Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum Choices- Pre-K

My girls will be doing Pre-K for the 2016-2017 school year!
We are in kind of a funny position because my oldest daughter is about 10 days after the cut off so maturity and knowledge wise she is ready for Kindergarten, but she is technically not old enough. Which is ok with me because then it feels like she's growing up a little less fast ;) And then my younger daughter is only 3 but knowledge wise she is several years above that, and even ahead of my older daughter in some areas. So, we're just in a funny position. 
Last year, we got really bored with school because all of the preschool packs I found were so repetitive. I am so thankful that so many awesome and hardworking homeschooling mamas have made so many preschool things available to other people, however they are almost all the same more or less. Each week has the same activities with a different letter or theme. I think this is really great for some kids, and I could see my little ones really benefiting from the repetition of those in a few years, but my girls just got bored. Once they had it they had it. They didn't want to keep doing the same thing week after week, so we just kind of stopped schooling and learned through play and life and that was great for us last year! All that to say, I wanted to find something for this year that avoided the repetition, but didn't really want to splurge on a box curriculum for preschool. So here's what I came up with after scouring what felt like millions of preschool packs and programs and curricula online! 
 The girls know majority of their letters and I would say close to most of their letter sounds, but are still mastering sounds. So for this year, my main focus was that I wanted to really get them down pat so they can begin putting sounds together to read words. I am also going to be introducing sight words (I'm going to take the approach of doing both phonics and sight words as I believe them both to be important in different ways) and some basic early math skills. So a large focus and large amount of the activities are going to be on language arts. 
The "main" curriculum I chose was this Letter of the Week curriculum from the Measured Mom.

 What I really like about it is that it does have some repetition, but you can really break it up into what you want the lessons to focus on. Each letter has 4 days and bonus activities. I can go through and know immediately that I want to skip over an activity, or that we will definitely do it and it'll be beneficial! Some of the easier ones we will just skip right over and not look back. I also love that she incorporates so many different kinds of activities. I'm not a huge worksheet person...there's a time and place for them for sure, but I didn't want to just give them a workbook for Pre-K and call it good. This is a good balance of activities, which I love and I know the kids will, too! I like that she has compiled activities from around the net to give so many options.
I am supplementing it with activities from Reading the Alphabet from This Reading Mama.

 I am following her order for letters and sight words because I love the way that her sight word readers build on the sight words each week! Each week I've printed off the sight word book, and the things for the pocket chart and we will do activities with those. I didn't want to use this whole curriculum because many of the activities in it are things the girls have already mastered and it would be a waste of our time to do them, and this is one of the very repetitive curricula. I do think she has laid it out VERY well and it will be a great benefit to us this year with sight words and reading! 
For Bible, I wanted something more than just reading a Bible story every week, but we weren't quite ready to dive into the theology in many of the Bible curricula. So I chose this Bible ABC extension pack from the Crafty Classroom and we will use the corresponding letters. Again, I am not using all of the activities from the pack and I will be doing the Bible story and lesson with my girls at the beginning of the week and then using these resources to help them retain the story and information. I love that this pack has a character attribute of God each week. I have been coloring those so that we can post them each week and pray about and remember who God is throughout this year. I am so excited to teach the girls more about who God is so they can really understand Him better. I also love that there is a memory verse and definition each week to go along with the story, letter and attribute of God. I think this is put together very nicely and also very child friendly so I know the girls will love it!

I have also been putting together Daily Notebooks for both girls. I am using a lot of the sheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler's Daily learning notebook, but again not all. We are not using the letter, number, or shape pages as they will be practicing writing those separately and already identify them. I think , but haven't decided for 100% sure yet, that I am going to do a little calendar time with them to start the day, then have them each work independently on their notebooks. I think it'll be great to get them started being able to work individually on something without much guidance from me and give them that sense of accomplishment as well! I have added a few other things to the notebook that I am excited about! Each day they'll also do an "I'm thankful for..." page and an emotions page to identify how they are feeling that day. I have a few other things I want to add, as well, so I will probably do a full post on the binders when I have them all the way done! 
For right now, I am thinking that I want to do read alouds as a regular part of our school time, starting this year. I have found some easy, early chapter books that I think the girls would like that I may purchase and then read 5-10 minutes per day while they journal or color or something. I haven't quite decided for sure on that, yet. 
I have been scouring pinterest and the internet for other learning activity ideas, science experiment, art ideas, and more sight word and phonics practice and am excited to add some things here and there as well. I also picked up the little curriculum pack books from Sam's Club last spring and I think I'll use a sheet or two from those each day, possibly in their daily notebooks, just to reinforce letters and numbers and some of those skills. 
That's about it! I am super excited for this year! I've been busy over the last few weeks planning,  getting supplies, printing everything off and getting things prepared for the year!  This weekend I'm going to try to get things situated in the school room which I am so excited about--it's been slowly coming together over the last few months. I will be back with more homeschool related posts soon! 
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