Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Homeschool Curriculum

OK, for those of you who check in occasionally, you'll know that we're starting our first "official" year of homeschooling this fall. I have been reading and researching to discover the curriculum that I think will work best for us. My daughter will be 5 on September 13 and has been in 3K and 4K at our church's preschool. Here's some information on her background and what resources I'm leaning toward.


We've been through about a third of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, and in preschool she's learned phonics rules for all the consonants and short vowel sounds. She hasn't gotten to blends yet. She is recognizing sight words as I read to her (my, the, etc.), and she has read a few of the Bob books to me. Next year I'm leaning toward continuing with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and supplementing that with Explode the Code, Book 2, which reviews consonant and short vowel sounds and then moves on to blends. Of course, I think the most important part of learning to read is being read to, so we would continue lots of read-alouds.


Emily Anne loves to write, especially letters to her grandparents and friends. She tells me what she wants to say, and I spell out what the words. I've noticed, though, that she wants to use capital letters and mix uppercase and lowercase letters. She also doesn't make the strokes the proper way. Frankly, I wouldn't really mind, as her handwriting is legible, but I think she will need the handwriting background to learn cursive writing. Is this even an issue today? I think about my high-school students and how few of them wrote their essays in cursive writing. Anyway, I'm leaning toward two handwriting resources: Draw Write Now, Book 1 and A Reason for Handwriting. EA loves to draw, and I think she'd find the step-by-step lessons of how to draw animals and children fascinating. The sentences to copy that go along with each lesson should make handwriting a little more enjoyable for her. A Reason for Handwriting has short verses from Psalms and Proverbs, which is scripture I was hoping to emphasize next year anyway. We can use these verses as our memory verses as she practices copying them throughout the week, and then she has had neat bordered paper she can use to write her verse and send it to family members, friends, etc. I really like this authentic use of writing.


Her current 4K class is using Saxon 5K (not quite sure why!?), so I hesitate buying the 5K texts since she would already be exposed to most of it. I am a little leary of jumping ahead to Saxon 1, but I understand that there is a lot of repetition in Saxon, so hopefully I wouldn't be pushing her too far ahead. If I were, I'd just put aside Level 1 until she were ready for it. Any feedback on this idea?


I have From Mudpies to Magnets and would use some of the experiments in this book, along with thematic studies of butterflies, weather, gardening, and whatever science themes catch our fancy. We would also do a weekly nature walk and keep a nature notebook.

Social Studies

I'm not planning on doing any particular social studies or history next year. My husband is trying to find a big world map and a big US map to put on the walls of our school room. Then, we'll mark the settings of the books we read and places we've traveled. If a particular place piques our fancy, then we'll do a unit study on that area.


We have The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, and I plan to read it aloud each day, followed by prayer time and Bible songs (I'd love some suggestions for good Bible songs. We have some by Judy Rogers, which are great but a little old for Emily Anne and Will right now).

I would love any feedback any of you home educators have to offer. I haven't ordered any of these resources yet (exept for From Mudpies to Magnets) and probably won't until the end of April. My local home educators' group will be holding a resource sharing event in April, and I'll want to attend that before I order curricula. Once that happens, though, I will really want my hands on these resources to plan and organize.

Are there any other curricula or resources you wouldn't be without?


Anonymous said...

I was in the middle of editing my post and I noticed I already had a commment. It was you! I fixed my links and typos. Come back! hehe! I think your plan sounds right on the mark for a K5. Don't worry about Saxon 1 for her. Most of the classical schools (ie.Logos) start 5K'ers with Saxon 1. I think it will be the best fit for EA. You can always slow down if she hits a bump. Take as much time as you need. Saxon 2 is a review so if you get too far behind you can catch up in Saxon 2 skipping concepts she already knows.
Have a blessed day friend!;')

Tonia said...

I think it looks great. My dd is currently doing K4 work, as well, so I am looking into things for our next school year (K5). Your plans look great to me!

Anonymous said...

Looks great! We love A Reason for Handwriting too. I have seen a great improvement in my children's handwriting this year. Christian and Rainbow Resource have inexpensive large wall maps too.