Before I dive in I want to mention a good friend of mine who is an incredible teacher and link her classroom wish list. I know firsthand how good she is at her job. Many teachers like my friend pour so much of their own money and extra time into their students and classrooms. If you would like to donate to her classroom, you can shop her wishlist here. If you can keep her and her students in your prayers as they start off their school year this week it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
It’s that time of year, and many families are returning to the hustle and bustle of the school year. After a busy spring and summer, I know we were ready to get back into a routine. Initially, we thought we would put Amelie in a nearby private school once she hit kindergarten. There were several reasons we decided otherwise; mainly, I wasn’t ready to give up our slow mornings for the school rush each day, and she has been doing well at home. We enrolled Amelie in a charter school, which offers a little more freedom in curriculum choice, funding, and flexibility in our daily lives. We meet a teacher eight times throughout the year to check-in, and as my homeschool style is very loose and easy-going, I appreciate the accountability. We can use any curriculum we please, as long as the work samples submitted are non-religious.
All to say – here is what we got going on this school year! As usual, I want to keep it simple. It can be easy to get caught up in all the bright and shiny school curriculums and add ons, but you dont need a lot to create an effective home learning environment. My homeschool style is pretty relaxed; I love play-based and Montessori philosophy; the reading material and curriculum I pick is heavily inspired by Charlotte Masson, with touches of traditional and classical style learning. I’m a little all over the place, but I try to appeal to the uniqueness of each of the children and how they learn. That’s the beauty of homeschool!
Getting started with homeschool can be daunting so if you need a little push, start here. Planning out your school year is just as challenging, especially with multiple children, so I created my homeschool planner that includes everything you need to plan out year, months, weeks, and days.
I will continue to use the Playing Preschool program for Penny (4) and Owen (2). Penny will be doing Yr 2, and I will modify for Owen and pull content from Yr 1. We will also use my Preschool Practice Bundle to enhance our lessons. Everything we use for Preschool at Home is in my free ebook, A Beginners Guide to Homeschool Preschool.
Kindergarten at Home
We are using The Good and The Beautiful Level K Primer, which is technically kindergarten prep, it is a better fit for Amelie right now. I like how it nicely packages all the micro subjects of language arts (phonics, grammar, writing, spelling, reading) into 10-15 minute lessons. The illustrations are beautiful, and so far, the content seems age-appropriate and engaging.
We supplement reading with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons since I restarted with Amelie this summer, so we were already making our way through.
Highly recommend this book, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. It’s no prep necessary, offers step-by-step instructions for parents, and teaches reading phonetically so your child will learn to decode words they’ve never seen, and it’s inexpensive.
Again, we are using the Good and the Beautiful Kindergarten Math. The layout, script, and math manipulatives (math box) appeal to all types of learners (kinesthetic, visual, and auditory.) So far, the content seems challenging enough for Amelie while still being enjoyable. Lessons are no prep, open and go – which I like.
We are fortunate enough to have a mother-in-law/grandma who takes time each week to teach Spanish to Amelie. She uses the Charlotte Mason Simple Spanish curriculum that includes original Latinx songs, poetry, Gouin series, living literature, bible verses, and psalms, focusing on nature. I was drawn to the relaxed and natural style this curriculum offers.
I will be piecing together my content for science, following themes from Playing Preschool and from the Spanish curriculum as there is a strong emphasis on nature. Amelie and Penny will be keeping a nature journal; I’m creating one myself, and it includes various nature topics to draw, write, reflect about with plenty of space for the girls to observe and record their findings.
We also love our kiwi co box for STEM games, crafts, and activities.
Kindergarten Science Topics.
-Qualitative and quantitative observations
–Sources of energy
–Differences between living and nonliving things
–Different types of animals and their characteristics
–Earth’s materials and how living things use them
I pulled together a small collection of books inspired by the charlotte Masson curriculum. Social studies topics at this age are naturally addressed through curiosity and reading books, so I dont put too much pressure on doing “lessons.”
Kindergarten Social Studies topics to explore
–The United States (or country you live in)
For more detailed topics, check out this article
One of our daily activities is a read-aloud at snack time, whether a bible passage or a saint story. It’s usually a 5-10 minute reading and discussion. We start with a prayer, and I will read from one of the following books, depending on the theme of our other studies.
Saints Around the World – Sweet illustrations and captivating storytelling, this book is perfect for introducing saints (many of whom I have never heard of before!) from all around the world.
My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories – I started using The Beginners Bible Stories, more age-appropriate for toddlers. As Amelie gets older, I want to use a children’s bible that goes a little deeper.
Little Acts of Grace – This is a great tool to help teach your children the gestures and traditions of the Catholic Faith. Reflections are short and sweet.
Indescribable – This book is one of my favorites. It intertwines faith and all the wonders of science and includes nice little reflections on each chapter.
For all the materials we use on the regular, here is my list
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