We’re starting school next Tuesday! :)
Emma is very excited. Especially after watching me take photos of the books we’ll be using. She begged me to let her do some school after seeing them all, and who can blame her? It all looks like so much fun! Kindergarten IS going to be fun. (And if we aren’t enjoying it I will be changing something! ;-)
SO I know I already shared what we were doing for each subject a couple months ago, but that was so long ago. A couple of things have changed – not much, just a bit. Plus, I have photos to share! :) If you’re a visual person like I am you’ll enjoy seeing what we’re using and not just reading about it.
So, without further ado, here’s what we’re using for:
These were my first choices, inspired by the Ambleside Online Year 0 book list. The Complete Stories and Poems of Winnie the Pooh, Buster Bear by Thornton Burgess (free on Kindle), The World Treasury of Children’s Literature Books 1 & 2, and The Real Mother Goose (I also have the Mary Engelbreit version). We’ll be reading all of these at the same time, a different book each day of the week. OH, and I just realized I forgot to include the On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder in the photo. We’ve already read the first two books and are looking forward to finding out where the Ingalls family went after they were told they needed to vacate Indian territory and their little house on the prairie. Most of the books on the Year 0 list we’ve already read but any that we haven’t we can find at our library or listen to online. Some that are on my to-read list are: Any of the other Burgess books, Raggedy Ann Stories, and The Beatrix Potter Series. Other than that, we’ll play it by ear and see what interests us later.
Extras: I’ll be noting vocabulary words Emma might not know before readings, we’ll be working on narration (telling me in her own words what happened after we read), and we’ll read at least one poem together every day.
The Kids’ Nature Book I SO recommend – it has ideas for nature study and science by season and month starting with January and ending with December. You could really base a whole Kindergarten nature study/science curriculum on that alone, that’s what I did! I added some experiments from Play and Find Out Science and we’ll be watching The Magic School Bus DVDs, too. This list of the Magic School Bus episodes was a great help in planning. And check out the cool Uncover The Human Body book I found! Every page you turn it uncovers and shares facts about different parts of the body – bones, muscles, digestive system, brain, etc.
Everything I have planned is fun and easy learning based on questions Emma has asked in the past and things she has requested to learn about. So a bit about the human body and some beginning science experiments, but most of it will be nature-centered. We’ll also be keeping a nature journal, you can see that here!
I put my own math “curriculum” together using hands-on activities from the books shown above (Count on Math, Up the Math Ladder, Hands-on Math, The Kids’ Stuff Book of math for the Primary Grades) and activities found on the internet (most pinned on my Pinterest Board, Hands-On Elementary Living Math Ideas). The reason I have all of those hands-on math books is that I bought them in a lot on eBay for a really good price… but you don’t really need all of them. So if you want one or two books with some ideas I would recommend Count on Math and Up the Math Ladder to start with. The other books I like because they have ideas for higher grade levels, too, though. Also, one that I don’t have but comes highly recommended is Family Math.
I have a lot of math resources… too many for Kindergarten. ;-) But I heard so many good things about Life of Fred that I grabbed a copy of Apples at a really good price when I came across it. This may or may not be used this year, I’m just going to see if we have a chance to try it out this year, and if we don’t then I’ll pull it out for Year 1 (first grade).
After I had already planned most of our year out but was still feeling a little nervous about it, someone very generously blessed me with the McRuffy Kindergarten Color Math books and manipulatives, so we’re going to use that this year, too! I’m super excited about it, it looks like fun! They use geoboards, pattern blocks, and other manipulatives in this curriculum, it’s not just a workbook. I’ll be sharing our experiences with it as we go.
Edited to add: So it’s been almost two months into our “Kindergarten” year and we haven’t been using the workbooks too much. I just wanted to share this for any others planning their Year 0.5. McRuffy has been fun and simple and so far we do still enjoy it but we are saving Life of Fred for next year. For the most part we have done hands-on math because Emma isn’t really loving her workbooks, and we’re fine with that at this point. I’m letting her lead in this area but still she is grasping good concepts and I work with her a little at a time.
Phonics and Reading
We’ve been using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons since Emma was 4, but took a long break and will be starting it up again soon. I also bought Explode the Code 1 because it is pretty inexpensive and highly recommended.
Edited to add: After about two weeks we ditched Explode the Code. There are a couple reasons I don’t love it, one being that there is too much writing for her and the other that the pictures of words she is supposed to write are sometimes to difficult for her (and sometimes me) to figure out. Also, she is way past learning 3-letter word phonics so in that way it was too easy. Just not a good fit for us. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, however, we are LOVING and highly recommend! She brings this book to me and asks me to give her more lessons. :)
Handwriting, History & Other Random Resources
Here are a few books I might work in:
For history, The Men Who Found America which is free here at Heritage History. Isn’t that an awesome list of books, by the way??? I’m so excited about that resource! I started reading The Men Who Found America to Emma on my phone while we were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and she really was interested in the adventures of Christopher Columbus, so we’re definitely going to continue reading it.
Another freebie, for geography, is The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball That Floats in the Air. That title is a mouthful, isn’t it? :p I haven’t really had a change to look at that one much yet but it is one many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers read at this age so I thought we’d give it a try. Edited to add: We tried this and didn’t really love it… it’s pr0bably a good one for younger children but it was a little simple for us. So we switched to reading the Twins series and are loving it! We are starting with Eskimo Twins which can be found free here.
For handwriting, we’re using Italics: Beautiful Handwriting for Children. We’ve already started this (see photo) and like it so far! Edited to add: We took on a break on this for now and are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to reinforce writing letters. I also make random copywork pages for her here and there, but nothing too structured yet. We’re still working on letter formation.
For Picture (art) Study, I plan to put up an art print every week. I also have the book Come Look With Me which I came across at Goodwill and couldn’t pass up. :) Music Study will be different folk songs, hymns, or classical music I find on Spotify. To start with I compiled a list of songs the Ingalls family would have sung together and am looking forward to listening to those with the kids.
Learning Time, which is actually part of math I suppose… well, I have those two books, My First Book of Time and the Kumon Easy Telling Time book. I’m not sure if I like the Kumon book yet – it came in a set from Costco and it seemed like a good idea to include it, but at the moment it seems like just one more unnecessary workbook. The My First Book of Time book has a big fold-out clock in the back, so it will probably do just fine for teaching.
Scheduling and Organization
I’m not an organized person usually, but I have worked hard to schedule out our year. I probably wouldn’t have bothered pre-planning everything if I hadn’t created our nature study/science and math curriculum, but I needed a place to write it all down and Homeschool Skedtrack made that really easy. So yep, the year is planned out! And it gives me peace of mind, too. As far as days go, we plan to work four days a week (Tuesday through Friday) and get our work done in the mornings as we can. Readings can stretch into the evenings, though. We have different subjects scheduled for different days.
That’s it! Our CM-inspired Kindergarten curriculum. :) It’s going to be really interesting seeing how Emma grows and what her learning style and preferences are over the year! And yes, I do plan to share everything. :p