We are wrapping up our first year of homeschool around here and I wanted to share what we ended up using. I LOVE reading what other moms use and I’ve gotten so many wonderful ideas from other moms. This is NOT a post about the “right” curriculum choices or “look what I did” or “look what my kids did.” NO ONE can tell you what to use for your children. This is merely what we used, and if you resonate with the Charlotte Mason style homeschool, or even if you don’t, you may pick up an idea or two. When I was starting out, I spent hours and hours reading and researching every homeschool curriculum, blog, and idea on the internet! I’m sharing in hopes of helping another mom. And I remember the blogs and videos that helped me so much, so I want to pay it forward! You know how Sarah Mackenzie always posts her details? Well I’m one of the ones who gobbles them all up, so I’m sharing too. 🙂
What did you use this year and love? And what are you thinking of using next year?? I will have a 1st grader, so please share any favorite resources!! I’m already planning. 🙂
Here’s the quick run down, and below I’ll go into detail:
Handwriting: The Good and The Beautiful Level 2 and copywork from her daily Bible reading
Math: Math-U-See, Primer Level.
Science: Sibley Backyard Birding Flashcards, a bird-feeder, butterfly house, and Liberty Christian books
Devotion: Leading Little Ones to God.
Art Study: Picture Study Portfolios by Simply Charlotte Mason. (we did Monet)
Bible Memorization: Verses and Books of the Bible
Poetry Memorization: Prayers for Children, The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
Character: Character First, Bible, and Wisdom and the Millers book: Proverbs for Children
Hymn Study: Hymns at Home
Literature: LOTS AND LOTS OF BOOKS-see lists below.
Reading: Alphaphonics. This worked great for my early reader. No pictures, color, or images in the book which I liked. I plan on using this with my other kiddos and hope it works as well with them.
Handwriting: The Good and The Beautiful Level 2. Basic handwriting. We loved it. Has space for a student to draw or color a picture on each page. Each lesson only takes about 5 minutes, which is all my DD wanted to do. Christian based. Will be using Level 3 next year. My daughter also did copywork of Bible verses from her daily Bible reading.
Math: Math-U-See Primer Level. Math is one of my weakness so I need something with planned lessons in it. There is a 5 minute video to watch once a week where Steve Demme, the creator of Math-u-see, explained the concept of the week and we watched together, then the student does the workbook the rest of the week. Each lesson only takes about 5 minutes. With this program, some weeks my daughter would fly through the lessons, but other weeks we needed more than a week to do them, so we just took our time and when I felt like she got it, then we moved on. I didn’t rush her. I didn’t have an “end date” in mind this year so I was good with taking our time.
History: We didn’t do much for History for Kindergarten. My daughter liked to read through Living Long Ago from Usborne, but that’s about it. I recently picked up Story of the World and a Beautiful Feet Books History Guide to alternate for next year and am really excited about both of them.
Natural Science: We do the Charlotte Mason method of science, where you basically study your outside surroundings through the elementary levels and read living books. So, we bought the Sibley Backyard Birding Flashcards and my husband built a bird feeder. We would see a bird and go find it in our cards and hang it on the wall. We have learned about so many birds this way! We also built a butterfly home where we would put caterpillars and watch them turn into butterflies or moths! And lastly, we read from the Liberty Christian books and the kids love them. So do I. It’s a book that tells facts about animals and insects in their natural environments in story form.
Devotion: read during Morning Time with all the kids: Leading Little Ones to God. This is separate from Bible. We do Bible reading every day. Devotion is extra. Like my friend says, it’s the skittle after dinner and dinner is the Bible. 🙂 We also incorporated personal prayer time for the 3 yo, 4 yo, and 6 yo. I sit with them to guide, but they do most of the praying.
Art Study: (during Morning Time with all the kids) Picture Study Portfolios by Simply Charlotte Mason. This was one of my favorite things we did all year! You pick an artist and you get eight pictures and an artist biography. Basically, you look at one picture a week until the student can close their eyes and see the picture in their mind. I love looking at one artist’s works for an entire term, because we become familiar with the artist that way. We chose the Monet and Van Gogh portfolios, but only did Monet this year b/c we kept each picture up for longer than a week. I can’t believe they learned 8 Monet works! And I did too-I’m learning art, birds, all kinds of history right along with them. 🙂 My 4 year old son saw a Monet picture at a friend’s house, and said, “Look, it’s Monet! Woman with a Parasol!” I was SO excited and thought if we did nothing else in the year I would be happy with that. I also checked out these picture books about Monet for free reads:
Claude Monet: Getting to know the World’s Greatest Artists
Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies
Katie and Waterlily Pond
Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains
Bible Memorization: I keep all that we’ve memorized in a binder with 8 tabs. The tabs are Daily, Odd, Even, and then Mon-Fri. Our daily work is what we are currently memorizing. The last thing we’ve memorized goes under the Even or Odd day tabs so we can review it more frequently. Behind the other tabs are what we’ve already memorized but we review them once a week. Once we learn our daily work, then it gets moved to the odd tab. Eventually it will get moved to a day of the week tab. I got this system from a Charlotte Mason site and it has worked well for us. We also worked on memorizing the books of the Bible.
Poetry Memorization: We picked a couple poems out of the book Prayers for Children, a Little Golden Book that I found for .50 cents at a used bookstore and it’s one of our favorite books for poetry memorization. We also read and read and read The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose and the kids just naturally memorized lots of the shorter nursery rhymes.
Character Study: We used Character First, the Bible, home-made character study, and Wisdom and the Millers book: Proverbs for Children
Hymn Study: Holy, Holy, Holy. The site Hymns at Home is a wonderful resource.
Literature/BOOKS: This is my very favorite part of homeschooling. 🙂 We read a bazillion picture books, but these are our favorites.
Here are the chapter books we read aloud as a family and loved this year: (These are GREAT FIRST ALOUDS! Click here to see a complete list of our favorite first read alouds!
B is for Betsy
Back to School with Betsy
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Milly Molly Mandy
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Courage of Sarah Noble
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Little House books on audio (b/c we’ve already read them through a few times, so my daughter likes to listen to these during quiet time) The audio books performed by Cherry Jones are PHENOMENAL!!
We also purchased the audio Zondervan Dramatized Bible for quiet times. We all love these.
In case you’re interested in the Charlotte Mason method, here’s my rundown on it: The Charlotte Mason style of homeschool resonated with me as soon as I heard about it. I started reading lots of books and posts about it and am still learning, but find the ideas of education as an atmosphere, a discipline and a life, using living books, outdoor play, art and composer study, natural sciences, treating children as born persons, and creating good habits in life and learning to be what speaks to my heart. It’s about spreading a wonderful feast in front of your children of truth, beauty, and goodness. I do not use only Charlotte Mason, but go there first when I’m planning.
Remember! There is NO ONE who can tell you what to use with your family! You are the one God gave them to; you know them best. But let us be encouraged by one another in sharing ideas! “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:4-5