I’d like to introduce a new series, Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Top Picks, that I hope will really come in handy during this time of year — you know, curriculum-buying season. No, I’m no Cathy Duffy, but, hey, I have an opinion.
I’ll be sharing things that either A) we used and loved or B) we would have used if I could go back and do it again. I’ll be breaking the suggestions down by grade level because that seemed the simplest way to do it, but we all know that grade levels are arbitrary and you should go with your child’s skill level.
First up, the WUHS Top Picks for Kindergarten. First of all, if I had it to do over again, this homeschool curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten would be my main approach to this grade level. The laid-back, learning-through-play-and-exploration suggestions in the linked article are ideal for instilling a love of learning in young children. However, I know it can be hard to ignore that homeschool mom desire for introducing structured learning, especially if you have older children already schooling and the younger ones are either begging to do school or need some structure so that you can work with an older child.
If you desire to introduce more structured learning for your preschoolers or Kindergarten-age child, here are some of my favorites:
Letter of the Week. I loved this free curriculum when Josh and Megan were younger. I adapted the ideas from the LOTW curriculum to create the learning center I used with my niece when she schooled with us last year. I didn’t always use it exactly as it’s laid out (which is no surprise to those who know me), but the ideas and resources definitely made a great jumping off point.
Horizons Math K. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you probably already know that we’re huge fans of Horizons Math. It is one of the most thorough math programs out there and it’s very reasonably priced. It also leans toward the advanced side — as in, my kids are always a grade level lower on the books than their actual “grade level,” but have always tested at or above actual grade level in math. Keeping that in mind, I suggest going through Horizons K slowly and adding lots of hands-on practice and fun math games to cement what your child is learning.
Reading. I wish I’d known about Scaredy Cat Reading Systems when my kids were younger. I love the gentle, but thorough way that Level 1 introduces letters and their names and sounds. Some Kindergartners may even be ready for Level 2, which introduces CVC words, during their Kindergarten year.
I would also recommend looking at Rocket Phonics. We were past the letter/letter sound teaching portion when I discovered it, but I liked what I saw. With Rocket Phonics, you’re set for awhile since your child should be at about a 5th grade reading level when you finish the entire program. (Read my review.)
I’m also very fond of the ideas shared at Penny Gardner’s ABC’s of Reading site. We’ve used these ideas throughout our years of reading instruction. Finally, I offer a few more suggestions in my post, Great Tools for Teaching Reading.
Science. As far as I’m concerned, nature study is the best way to study science at this age. One of my favorite books is Nature in a Nutshell for Kids, by Jean Potter. I would also strongly suggest visiting the Handbook of Nature Study blog for great suggestions on how to incorporate nature study in your homeschool.
Bible. I think the Scripture Memory Box is suitable for any age. We’ve used this system for years and loved it. As far as Bible lessons, I think sharing the timeless favorite stories with any good children’s Bible is plenty at this age. If you’ve got multiple ages, we love Bible Study Guide for All Ages. Bible Study Guide’s beginner student pages are suitable for Kindergarten…I just wish you luck trying to convince your kids it’s time to switch to the intermediate pages when they’re older. The beginner pages are apparently way too much fun.
What would you consider to be your top picks for Kindergarten?
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