Oh, the head spinning effects of attempting to pick out curriculum for my first year of homeschooling!
There were so many details to consider. I read countless reviews of books and products, had (what seemed like) a million conversations with other homeschooling mamas, and felt rather overwhelmed at the plethora of options available.
When it finally came down to it, I relied heavily on reviews from other moms (via blogs & amazon reviews) and then checked the books out in person via a local homeschool consignment store. Both of these were extremely valuable resources and ones I’ve utilized many times over as I consider curriculum options for our 2016 – ’17 school year.
But for now, let’s talk about what I used last year for my first year of homeschooling. To clarify, I used these books during the 2015 – ’16 school year to teach kindergarten to my oldest. My main goals heading into kindergarten were to teach my child:
- to read
- to write numbers & letters
- basic math skills
- beginning catechisms
- to love reading and being read to (this is where history & science came in)
- to love learning
And now for what we used:
After much deliberation, I decided to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I’ll be honest – there were some things I wasn’t crazy about in this book, such as a lack of teaching reading rules. BUT? After going through it, Anna Grace knows how to read and greatly enjoys doing so. Despite the fact that I didn’t love every single part of it, the bottom line is this: I’m planning to give this book another go when I teach Nate how to read.
We also used a plethora of beginning reader books – many of which were passed down to us from friends and are out of print. Once we finished those, we moved on to our own books that are perfect for beginning readers, such as Hop on Pop and Have You Seen My Cat?
I used this journal (they’re much cheaper in stores, though, so check around when all the school supplies hit the shelves!) for everything from handwriting practice to Bible lessons and journal-type questions (such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “What makes you excited about kindergarten?”)
We also used handwriting practice books that you can find pretty much anywhere at the beginning of school – I’ve seen them in the Target dollar spot before!
We used this workbook for math and both loved it. It’s a good sign when your student begs to do another page of math because it’s just so fun. The only thing I would do differently is get the teacher edition next time. I felt a bit at a loss for how to explain certain concepts to her and I think it might have been easier if I had a teacher’s edition to look at so I could draw on someone else’s expertise instead of just drawing on my own knowledge.
We used this history book, which to be totally honest wasn’t my favorite. Anna Grace enjoyed reading through it, but I felt like it read too much like a slightly boring textbook. I’m using other materials for Nate.
I began teaching from this science book with this journal, but felt like it was above Anna Grace’s kindergarten level. I’m hoping to use it with her in 2nd or 3rd grade. Instead, we used books from the library about different things that interested her in science. She and Nate began asking all sorts of questions about the human body (such as, “How does sound come out of our mouths?” and “What happens to food when we swallow it?”), so I tried to capitalize on their natural curiosity and use that as a springboard for science. My parents bought this book for Anna Grace’s birthday and we all think it’s incredibly cool – so much that my kids look at it even when it’s not for “school.”
I found this catechism book which we used for our Bible curriculum. I’m planning to use it in the coming years as well – both to review it with my oldest and begin learning it with my younger ones. I found these catechisms so helpful personally and pray that my children will understand and internalize the Bible truths they’re memorizing.
And that’s about it for kindergarten! Overall it was a great experience, as I already shared when I told you about the struggles and blessings from my first year of homeschooling. I’m incredibly thankful for the daily grace God gives, whether homeschooling or not. I certainly need it!