Curriculum Picks for Kindergarten* (part 1, Summer 2021)
So, M will officially be in Kindergarten this Fall (2021-2022 school year), like on paper, based on biological age. But you know the old saying about homeschoolers who have no idea what grade they are in? Yeah, that's us. That being said, definitely don't look at our choices and wonder if your kindergartener is behind, or anywhere but where they should be. We all move at our own pace and asynchronicity is the name of the game here. We also school year round and honestly at this point I still consider M at the "informal schooling" stage of the game. We don't require work to be completed or really even scheduled at this point, but she usually wants to do it when she feels up to it. Check back with me once she hits 6 this Fall (if you're a Charlotte Mason fan, which I am). Or even 7 years old if you are of the Waldorf loving sort. Obviously we are not purists in any one educational philosophy. I know like these sound like a lot but honestly we keep things pretty relaxed. Play and nature are usually the priorities here. When we do specific stuff, this is what it is mostly.
So, I'm just going to show what we are using right now as our core work. The tried and true curriculum for MY kiddo. Your mileage may vary with these, and I am just grateful of all the choices available so we can individualize education for our kids to fit them just right!
So, let's begin with History! I think that might be the most favorite subject here. For our main curriculum we are using Bookshark Level A (History and Literature). This has been a really wonderful, age appropriate, overview of the world. We've really enjoyed learning little tidbits about the way people lived all the way from prehistoric times all the way up to modern times. We are currently learning about the French Revolution and Louis Braille.
It's a good mix between encyclopedia and living books as sources. It makes for a really good Kindergarten Social Studies sort of pick. Honestly the schedule is amazing too. Literally just open it up, grab the books it says, and do the things. It has saved this homeschool Mom's behind many days, especially with a 7 month old in tow! I'll do a full review once we complete level A. Check out my Instagram to see lots of pictures of it all!
We also incorporate Curiosity Chronicles for Ancient History. I'm undecided how we'll precede forward with this. M really enjoys it and actually does retain a lot from it and can incorporate it into conversations, play, etc. The only reason I hesitate to push more is that the next level with Medieval History is definitely a step up.
An alternative such as Story of the World is another option. I'd really like to incorporate more narration that I can record for her into history, such as suggested in A Well Trained Mind. Anyways, I'll update more once I've made decisions on that, probably Fall 2021. Bookshark A should probably cover us for the Summer 2021.
We've had a lot of trouble choosing a language arts program, but the answer has been in front of us the whole time. We've been using Logic of English Foundations for a few years now, and are now in Level C! I think what I have realized is that taking breaks to allow for development or going slow to accommodate M's vision issues (convergence insufficiency due to strabismus). We also need alterations for copywork that we'll address elsewhere. We tried other programs. Many other programs. *Insert the sound of money getting flushed down a toilet*. We always come back to Logic of English. I think the next time we need a break, I'm just going to set down the things and emphasize independent reading a bit on her level, then come back. With homeschooling that's easily a reality.
We've also began to incorporate First Language Lessons from the Well Trained Mind Institute. This one is pretty new but M digs the oral format of it.
Handwriting is a mystery to be solved another day. She prefers to write in hieroglyphs, which she has all memorized. It makes for interesting work here.
We do some other stuff and read a lot of books and poetry. More on that later.
For science at the moment for this summer (2021), we are using the new Bookshark K. We just started and we've learned a ton about ants! The new sciences from Bookshark are cool though because the experiments line up with the reading (they didn't necessarily before). So we read about ants, then experiment about ants!
Math has been a tricky subject to track down something that would work for M. We've tried so so many curriculums for math. I was beginning to give up, perhaps we should just wait until she's a bit older and she'll be ready. ADHD homeschooling is tricky, then toss in open ended hands on work and well, throw focus out the window!
Then, on a whim, I remembered wee old Saxon math (what I had used in middle school and loathed). We did a placement test and she placed into Saxon 2. So we got it and I was really unsure about it. It's scripted, its pretty boring looking, and ridiculously spiraled, But you know what? It was like night and day with M! I was so surprised. She would ask "Can we do more math? That was fun!".
Since we really haven't done or completed any previous math curriculum, we are chugging through the first 40 lessons that are review, usually the case with lower level Saxon, (and some are a bit boring since she's mastered it, so we skip it). The worksheets have a good variety and are very short. We generally skip the morning meeting stuff. I have her do trace work for the days of the week, months, etc. I scribe for her often, which is a touchy subject here but considering her age and struggles with handwriting, I don't think this should hold her back. There is usually a hands on element, but in a controlled manner. I think this is one of the keys to success here. She has a specific mission when she has a manipulative versus with more conceptual based curriculums, manipulatives instantly become toys and focus is lost before we even got there. The spiral approach, which isn't really something I had considered before, is actually really helpful. She often says she can't remember these days for certain things (and I totally hear ya kid as a mom with ADHD too). We're working on memorizing those addition facts at the moment. Anyways, M calls it "sufficiently boring", as in there are no cute colorful pages or things like that. I'm just happy we found something I feel like we can really grow with!
Those are our main curriculum at the moment for Summer 2021. I'll post again one I have made decisions of the Fall of 2021. Many of these like math and language arts will just roll over and we'll see them through until the next level.