Friday, October 28, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum, Part 1

We’ve been at homeschooling full time for 7 weeks now, so I’m feeling in more of a groove, even letting go of some things I thought I’d be doing. I’m so thankful for encouragement I’ve gotten from friends and family as well as the vast online homeschool community. So I thought I should share what we’re using this year {at least right now!}. Hopefully it can be helpful to someone else as others’ recommendations years back helped me navigate the plethora of curriculum choices!

My daughters are currently 5 1/2 years old and nearly 7 years old. So I have a kindergarten and 1st grade student.

Reading: Explode the Code

I started using Explode the Code books last year for my oldest when the girls were still in Portuguese kindergarten. Both of them like the humorous pictures and sentences. I am so thankful for the Teacher's Guide Books that give great ideas in helping teach and reinforce the lessons. We also use the 1/2 books for each level as additional practice for the girls.

I also use some of 1+1+1=1’s You Can Read program for sight word practice and her Raising Rock Star’s Kindergarten printables as additional practice for both girls. We used the RRS’s Preschool printables last year, so it is nice to revisit the Scriptures we focused on last year. These items are helpful for me to give one girl to work on while I’m teaching/working with the other.

Spelling: All About Spelling

Both girls have enjoyed our spelling curriculum, All About Spelling. I have found that it’s multisensory approach keeps things more fun, and it’s been a great reinforcement for what the girls are working on with their reading. They get excited to finish a step and color it on their chart! As others have said, you do have to be ready to do the up front work of cutting our letter tiles, attaching magnets, etc., but it is minor in the scheme of homeschool prep in my opinion. I did buy two sets of cards because the girls are at different levels, but I made my own dividers and use a different lidded container for the second set. The teacher’s guide is very helpful as is the website and online support.

Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting

After our calendar time in the morning, we start with handwriting. My oldest has just finished the A Reason for Handwriting: Level A review lessons. This week she began the 5 day process of practicing the words in a Scripture to write on a special page she’ll color at the end of the week—copywork in a sense. She had been looking forward to it! My kindergartener loves the letter pages with an animal to color on the back. Once the girls get started, I read about the animal to them {from the Teacher Guidebook}. The guide is full of helpful tips in encouraging best handwriting. I like that it covers level K through 6th so I won’t need to buy a new one for a while!

Math: Singapore Math Standards Edition

We’re using Standards Edition Primary Mathematics 1A & 1B for my 1st grader including the textbook, workbook, extra practice and tests book. I love the Home Instructor's Guide for how it gets me prepared for lessons, reminds me what is really important for her to have down well a certain point, has creative and simple ideas to reinforce concepts and has a scheme of work {what I can aim to accomplish in one week}—nice that I can use it again next year too!

This is my 2nd year to use Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics Standards Edition A and B for my girls as kindergarteners. I use the Activity Book for with it too. I don’t have the instructor guide for this level, but I feel I’m making it ok without it. I’ve actually just decided this week I’m going to skip a few units for my kindergartener and save them for when we’re working on the same concepts with my 1st grader soon {ie:weight, capacity}.


So, that is the chunk of our morning curriculum. Please ask if you have any questions. I hope to address the other subjects we cover in the afternoon soon!


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