We have officially begun homeschool, and it is such a joy! There is the juggle of school and a baby and life, and I know there will be ups and downs on this journey, but being here with my boys each day, teaching them in the little moments and soaking in their sweet presence is such a blessing! It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the curriculum options and worry if you’re doing it ‘right’ or if you’re doing ‘enough’, so I wanted to share our approach and the tools we are using!
First, I highly recommend reading the book ‘Teaching From Rest’ by Sarah Mackenzie if you have even the tiniest interest in homeschool. I would also recommend praying over the decision, and I believe you have to do what is right for your child and for your family.
That being said, here is our approach! Our goal with home educating is for my husband and I to be the overarching voices in our children’s lives. We want to focus on character development as well as academic prowess . We believe that a lifelong leaner of high moral character is a more valuable employee than someone with a proficient yet limited skill set, high level as those skills may be. Because we naturally do a lot of educating throughout the day just through conversations, we decided to focus on reading, writing, math, a few science topics of interest, and reading the Bible for our kindergarten year. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the options, so keeping things simple with just a few resources felt like the best choice for us!
OUR KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM:
PHONICS: The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Study with sight words, phonics cards, and CVC words included. We chose the Kindergarten level for this because we felt like he was in-between K and 1st and figured he’d be doing kindergarten level work if he were in a co-op or the conventional school system.
HANDWRITING: practice with our daily learning notebook and Brainquest workbook, and handwriting printables as needed for extra practice. I printed them single page, then placed them back to back and laminated two at a time. (We honestly haven’t done the designated handwriting work since starting official school and mostly used them over the summer. This was a good activity for Elliot to complete while I was putting the baby down for a nap.)
MATH: Math Mammoth Workbook, addition + subtraction puzzle cards (we found ours at a consignment sale!), Tangram blocks and puzzles. The Good and the Beautiful Math Study was another option, and I may purchase the first grade level for the spring. We decided on a first grade workbook because Elliot seemed ready for it, so mixing in some hands on activities such as the tangram blocks has been helpful to balance out his learning. Sometimes we use the boards to make specific shapes, and sometimes we just use our imagination!
SCIENCE: The Good and the Beautiful Energy Study, Nature journaling (drawing pictures of what is around and writing a few sentences about it), Topic searches at the library, and possibly The Good and the Beautiful Marine Biology Study in the spring (which you can download for free!)
BIBLE: The Dig for Kids Proverbs - We ordered this without being able to read through it first, and for us it feels a bit advanced for a young age. The concept is fun with the idea of a dig site and uncovering treasures within Scripture, so we have just been reading the verses and talking about what they mean and how that applies to our daily lives. We will jump in more with the details of each day next year.
We absolutely love The Good and The Beautiful concept of learning as it integrates subject together even though you’re focusing on one study. The entire line of studies emphasizes family, God, high character, nature, and wholesome literature and incorporates beautiful art into everything. We are really loving the language arts curriculum, and I am confident I will purchase more in the future.
I had also looked into Abeka for phonics and math and Saxon math and may use them at a later date, but I had heard that both were a bit more intense than what we chose for this year. Elliot has a brain for math for sure, so I think having some challenging options will be good for him as we move forwar. We listened to a really interesting podcast about home educating that reinforced a lot of what we had already decided and gave us some other ideas to ponder.
Other notes + Resources:
Our dining room also serves as our school room, so we added a long shelf on the wall and use the console beneath for storage. The environment was important for us, and we wanted it to be safe + welcoming. We diffuse essential oils for focus + creativity (rosemary, peppermint, citrus), have soft lighting as well as overhead lighting and plenty of space to spread out at the table. Then it all gets tucked away and our dining room is a dining room again!
A laminator: I struggled with this decision and in the end it has been helpful for our handwriting sheets (that we will also use with Isaac), CVC words and a few other things.
Binders for printed studies: We really try to limit the amount of plastic we use, so I loved finding these recycled kraft binders. Since we only need a few for our printed TGATB studies, it works for us!
Art supplies: crayons, markers, colored pencils, anything that your child loves! We do a lot of ‘free’ art with blank paper (often scrap paper!) in addition to our nature journal. Elliot also really loves these coloring books!
Pencils + An (old school) pencil sharpener! Honestly any pencil sharpener will do, but I really love the feel of one of the crank style ones from when we were in school.
As of now we do about 1.5-2 hours of school most mornings, and that includes our time sitting outside drawing and journaling. Afternoons are for free play, building with legos or k’nex, drawing with chalk on the driveway, riding bikes, etc. It is a great fit for us right now, and I look forward to our home educating journey as it grows and changes!
If you have any favorites I would love to hear them!!