Curriculum Choices: K4 Edition

Abeka Homeschool K4

This is the curriculum we are currently using. We are using the parent kit, child kit, one-vowel and two-vowel word cards, Readiness Skills, and Bible Activity Book.

We are only about 40 lessons in, but so far I do love this program.

I do feel like the Curriculum book is critical. Very little of the program is based on worksheets (maybe two per day on average). Most of the lesson plans involve discussing concepts with your child, playing games, and using the flashcards. The Curriculum Guide tells you exactly which cards and games to use and how to introduce materials.

You could probably get by without some of the cards and games if you want to spend time designing your own. I do enjoy having all of them because I can prep my lessons in five minutes by pulling out the called for game. You could save money by purchasing older editions of these used.

We did stop using the ABC Writing Tablet because the Champ is not quite ready for it. We will pick up handwriting later in the fall. We may even save the handwriting until we start K5. Even while we were doing handwriting, I did not find the Manuscript Lesson Plans necessary.

The Readiness Skills book is also non-essential. It introduces skills such as following directions, coloring, cutting, etc. You could easily work on those skills in other ways. However, I do not regret buying this book because it was around the same cost as similar workbooks and is brightly colored and well designed.

The Bible Activity Book is more or less a coloring book. You do one page per week. I do not use Abeka for Bible, so it does not line up with our Bible curriculum. This might be a better purchase if you use their Bible program as well.

We will be doing a blend of Abeka and a few other programs for K5.

The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories

We have the Beginner’s Bible, a Beginner’s Bible devotional, a Beginner’s Bible coloring book, and a couple of Beginner’s Bible activity books. I love all of these materials because they coordinate well with one another.

We also have begun reading a Psalm at lunchtime each day from a Children’s Bible.

Arts and Crafts

We do Pinterest crafts and open ended art activities throughout the week.

Miscellaneous Workbooks

We are using My Book of Easy Mazes (Kumon Workbooks) and a few map skills books that we found at a thrift store because the Champ loves mazes and maps. I also purchased Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Padto use later in the year. It comes with a pair of preschool scissors that only cut paper.

I am sure between now and the end of the year, we will discover some more workbooks to use for enrichment.

My Own Activitys

I have created several activities on my own for additional enrichment. Check back on Tuesday’s for FREE PRINTABLES for preschool and kindergarten.

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Curriculum Choices: Preschool Edition

Every homeschool blogger is obligated to post her curriculum choices each year. We are “year-round” schoolers, so our new school year began mid-March.

Last summer through February we were using preschool curriculum. We kind of floated around with preschool. I just followed the Champ’s lead on when we did school and how much we did.

Here is what we used for preschool!

Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week

This was our core curriculum. I only printed off part of the curriculum because it is a ridiculous number of pages. We started by using most of the activities, but I ended up getting very frustrated with the Champ because I did not know how to explain the pattern activities. We then decided to hold off on those (as well as a few other activities) until January. When we came back to them, they clicked with him!

So, we did all of the letters (one per week) to begin with and then did all of the letters again to review (one per day). Doing the program this way took us a total of 32 weeks.

The Rhyme Bible

This children’s Bible is perfect for two year olds. The stories are told in rhyme form, so they tend to hold young children’s attention more than a narrative form. We attempted to read one story daily for a couple of days until it sank in.

Art and Pinterest Crafts

We tried to find one craft each day that related to either the letter we were working on or the Bible story we were reading. I also gave the Champ plenty of creative opportunities by allowing him to finger paint, color with crayons, paint with a large brush, and play with play dough.

Miscellaneous Workbooks

When we finished the Letter of the Week program, we worked through the Big Preschool Workbook. The book is around 300 pages, but the Champ finished it in about four weeks. However, if I had limited the number of pages he worked each day, this could have easily made it an entire school year. This was one of the best workbooks that we found. The concepts were for the most part on his level and went along perfectly with the concepts I wanted to teach.

I also used several workbooks from the Dollar Tree including Disney’s “I Can Learn With Pooh” Early Skills Workbooks, Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Learning Workbooks, and Playskool’s Pre-K Workbooks. These were used sparingly throughout the year when the Champ demanded “MORE SCHOOL.”

Free Printables and My Own Games

I made up a lot of games for the Champ and I relied on the internet to create other learning opportunities for him. It is possible to teach preschool and kindergarten without buying a single thing!

Check back on Tuesday’s for FREE PRINTABLES that you can use with your preschooler and kindergartner!

School Before Age 3

We started “formally” homeschooling a few months before my son hit his third birthday! I heard some criticism about starting him too young. Of course, no one would criticize starting preschool at that age.

If you were to ask when I started teaching the Champ, I would reply “at birth.” Children are always learning. And, while worksheets and textbooks are not necessary at a young age, you can teach your child a lot through play.

So, how do you “School” before the age of three?

Count Everything

When I changed the Champ’s diapers as a newborn, I counted the buttons on his pajama’s. Count everyday objects such as toys, place settings at the dinner table, or ducks at the park. When the Coach would swing the Champ on our porch, he would hold the swing and count “1, 2, 3…” before letting the swing go. The Champ was proudly imitating him within weeks.

Read Everything

It is never too early to read to your child. You can introduce books to your baby from the moment he arrives, and babies love to hear their parent’s voices. As your child gets older, you can point out words on buildings, signs, and brochures.

Sing and Dance

Gross motor skills are important to learn. Dancing is a great way for your child to learn how to control his body. Children’s songs are another way to introduce vocabulary and language skills.

Create a Literature Rich Environment

Make sure there are letters and words everywhere around your child. Have children’s books readily available. Hang up letter activities they created in the hallway or their room. Hang up an alphabet chart, calendar, or number chart next to the dinner table so they can ask questions while you are eating.

Go to Activities

Mommy and me classes are great if you can afford them. Many of these classes work on gross motor skills and social skills. If there are none in your area, or you don’t want to pay for them, start a mom’s group or set up play dates.  Story time at the library is a great opportunity for your child to work on social behaviors and be introduced to new books. Some libraries even offer puppet shows and craft time.

Creative Play

Playing dress up, toy cookware, toy tools, and other pretend toys are great ways for your child to learn about the world around them. Creative art such as drawing, coloring, painting, and playing with play dough is great for working on fine motor development. Sensory boxes can also help your child work on fine motor skills.

Cook and Clean Together

Assist your child as they work on skills such as pouring and mixing when you are working in the kitchen. Let them help you put clothes in the dryer and fold washcloths when you are folding towels. You can also let them think they are helping. Give them a miniature dust pan and broom while you are cleaning or fill the sink with water and let them “wash” a few dishes. They will slow you down, and they will make a mess. But they are learning and will actually be helping you one day.

Create Independence Learning Opportunities

As soon as your child can dump out a box of toys, you can begin to work on independence skills. Chores such as cleaning up toys, taking clothes to the laundry basket, cleaning up water spills with a towel, and taking dishes to the sink can all be introduced to two year olds. Other skills such as getting dressed, washing hands, and taking off shoes can also be introduced. Do not expect these skills to be mastered, but simply allow your child to have the opportunity to work on them.

World Ocean’s Day!

Today is World Oceans Day!

Play with an ocean themed sensory box, make ocean themed crafts, and watch the movie Oceans.

Fake Aquarium

A craft we made a few years ago that has been a huge hit was our fake aquarium!

We found a fishbowl jar (different candies and other items that are sold in these or pick up a cheap one in the fish aisle of a pet store).

We cut out a piece of paper in the shape of one flat side of the fishbowl and glued it to the back side of the bowl.

You can use decorative stones or shells from the floral department or decorative gravel from the pet store to fill the bottom of the bowl.

Then we placed cardboard strips of “sea grass” in the decorative stones at the bottom. (See further down for a free template download).

We punched out holes in the lid of the bowl and ran string through the holes. We attached our pet fish to the other end of the string.

Two years later, we still have our pet fish that we never have to feed!

Octopus Handprint

Cover your child’s hand with finger paint. Then have them press their hand down on a piece of construction paper. Flip the paper over and glue on google eyes and decorate the “ocean” around your octopus.

Paper Bowl Turtle

Color or paint a paper bowl green. Tear up pieces of green and brown construction paper and glue to the bowl. Then cut out four turtle feet, a tail and head. Glue these pieces to the inside lip of the bowl. Attach google eyes to your turtle’s head.

Download Free World Ocean Day Craft Templates for the Fake Aquarium and Paper Bowl Turtle.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember the more than one million men and women who lost their lives while serving the United States.

This holiday may be difficult for younger children who do not understand the concept of death or for children that are sensitive to the topic. Be sure to celebrate on your child’s emotional level.

If you have any ancestors or family members who died in service, today is a great day to tell your children about them.

Paint Poppies

Traditionally, red poppies were worn on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving their nation.

Paint green stems on a piece of paper. Clamp two clothespins over two pompoms. Dip one pompom in red paint and then paint dots at the top of your stem. Dip the second pompom in black paint and use it to paint a single black dot at the center of each poppy.

Flag Etiquette

Until noon on Memorial Day, the American flag is displayed at half-mast in memory of the men and women who lost their lives. At noon, the flag is then raised to full-staff. This symbolizes that the living will continue to fight for liberty and justice for all.

If you have a flag, make sure to follow proper flag etiquette and explain the symbolism to your children. If you do not have a flag, find pictures of the flag at half-mast and full-staff to explain Memorial Day flag etiquette.

Moment of Remembrance

At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, a National Moment of Remembrance is observed. Everyone is asked to take a moment of silence or listen to Taps. While your younger children will probably not understand the concept of a moment of silence, you can take the opportunity to say a short prayer for the lives lost and/or play Taps for your children to listen to.

Free Printable: Number Concept Matching Cards

Number Concept Match

Count EVERYTHING! That is one of my favorite pieces of advice to give to moms of young children.

Print these number concept cards on card stock. Cut out each individual square. Then they can be used in multiple ways:

Number Recognition: Have your child identify the numbers 1-20.

Number Counting: Have your child count the number of objects on the card.

Number Concepts: Have your child match the number to the card with the matching number of objects.

Number Order: Have your child arrange the numbers (or objects) in order from 1-20.

Download my Free Number Concept Match cards.