Monday, August 1, 2011

Choosing Curriculum for Kindergarten

We decided to homeschool Eden back around the first of the year.  I was overwhelmed from the start.  Homeschooling was never something I wanted to do, never something I believed I was cut out for.  Actually, I was kind-of looking forward to getting rid of the kids for a few hours a day when they went to school.  Sometimes, though, parents have to do what is best for their children.  I mentioned Eden's November birthday as our main reason for making the decision to homeschool. She has always been precocious.  Her best friends are all months older (and beginning Kindergarten this year).  We recognized that she needed to be in school and learning, or when I did send her, she would be bored and in trouble all the time!  So, we decided to homeschool.  Just for Kindergarten.  We will decide later what to do for first grade (and beyond).

I have been looking at curriculum for a solid 6 months. I decided early that I wanted to do something fun with a heavy emphasis on the seasons (something I am trying to focus on personally in our diet and wanting to let that flow into the rest of our lives). I am very drawn to Waldorf-type play, Montessori work and the Charlotte Mason "living books."  Eden loves books and I want her to keep loving them!

I found a free Charlotte Mason curriculum that I really liked, but it doesn't officially begin until first grade and I wanted something more fun to add to it.

So, I started looking at homeschooler's blogs!  Some were specifically homeschooling blogs, some were blogs of mamas who just happened to homeschool.  When I realized that one of the crafty blogs I read (Wee Folk Art) is written by a homeschooler, I was super excited! She wrote a 3 term curriculum for her Kindergartener and offers it free on her website! It has the crafts, the books, and the emphasis on the seasons!

With this free curriculum, I still needed to find a program for  Language Arts and Math.  She suggested the Explode the Code books A, B and C for Language Arts. Eden is already reading, so I wasn't too picky about this. I decided to go with Explode the Code.  Now that I have really looked it all over, I really like it! She needs to learn to write and we will focus on that part of the curriculum rather than the reading part. The way the curriculum is set up it will be simple to alter it in that way.  My only complaint is that the vowels are not introduced until later (later, like not this year!)!  Since we are already reading, we need vowels!  I decided to introduce the vowels on my own before beginning the curriculum.

She leaves it completely up to you to choose a math curriculum. This is where I had the most trouble. I hate math. I am terrible at it. I want to challenge Eden and help her to love math.  How do I accomplish that when I got my first F in 3rd grade math?  I wanted to find something with a teacher's manual that gave actual teaching tips. Several of them had that, but I ended up choosing Saxon because it goes as far as to tell you what words to use and even what to do with your hands when you explain a concept!  It builds on itself and has lots of review. It also uses a lot of manipulatives which I think will be good for Eden since she is so kinesthetic.  Many of the others were worksheet based and Saxon is not.  There isn't even a workbook, though there are some worksheets you can use in the back of the manual.  I have read most of the teacher's manual (it is more than 500 pages) and I really like it.  It isn't scary at all.  It looks fun!

I am finally at the place where I am not feeling overwhelmed.  We actually started kindergarten this morning!  It went well and my eager little student devoured the material.  I planned to start at 9, but she was so excited that we started at 8!  It took about 2 hours to get through what I had planned and we were done by 10!

It has been a tough process and I feel a lot better now that it is over.  Especially now that we have day one under our belts!  If you have any specific questions I would love to share more!


  1. Saxon math rocks, we used it in the early years. Matthew is so kinesthetic, maybe I'll order one for him. Eden looks so very happy in her "first day of school" picture! I think you'll enjoy this year of homeschooling!

  2. As a family with a child close in age to Eden who also did not expect to homeschool, I really enjoyed and appreciated this post!