K5 Core Curriculum Choices

img_5263As we are finishing up a lot of our K5 Curriculum,  I wanted to give a quick update of what we have ended up with for each core subject (Bible, Phonics, Math, Handwriting).

Bible

  • Foundations for Kids by Robby and Kandi Gallaty
  • Beginner’s Bible

I love the Foundations series! It is the heart of our Bible curriculum right now. There are five readings each week for 52 weeks. Each day you will read a short passage of scripture (less than ten verses) and read 3-4 bullet points explaining the verses. There is a small application activity and a short response prayer that follows each reading. An adult and teen version are also available, making this a wonderful family reading plan!

We also use the Beginner’s Bible and several resources that go with it. The simple text makes for great bedtime reading. The DVD is simply someone reading the text and very minimal animation of the same artwork from the book. We pull the DVD out to watch to reinforce what we have read in Foundations (and for me to get things done around the house on occasion). We have also purchased both the Beginner’s Bible Jumbo Activity Book and Coloring Book. I have not been overly impressed with the Activity Book because it is not as organized as I would prefer, and some of the instructions are a little vague. However, it was very inexpensive for such a large book and we have had fun doing some of the activities.

Phonics

  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
  • Leap Frog: Talking Words Factory
  • All About Reading Level 1
  • Bob Books

I am cringing to include Teach Your Child to Read because I personally would never have chosen this as a phonics program. However, I came across it in a free bin at a local used book store and decided to give it a whirl this fall. My son took to it wonderfully! While I thought it was too repetitive and dry, he seemed to finally be grasping how to blend letters together for the first time. I am not sure if it was the timing or the program, but something seemed to click! We only worked through the first 15-20 lessons, which did wonders in boosting his confidence.

Another confidence booster that we stumbled across was the “Talking Words Factory” DVD. We loved the “Letter Factory” movie for learning letter sounds in preschool, and this is simply a continuation of that film. The movie teaches how to read CVC words, vowels, and some special sounds. After watching it twice, my son was begging me to learn how to read, after showing very little interest beforehand.

After boosting his confidence, we worked through All About Reading Level 1. I love the program because it is a multisensory approach to phonics without being too overstimulating. The lesson plans in the teacher’s manual are completely open-and-go. They give step-by-step instructions that are clearly laid out. Each lesson includes simple games printed in black and white, phonogram and word cards to review, and fluency sheets to practice. There are also three readers used throughout the program that have engaging stories with simple black and white illustrations that do not steal focus from the words.

With the excitement of learning to read, comes the dilemma of finding something to read! That’s where Bob Books come in handy. We have especially loved “First Stories” and “Collection 1.” These simple readers have a few short-vowel words on each page and have coordinated well with what we are learning in our phonics program.

Math

  • Math-U-See Primer

Math is by far our favorite subject and I have fallen in love with Math-U-See. It is a multisensory program that uses modified base ten blocks to teach math skills. While the other levels are mastery based, Primer is a simple introduction to mathematical concepts that are all retaught in future levels. It focuses heavily on teaching how to count to 20, the basics of addition, and understanding place value. Each lesson contains a short (approx. 5 minute) video for the teach to watch (although my son watches with me), a short explanation in the teacher’s manual, and 7 practice worksheets. The first three practice sheets of each lesson are new material, the following three are mixed review, and the final sheet is an extension activity. You could probably get by without the teacher’s manual; however, there are some additional tips and game ideas included in it.

Handwriting

  • Various Dollar Tree Workbooks
  • Abeka K4 Worksheets
  • A Reason for Handwriting K

For most of the year, I have been giving my son 2-3 pages from various workbooks that I had on hand. Most were from the Dollar Tree, while some were leftovers from when we tried the Abeka K4 curriculum. I did not focus on the proper formation of letters with him until we started A Reason for Handwriting in April.

What curriculum has worked in your homeschool this year?

Stay tuned for my curriculum choices for electives!

Advertisements

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.

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.

Apps For Young Children

Choosing high quality entertainment media is difficult. Just because something is called educational does not mean that it is high-quality. Look for apps and games that are not passive in nature. You can make the experience more meaningful by playing with your child and engaging them in conversation before, during, and after. I love Common Sense Media reviews. Check out the “Families can talk about…” sections that give suggestions to make the most of media time.

Here are a few places to start when looking for good apps for your younger children.

Bible for Kids

Bible for Kids is a fun and interactive storybook Bible for children. The app allows you to download over 40 Bible stories for free. The app reads the story out loud to your child and then allows them to interact with illustrations, search for hidden objects, and answer questions about the story. Available on iTunesAmazon, and Google Play Store.

Starfall.com

Starfall.com is a free site dedicated to young students that are both learning how to use the computer and learning to read. The site has poor graphics; however, it is very interactive. Starfall also offers a free app called Starfall ABCs. Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play Store.

My PlayHome

My PlayHome is an interactive roleplaying game that allows your child to create a dollhouse family and interact with them. As your child plays the game, talk to him as he explores the dollhouse. Make connections between situations in the game and real world scenarios. Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play Store.

This is My Story
my-story-pic
This is My Story allows children to use simple sight words to fill in the blanks and create basic stories such as “The cat played with the kite.” The app then reads finished stories out loud. After you get the hang of playing the app, teach your child to make up their own silly stories in real life! Available on iTunes.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends- First Words
first-words-main-image

We love Eric Carle at our house and The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends-First Words contains many of his illustrations. The app introduces common words in five different languages. Available on iTunes.

Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars

Dr. Panda’s Toy Cars is set up like a car play mat. Kids can play different cars and act out different community helper roles as they play in the town. Play the game with your child and talk to him about different vehicles and jobs in your community. Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play Store.

Drive About: Number Neighborhood
da-icon
Drive About: Number Neighborhood is a set of nine games that feature math skills for preschool students. After playing the game, talk to your children about numbers and shapes in the real world. Available on iTunes.