Okay, I know it’s just the middle of July, but I’m still new to the whole homeschooling thing and get excited very easily. Therefore, I have all my planning and purchasing and organizing done and I’m just counting down the days until August 4! This year, I have an official kindergartner! She completed the kindergarten phonics program from Veritas Press last year and we called it preschool. This year, we’re calling kindergarten even though all of the work she’ll be doing is actually a first grade level. So, for all of you who have a vested interest in the education of my children, and for the rest of you who probably could care less, here’s our plan for the year:
For her kindergarten year, we are tackling Bible, phonics, literature, math, and music. The way the number of lessons in each curriculum worked out, we’ll do Bible, phonics, and literature every day, math four days a week, and music once a week. This gives us a little more than 32 weeks. We’re starting the first week of August to try to get a month in before baby comes, and depending on how long of a break we take then, and how many other breaks we take in the year for holidays and traveling, we should finish up by the middle or end of May, at the latest.
Bible: Last year we began reading through the Child’s Story Bible, by Catherine Vos. This is a very thorough, child-friendly story book–so thorough that we’re only about halfway through it. We’ll pick up where we left off in preschool. We also have the Big Picture Bible Timeline, which has coloring sheets for many of the stories we read. So most days she has a coloring page to complete as I’m reading the story to her. We are also working our way through memorizing the Foundation Verses, by Desiring God Ministries. The story Bible will carry us through all but the last 8 weeks or so, at which point we’ll pick up with a catechism story book to help nail down the catechism questions that we work on every night in our family devotion time.
Phonics: We’ll be using the first grade Veritas Press phonics program, which is a continuation of last year’s. It is called the Phonics Museum and, while the skills taught are not new to Abigail since she is already reading way past this level, it is still a wonderful program. She enjoys the songs, games, and most of the workbook pages, and I love the good foundation that it lays, as well as the “use-ability” of the program. Every day she’ll complete 2-3 worksheets, which are very varied in method, and the program comes with several reading primers that she will read throughout the year. Spelling lists and tests will also show up from time to time this year, something new that wasn’t in the kindergarten portion. The Phonics Musuem is an excellent program and I’d recommend it to anyone.
Math: We are using the First Grade Saxon Math curriculum. There is a kindergarten level, but Veritas Press (who uses Saxon math in their school) recommends working a year ahead, and after looking through the skills covered in the first grade book, I’m really glad I didn’t spend money on the kindergarten level. She will easily be able to handle this material, as it begins with counting and learning patterns and how to write numbers, and this will all be review for her. It will move into addition, subtraction, telling time, and other skills that will be new for her. We ordered the manipulatives kit as well, and she’s already excited about getting to “play” with all the fun things she saw in that box.
Music: We ordered the music curriculum recommended by Veritas Press for grades K-3. It’s called Discoveries in Music and is put out by Calvert School. It is mainly taught by watching a short DVD lesson every week, with accompanying worksheets. It gives lots of guidance for follow-up activities, and comes with a lap harp, a flutophone, and a triangle that she will get to play. We’ll do music on the one day a week that we don’t do math.
So that is what our school will look like this year. One major change from last year is that I’m going to try to do school in the mornings this year. Last year, we did school while the younger two napped, and then Abigail finished out naptime with a rest of her own. However, for several reasons, we’re going to attempt morning school this year. Elisabeth still takes a morning nap, so at least until she gives that up, I’ll let Catherine either sit with us and “work” in her notebook and folder that we let her pick out, or play–whatever she wants to do, and Elisabeth will be asleep. We’re holding all options open for after new baby comes, but I really want to get into a good morning routine and have school finished–at least this year–by lunchtime.
I still have a few little piddly tasks left to do before we actually start, like running copies and making Bible verse bookmarks, but for the most part, I’m completely ready and now just sitting on my hands until we can get started. I absolutely love doing this and am extremely excited to jump into another year. And just for the record, Abigail loves it too. She cried every time I mentioned kindergarten, until I figured out that she thought she had to go to a real school when she wanted to stay home and do school with Mommy “always!” So we both are loving it, and ready for a new year.