First Year of School – Preschool/PreK Curriculum Choices

Cammie will be doing school for the first time this year.  She has sat in the school room with us her whole life.  Her “school” before has been playing with play dough or manipulatives, coloring pictures, helping us with projects and experiments, and of course going on field trips with us.  This is the first year she will have curriculum and lessons.  She is really excited.  We will keep it short and simple.  She will probably just be in the room for an hour or less.  If she wants to be with us longer, there is a big crate full of picture books for her to look at.  She also will continue to play games and be involved in as much as she possibly can.  She likes to be right in the middle watching and copying what her big sisters are doing.

Here is the curriculum choices we will be using with her:

Pre-K (Cammie – 4yrs old)

Horizons Preschool

Horizons Preschool Curriculum Kit

I used this curriculum with Breeley and liked it.  I had already purchased that kit with all the teacher’s books, resources, and CDs, so all I needed to order was the 2 student workbooks.  There is a lot of coloring and activities in this curriculum, which I like.  When they are 3-4 I really do think that play is the best thing for them to learn.  So coloring, crafts, and things that help with fine motor skills are really what we focus on.  There is also a lot of music with this curriculum.  Playing more music while we are in the school room is a goal of mine.  This is a great way to get some listening and movement in as well as making it fun.

 

Abeka K4

K4 Homeschool Child Full-Grade Kit (Manuscript Edition) -

Note on Abeka: I honestly have gone back and forth about Abeka and use to down talk it.  Then I realized that it honestly is such a great foundation for students.  We actually use a lot of it.  I have called it dated (which it can be), but it also is teaching timeless methods.  Sometimes you don’t have to be fancy and fix something that is working and tried and true.  I would probably not use just Abeka, but I do think it is a great base curriculum.

This is our first time using Abeka at this level.  Looking through the books I think it is going to be great.  I like the books that she eventually will be reading, but I am not going to stress if she isn’t reading at 4 years old! It is considered a Kindergarten curriculum, but for Cammie I really just want her to be doing school every day.  She will still be doing K5 next year.  This is just all an introduction and starting to get her confident and ready for Kindergarten next year.

 

Positive Action Preschool Bible – Exploring God’s Love and Story Cards

Exploring God's Love Student Manual (2nd Edition; Preschool K4) -

We have used this curriculum for awhile, but again, I have not used the preschool level before.  They are expensive, but I really like the story cards.  My girls hear Bible Stories a lot but this year I think I am going to use these as a devotional to start our morning.  There are 3 cards a lesson so we will take turns reading the cards.  They are labeled for example lesson 4a, 4b, 4c.  So I am going to have Alyse read the A cards, Breeley the B cards, and then I will read the C cards for Cammie.  Then she will do the workbook page (which is a lot of coloring, cutting and pasting.) It is 20 lessons of Old Testament and 20 of New Testament.  We are going to do Old Testament Aug-Dec and New Testament after Christmas Jan-May.

 

Mailbox Day by Day Preschool Plans

I really like this book for weekly themes to cover.  Apples, pumpkins, holidays, community helps, the zoo… There are lots of activities, crafts, songs, and ideas to use.  I like using it to get some creative ideas to celebrate and learn about lots of different topics.

Fun School Journals – Alphabet and Count & Color for Girls

We really like Fun School Journals.  They are a great supplement that we use.  They are perfect when the girls are done working on something and are waiting for me to help them.  They also like to take them to my parents house, in the car, when we are waiting on someone at a class or doctor’s appointment.  Alyse and Breeley have a number of them, so I got Cammie these.  She will be doing 2 pages a week in each of them.

 

Scholastic Flip Charts – Calendar Time Nursery Rhymes, and ABC

    Scholastic Classroom Resources ABC Sing-Along Flip Chart and CD (SC978439)

We use a lot of flip charts.  These are some basic ones for calendar time, ABC songs, and Nursery Rhymes.  They all come with a CD so again it is a fun way to add in music and memory.  They are also easy to write on with a dry erase marker, so we can circle the letter of the day, or find rhyming words, or write sight words that go along with our calendar time.

I will also be using some units from Moffat Girls and other fun things I find on Pinterst, I am sure.

Cammie really loves to just be involved.  My goal for this year is simply that she will know her ABCs, numbers, and that she will have lots of fun.

(All Curriculum is linked.)

Around Our Homeschool Room

Our homeschool room – sometimes we use it a lot.  Sometimes we are gathered in the kitchen around the table or counter.  Sometimes we are laying on the floor in a bedroom or cuddled up on the couch.  But this room is the headquarters… and the storage room.  I thought I would give a mini tour around the room.  Literally.  I stood in one spot and took four pictures just to show you a little of our classroom.

Classroom 1

When you walk in, my desk is facing the door.  I have a little set of drawers that holds papers, files, etc.  On top is a basket with all my teachers manuals. To the left are some colored cutouts. Those are the books that we have read together this year.  Alyse has her own little wall of cutouts for her books on the other side of the room.

Classroom 3

This room is almost all windows, which I love, but we only really have one wall.  Sometimes it kinda drives me crazy that this wall is top to bottom posters, but we are working with what we got.  I did hole punch a bunch of charts and posters and put them on the chart stand that is to the far right.

We only have a small white board right now.  Eventually I would like to get a bigger one.  We have a small black board also.  We don’t usually use that one very often.  Our yearly verse is written on it and the girls say it everyday.  (Psalm 19:14 – May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.)

The bookshelf has a bunch of baskets filled with flashcards, paper, computer games, CDs, and other things.  Each girl has a basket too that they have extra books in.

We have a calendar and a “Math Meeting” pocket chart (the green one on the cabinet door).  The yellow pocket chart is their Spelling Spot.  Alyse writes her spelling words each week and puts them there and Breeley has about 10 sight words at a time that she has there to work on.  The bulletin board on the top is for their art projects to be put on. Above the door is multiplication tables.  On the side is our daily count of how many school days we have had.  Each month we change the theme.  Apples, pumpkins, snowflakes, hearts, etc.

Classroom 2

This is my usual view.  Well, actually there are usually three little people in those seats.

We bought the desk in the middle for Alyse about 2 years ago.  This summer I posted on Facebook and asked if anyone had seen anything similar to it for Breeley.  By the magic of Facebook, my friend Ashley had 2 that she was trying to sell.  Amazing! One is a little smaller, but that works perfect for Cammie.

The cabinet is full of books, manipulatives, files, craft and school supplies, etc.  I try to keep it organized, but since this school year is almost over, it isn’t really in the best of shape.

Classroom 4

The windows in this room make it very bright, which I like.  They also can kind of distract the girls a little.  We just put a birdfeeder on one of the windows, so that is their latest distraction.  We also have a little seed science project on one of the window ledges.

The girls each have their drawers, one for each subject.  They keep their books and whatever is needed for their lesson in the drawer.  In the middle is another vintage school desk.  The crate has a bunch of books (mostly for Cammie to look at or for me to read with Breeley.)  We also use the bench front to stack projects on.  Those are some canvases waiting to be painted on when its a nice day, and some books that I need to go over with Alyse.  The little white chair pulled up to my desk is our conferencing chair.  That chair makes it easy to have one on one instructional time with the girls.

This whole room is colorful, kinda crazy, and a comfortable spot for us to work in. It makes my teacher heart happy to have our own little classroom to work in. As I said, now that it’s towards the end of the year it is a little messy and unorganized, but I like the phrase: Excuse the mess. The children are making memories.

Triple Oaks Academy

We are a homeschool family.  This is our 4th year of homeschooling.  It is perfect for our family in this time and season of life.  I love having my girls home with me.  Some days are hard and long…. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just send the older two to school, but then, when I really weigh it all out, I know this is what is best for all of us.  Plus, in my other life (pre-children) I was a teacher.  I have my Elementary Education degree and Teaching License. I like that I am getting to use them.

Our homeschool is called Triple Oaks Academy.  We based our name after this sermon called “The Orchid and the Oak Tree”.  This sermon is near the top of my list for my favorite sermons.  It is based around Jeremiah 17:7-8.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

I hope to raise three beautiful “oak trees”.

This year Alyse is in 3rd Grade.  I taught 3rd Grade for 3 years, so I was very excited about this year.  You kinda need to know that I like to mix and match curriculums.  I also believe there is no perfect curriculum.  So, I tend to use a lot of different curriculums.

Here are some of the books that we are using for Alyse:

We use “A Reason for Handwriting” for penmanship.  This year she is doing book C and learning cursive.  We also use “A Reason for Spelling”.

a reason for handwriting c A reason for spelling 3

We are now using Positive Action Bible Curriculum.  We started off using another curriculum this year, but we were not very happy with it.  I went to our local homeschool store and decided to give this curriculum a try.  So far we like it.

Bible 3

Language Arts is where we focus a lot of our attention.  We use a combination of all of these.  Some Abeka, some Explode the Code, Wordly Wise, etc.  First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease are the foundations for our instruction, but I like including all these other workbooks for extra practice.

Daily Lang review explode the code 5 wordly wise 3   Language 3       first language lessons 3Writing with ease 3

We base our Reading and Writing units off of novels.  Right now we are reading the Little House series.  We also are working through classics such as Anne of Green Gables.

Little House  Anne of green gables

Math is not my specialty.  Josh helps Alyse a lot with her Math lessons.  We also use Teaching Textbooks which gives her lessons on the computer.

Teaching textbooks 3Horizons 3

We are using Abeka 4th grade for History.  We are learning all about US History and will soon be doing her North Carolina State project.

History 4

For science we are also using Abeka.

Science 3

Breeley is in Kindergarten.  A lot of her learning is play based, but of course she does have some textbooks to teach her the basics – Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.

Again, we use A Reason for Handwriting for penmanship.

A reason for Handwriting k

Positive Action Bible Curriculum

Bible k

And Horizons Math

Horizons k

Most of our phonics and reading is Abeka.

Phonic readers Letters and Sounds blend ladders

I do use some Bob Jones readers, Explode the Code, and some other different products for sight words, journals, etc.

We also use Abeka for Science and Social Studies, but these also tend to revolve around what Alyse is studying and seasons/holidays.

Science kSocial Studies k

Both girls are in Dance class and also a Tumbling/Homeschool PE class.  We do some “specials” at home.  They do typing, Spanish, piano, and art.

Typing instructor Spanish my pianoArt k

This year has been a lot of fun.  The girls are doing an excellent job, and are learning a lot.  And we have a lot more exciting things to come!