Hip hip hooray, another school year is complete!
This was my first year homeschooling two children and I was mega nervous about juggling two with different needs and different curriculums; especially because I’m still in the beginning years of homeschooling and have yet to land on what I love most.
But, every year I learn and every year I feel excited for the next.
After another year exploring kindergarten options (here’s what I used with Jemma when she was in kinder), I’m popping in with a little video showing what we used, what we loved most, and what we will continue/discontinue next year.
We used Singapore Math Essential Math Kindergarten Set A + B. He buzzed through this without trouble so we moved on to book 1A of the first grade curriculum. I didn’t love Singapore Math enough to stick with it next year so we’re going to switch to Mammoth Math for first grade. My plan is to do one more year of workbook style math and then let him give Teaching Textbooks 3 a go on the computer. Jemma used that this year and LOVED it.
Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons is definitely the highlight of Max’s year. He went from calling himself a “practice reader” to a “real reader”. And now he reads everything! We supplemented with Bob Books and this list of early reader books. The Pokemon Handbook is still his most favorite book though :)
We started the year with Explode the Code too. This curriculum is a mix of phonics and handwriting. Halfway through the year we stopped though, Max was past the kindergarten level and although I’m always in support of extra practice on the basics, Max is not the type who needs busy work and our seat work time needed to be used strategically.
As with Jem, I used Handwriting Without Tears for Max. This is definitely a favorite of ours! *** I totally mixed this up in my video, this is the correct order: Pre-K green book My First School Book and Kick Start Kindergarten, then the Kindergarten orange book Letters and Numbers For Me, and THEN the 1st grade yellow book My Printing Book. For handwriting practice Max kept a journal as well. I love this primary notebook because it has space for both writing and illustrating. We also practiced sight words with a great daily worksheet. I loved reading the sentences Max would come up with each day, usually quite funny!
Last, but not least, our family enjoyed quite a few read aloud books together!
Science + Social Studies
We used Studies Weekly for both Science and Social Studies this year. They were so so. Max liked them because they’re full of pictures. I liked them because they introduced a variety of topics. But, I’ve learned that we really prefer to dig deeper into topics. These pamphlets were just too surface-y.
Our co-op runs terms based on unit study themes. They’re usually science or social studies based and my littles love going! And I love sharing the teaching responsibility. This year the fall term was national landmarks (Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Peace Arch, Mesa Verde, etc.) and spring was all about the layers of the ocean.
We spent most of the year reading the book God’s Name. Definitely an amazing text; for kids and mamas! The kids memorized all of Psalm 23 and a handful of other verses too.
We have a number of devotionals we are dabbling in and enjoying too including The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New; Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science; and Love Does For Kids.
Looking back at my outline for Jemma’s kindergarten year makes me laugh. I intended to fit in so much! In the last three years I’ve definitely learned how to prioritize the essentials, leave time and space for play, and now, juggle two kids with very different learning styles. Also, it’s interesting to see what I planned to do in the beginning of the year vs. what I actually did. A pre-year and post-year analysis would probably be a good practice for me as I learn how to better teach/guide/facilitate our home school/learning life.
I’ve got some grand ideas for next year. Ideas to better streamline our day and fit in some awesome new things like a composer/musician, author/poet, and artist/illustrator study. We’ll see how it goes though – homeschooling is all about grace; we’re all learning together.
Jemma’s 2nd grade curriculum video is coming next so stay tuned! Max joined in on some of her activities so if you too are juggling two kids two years apart, definitely watch so you can get an idea of what things can work for both kids!