4 pages long. It's easy to read, and fairly easy for Lena to understand. I also got the activity guide that provides coloring pages, map work, recommended additional reading, and suggestions for projects.
Lena takes violin lessons, and we're rolling her lessons and practice into her "official" school time now. We're adding one page a day of music theory from My First Music Theory. The book is directed towards piano students, but the young-kid-friendliness of it overrides the drawbacks of that. It is basically coloring, drawing different notes and music symbols, and identifying notes on the staff.
I chose several projects from Deep Space Sparkle to complete this year. I looked for activities that both Lena and Maggie could do together. We'll save formal artist studies for later!
Lena will get a good dose of geography through her history and science curriculum. In addition, we've always tried to point out places to her on a globe or map when we come to them through regular reading. But for the sake of beginning a real geography curriculum, I went ahead and got DK Geography K and DK Geography 1. These will introduce basic terminology and geography concepts.
Phew! There you have it! I'm so excited to begin homeschooling. I know that I'll make many mistakes along the way, but this is where and how we're starting!
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