Curriculum Picks Summer 2020

M with our Spread of books for Summer 2020 from Bookshark, Logic of English Foundations, Singapore Math, Torchlight K and Handwriting Without Tears and some other material we already have
M with our Spread of books for Summer 2020 from Bookshark, Logic of English Foundations, Singapore Math, Torchlight K and Handwriting Without Tears and some other material we already have

Late this Spring we began our Kindergarten homeschool year!  We also have a new baby coming this Fall (we are Very excited about that!).  Things are just as busy as ever, toss in a global pandemic, and here we are.  That all being said, I really wanted and felt like we needed a curriculum for M that was open and go.  Here are the details of what we picked and what we are using.  I'll post another blog of changes we have made and plans for Fall 2020 as well.

M with Bookshark Level A books for History, Read Alouds, Science, and Level 2 readers
M with Bookshark Level A books for History, Read Alouds, Science, and Level 2 readers

For history we chose Bookshark Level A.  Level A covers basically all of history with a very broad sweep in a fairly gentle manner.  We have studied topics, for each era in history, like the clothes they wore, food they ate, housing, and transportation.  At this point we are nearly half way complete with the 36 week curriculum.  M is what we call a "curriculum muncher".  We go through things fast here and I generally anticipated that.  We’ve really enjoyed the Hands on History kit as well!  The catapult for medieval times was a hit.  Get it?  Because catapults launch and hit...and I digress.  It's really fun and makes the different eras far more exciting.  I just wish it had activities for each civilization we study.  The Living Long Ago book that came with our package does include many activities you can do.  It's just a struggle at the moment to get supplies for those sometimes, because...pandemic.

Bookshark Hands on History Kit that was optional with our Bookshark Level A Curriculum
Bookshark Hands on History Kit that was optional with our Bookshark Level A Curriculum

Bookshark has been a savior in a time when most libraries were closed.  Everything necessary showed up in a big box and we were ready to go.  M is ready and antsy to deep dive into ancient history more in depth, so that’s my plan for the fall, and for another day and another post.  She is very Very into history, so perhaps level A was not quite in depth enough to suite her fancy.  However, I think it’s a well thought out and put together program and would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a pre-planned, faith neutral, general history course for Kindergarten, especially if you love having a nice schedule laid out for you.  Sonlight offers almost exactly the same program from a Christian point of view as well.

For Science, we are using a combination approach with Bookshark Level A Science and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU).  The topics covered in both are very similar.  Bookshark more specifically covers Biology, Botony, and Physics.

Bookshark Level A Science Curriculum Books and Experiment Kit
Bookshark Level A Science Curriculum Books and Experiment Kit

I find BFSU more difficult to schedule in.  We do most on the weekends honestly.  I also have to order in any books (as the library has been closed, although it is now open) or materials for our experiments.  For the weekdays, Bookshark has worked well, although we hop around in the schedule to suite our fancies at the moment (you can still totally do this with a boxed curriculum!).  The advantage to Bookshark is the materials for experiments almost completely come with the package.  For someone like myself, who is awful at getting these supplies even in non-pandemic times, this is huge!

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding Science Curriculum for Grades K-2 Book by Benard J Nebel, Ph.D
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding Science Curriculum for Grades K-2 Book by Benard J Nebel, Ph.D

Between the two programs I feel like we are finally hitting up science at a level that satisfies M.  We supplement specific interests, such as chemistry, as well.  I’ll make a future post about that.  Overall, I feel like we are making sure a solid baseline of Kindergarten science is laid out (I especially credit to Bookshark) and then building on top of that as well (mainly with the BFSU).

Logic of English Foundations Level B Curriculum Materials
Logic of English Foundations Level B Curriculum Materials

For language arts, we are primarily using Logic of English (LOE) Foundations Level B this summer.  We really like the approach it uses.  We supplement with Letterland material because M loves it so much.

Letterland Materials we use with our Grade 1 curriculum and just generally
Letterland Materials we use with our Grade 1 curriculum and just generally

As the reading passages get longer, I find us switching over to Letterland grade 1 curriculum, as the reading length is less intense as that ability develops.  I expect we will switch back to Logic of English once she reaches that point, but we will see.

Handwriting Without Tears Transitional K Book, Wooden Uppercase Manipulatives, and Wet Dry Try Board
Handwriting Without Tears Transitional K Book, Wooden Uppercase Manipulatives, and Wet Dry Try Board

For handwriting, we use a combination of Handwriting Without Tears, LOE, and Letterland.  We covered our uppercase with LOE already.  Now we are working on lowercase letters and general writing mechanics.

Singapore Math Primary Mathematics Materials for Level 2A
Singapore Math Primary Mathematics Materials for Level 2A

Math is an interesting area for us.  Sometimes she enjoys Montessori based shelf work.  Sometimes a more book based curriculum suites her needs.  Generally we follow Singapore Math for our scope and match resources to supplement.  We’re currently in Primary Mathematics 2A with Singapore Math.

Extra math we dabble in including Miquon Math, Strayer Upton, Beast Academy, and Simply Charlotte Mason Arithmetic Book 1
Extra math we dabble in including Miquon Math, Strayer Upton, Beast Academy, and Simply Charlotte Mason Arithmetic Book 1

We supplement with many others though, and honestly I’m still figuring how exactly I’m going to do it.  What I do know is she moves quicker than I can plan it out.  Miquon math, Simply Charlotte Mason Arithmetic, Beast Academy, and Strayer Upton make the fan lists at the moment though.  As well as Montessori golden beads (here's one kit you can get, but we bought the pieces individually) and stamp game (I'm actually working on my own DIY set right now).

Read Aloud Books for Bookshark Level A
Read Aloud Books for Bookshark Level A

For Literature, we are using a combination between the Bookshark Level A Books for read alouds and whatever sounds like an exciting read.  M recently discovered deeper plot lines in middle grade books and is hooked.

For Geography and Culture we are continuing with ours studies using Torchlight K and Building Your Library Level 0.  We only use the parts of those curriculum that generally feed into geography and culture (no arts or moral studies, etc).  M still enjoys hopping place to place and we have at least one book and all the spine books already.  So why not?  It's not a constant thing anymore but whenever she wants to learn about a new place we'll pick a new location.

Overall, I feel like these choices will suite us for Summer 2020 for Kindergarten, or whatever we are calling Kindergarten here (but that's another story).  Perhaps not beyond Summer 2020 on all the choices.  So far they have been keeping us going though.  We have a fairly laid back approach to schooling here and I honestly don't have a problem switching curriculum if I don't feel its serving us.  Especially if I feel like we are serving the curriculum.

A wise person whom I can't even recall once advised me to never plan more than six months ahead for a kid like M.  That tidbit of advice is ringing true in my ears like a bell!  So I'll pass that on to the next of y'all and encourage you not to sweat it.

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