So I am a newbie to homeschooling in general; my daughter is 4.5, and I have been consuming a TON of information on CM methods (this website, Karen Andreola’s book, other websites) and been practicing nature study and habits… and some other things, but when it comes to choosing a ‘real’ curriculum, I’m a little lost….
Does a ‘curriculum’ cover multiple areas such as math, writing, science…or can you choose say just a writing curriculum, and what is recommended, in terms of trying to adhere to CM method?
In choosing a curriculum, my biggest concerns are: 1. staying current/legal with CA regulations 2. Sticking with the CM method/keeping knowledge and learning attractive, fun and real life 3. Something that works for me, I am fairly structured.
Im a little scared to just start buying curriculum, as they can be really expensive… and may not be the best for my child’s learning style.MonicaParticipant
I am sure you have read this:
I’ll just add what has worked for us through the younger years. Enjoy the journey!
For Kindergarten, I would keep it really simple. I over-analyzed with my oldest and bought a canned curriculum that he and I didn’t enjoy. I wasted money on what I had heard was the “best”.
Your daughter is still really young, but depending on her interest and abilities, over the next year you might want to:
-Read-Aloud -read a lot and from many different genres. Read literature (my kids look forward to their bedtime literature with daddy. He’s been reading them chapter books at bedtime for years). Read kid-friendly biographies of famous people. Read informative and engaging science books with great illustrations. Read poetry (Favorite Poems Old and New is a great collection to have). Use the books listed on the SCM curriculum guide as just that – a guide. Explore your library and take out books that interest you.
-Reading -most kids aren’t ready to start reading until much later than 4.5, but in my kids it ranged from age 4.5 to age 6. Don’t overthink and insist on buying a complete “learn to read” curriculum. Choose a method that you think will work with your daughter. With one son I did strict phonics; with another I did simple phonics and read-aloud with him from there; with my daughters I did simple phonics and then (gasp!) they both decided they loved the Explode the Code workbooks. Whatever works!
-Handwriting – there are many websites where you can print handwriting worksheets. You can make ones that have her name, that have the Bible verse you are learning for the week, that have a few lines from a favorite poem you are reading, etc. Again, simple but effective.
-Math – For us, math is a subject that I can’t spend a lot of time doing with the kids, because I have four kids at several different levels. I try to give my kids a foundation with a good program like Math-U-See, but at your daughter’s age I would just play simple math games – war with a deck of cards, board games that incorporate simple math (even rolling two dice is adding!), and general math from around the house.
-Science/Nature Study – It’s great that you already do nature study! My kids and I are having lots of fun with the Pond and Stream Companion from SCM. That, along with several of the other SCM offerings, could be a nice supplement to what you already do. Again, make use of your library! My library only had a few of the titles for the Pond and Stream study, but they have a generous interlibrary loan, and there are books on their shelves that I can also use as a substitute.
-Bible – I would suggest getting into the habit of memorizing Bible verses. For us, because our church follows a liturgical cycle with the Bible, we always learn a verse that will be read during our Sunday services. I recommend using the Scripture Memory Box. Again, simple and effective!!
Hope that helps you some!retrofamParticipant
Check out cathyduffyreviews.com or get her book from the library for reviews on specific curriculum. Look for online samples of curriculum before you buy.
For learning styles, I like Carol Barnier’s “The Big Book of What Now Learning Styles”. She gives ideas of how to teach for each style.
Today is my 6th child’s last day of kindergarten. She learns differently than my others, and I have learned so much from teaching her this year. I have spent a lot of money switching curriculum this year, but I think I have her figured out;) Right now she loves games. I tried several reading programs, but she is not ready. Next year we will use Ring Around the Phonics, when she is ready. We do read alouds too.
For handwriting, she prefers copywork. I started with the samples from Delightful Handwriting to teach letter formation.
For math, Math Lessons for a Living Education is our official pick, but she mostly just plays board games and card games. She likes educational computer games too, but I limit those, so that we have plenty of time to interact together.
My dd joins in with the rest of the family for some other subjects, but mostly I concentrated on practicing in the 3Rs this year. For me, insisting on book work too often was my biggest mistake this year. Things went much better when I let dd have more choices, and played more games.
Just so you know, it takes a while to figure out learning styles, especially when the child is young. Most of us have changed curriculum at some point.
Enjoy this precious time.retrofamParticipant
I forgot to add that My Father’s World has a Cuissenaire rods book and rods that I bought used, that is fun.KittykatParticipant
thanks guys- it seems im on the right track, and have lots of time. I actually have Cathy Duffy’s book on curriculum, i have seen a few curriculum listed; but i was a little unsatisfied with the perspective on CM and I was a bit leary of the curriculum that was listed; not sure if it would line up with CM philosophy. But I already do a ton of reading with my kids and go lots of places to do/explain things, and its so true they are like little sponges. Thanks guys, im sure i will reference this post in a couple of years when my kids are 6,4, and 2.
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