Friday, March 16, 2007

Our Kindergarten Curriculum

Here are the basics of our Kindergarten curriculum and schedule. We are doing year-round schooling and typically do a Monday to Friday schedule. Be sure to check back as I will be adding readers and other books as we finish the current list.

Math
Saxon 1: We decided to do this grade level after taking the placement test. We also use the manipulative set made to accompany the math series. Although many decide to skip out on the math meeting book included in the homeschool kit, we use it daily to solidify calendar skills and practice other math skills.


Phonics
Explode the Code: We used the primers A-C as a review before starting on book 1. So far they are favorites and we tend to move at a slower pace in them in order to let our phonics lessons really sink in. We are averaging about 3 pages per week, although at times we may do one more or one less. I think it's a good idea to take a placement test if you are not sure where to start with the books. Although Book 1 is recommended for first grade, it seems completely doable for kindergarten. I really recommend these books to anyone looking to supplement their phonics program!



Phonics Pathways: After spending a long time looking at different programs, we finally settled on Phonics Pathways and we are loving it! We are working through this book daily. Sometimes we might spend more time on a page reviewing and other times we might do more than one page per day.



Bob Books: We will be using these to start out and then progress into something a little more advanced. So far, these books are great because your child can actually read a whole book all by himself after only a few lessons of Phonics Pathways! They are great confidence boosters!





Handwriting
Handwriting Without Tears: This is a great handwriting program that is very gentle and fun! We have been using it since preschool and we love that it works by using not only notebooks, but manipulatives as well. We work on a minimum of one row of letters per day, depending on the difficulty of the letter.



Religion
Who Am I? (Image of God Series): This program is intended for children ages 3-5. It offers such a gentle approach to teaching religion that we've been enjoying it since preschool. The program includes a teacher's manual that is full of stories and crafts to correspond with each lesson. There are also special sections to correlate with the liturgical calendar (advent, lent, Easter, etc.). The kindergarten workbook is fun and easy...mostly coloring, cutting, and pasting. We enjoy doing one lesson per week, alternating workbook pages with crafts.




God's Love Story: This is another exclusive from Catholic Heritage Curricula. The book covers all of creation through the birth of Christ and beyond. It is in a coloring book format, which is great because your child can color a couple of pages per week as your read along. We tend to read this book in sections once a week.


Beginners Bible by Zonderkidz: This is a super easy book to read to your kids! We have been enjoying it for a few years already. We read this daily before bed and it's always a struggle to stop because the kids enjoy it so much that they always want us to keep reading. It is also often their book of choice during our free reading time. They love the pictures and the stories!




The Catholic Children's Bible: This bible is a wonderful read during morning prayer time or after church on Sunday. The language is a little more advanced than The Beginners Bible, so I choose a reading to go with what we learn on Sunday.




Fine Arts
Drawing With Children: I just currently changed our art curriculum from Draw, Write, Now to Drawing with Children. After reading several reviews, I thought the this new book would fit our needs nicely. So far, I'm very impressed and am looking forward to teaching my kids the fundamentals of being able to draw and create their own works. I haven't created lesson plans on my own for this, but I'm planning on using the weekly plans on Paula's Archives (http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/dwclp.htm).




How to Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Lessons: This program is new to our kindergarten schedule and we love it so far! We cover one lesson per week, which mainly consists of an introduction to a piece (such as Peter and the Wolf) and then we listen to the same piece every day. Sometimes we accompany what we are studying with picture books or other recommended material.



Music for Little Mozarts: I had been waiting to start this piano instruction curriculum and it comes highly recommended! It is definitely a gentle and fun start to piano and we are enjoying it. Once we finish with book 1, we are planning on starting piano lessons with a private instructor and possibly continuing with the series.




History, Geography
History Links: This is a great Catholic-based, unit study curriculum. I like that I can use it from preschool to high school if I wanted to. The books are set up so that you can teach to children at different levels at the same time. My plan is to cover the General Studies book and Creation book this year before we go into our classical approach to history in first grade. It does take a little more preparation time than many of the other history programs I researched, but I really liked the flexibility of the program. We are doing this on a daily basis, although some days are a lot more relaxed than others.








Science
We are taking a very laid back approach to science during kindergarten. Although we are doing simple science experiments from Mudpies to Magnets and More Mudpies to Magnets, this is not a weekly thing. Mostly we are reading books, taking nature walks, maintaining a garden, and visiting plenty of science museums. On a monthly basis (only through May and starting again in September) we visit SciWorks for homeschool classes on different subjects.


Literature Enrichment
Literature Pockets: This quickly has become the favorite part of our schooling! We are beginning with Nursery Rhymes and then going into Fairy Tales for our kindergarten year. I highly recommend it to anyone! We are doing this on a weekly basis, 4 times a week. If possible, I think that the kids would sit around the table making stuff for their pockets all day long!

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