Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

A Kindergarten Curriculum Round-Up

I’ve hemmed and hawed. Procrastinated and vacillated. I’ve also changed my mind what seems like a million times. The thing of it is, we’d like to start school on August 24th. It’s early compared to the rest of the local schools, but that’s part of the reason why we want to homeschool. We want to set our own schedule instead of trying to fit our lives into someone else’s mold. We’re going to school according to our family’s schedule so that it fits around my husband’s work schedule.  We’re going to do school on the days he works and take the same days he has off which means we’re basically going to go to school just about all year.  And why not?  Who says you have to have three months off in the summer?

So it began.  With a trip to Target and the dollar section for workbooks.  I know for many they are the epitome of all evil.  Silly little things complete with “motivational stickers.”  I myself have shyed away from them in the past and yet the plain fact of the matter is…my kids love them.  They love their colorful pictures and simple tasks.  They love to “read” through them, put stickers on their clothes, and marvel in the sheer number of options.  We added to that a few simple math manipulatives.  When we got home it was imperative that we take everything out.  Open every package.  Sort through everything.  Twenty dollars worth of stuff.  Endless hours of fun.  Extra practice for what’s to come.

Then came my next decision…the spine with which to make it all fit.  The basic framework?  “Home Learning Year by Year.”  And then?

  • Social Studies – Lesson Pathways Kindergarten History Guide Journey supplemented with a number of books from the library.  We won’t be completing all of the activities or using all of the resources.  The goal is to keep things light.  I’d also like to figure out a community service project we can do together as a family.
  • Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K Book.  As I look through the student book and the teacher’s guide (which I wholeheartedly suggest purchasing) and their suggested schedule I suspect we’ll actually be able to make it through this book before we take our Christmas break.  We’ll see how that turns out in practice, however.
  • Phonics – The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  There’s just something about Jessie Wise that really gets under my skin annoys me to no end.  I really wanted to find something else to teach phonics with, but either they were too cumbersome (imo) or they coupled phonics with handwriting.  I’d much rather phonics was taught separately as I much prefer HWOT’s way of teaching writing.  It just didn’t seem like there was anything else out there like this one.  We might also supplement with the Explode the Code workbooks and BOB readers, but we’ll have to wait and see.
  • Math – I had considered the McRuffy Math.  I have the student workbook, but now I’m not so sure that I want to buy the curriculum.  I’m still hemming and hawing on this one.  I’ve also considered MEP and Miquon Orange.  I think I’ll just piece something together for now.
  • Science – We’re going with The Magic School Bus.  We’ll in The Magic School Bus videos, some of the activities off the Scholastic Website Theme Index, and maybe their science kits.  I think for the first unit we’ll start with Electricity which might seem a bit odd.  To be honest, though, J’s been obsessed with electricity for the past several months so this will dovetail nicely with his interests.  After that I’d like to do a unit on the human body.  I’m going to try out the unit study books for both.  We’ll also supplement this with plenty of field trips like a visit to the Grossology exhibit at the children’s museum.  J LOVES The Magic School Bus which should help quite a bit.  I found the unit study book for the human body unit at the library the other day. J found it in the bag and has already spent an hour or so reading through it.  He’s very excited.
  • Art – I’d like to use the Drawing is Basic Kindergarten book.  J’s very timid when it comes to drawing so I’d really like to be able to help him build some skills and some confidence.
  • Spanish – It’s very important to me that J learns Spanish.  I wish that I had started learning earlier than I did and that I had kept up with it.  I think it’d be a fantastic skill for him to have when he’s an adult.  I’m going to use LanguageQuest’s Primary Spanish Package and Cante, Cante, Elefante.
  • Gym – Aside from the huge portions of the day that the kids already play outside we’re going to get J into the Homeschool Gym Class – it’s gym time and swimming and I’m fairly certain he’ll have a blast.  We’d also like to get him into a kyuki-do class, but I have to figure out how to pay for it first.
  • Other – Plenty of free art time, mazes (because J adores them), reading, etc to round it all out.

Typing it all out that seems like a lot…in practice I think it’s going to take less tim than I anticipate which is not a bad thing. I’m also going to give our local homeschool group a try again. I’d like to start a Pre-K/Kindergarten Art Group like the one I read about in Mothering Magazine back in 2007. We’ll see how it all pans out.

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