Homeschooling….let the journey begin

I am SOOO excited!  Why?  Because after researching the past year (maybe more), I have decided on my first really purchase of homeschool curriculum.  AND…it just shipped today!

Why Start Now?

I hear so many people say, “just let them play” until they are 6 or 7 years old.  While I do believe playing is a very vital part of young children’s education, I also believe structure needs to be taught early.  Children need to learn to sit and learn a little.  For Lenna-Grace, I will probably do “school” for 1.5 hours a day, but that may be broken up into three different 30 minute sessions.  PLUS…Lenna-Grace wants to “go to school” and has a passion for learning already!  So, why not now?

What Subjects and Why?

Lenna-Grace will be 4.5-years old in the fall and Zachary will be 3-years old.  I wanted to incorporate a lot of literature based learning.  My children love books and I want them to learn as much as possible by us reading together as a family  I want to be able to discuss what they are reading and dig deeper into it.  We will be doing Science, History/Geography, and Literature altogether through books.  By using books about history and science, we will explore more and do our own projects that tie in with the books.  Lenna-Grace is already great at basic math.  She can add and substract on her own.  So we will be doing math for sure!  She also knows all the sounds the letters make and can “sound out” a lot.  She writes all the letters and numbers.  So–phonics/reading/spelling and handwriting will also be covered.  And of course, we will do Bible time!

What Curriculum Did We Decide On?

I researched a lot and was torn about many things!  I loved the idea of doing my own curriculum and jusetting what was needed here and there, but this being our first “true homeschooling” year, I wanted a set  I am not a big fan of whole box sets with every subject in one company.  There’s just no way every company can get every curriculum for every subject right:)  I’m not a fan of online based schools–at least not for my children and their age.  Plus, I want to be very hands on at desk learning.  That’s not saying it is not right for some.  So–here’s our 2013-2014 Curriculum:

Sonlight Core 4/5  with K-readers- Literature, Language Arts, Science, and History/Geography
I searched a lot and debated between Sonlight and My Father’s World for a literature-based curriculum for Science and History.  I decided with Sonlight because it comse with everything—every book you need!  I liked the books in the program and that it was so heavy in literature.   I opted to do the K-readers to this Core because Lenna-Grace is beginning to learn to read already.  I thought this would simple be a great reinforcement.   Included in this core set are the following:

(6) books on World Cultures
(5) books for Science
(5) books for Language Arts
(11) books for Read-Alouds
(1) 101 Favorite Stories of The Bible
(4) Readiness Workbooks – Volume 1-4 of Developing the Early Learner
(1) Instructors Guide
(1) Language and thinking for Young Children (Basically early lang. arts workbook)
(1) My First Picture Dictionary
(1) Bingo game/cards/markers
(1) Go A to Z (Go Fish style game)
(1) Instructor Language Arts Guide
(27) Early Reader Books
(1) Explode the Code Kit (3 phonic workbooks and 1 teacher’s guide)

WOW…that’s a lot in one kit!  I can’t wait to dig into all this!

All About Reading/All About Spelling – Phonics Program
I have read amazing reviews about this program.  I debated between this and Sing, Spell, Read, Write.  I opted with this because I truly just liked the setup.  It was laid out well for the parent.  It seemed well-organized.  We purchased this about two months ago when I saw a coupon for it.  Here’s what we will be using:

  • All About Reading Level 1 – Lenna-Grace
  • All About Reading Pre-Reading – Zachary (this basic letter introduction and I just purchased the workbook, not the whole kit)
  • All About Spelling Level 1 – Lenna-Grace for Spring 2014

Handwriting Without Tears and A Reason for Handwriting
Yes, I did get both!  Why?  Well, HWOT is highly recommended for those not writing well and lefties!  We purchased this in January and have been using a lot of the resources in it.  I enjoy it a lot.  But Lenna-Grace may not need such structure as it has; therefore, I wanted to try the other because it is more traditional.  What do we have:

  • Handwriting Without Tears K – Lenna-Grace
    We have the matman, wooden letter pieces, K workbook, Wooden piece cards, mini chalkboards, little hands chalk, little hands crayons, little hands pencils, and the instructor guide.
  • Handwriting Without Tears My Frist School book – Zachary
  • A Reason for Handwriting Book K – Lenna-Grace

Here’s a great picture to see the different handwriting styles.  The one of the left is HWOT style (they teach with two lines instead of three to begin).  The one on the right is A Reason for Handwriting

withouttears  areason

handwriting3-line-handwriting-sample

Singapore Mathematics 1a/1b
Singapore has always been my choice for math!  Students in Asia rank we above American students and they must be doing something right!  I like the way Singapore teaches and it’s structure.  Of course, I amy find later on that it is not a good fit for Lenna-Grace.  We will see.  I picked the US Edition vs. the Standard Ed.  In the Standard Ed., the curriculum is aligned with California state standards and the infamous new Common Core Standards that many (and I am one) oppose.  This is more in line with how typical US students now learn.  The US edition is basically the Singapore edition because with our needs such as measurements and such.  And example would be this.  In the Standard Ed. (and in US school), students learn multiplication facts and all there is to it at one time.  Later, usually the next great, but sometimes a different chapter or semester, they learn division.  In the US Edition, the two are taught together.  After all, they go hand-in-hand.  If you learn what multiplication is, you are also learning division!

Why 1a/1b and not Kindergarten-Premath KA/KB?
Simple–it was not offered in the US Edition!  Basically, that is it.  I’m that against the Common Core Standards that I skip it!  And, I looked over the standards for both KA and 1A and I felt Lenna-Grace knew 75% that was taught in KA and KB.  So…why do it!

  • Singapore 1A
  • Singapore 1B (if she does well, we will do B.  If we go slow, she may just do 1A the first year and 1B for Kindergarten)
  • Addition, Substraction and Multiplication Memorization Music

Bible Time

I opted for a few things here.

  1. Truth and Grace – I have always known we would do the Catechism with our kids.  With True and Grace books, the kids will learn to memorize the Catechism, scripture, and hymns.
  2. Grapevine Studies – I am purchasing some of the Traceables to use for Art and Bible, which the kids will love!
  3. Family Time Bible – This has 128 stories from Scripture!
  4. Music CDs-Seeds of Courage and Seeds of Faith–these teach scripture through songs!  I love it!  Thanks, Jenny for recommended this!
  5. Poems and Prayers for Very Young
  6. ABC Bible

Physical Education-Family Time Fitness

What?  You are teaching PE?  Well, not exactly, but yes! Family Time Fitness has a great program to teach your children the important of moving!  It has a great set up and MANY activities to get your kids moving in structured activities.  I thought this was great.  Again, I had TWO coupons when I got this!  This will give us a lot of ideas of fun play time outside or inside.  Instead of just–go run around, we can do games and activities to get us moving!

What About Zachary?

While most the main learning will be for Lenna-Grace, Zachary will participate in school  Lenna-Grace did a lot of Letter of the Week curriculum that I will do with him.  He will work with shapes, colors, and numbers to get a better understanding.  I will be working with him on writing and basic motor skills (cutting, tracing, glueing, lasing, beading, etc.).  He will also learn with us with the literature books, calendar activities, etc.

Overall, I’m super excited and can’t wait!!

One thought on “Homeschooling….let the journey begin

  1. Hi Amber,
    You friend requested me on FB and I started checking out your profile and stumbled onto your website. I am right where you are at in the homeschooling process. I have almost the same plan that you are using for your children. I am so excited to begin this journey! It has been a long 14 months praying, learning, researching, and finally deciding this was right for us. We will “begin” our school year in July but I am planning on schooling all year round because of my health. Anyway, thank you for the FB add and I look forward to seeing your updates about how your 1st year is going. :)
    Oh forgot to ask, when are you planning to begin your school year? Do you know yet, how long you plan to homeschool?
    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Blessings to you and your family.

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