As far as our state is concerned, Ben is red-shirting kindergarten and we’ll deal with them next year. Fortunately for us, school starts in mid-August and Ben’s birthday is August 30, which means when school starts, he will still be four years old. However, Ben has been doing a mix of Prek/K work since September, with breaks, and will be ready for the K/1 version of the mash up soon, probably sooner than I want to believe. With that in mind, this is what we’re planning to use:
Reading: Explode the Code, 1 and possibly 2, depending how quickly he moves through 1. They’ve created an online version of the program, but I don’t want to add to his screen time. Especially since the computer he usually gets to use is on its last legs and he hasn’t gotten to use it in a while. We also have a study guide for the Frances books. This study guide is really cool and gives me ideas for dealing with other series books that he likes. The guide does have a Christian focus that doesn’t thrill me, but it’s not so deeply entrenched in the text that we can’t get around it. We also read a lot here, so I’m not worried about his interest there.
Writing: Zaner-Bloser. He’s just started the Kindergarten book, but may get 1st grade if he finishes the K book by mid-year. We’re also doing some basic copy work, but practical stuff. For example, he tells me what he wants to say in a thank you note or letter, I write the words out on index cards, and then he copies the words onto the paper. It’s been working really well for him (though he’s not quite gotten the hang of word order yet).
Spelling: All About Spelling, level 1. I haven’t bought it yet. I’ve been studying it and we tested the sample lessons for level 1 and he really enjoyed it. This is my litmus for all of this. If he enjoys the samples, then we’ll try the whole deal.
Math: Math Mammoth, Grade 1. My one worry here is that grade 1 is too easy for him. He is adding and subtracting in his head, no fingers, no nothing. So, we’ll see how this works out. But this is where he tested with the placement test, and once we get out of the basic addition, I think this is the right place for him.
Science: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2. We’ve very quietly started with it by working on organization. What I love about it is the theory is there for me, but it works so much better for the non-lesson plan oriented types like me, because I can find teachable moments and use them. We’re also planting a vegetable garden. We’re using Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces as a guide for this, though it’s really not a homeschooling text at all (has gorgeous pictures, though).
Daily Geography Practice, Grade 1 This is part one of the social studies unit that I’m constructing. Map skills are a must and this is the most gentle introduction to map skills that I can find.
And you’ll notice that something is missing. Yes, we’re stuck on history. We’re leaning toward Story of the World vol. 1 and the activity guide, but I’m not sure. Plus he needs some basic stuff, too, like important American figures and things like that. If you have suggestions for history, we’ll happily take them.
For his physical education, he’s doing swimming lessons and then some form of sport in the fall. We’re also working on some basic health topics. We also do the usual art/craft projects and he’s wanting to learn how to knit, cross-stitch and play the piano. I think we have all areas covered, but if I’m missing something let me know.
Oh, and remember how I said I was looking for something that would give me a good idea how to do things, organizing, structure, keep school from taking over our lives, but everything seemed to be super-Christian focused. I found what I was looking for: Homeschooling: Take A Deep Breath – You Can Do This!. And we bought Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School to help stay generally in sync with what he should be learning each year. So far, he loves his version of school and is very happy with it.