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Old 11-19-2009, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

I'm thinking it is time to become a little more structured with my Kindy's curriculum. We've become a little too unstructured and our house is falling into complete and total chaos.

And, honestly? I don't like it. That's where you get to help me.

I actually interview homeschool families for my website, and I'm having fun learning about different methods. But while those methods/interviews are about THEIR families, I'm trying to figure out what's best for mine.

So. The low-down. I have a 5-year-old girl and an almost 4-year-old boy. I enjoy reading aloud to them but definitely don't do it as much as I should. I like crafts, but I've had troubles staying on top of that-- probably because it seems like everything has to be initiated by me (to come up with the idea) and I'm just a little burned on everything.

We really believe in teaching reading, writing and math but am willing to consider throwing in history or such. I like the feeling that I'm accomplishing something with homeschooling...and I definitely don't feel that way right now.

We're Christian but definitely not in a Bible verse memorizing sort of way. I really don't want much Christian education in our homeschooling; I'd rather it be more academic. I also live in Arizona, where we don't really have seasons, so anything seasonal-based is kind of a joke.

Also, we homeschool because we don't believe in standardized testing, want the children to have more of a childhood and to hopefully give them a bit of a great education, though I swear it feels I'm failing there.

If you know of anything that might fit this bill....please let me know!!!

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:07 AM
 
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Well like anything I would say this really depends on your kids and their interests as well as what type of homeschooling family you want to be or become. Since there are MANY different ways and paths to walk in the homeschool community. Our family is EXTREMELY computer reliant. My business is solely online and DH works 8 months out of the yr on the PC and the other 4 months "working" out of the home. Our kids are PC lovers so we do time4learning for math and LA and are currently using click n kids for phonics. For writing they like to copy things out of books and Magazines. Science and Social Studies are completely child led other than any upcoming holidays that we do a study on. The kids tell me if they want to learn about something they saw or heard about and we use google,the library and any other resources we have to find out about it..For example today my DS wanted to learn where lightning comes from..so we googled about lightining..and now my 6 yr old can tell you that Lightning comes from static in the atmosphere which is pretty cool imo

HTH!

"I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."- Kurt Cobain
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:21 AM
 
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If you kids love music, dancing, and games then you'll love Sing, Spell, Read, and Write (SSRW) for language arts and Right Start Math. These are so much fun, my kids love the music and games. Sometimes they tell me, when are we starting school. Got to love that.
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:13 AM
 
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My son loves Making Math meaningful for math, Beautiful feet for history, and learned to read using Ruth Beechick method for reading. We spend about 1-1.5 hours a day on "school" otherwise it is fun stuff during the day teaching him what I want him to learn.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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We are really liking McRuffy for reading and math http://mcruffy.com/KP.htm. It is an open and go program. It has some scripting but not overly done at all, just enough to give you an idea of what to say. It has lots of games and manipulatives, that come with it. The games are already laminated even! It is also light on the workbook pages(good for us my DD hates writing!). My DD is in 1st and she has generally 1 math workbook page (plus occasional extra sheet like 1-2x a week) and 1-2 pages in the LA. Our math lesson for today involves, recreating a pattern in patter blocks, charting the results with the blocks we used, and taking a timed test(she actually loves these and they take like 2 mins). I love how the teacher's manual is laid out. I just peek at it the night before pull out what every we need for that lesson and the next day we are good to go! Our LA today Is a spelling/phonics workbook page, reading a poem, adding apostrophes to a few words at the bottom of the page, reading a book, and playing a spelling game. It is set up has a 5 day week and the kids get a new book every week to read. They read the same book all week to build fluency. I generally have my dd read it until she is fluent then move to a new book if she seems bored with it. LA covers spelling, language/writing actives, handwriting, and phonics. It also has games, puppets, coloring pages, and things like that. My Daughter HATED all the phonics readers she encountered until these. The author has really done a good job making them interesting with a limited vocab. Anyway I'm a new homeschooler and we are not through the year yet, but I have to say so far I am very happy with this program and I can already see how much she has learned! Oh and we are using the color edition.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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My Kindergarten dd is using Singapore Earlybird Math K - we are in Book B. I also have Horizons K math to use after we are done with EB. I'm pretty happy with EB but I can't decide if mastery or spiral is a better fit for dd yet. So we are trying both before moving on to 1st grade math. Horizons seems very advanced and towards the end is like beginning 1st grade math IMO...nice transition.

For phonics/reading, she works on starfall.com and readingeggs.com. I also have Phonics workbook from Evan Moor that we occasionally use.

We use nothing formal for writing yet...I dot numbers in her math book for her to trace and she tries on her own.

Other than Bible studies, we aren't doing anything history-wise. And just for this year, we are using Moving Beyond the Page's 5-7 Environment Concept for some science stuff - right now, we read about 7 different habitats and are making one animal from each habitat. I won't buy MBTP again, probably.

We also do a few other extras...Literature Pockets and we are going to do a Peter Rabbit lap book in a few months. I also have some other Evan Moor books she enjoys doing. One is called "Read, Think, Cut & Paste". There are 4 pictures, and 4 little strips of paper she cuts out. I read the strip to her and she picks the picture it goes with then we read the whole thing together once we are complete. And she reads the words she knows. Fun and she loves the cutting and glue!!
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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Rocket Phonics from Bright Minds!!!!! It's wonderful!!!

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Old 11-19-2009, 07:57 PM
 
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Well, I do think that the best curriculum is one that is custom-made to the child.

What I've done is observe our family rhythm for meal and rest times and really try to strengthen that, which has helped immensely. After that, I figured out where and when I could add in the academic stuff. For us, that means we do music in the morning, math right after breakfast, then free time/chores, and meet back up with a snack for a poetry session, reading/writing. Then lunch.

After we got this pretty solid, then I added in our "extra lesson" time in the afternoon or evening where we alternate music/ss/science/f.langs as desired/convenient. Our art time occurs daily pretty much anywhere we can squeeze it in, and we do a different craft/art daily. In total, we spend 1-2 hrs a day for first grade that I consider pretty "academic" as she is doing handwriting, math, and reading every day plus whatever else we fit in.

For me, choosing separate resources for each subject makes more sense and has saved me money. Especially for kindergarten where you can do so much with very little purchased materials.

For staying motivated with the arts/crafts, it helps me best to assign a day for each activity: modeling, painting, drawing, crafts, "paint" on the computer. That way I don't have to decide what we're doing, just which modeling materials to pull out. Seriously, I feel like this is a very good way to insure there's time for art every day.

So the ideal curriculum I'd recommend for your fam would be just setting specific "practice" times and sticking with them instead of any particular published resource. It could be that you make a little habit of her doing magnet letters on the fridge while you cook dinner, reading a little poetry before nap, and having pattern blocks/other math manips. available for independent or shared play at another time; however it fits together around your household/family rhythm.

Happy and in love with my family!
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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Hooked on Phonics
Singapore Math
Desert Botanical Gardens and AZ Science center and AZ game and fish dept all have great homeschooling classes
Story of the World

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craft_media_hero View Post
.

For staying motivated with the arts/crafts, it helps me best to assign a day for each activity: modeling, painting, drawing, crafts, "paint" on the computer. That way I don't have to decide what we're doing, just which modeling materials to pull out. Seriously, I feel like this is a very good way to insure there's time for art every day.
This is a great tip, thank you! I neglect art way too much, they color a lot, but I never initiate anything else.

To the OP, we are very relaxed too and I sometimes feel like I should be doing more. We don't really have a set schedule but I do try to incorporate phonics everyday.

We use a hodge-podge of curricula. For math, I rotate through Rightstart, MEP, and Critical Thinking Company's Math workbook. For phonics, I've tried a few different books, but right now we're doing Blend Phonics along with BOB books. Ds1 also does some of the dot-to-dot and maze Kumon books whenever he feels like it. He loves workbooks so he usually pulls one out at some point during the day. We do picture study a la CM style.

He goes to a co-op once a week for science, but it's mostly for fun, they do a lot of the hands on experiments that I slack on at home. We have the Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding book by Nebel, we do things from it only occasionally. For History, we have the Usborne book of world History, ds loves to just flip through it, then he'll ask me questions about whatever interests him. We've talked a bit about prehistory, again, no set schedule just going with the flow for now.

I'll probably try to set a more scheduled day for all these things as he gets older.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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subbing to learn all i can

Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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We don't use any curriculum with our 5-year old, but I wanted to comment on the arts/crafts. I highly recommend making materials accessible to the kids.

DD is an only child and we are her Best Friends in the Entire World. She seriously would like to have us do every single activity in the world with her. But, one of the only things she just goes and does by herself, pretty much any time of day, is craft.

She is constantly drawing, gluing, painting, cutting, writing, creating something. I honestly think it's because we've always had materials at her level. We do happen to have a dedicated craft room, but she knows what materials are allowed outside of that room so she often has different activities going on in different rooms.

She's so self-motivated that it's pretty much useless for me to try to "show" her an art/craft activity. She loves it when I introduce her to new material or technique and then just let her run with them.

Holli
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marimami View Post
We don't use any curriculum with our 5-year old, but I wanted to comment on the arts/crafts. I highly recommend making materials accessible to the kids.

DD is an only child and we are her Best Friends in the Entire World. She seriously would like to have us do every single activity in the world with her. But, one of the only things she just goes and does by herself, pretty much any time of day, is craft.

She is constantly drawing, gluing, painting, cutting, writing, creating something. I honestly think it's because we've always had materials at her level. We do happen to have a dedicated craft room, but she knows what materials are allowed outside of that room so she often has different activities going on in different rooms.

She's so self-motivated that it's pretty much useless for me to try to "show" her an art/craft activity. She loves it when I introduce her to new material or technique and then just let her run with them.

Holli
That's awesome! We have materials available at any time to her, but we're so busy as a family that if I don't make a point to say "this is art time" once a day, then it often goes by the wayside. I actually will bring our modeling beeswax, watercolor crayons/brush/tiny cup, or drawing materials with us all day and then set her up wherever and whenever we have the opportunity. So if it's Monday (modeling day), then we do our main lesson stuff and head out the door with beeswax in hand---she'll do it in the car or we'll set up at DPs school while we're waiting for him to get out of class. I'm hoping to make some changes this summer and set up more of a "montessori-ish" environment (quite a challenge in our tiny apartment).

btw, we have an only girl and we are her BFFs, too. I feel very privileged to be her bestie!

Happy and in love with my family!
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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My best curriculum choice would not even have been my own child's, much less yours . In fact, come to think of it, it wasn't - I did have ideas and plans about what we were going to use, and it turned out that it wasn't appropriate. So we moved on, and we kept changing as needs arose.

That being said, I'd still recommend looking through the FUN-Books catalog to see all the wonderful sorts of things you'll be able to have access to in the years to come. And here are some alphabet books I think sound great.

But, from my viewpoint, your children are both still of a not-yet-school age (the terms "preschool" and "kindergarten" have somehow currently taken on a definition that used to belong to 1st grade) when free imaginative play is actually the most appropriate use of time for their current needs and for building a firm foundation for later studies. Of course reading, writing, math, history, and all the other traditional subjects, are appropriate things to cover - but there are many years ahead when that can all be done in a lot faster, easier, and more lasting way. Something that can work well is to develop a rhythm on a weekly calendar for your days that will prod you to get things together ahead of time for various crafts and other activities so that you can flow smoothly through the week and feel that you really are providing a stimulating and satisfying homelife framework for them and are accomplishing something. Lillian
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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At that age, we started by going to the library regulary for storytime. That was the beginning of our routine and everything else has been added, one by one. Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason have some great book lists for that age group. Five in a Row is well-liked by many and might work well for you.

But I would emphasize that routine, routine, routine is what has helped us be successful. We started building our routine last January and I was tweaking it even last night (there are little things such as artist study, music, composer study and such that keep sliding through the cracks and not getting done). If I fit it in a specific place on my routine, we get it done. And today we did our composer study (though I still may change where it fits in our routine a little).

We always start our schooltime with storytime - my kids love stories - and that gets them to come over without much balking. Then we go from there, alternating favorite subjects with less favorite subjects.

DS is 6 and we only do two hours of formal school every day, four days a week. So we don't do much, but even that much routine just has done wonders for our homelife. We do it first thing in the morning, and the rest of the day goes so much better. I love how it has made me more organized.

With your kids you might want to just start with Circle time where you read stories and talk about the date and the weather, for about a half hour total. Then go from there. But even that simple routine will help you feel much more 'together' if you know what I mean.

Take your time, and find the stuff that works well for you. Good luck!

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:20 AM
 
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We're having a lot of fun with Moving Beyond the Page.

Bookworm Mama to 6 wonderkids and stepmama to one more: 22, 21, 18, 13, 10, 8 and our Z born April 2013. . Partner to my       
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Old 11-25-2009, 03:11 AM
 
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My Father's World for us this year, so far, I really like it. The teachers manual is all laid out for you (which I needed), and, it is fun for the kids.

Karen
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:56 AM
 
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At that age, I agree with just establishing routines and habits-focusing on playing and lots of read alouds. If you really feel you need to do something schoolish, or just more structured(sp?), try looking into the Workbox System. You can use that approach to be schoolish, or fill the boxes with what you want included in their day. Everything from books to be read to music to arts/crafts. I'm not a structure person, but my dc needs it. Once I started using this approach, he settled in and things flowed better overall-for both of us. I like Charlotte Mason, and literature-based unit studies like Five In A Row and Sonlight. Something new we're trying this year ( and liking) is Sandi Queen's Language Lessons.

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Old 12-06-2009, 01:32 AM
 
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what about Peak with Books -- at least for "reading"

??

Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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With a 4yo and a 5yo, I would try implementing a schedule before I would buy curriculum. Maybe you would read aloud more, play math games, have relaxed reading lessons, etc, if it was scheduled in for you.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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so i'm a mostly waldorf-er so like others said rhythm is key but i understand the need to feel your 'doing something' for K I think i've pretty much decided on using oak meadows K program as it is just a bit 'more' then standard waldorf practice but not so much that i feel it is overwhelming for a 5yr old ish.

I use littleacornlearning.com a lot! it provided the craftyness i feel is important but has it spelled out for me so i don't always have to come up with ideas.

to round it out i go through my idea books every week and pick out a few 'other' things which tend to be montessori like manipulatives. I encourage using them in the fashion they were intended but sometimes they find their own ways to use them which is okay too.

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Old 12-07-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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I am a Tutor for Home school, and for the public schools. I am often given the children that are having trouble learning to read, and am able to help 95 percent of the children by using a fun curriculum called Ring Around The Phonics. The website is www.read-phonics.com.
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