Inside you’ll find: Our favorite kindergarten homeschool curriculum for boys with lots of wiggles and sensory needs.
I have been dreaming of this day for 20 years.
My oldest is about to start kindergarten and I get to be his teacher!
As a girl that was homeschooled from K-12th herself, I have always planned to homeschool my own kids for a number of reasons. But now that the rubber is about to hit the road, I found myself having to make specific choices in philosophies and curriculum for my son.
After reading these books on homeschooling schools of thought, I settled on our own unique mix between the Charlotte Mason model and the Classical model. While I’ll probably write a more detailed post on this later, suffice it to say that I love Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning. It centers on “living books” and interest lead studies. It’s a low stress way to get students to fall in love with learning and literature. The Classical method is more structured but is also literature heavy. My biggest draw to it is the Logic and Rhetoric stages of middle and high school, that teach kids to think well. Students are taught to communicate, persuade, and debate. Because what good is knowledge without influence. I also love their approach to history. They go through the whole of history every four years in chronological order (which is surprisingly lacking in most curriculums that tend to start with American history first.) Another plus is their study of Latin and a strong focus on the arts.
So with these philosophies in mind and my goals firmly planted, I settled on these books to aid us in our first year of formal education. I hope it will help you make your selections of the best kindergarten homeschooling curriculum.
Please note: while I’m an experienced participant in homeschooling, this is my first year teaching. I have enough humility to know that things won’t always go as expected and I may need to change my approach drastically. This is my best first attempt based on my research and my understanding of my unique son’s needs.
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I’m very grateful to Veritas Press, Cornerstone Curriculum, and Berean Builders for providing me with my very top first choices in kindergarten curriculum at my request. The opinions that follow are my honest assessment.
We are going to learn phonics using the Veritas Press “Phonics Museum Combo Kit” curriculum. It’s an incredibly thorough program with a Classical approach. It has the premise of a knight named Percival who guides children through an art museum as they collect sounds and phonics rules. It comes with primers that were written with only the sounds that students have already learned up to that point. It does a great job of getting kids ready to read their first book early so they get a taste of how fun it can be and are motivated to keep learning.
The curriculum set comes with all sorts of addition games and tools besides the workbook. There’s a board game, a CD with phonics rules set to music, flashcards, puzzle pieces with all the different letters and blends so you can piece words together, and much more. There is a copious amount of material with 155 lessons and each one jam packed with activities. I highly doubt we’ll be able to finish each lesson each day, but I’m cool with that. (Check back in a couple months when I give this curriculum a more thorough review after we’ve used it a while.)
Since my mom lives close by, she is stoked to help me homeschool for her second round of teaching. Some quick background first, my brother struggled to read until 5th grade. Back then, not much was known about learning disabilities but my mom didn’t let that stop her. She heard about the LiPS: The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program for Reading, Spelling, and Speech and knew it would help my brother. It’s a totally different approach to language arts and focuses on sensory and kinetic learning. An example, instead of simply memorizing sounds with their letter symbols, students are taught to look in a mirror to see what their mouth, lips and tongue must do to form each sound. It works totally different areas of the brain and was the turning point for my brother who is now a highly successful engineer. So while my son may not have dyslexia like my brother, I’ve decided with his SPD it certainly won’t hurt to try this approach to reading and language development. My mom is chomping at the bit to do it, and as a very experienced homeschooler, she believes this is the best way to learn to read. I’m undecided, so we’re just going to do both! Ha!
And since I’m a huge Charlotte Mason fan, I’ve set aside an entirely separate subject hour for reading aloud to my boys. I’m currently gathering a list of great works of literature that spark the imagination. We’ll spend our low key afternoons reading and exploring new worlds together. I must say, out of all the subjects, I’ll looking forward to this the most!
A lot of the books I read advised me to put off science in kindergarten, but I just can’t do it. My son is enthralled with the idea of experiments and I just can’t say no to his curiosity!
I really enjoyed science when I was homeschooled, especially in high school. I used textbooks written by Dr. Jay Wile and found them great at explaining concepts. I was pleasantly surprised to see Dr. Wile is still writing science books.
We are going to be using “Science in the Beginning“. It is organized around the seven days of creation, so the first section focuses on the study of light, the second section on water and air, and so on. Nearly every lesson has a very doable experiment. It’s written from a Christian perspective with the goal being to know God better by exploring his creation. I really love that’s it’s meant to be used for various age groups at the same time. Any child, K-5th will get plenty out of it and can do it with their siblings. When my other boys are school aged, this will save me a lot of time and work!
The curriculum kit has review questions at the end of each chapter. There are two basic ones for the young students, as well as more involved follow up assignments for the middle and oldest students. There are tests included in the “Helps and Hints” book but they are not required. The author recommends them only for older students that need some practice preparing for the scholastic rigors of exams.
Because there are so many lessons and because this curriculum can be used for all grade schoolers, I’m sure we’ll take more than a year to complete it and probably cycle back through it more than once.
Numbers give me the cold sweats. I attribute some of my fear to the curriculum my parents used with me when I was homeschooled. (So yeah, definitely not going the Saxon route!) My brain doesn’t work that way and I don’t think my son’s does either.
I wanted a curriculum that’s more than just more memorization and more testing and more boring. I think I’ve found it in “Making Math Meaningful Level K“. Also founded on a Biblical worldview, MMM by Cornerstone Curriculum strives to help kids understand and apply mathematical concepts, not parrot back facts without understanding. The main focus of the first year is on understanding the concept of equal/not equal and knowing how to make things equal. Sounds simple, but the concept is often lost on students if they’re not taught it. They’ll be getting the WHY behind math, and that is something I can get excited about!
While the books might not be flashy, there’s a TON of manipulative work with real life objects. The tactile, kinetic learner will love it. There are 36 weeks of lessons and can be easily completed in 15 mins a day. It keeps math from being a mystical idea and makes things concrete through observation, interpretation and application. (Cornerstone Curriculum has other subjects including a Science program that we will use as a supplement. It focuses on using the scientific method to learn about the world around them.)
After reading up on Classical education, I really wanted to follow the way they layout history by going in chronological order and covering everything from start to finish every four years. But as you might expect, that’s a little too much for a kindergartner to handle.
When I saw Bede’s History of ME from Veritas Press, I knew it was the perfect stepping stone to help my boys be ready to handle a vigorous study of history. Meant to be used once a week, this short book is gorgeous and kid friendly. Students are introduced to the concept of a timeline and over the course of the study make all sorts of them. What kid won’t enjoy making a timeline of toys! Kids will also learn about family trees, and understand the basic geography of where they live. There are lots of fun projects without taking up gobs of time. It’s the perfect foundation to lay the more serious study of history upon.
I still don’t see the need to follow a curriculum at this point. We have a bunch of our favorite children’s story Bibles that we read from during breakfast. I want to add more reading of the actual Bible. While it may seem boring to young ears, I want them to learn young how to glean treasure from its pages.
We’re going to try again this year to memorize the New City Catechism. It’s great for learning theology systematically and help kids understand how to view the world. We’ll also spend some of our read aloud time learning about the lives of famous missionaries. I’m also really excited to use The Big Picture Bible Timeline. It will help my boys visualize the full scope of the Biblical narrative and they get to color the highlighted stories!
The boys are involved in the AWANA program as well so they’ll be memorizing scripture regularly. And of course, I will by God’s grace, bring the gospel into every situation we find ourselves in, both academically and otherwise.
My son will be spending one day a week with other homeschooled students, learning social skills and some extra fun electives. He’ll be taking art, music, speech, gym, even Spanish. I’m sure he’ll excel and make some friends while he’s at it. We’re apart of a support group that gets together for social events and field trips as well.
So that rounds out our plans for the coming school year. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.