So here I was, minding my own business and updating my “Previous Curricula” page. Then I was drafting out a “plan” post for the summer and fall to come this year when I stumbled upon the calendar for the TOS Crew where I had the option to participate in a blog carnival with the theme of sharing my Favorite Curriculum Choices. How appropriate that my mind is already here!?
I figure that I could just think back on this last year and share my favorite choices, but that seems unfair especially since I’m considering my earlier and past choices as my younger daughter gets closer to truly starting “school”. So I figure I’ll give you levels and my choices within. Also if you’re curious, you might want to step back and read my Wrapping Up the End of the Homeschool Year (2013-2014) post as well for more details.
Basics of the very beginnings. LeapFrog DVDs especially Letter Factory and the newer Scout & Violet adventures including Phonics Farm. Preschool Printables from around the web. I have dozens (and then some) all linked and organized on my Pinterest Boards.
This includes introduction and free access to our “preschool toys” including the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom felt tree on the flannel board (homemade), Pattern Blocks, Big Button Patterns, Lacing Cards, Ravensburger Floor Puzzles, Magnetic Dress Up, Duplo Legos, AppleLetters, Bananagrams, Pairs in Pears, Fruitominos, Hello Sunshine, Teddy Mix & Match, Mighty Mind, Tupperware Shape-O, and more…
Taking the Preschool Printables up a notch with adding in COAH LOTW. I’m not crazy about all her letter suggestions (gum balls, etc so I do alternate some with other online freebies). I do love The Story for Little Ones, we just didn’t keep up with it. I’m sadly finding that if it is not written on the schedule, it just doesn’t get done. So that would be an interesting thing to attempt to remedy. However, with that said, it still goes on my favorite curriculum choices list.
About this time is when I’ll throw in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. It is not the only thing we do, however it appears that you could do it alone. We also have our Bob Books Sets that are started about here with the My First Readers before going on into the Beginning Readers and so on.
The PreK 3 stage is a perfect fit for adding in Handwriting Without Tears PreK: Get Set for School learning to write all uppercase letters. It was here that for AppleBlossom we did Memoria Press Junior Kindergarten. However, I’d put that under K4 for most kiddos and we will for OrangeBlossom.
Next the big add on for the 4 year old and really anyone else around is The Family Reading Bible from Zondervan. I love this Bible! I also love the little supplements they put out there (physical and eBook) that are specific like The Easter Story and The Christmas Story. It’s so easy to grab and integrate in to a time to read aloud!
As I mentioned above, for AppleBlossom we did Junior Kindergarten at K3, but most will probably want that at K4. So as to follows we also did Memoria Press Kindergarten with Enrichment for K4 with AppleBlossom, although most will probably want to wait for K5 on that. (Reviews are being written as of now, so check back for links to that with lots of details!)
Specifically within our Kindergarten curriculum the thins that I have loved and definitely plan to revisit include the Memoria Press Kindergarten Enrichment (the book lists are phenomenal and have hardly anything I do not end up loving!), Memoria Press Kindergarten Art Cards, Rod & Staff Beginning Arithmetic Part 1, Memoria Press First Start Reading and the Numbers Books too.
Extras that I would add in here include The Magic School Bus Complete Series DVDs, McGuffey Readers starting with the Primer (using the Alphabet page for little sister too), Moffatt Girls Spring Kindergarten Math & Literacy Pack (actually I’d also include other seasonal theme packs and her Ready2Read series – in parts).
I’m a little up and down on handwriting. I’m not sure what I’m thinking to revisit with another child as they come. I mean I have enjoyed what we have done with AppleBlossom. HWOT PreK was an absolute yes when you include the little slate, but I did not find HWOT K to really be that necessary. We did have opportunity to learn to trace the letters in Alphabet Books (included in MP JrK) and the numbers in the Numbers Books (included in MP K) as well as in Copybook 1 (MP K) and I liked them, she liked the coloring pages to go along, but I just wasn’t over the top crazy about them, and they are a bit pricey individually. I’m definitely liking the Getty-Dubay Italic Book A, even though it does not have quite as much instruction as in HWOT on the shaping of the letters – I definitely appreciate the appearance better as it does match my natural handwriting the best. Revisiting my comment on learning to write numbers, I think that this best work is included in the workbook and practice sheets for Beginning Arithmetic as mentioned above – the poems to remember with each number are the best!
With OrangeBlossom I doubt I’ll get HWOT K, but I will continue her in HWOT PreK that she has already started, as to whether or not I’ll buy that again when it comes to AlmondBlossom, we’ll have to see. (*Note: Still taking votes here, should it just be shorten to Almond in reference to him? Can you BELIEVE he’ll be here in probably around 6-7 more weeks?!?!) I’ve already bought OrangeBlossom a set of the MP Alphabet Books and Number Books, but I’m still on the fence about Copybook 1. I like the things in it, I think I’m just uncertain on the font because I really like the idea of heading toward the Getty-Dubay Italic. However, this fall we’ll also have some exposure to the Zaner-Bloser influenced Seton Handwriting 1 (and there is a Seton Handwriting K) so maybe there. I just don’t know. Continuing with AppleBlossom we have Copybook 2 and thus will do it, but she’ll also be trying out New American Cursive 1 this year and I’m thinking in January she’ll be ready for Pictures in Cursive Primer, which I’m frankly very excited about (even though I haven’t seen it in person, yet).
I’m definitely open to other people’s opinions!!! Sorry, handwriting/penmanship tangent!
Adding in now before K5 really begins: Bebee’s Picture Primer (Printed two-page spread to a page, front and back and bound on the left side) – I already know I love this. It is right on key as we’re “learning to read” and adding in the recognition of cursive letters as we start that study is even better! Other things I’d throw in here would be Math Mammoth Light Blue 1A.