Choices, Choices!

As I prepare to purchase Kindergarten curriculum, I've been pulling on my last couple years of reading and rereading Cathy Duffy's 1oo Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. To say I love this book is an understatement. And if you are considering homeschooling, go buy this book.

So we will soon be entering our first year of homeschooling with a curriculum. I am excited! Although, I love observing my boys' exploration and following their lead with learning...there comes a time when a little structure is just needed. Just like in school, a curriculum is only as good as the teacher implementing it. I've chosen simplistic curriculum for kindergarten to allow flexibility, keep costs low, and encourage independent thinking. My homeschool mentor (love her!) tells me time and time again, kids don't need curriculums with all the beeps and whistles. The KISS method goes a long way I suppose. I've included a list of my 'finalists' and briefly what I like about them. On a side note, I can't say enough positive things about the thin $6.95 a piece Kumon workbooks found at Barnes and Noble. I have quite a few of these around the house for PreK. When the boys are interested, we do them. When they're not, we don't.

Math-U-See This will obviously be our Math curriculum. I like that it is organized by ability, rather than grade level. It also gets the highest reviews for Kindergarten. It's very focused on the 'why' behind math concepts, as oppose to memorizing facts and rules. This point in particular will be right up to par with my Big Boy's way of thinking.

Alpha Phonics I'll be using this for teaching Reading. It's non-consumable, simple black and white pictures. No writing. Short lessons.

A Reason for Handwriting I like this for Handwriting, though I'm still debating on purchasing it right now. I'm leaning more toward holding off till first grade. My Big Boy shuts down on me quickly when having to write anything, so I want to be sure to not frustrate him to the point where he's not learning important concepts. Hence, the phonics book with no writing.

The Backyard Scientist This is going to be fun. I'm choosing this specifically tailored to the gifting and interests of my Big Boy. I don't feel Science is a requirement for Kindergarten, but he will love this and provide some great motivation for his schoolwork. Also, the Little Boy can join right in for these ones. Another plus!

The Three R's by Ruth Beechick This is where I will be focusing most of my Kindergarten efforts...out of these books (3). The phonics above will be for extra practice, the Math I'm choosing to suit Big Boy's need for reason, and the Science.....well, see above. Many of homeschoolers have taught both Kindergarten and 1st grade completely from The Three R's.

I can't speak of curriculum without mentioning Sonlight. I love this curriculum. It meets many of our needs, core values, and my teaching philosophy. It values the Charlotte Mason Method and puts a high emphasis on literature for learning, as oppose to textbooks. I'm not choosing to start it in kindergarten because of the price paired with how little we would use it to its full potential. I'll only have 1 child in school, and I prefer to focus mainly on learning to read and math. I do predict this to be our curriculum soon enough, just not yet. They do offer their K-Read Alouds as a separate bundled price. I'm considering purchasing these to add enrichment to our year. They are great books to read to your kids, I would re-use them for many years to come, and eventually the boys would utilize them for reading on their own.

Well, now that I've probably bored most of you. I do hope some of my homeschooling peeps out there are slightly interested in the ramblings of my head. I do love to research things, if you haven't noticed. Maybe there's a mom job out there for researching stuff...then passing along the info. Mmmmm...


  1. So, as a single childless woman who's in the corporate world, (forgive my perspective) but would your school supplies/ materials be tax deductible? I ask this as you refer to the cost of your materials. I would think they could be, as well as your internet usage (if you use your computer/web for a teaching aid.) and other household incidentals like gas usage for field trips, money spent for admittance to learning places like museums, zoo (for science of course, not a family outing) etc.
    Just a thought....

  2. good thought myers. I will have to refer to some veteran homeschoolers.

    wish we could have coffee. :)

  3. ahhhh, hey you two. I was reading your blog Julz, and very interested in knowing all about you, your journey and my wonderful grandsons. I have to tell you, while I was reading, I couldnt' help but think in the back of my head.... I would be interested to know what Erin has to say about all of this. I can just hear her comment about how she has no kids, but loves hearing all about Julie's journey's with hers... and hearing her wonderful laugh, that always puts a smile on my face! Then I look at comments... and there you are Erwin! Love to you both! Mamma

  4. Julz... Aunt Susie cannot read you blog because she has a MAC. ;( She is sad about that. She has a lot of great advice about homeschooling. She did put Gabe in Kindergarden and 1st grade at malone, because it was more of a homeschool environment and she homeshcooled 2nd 3rd and 4th grade. But Rachel was kindergarden , 1st and second , because it was more family friendly. She will try to call or email.

  5. Just an input from one homeschooling mom to another...Please check out Abeka reading program. I HIGHLY recommend it because it goes into depth in the phonics/early reading and is amazong. I learned things through it :) I have also had friends using different curriculums that have switched to this just for the reading!!! Just a thought :)

  6. My neighbor who I often talk about with you who home schools her girls used Abeka when her girls were younger. She's also recommended it to me.


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