Homeschool Newbie – Curriculum for your Kindergartener?

by Donna on May 7, 2012

When we decided to start this homeschool journey I had a lot of preconceptions. I expected to have to spend hours each day teaching my kindergartner. I prepared myself for the backlash that I would receive from friends and family. I imagined piles of books and curriculum and following a strict schedule.

As time goes by and I continue to prepare for our first year as homeschool parents.  Many wise woman have shared their thoughts, advice and concerns with me.  I’ve taken each comment into consideration.  I appreciate their advice, I hope they continue to share their wisdom with me!  I’ve spent lots of time praying about their concerns.  What I know for certain now is that:

  • Every Homeschool family functions differently.
  • Every Homeschool Mom has a different style of teaching.
  • Homeschooling is not a cookie cutter job.

I’ve been encouraged to avoid curriculum, to focus on reading, hands-on-learning, allowing my kindergartner to have fun and experience education in a non-structured manner. This advice is great!  Unfortunately it is not for me.  I’ve prayed, considered and discussed this with my husband and I know myself pretty well.

I, the teacher, need structure.

The homeschool mom down the street may not need step-by-step instructions. I do. I NEED curriculum so I have boundaries, goals and direction. That is just my personality.  I’m learning that all homeschool families need to do what fits their family best.  As a work at home mom I need to have clear boundaries on my time.  My clients need to know that I’m doing their work.  My family, my #1 priority, needs to know that I’m making time for homeschooling, homemaking, and family time.

Some things that I took into consideration when deciding about a curriculum for this coming year were:

Faith - A faith based curriculum is key.  That is why we are homeschooling, so we can disciple our children and give them a strong foundation.

Family – How will this curriculum fit into our family?  Is it a good fit?  We travel out of state several times a year, is the curriculum easy to transport so we can bring it with us?

Cost – Like most families the cost of the curriculum is a factor for us.  We needed to find a curriculum that we can afford.  We want to have money left over to add in extra curricular activities for our children like music, art or dance lessons.

Prep time – I work from home and it is important to me to be sure that I continue to give my clients excellent assistance.  I don’t want to spend hours each week preparing materials for the upcoming week.  It just won’t work for us right now.  I need a curriculum that I can pull out and jump right in!

Fun –  Especially because this is our first year homeschooling I want it to be a fun year.  I want our daughter to fall in love with learning.  I want to create memories as a family and foster an environment of fun and learning in our home.

Teaching style – Like I mentioned above, I know what I need as a teacher, and that is structure.  I need a program that will give me instructions, deadlines and goals to meet.

 

Are you considering homeschooling next year?  Are you overwhelmed?  I know the feeling, just remember that although you will receive heaps of advice, you need to make decisions that best fit your family.

Me, I’m a curriculum girl.  I need a little bit of hand-holding, I need accountability.  You?  You  may be an “un-schooler”, you may love the Classical model and spend hours each day teaching.  See, were all different, and that’s the beauty of homeschooling – we have the opportunity to choose what is best for our family!

How did you decide if curriculum is right for you?  Do you follow a more relaxed method of homeschool for your young learners. I would love to hear what influenced your decision!  Share your thoughts in the comments below!  Like I said above I hope my dear homeschooling friends will continue to share their bits of knowledge with me even if I don’t decide to do the same. I love hearing your tips!

Image Credit: Albertogp123

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin May 7, 2012 at 8:27 am

I love that you are asking all these questions before your start! I have tried several different methods and we finally landed on one that works for us really well. There are SO many things to consider. I’m excited for you!! I would love to chat with you more about this!!

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Donna May 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thanks Erin – I WILL take you up on that chat! I’m sure it will be a matter of trying different styles, schedules and curriculums but it’s nice to admit that I need the discipline that some curriculums offer. :)

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Brooke McGlothlin (@BrookeWrites) May 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

You and I have a lot in common friend. (And Erin is a wonderful person to talk homeschool with!) I have to have the structure too, have to. And I think you also have to consider your state requirements. My boys have to endure formal testing in the state of VA, so there are certain things I have to teach them throughout the course of the year.

Blessings!

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Donna May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I’ve heard VA has strict rules. Luckily I don’t have to do much until Claire is 8 then I’ll have to provide a portfolio and have a review done each year. I’m glad to have a few years to get my act together.

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Ashley Pichea May 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

“I’m learning that all homeschool families need to do what fits their family best. ” – AMEN!!

We’ve found that we really like the “unschooling” method of learning {mostly}, as Jenny is a self-motivated and driven learner. {David will probably be much different, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.} This year we bought curriculum for all the major academic subjects {reading, spelling, penmanship, and math}, and the only one that proved to be of value to us was the math. {We also found some Bible curriculum – GrapeVine Studies – that we love doing, and will continue to do.} Thus, math is the only curriculum we’ll be using in the fall.

The rest of our “learning” will be interest and seasonally-driven, using books as the basis {Jenny LOVES to read} and building “lessons” from the content of the books: i.e. writing a report, doing a science experiment, using Google to learn more, etc.

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Donna May 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I love the concept of “unschooling” and the importance of learning through everyday circumstances and events, not just curriculum. We’ll also be using GrapeVine Studies, I love their concept and hey, I can draw a stick figure!

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Stef Layton May 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

ALSO – something big to consider, all students have a different learning style (not just the teacher) AND love language! It affects the way I teach my visual/tactile – quality time boy. Obviously lapbooks are more popular with him than worksheets.

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Donna May 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Stef, that is a great reminder. I’m sure as we work through our first year I’ll learn what Claire’s learning style is. Her love language is quality time, which is another reason we’re choosing to homeschool. I’m sure I’ll have to be very flexible in our first year and try different things to see what works best for all of us. :)

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Nancy M. May 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This will be my first year homeschooling a kindergarten. My oldest was in 5th grade when we started homeschooling him. I’m nervous about teaching everything and still haven’t decided to use a curriculum or just wing it since he’s so young. Have you decided on a curriculum yet?

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Donna June 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

Hi Nancy – sorry for the delay!! Yes we are using My father’s world with a few other things added in. We’ll be using Math U See, Grapevine studies, We choose virtues and I’m looking for a handwriting program.

So far it’s going great so I guess we’ll see how things change as times goes by – We’re in week 2 and everything seems great!

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Janet May 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Welcome to the homeschooling family! It indeed is a journey of joy to take with your child(ren). It’s all about taking time to learn what works (and what doesn’t). We all having a learning curve when beginning the homeschool journey and must make adjustments as we go along. I needed a structure, too, and so we chose accordingly. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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Nicole June 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

I am SO excited to have found your blog! Our daughters are the same age and we are officially starting homeschool in the Fall! We’ve been schooling for over a year but very laid back since she technically wasn’t school aged. Now all her little friends are getting ready for their first big day at school and I’m realizing, HOLY COW, it’s about to get real up in here!
I use a mix and match of curriculums but what I’ve learned over the past year and has saved my sanity (and wallet) is that they learn to write by writing, they learn to read by reading, and they learn science and math by doing! We are using some structured curriculums but I’m going to do themes and try to keep it light and fun. Can’t wait to follow your journey!

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Donna June 19, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Nicole! Thanks for stopping by. We started last week and it’s been great! We are loving it! And yes, it is getting really REAL over here. :)

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Kim March 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

This could have been written by me! I am starting homeschooling with my almost 5 year old boy next year and am at a crossroads. I LOVE and believe in the idea of ‘learning through playing’ and part of the reason we are homeschooling is because I believe this age should be about PLAYING more than sitting in school all day. That being said…..*I* need the structure. to know what I ‘should’ be teaching. I need the outline of curriculum for MY sanity. I could probably piece together curriculum on my own to add a bit of ‘formal’ schooling time for us, but I don’t have time for that. I am so glad to see I am not the only one that has struggled with this. I am still deciding what to do so would love to hear how everything worked for you and what programs you used! thank you!!!!

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