Preschool and First Grade?!? No way! I can’t believe it. We are wrapping up our kindergarten year here, and looking forward to starting first grade and also preschool with my littlest love. This year, Liza Jill would sometimes hang out with us for calendar time and stories, but she was always free to walk away and play at any time. Soon, I’m going to start some more formal ‘preschool’ with her and I’m super excited! It should be a lot of fun.
I’ve gotten all of my curriculum and materials in the mail finally, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Language Arts –
Liza Jill is three years old, turning four in October. She doesn’t yet recognize any letters of the alphabet – I’ve not introduced any formal academics with her. She’s just a baby, and I’m not concerned with her reading early. We will be learning a letter per week, and having fun with it! I didn’t purchase a full language arts curriculum for her this year, instead I’m just making my own. I’ve created a list, pairing each letter of the alphabet with a theme, books to go along with it, and activities. For each letter, I’ve tried to have at least a couple books and activities and we will read together and complete the activities throughout the week. I tried to list a good variety of activities – crafts, baking, little science experiments etc. In addition, I did purchase the preschool Handwriting Without Tears book, and also have the wood letter pieces. We will go through it slowly together, putting it on pause if she gets frustrated or overwhelmed – at this stage, I want school to be a fun and joyful experience for her! I created our “curriculum” mostly from books we already have. There are three of four on my list that I will either purchase or check-out from the library.
Math – Farmland Math
I purchased this curriculum from Timberdoodle, and oh my stars, y’all! It is SO MUCH FUN! It’s a little on the pricey side – around $40 for the set, but totally worth it. It comes with a farm play mat, jumbo animal counters, and the book. Each week you read a little story, they listen and move the animals around on the mat, learning counting, sorting, patterns etc. We’ve started using it a couple times a week, and it’s a big hit! She does her little lesson so well, then I let her play with the animals for a few minutes, you can see her in the below pic lining up all her animals on the mat. You can watch a full demo video of the program here.
That’s pretty much the extent of preschool! Just a little introduction to homeschool for her, keeping it light and fun! She will sit with us through calendar/weather, pledges, and Bible time as well. We have a “weather frog” made of cardstock, and we dress him up according to the conditions outside. She already enjoys participating with that and singing her days of the week.
Language Arts: Explode the Code, Handwriting Without Tears, & BOB books
Turner started out Kindergarten eager to learn to read, but has gotten frustrated as the year has gone on. He will just be six years old in August, so I’ve taken a bit of a step back with him. He recognizes all letters and sounds, and can read simple words and sentences, so I feel like he’s just fine. I want to give him a little more time to solidify those concepts and build some confidence. We will be continuing our Handwriting Without Tears journey – we LOVED the kindergarten curriculum! First grade builds off of that foundation(in the pick below, the yellow books are first grade, and the green one is LJ’s Preschool book mentioned earlier). I got the first three Explode the Code books and teacher’s guide at our local used homeschool supply store. I decided to start at the very beginning, even though they are a bit below his level. I think he could use a confidence boost! We’ve already started the first one, and he is really enjoying it so far and I think he’s starting to feel better about reading. I like that they are inexpensive, so I can move through the series at our pace without stressing over cost. We also read BOB books together daily, and will continue to do so. I may add some spelling later on in the year.
In addition, for reading comprehension, we are doing some read-alouds. I am starting with Charlotte’s Web. I’m using this teacher’s guide just to help me with some comprehension questions and vocab ideas; I read a chapter then ask the questions for him to answer orally. I figured he can read it again independently in a few years and fill out the workbook himself.
Math: Singapore 1A & 1B, Usborne Math Activity book
We are giving Singapore Math a try this year, and will supplement occasionally with the Usborne addition and subtraction book.
Science: Interactive Science
I am really excited about this Science curriculum! I’ve looked at a lot of different Science curricula and none of them (in my opinion) had the foundation I was looking for with the fun! I feel like Interactive Science fit the bill for what I want him to get out of Science this year. Note: It is not Christian based, and does touch on evolution. It is not, however, the main focus and I still felt like it was our best choice.
History: Bede’s History of Me
We are starting off with Bede’s History of Me, and will move on to something different after. This curriculum teaches them what a timeline is, about their family tree and what we actually mean when we say history. In addition, it covers the history of major holidays, and a little U.S. history as well. It will probably only take us a couple of months to finish this book, and I’m not quite sure what we will move on to after just yet.
Bible: The Jesus Storybook Bible
I love love love The Jesus Storybook Bible. It is simple and beautiful and full of truth! We already had a copy at home, but I went ahead and bought the deluxe version with audio CDs on Amazon – it was super cheap and a really good investment. I’ll read the story one day, then we will listen to it the next. I also purchased the handouts on Amazon, for around $6 a set. We will use those to further discuss the reading. In addition, we’ve been working on a catechism together.
Art: Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools
I am so excited about this! My little guy is all about art, so I really felt like I needed to bulk up our art experience at home. I’ve done a lot of reading and research on Waldorf education, and while I don’t like 100% of it’s philosophy I DO love the approach to art. This book goes all the way through grade 8, and is very comprehensive. I can’t wait to see the beautiful creations he comes up with! Liza Jill will probably join us for some art time as well.
Music: Piano Lessons
Turner has been taking piano for a little while now. Admittedly, we haven’t been too consistent, and it’s definitely not his favorite thing in the world at this point, but that’s okay! His teacher is the SWEETEST, and I just want him to gain an appreciation for music and some basic concepts. If piano isn’t his greatest passion in life, that’s fine by me, but at least he will have had the exposure and opportunity.
Aaaand, that’s it! I’m hoping for a more peaceful and fun year this year. I’m toying with the idea of schooling year round (nine weeks on, four weeks off), but haven’t quite decided on that officially and when precisely we will begin. We are going to be participating in a co-op on Mondays, and look forward to that. For the younger grades, this particular co-op is mostly the “extras” – P.E., Art, etc. I know the kids will have a lot of fun and learn so much with that. I’m also hoping we can have more experiences and take more field trips this year, which is always fun. And, we are planning on participating in a Poet-Tea with some other homeschool families – learning about and memorizing a little poetry together. I’d love to see your favorite preschool and first grade materials! Comment, and share away! Thanks for reading!