As 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).
- 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.
- 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-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.
- 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!