Category: Homeschooling

Schoolin’

Here is a peek inside my Pre-K Homeschool curriculum for Cody this year!

Book List

Bible:
Children’s Bible – 101 Favorite Stories from the Bible by Ura Miller
Memory Verses – My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts* by Susan Hunt & Yvette Banek
Devotional – A Little God Time for Kids: 365 Daily Devotions
Language Arts:
The Random House Book of Fairy Tales by Amy Ehrlich & Diane Goode
The Big Purple Book of Beginner Books by various authors including P.D. Eastman (There are also Blue & Red editions with stories by P.D. Eastman)
The Big Green Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss (There are also Orange & Aqua editions with stories by Dr. Seuss)
Any treasury story book that you and your child enjoy will work well

Reading:
First Thousand Words (in English) by Heather Amery & Stephen Cartwright
LeapFrog LeapReader (electronic pen) with Learn to Read 10 Book Bundle

Art:
The Art Book for Children by Phaidon Press
Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake

Poetry:
Eric Carle’s Animals Animals
A Treasury of Mother Goose Illustrated by Hilda Offen
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Jack Prelutsky
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry

Science:
The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature
Is the Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? By Robert E. Wells
How Do You Lift a Lion? By Robert E. Wells
What’s Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? By Robert E. Wells
What’s Under the Sea? By Sophy Tahta
Why Do Tigers Have Stripes? By Mike Unwin
How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty
Science Learn and Explore Pre-K by DK Workbooks

Social Studies:
People by Peter Spier
Then and Now by Heather Amery
Things People Do by Anne Civardi
Stories from Around the World (Retold by Heather Amery)
Workbook: (pre-writing, thinking, numbers)
School Zone Big Preschool Workbook

 

How I Chose My Curriculum

Originally, I planned to use a pre-organized curriculum by a company called Sonlight. They create Christian, literature-based curriculum packages for preschool through high school. After ordering my package, I received the items and started out following the very well-organized Instructor’s Guide. Each week has a memory verse and a song of the week, and each day has a Bible story, along with selections from the various books included in the curriculum. There are also optional activities that can be done.

As I started out, I quickly realized that the books included are for the most part, quite old. I understand the value of classics, but when the majority of the books in a curriculum are published in the 1980s, I think it might be time for an update! Additionally, many of the books are by the same authors or publishing groups. It makes me feel like I’m only exposing my child to one person’s way of thinking, instead of teaching from a variety of sources.

So, after only a couple of days of that, I decided to keep what I liked and choose different books for the rest. I quickly ended up with my own curriculum, and have only kept a few things from Sonlight, mainly because I don’t want to go through the hassle of returning them for a partial refund, and I didn’t want to further delay our start of school by waiting for all new books.

I started out by deciding what subjects I wanted to study with my child. The core subjects I came up with were Bible, language arts, reading, science, social studies, and math. Since Cody is still too young for true math, we are learning the basics of numbers this year, and we do that mainly through his workbook. Bible is the subject we study every day, and we also do something in the reading category daily. That left me with three subjects to rotate through. I decided to make it five, so we can study one subject each day and go through all of them in a week.

Because I actually enjoyed the poetry selections from Sonlight, I chose that subject and picked a few new books. To round out the curriculum, I chose art as our final subject. (Next year, for Kindergarten, we will study Spanish and Math as a full subject, so I will have to rearrange accordingly).

After choosing our subjects, I simply went shopping for books I liked. I chose a few for each subject, based on what I felt was needed. Some books are large collections we will work through over the course of the year, and others are ones we will read for a few months, or perhaps only once.

 

What Homeschooling Looks Like for Us

Every day we review our memory verse for the week, then we read the Bible story for the day. We are currently using the Sonlight Instructor’s Guide for our Bible verse and story selections, but next year we will use My ABC Bible Verses, which can be reused for several years, and read chronologically through the Read and Learn Bible, which we already have.

He repeats the Bible verse (in short pieces), and I remind him briefly what it means. While reading the story, I ask him questions to help with comprehension and keep him engaged. The stories are short, and the pictures are lovely, so that helps.

Next, we choose a subject to focus on for the day. We have a jar with popsicle sticks, and each subject written on one stick. He chooses one and moves it to the “done” jar, and that’s the subject we study that day. The options are: Stories (Language Arts), Science, Art, Social studies, and Poetry.

For each subject, we typically read a few pages from one of the appropriate books, and possibly do an activity. We have the freedom to choose which book we want to read that day, and how much we want to read. I keep an eye on his attentiveness, and stop when I’m satisfied we’ve done enough and he’s beginning to lose focus.

Then we do some reading practice. We either look at a few pages of First Thousand Words, and practice reading the words and finding the objects in the pictures, or we read through one of his LeapReader books using his electronic pen.

We end by doing a few pages in his workbook, one of his favorite parts of school. I flip through and try to pick a variety of activities, and he likes to pick which ones to do as well. I usually have to tell him when we’re going to be done, because even though he loses focus, he says he wants to do more.

That’s it for our “formal” schooling during the day time. It usually takes us 20 minutes or so to do all of that, not including any activities we might do. We also have a devotional we read together as a family at bedtime.

As homeschoolers, we also see life skills as an important part of our children’s education. While he’s a bit young right now, we plan to teach cooking, cleaning, money management, nutrition, fitness, self-defense (through karate) and any other subjects they show an interest in.

The formal part of homeschooling sometimes seems intimidating to people, but I’ve found that at least at this early stage in our journey, it’s actually quite fun to choose books and subjects you want to explore together. Then you just start! One day at a time, they learn. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and Cody enjoys it too.