Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices – 2019-2020

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices – 2019-2020

Today I’m sharing our kindergarten homeschool curriculum choices for the 2019-2020 school year, along with why I made these choices for this particular child.

(You can also read about this year’s curriculum choices for my second grader and fifth grader.)

Before jumping into my kindergartener’s curriculum choices, please remember that you and I may be working toward different requirements for homeschooling, depending on where you live. So please inform yourself about your local homeschool laws! (I talk more about the importance of that here.)

Ok, on to our particular choices…

(Our general weekly schedule is toward the end.)

2019-2020 Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Group Subjects

In years past, I tried to save time in our days by doing history and science as a group. This worked pretty well for our first few years of homeschooling, but became more difficult as the boys grew older and their personalities and learning preferences became more apparent.

Last year, after defining what I know of their Learning Preferences so far, I realized that a group environment was not an ideal way for any of my boys to learn. So I let go of the group paradigm for the most part. For now, we still do our memory work (religious studies, poetry memorization) and read-alouds together.

Individual Subjects

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Morning Work

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

This is the first year that my little kindergartener is doing Morning Work. Morning Work for us is a binder that includes calendaring activities and any other work that either can be done quickly or doesn’t really fit in anywhere else.

For now, all I have in his Morning Work binder is a set of calendar pages that I’ve created for him in order to get accustomed to the way a calendar works. He updates our wall calendar with the appropriate date, then updates his Morning Work calendar.

Later on this year I plan to add some copywork/tracing of personal information, like first and last name, home address, and phone numbers.


Bible

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

The Beginner’s Bible is my absolute favorite Bible storybook because the Bible stories are faithful to the original without being dumbed down, and the language is for the most part accessible to early elementary students. I chose this book because my older two read through this book in past years and loved it so much that it’s now falling apart! Hopefully I can keep it in one piece long enough for my youngest to enjoy it this year.


Math

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Math-U-See has been a staple in our homeschool from the start, so I decided to use Math-U-See Primer for my kindergartener. I chose this curriculum because I like its mastery approach to teaching math, and also that new concepts are introduced only once a week or so (the way we use it), with intervening days being dedicated to practice and review.

You can see my review of Math-U-See here.


Phonics

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Hooked on Phonics was my choice for my little one because I’ve used it with my older two boys in the past with great success. My youngest actually started the kindergarten level of Hooked on Phonics almost a year ago, so he’s almost done with it. When he’s done with the kindergarten level, we’ll move on to the first grade level.

You can see my review of Hooked on Phonics here.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Besides Hooked on Phonics, we also read a “real” book each day. Right now we’re working through the Bob Books sets that I have. My son LOVES these little books, and they’re a great way for my little one to feel like a big boy with a big boy book.

You can see my review of Bob Books here.


Handwriting/Grammar

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

My kindergartner used the pre-k level of Handwriting Without Tears to learn how to write his uppercase letters last year, so we’re continuing with the kindergarten level to review uppercase letters and learn how to write lowercase letters. I chose this curriculum because I love the gentle and clear instruction and have used various levels with all of my kids.

You can see my review of the pre-k level of Handwriting Without Tears here.


Science

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

I really didn’t have it in me to do a lot of science experiments this year, so I wanted a science curriculum that didn’t have science experiments as an integral part of the program. And besides, I need my kindergartener to learn the very basics of science.

I chose the Carson Dellosa Interactive Science Notebooks because they are a fun, hands-on way to learn and organize new science concepts, they make suggestions for simple “experiment” types of activities that I can handle in this season of life, and they provide a way for my little student to process what he’s learned in his own way.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

We tried out this Kumon Sticker Science workbook last year, and my son loves it. We’ll incorporate it into his other science studies this year.

You can see my review of this Kumon Science Sticker Activity Book here.


History

My kindergartener will not be going through a formal history curriculum this year because I feel that it’s important that he get a better understanding of the world at large first by learning a little bit about geography, but he will be participating in some American history activities with my older two boys.


Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Geography

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

For geography I’ve chosen Skill Sharpeners Geography, Grade Pre-K. I actually meant to purchase the kindergarten edition, but this arrived so I guess I got a bit click-happy in Amazon. After looking at it, I determined that it’s appropriate for my kindergartener. I chose it because it has fun, simple activities that are age-appropriate.


Art

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

There are only so many hours in the day, so the subject of art has low priority in our homeschool. But after learning how to hold and use a crayon correctly last year (thanks, Handwriting Without Tears!), my little one developed a love of drawing and crafting in general. So I wanted to give this newly revealed Delight its place in my kindergartener’s school work.

I chose this Scholastic Step-By-Step Drawing Book because the drawings look age-appropriate and I think that, after becoming accustomed to it, my son will eventually be able to work out of it independently.


Extracurricular

Cub Scouts – My kindergartener is so excited to join his brothers in Cub Scouts! I was somehow surprised by how much learning happens in Cub Scouts. The many shared experiences are a great way to make friends, and it’s also good bonding time with Daddy since my husband deals with all the Cub Scouts stuff.

Homeschool Co-op – We recently joined a local low-stress homeschool co-op that focuses on social activities like park days with some educational opportunities thrown in. Just another way I’m trying to socialize my kid. 😜

Those are our homeschool curriculum choices … for now. I usually evaluate how things are going in December – adding, subtracting, and/or changing as needed.


Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
Bob Books Workbooks Curriculum Review

Bob Books Workbooks Curriculum Review

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

The Bob Books reading program now has companion workbooks to further reading skills. I’ve purchased the Bob Books Beginning Readers Workbook and Bob Books Emerging Readers Workbook to use with my youngest.

BOB Books Review

I recently purchased the Bob Books Beginning Readers Workbook and Bob Books Emerging Readers Workbook on a whim since my boys have enjoyed the Bob Books readers so much. I thought that the workbooks’ colorful pages and variety of activities would be a fun way for my preschooler to get in some extra phonics practice.

Each workbook is based on specific boxed sets:

The workbook activities in the Beginning Readers Workbook for the Alphabet and Beginning Readers box sets focus mostly on the alphabet and letter sounds, with a lot of coloring, matching, and letter and word tracing. While at first glance these seem like good activities for a preschooler learning to read, I developed a different opinion once my son started using the workbook. Having already taught two other children how to read and write, I felt that the handwriting aspect (tracing both uppercase letters and then writing them on their own) moved way too quickly. As a matter of fact, my preschooler has spent the past year learning to form uppercase letters, and will spend next year learning to form lowercase letters.

By contrast, the Beginning Readers Workbook teaches letter formation at the speed of light, which means that it would serve better as a review for kindergarteners/first graders that have already learned how to form all letters, both uppercase and lowercase. In that case, it wouldn’t actually serve as a companion for the Bob Books readers since students should be operating at a higher reading level by that point.

The workbook activities in the Beginning Readers Workbook for the Rhyming Words readers add word searches to the coloring, tracing, writing, and matching activities. I felt that the word searches were the most useful aspect of this jumbo workbook, so it’s up to the parent to decide if the cost of the purchase of this workbook is worth a limited set of truly useful pages.

The Emerging Readers Workbook has many of the same types of activities as the latter part of the Beginning Readers Workbook, with the addition of color-the-word (like color-by-number) pages, sight word identification activities, and more of a focus on sentences. While I still feel that the writing activities may be a bit too advanced for students operating at the reading level of the Bob Books readers on which the activities are based upon, some students may do ok with them.

Considering the weaknesses of these workbooks, I’ve chosen to use them simply as a source of worksheets. I identify the worksheets that are appropriate for my preschooler’s handwriting ability and skip the rest.

Teacher Prep

As long as you have crayons and pencils, these workbooks should be open-and-go for the parent.

Student Time

Each page in the Beginning Readers Workbook should take less than five minutes to do, while pages in the Emerging Readers Workbook may take a little longer. Kids that love workbooks, and especially the types of activities in these workbooks, may want to do several pages at a time, so you may move through these workbooks faster than expected.

To whom would I recommend BOB Books?

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)

Recommend to…

Normally I would say that workbooks like these are good for students that do well with Interactive and Visual learning methods. But since I feel that these workbooks are inconsistent in matching activities to reading/handwriting level, I actually have a hard time recommending them at all.

I would NOT recommend to…

  • Students that resist learning One-on-One since the disconnect between reading level and handwriting ability will require a lot of parent help.
  • Parents that want to use most pages in a workbook to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

My Best Tips for Using Bob Books Workbooks

  • Use them simply as a worksheet repository, identifying the worksheets that are appropriate for your student and skipping the rest.
  • Parents may be tempted to treat these workbooks as independent work, but I highly recommend working with your students one-on-one when it comes to the writing activities. Otherwise, students will invent ways to form letters on their own. As a parent that has worked very hard with my students in regards to writing skills and correct letter formation, I can tell you that bad habits are easy to create, and much less easy to break.
  • Students that require more Interactive learning methods may enjoy these free Bob Books printables from This Reading Mama.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Bob Books Workbooks

While we have greatly enjoyed the Bob Books readers, and my preschooler does enjoy the workbooks, the workbooks have not been as big of a hit with me. You may want to investigate these free Bob Books printables from This Reading Mama before purchasing the workbooks.

Bob Books Curriculum Review

Bob Books Curriculum Review

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

Bob Books are a series of sets of phonics readers. I’ve purchased and used five sets of these readers in our homeschool, currently with my youngest.

Bob Books Review

Bob Books have been a fun addition to our homeschool as a supplement to our phonics curriculum. While each reader is short, simple, with usually only one color to a page (besides black and white), the stories are silly and short enough to become favorites with kids. The short stories allow even a beginning reader to easily read an entire book in one sitting, which has thrilled my kids and increased their confidence. I often hear, “I want to read another!” from my newest reader.

Contents

Each set comes with: 

  • a varying number of brief, paperback readers (possibly 8, 10, 12)
  • a parent guide that gives tips for teaching your child to read
  • and some sets include an additional resource, like flash cards or puzzles. 

Teacher Prep

Teacher prep consists of choosing the box set appropriate to your student’s reading level. For help in this regard, refer to the back of the box – you’ll find available box sets listed in order. You’ll sometimes find even more specific information, like an “Appeals to” suggestion for grade (ex. “Appeals to Pre-K-1st Graders”) and a suggested reading level (ex. “Reading Level Kindergarten”).

Student Time

Since we use Bob Books as a supplement to our phonics curriculum, we usually read just one book a day, which take less than five minutes. Sometimes we extend reading time by discussing words that rhyme, reading comprehension questions, etc.

To whom would I recommend Bob Books?

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)

Recommend to…

  • Students that love the Written Word but aren’t yet fluent readers will likely love Bob Books and feel so accomplished when they can read an entire book!
  • Students that prefer Independent activities will enjoy these readers on their own, possibly after having read each reader with a parent.

I would NOT recommend to…

Students that are highly Visual may not love the simple aesthetic of Bob Books, although the charming pictures may make up for the simplicity.

My Best Tips for Using Bob Books

  • The simplicity of each reader may tempt you into rushing through each book with your child. But remembr that, while the readers may look like pamphlets to us as adults, to your child each reader is a REAL BOOK. So treat them like real books. Allow your student to read it through slowly and to have fun with it. Talk about the characters. Ask your child what they think will happen next. Discuss how much you both liked, or disliked, the story.
  • Students that require more Interactive learning methods may enjoy these free Bob Books printables from This Reading Mama.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Bob Books

My kids have been charmed by the Bob Books readers. Even my most reluctantly reader enjoyed them, and seeing his reading fluency and confidence increase made my mama’s heart happy!

Hooked on Phonics Review

Hooked on Phonics Review

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

Hooked on Phonics is a phonics-based reading curriculum. I’ve used it in our homeschool with all three kids, with two children currently using it (one about to graduate out). This is the only curriculum I’ve used to teach my kids to read. 

Hooked on Phonics Review 

Contents

While you can purchase individual grade levels separately, I purchased the entire set (Pre-K to 2nd grade). Each grade comes with a level 1 and level 2 books for phonics practice, a set of readers (beautiful with fun stories), stickers to mark completed lessons, and DVD’s with video content for each lesson. 

Structure 

Each lesson mostly consists of word families, with a page introducing the words, a practice page, and a little story using words in the word families that they’ve used so far. 

Every few lessons, the student gets to read a fun, colorful reader. My kids are always so excited when they get to read a real book! There are also some reading comprehension questions for the parent to ask, and a place to put a sticker showing that the lesson has been completed. Since I have three kids, my younger kids put a sticker underneath the previous brother’s sticker. I thought that it would bother my younger boys to not get to put the sticker in the “real” spot, but they actually like seeing that they’re learning something that their older brother(s) learned.

Besides word families, Hooked on Phonics also introduces what they call Helper Words. Helper Words are basically sight words or high-frequency words. I usually play a little game with them where they say the word of the color I choose, but I don’t worry about them memorizing them just yet and simply provide them when needed if my child can’t remember it. Since they are high-frequency words, I know that it won’t be long before they remember the word on their own. 

Additional Purchases 

Hooked on Phonics was sufficient to teach my oldest to read, but since my younger two enjoy reading we usually read something in addition to the Hooked on Phonics reading for that day, like BOB Books or a history reader.

I also found that it was nice to have fun magnetic bookmarks to mark our place in the book. I put these Dr. Seuss bookmarks in my kids’ Christmas stocking, and the magnetic feature is so nice because my kids drop their stuff ALL THE TIME. No more wondering, “Where were we?” because the bookmark stays in place. 

Teacher Prep Time 

Hooked on Phonics is pretty much open and go, so there really isn’t any teacher-prep time. It’s just a matter of having the readers easily-accessible when you need them. I keep the grade-level bin that my student is currently working on in his crate on top of his workboxes so that I can quickly grab a reader for his drawer if needed. 

Student Time 

The amount of time a student spends on a lesson each day is dependent on the child. Some kids have an affinity for words and love the process of learning to read. Others see it as a drudgery. But even kids that enjoy the process can take only so much of new learning at a time. 

In general, I’d say that about five minutes of word family practice is sufficient per day. Sometimes that means that we read through the words on the lesson introductory page a couple of times. If we’re on a lesson practice page, we might read one line a couple of times. or read through the whole page if my student finds it easy. If it’s not so easy, we’ll just work on part of the page and go back to it the next day. We end the lesson if I feel like my student is getting frustrated or mentally worn-out with their new learning.

Writing it out makes it sound so much more complicated than it is, so be sure to watch the video to get a better explanation. 

To whom would I recommend Hooked on Phonics? 

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.) 

  • Recommend to..

    • Students that do well with the Written Word because there aren’t a lot of extra activities included in Hooked on Phonics.  A Visual learner may be greatly helped by the DVDs. And a Spoken Word learner will appreciate hearing each word in the word family spoken by a parent or on the DVD. There is also now a Hooked on Phonics app with games that may be great for an Interactive learner, but we haven’t used it.
    • Students that prefer working One-on-One because this curriculum is designed for parents to sit side-by-side with their child and guide them through their learning. But Independent learners may enjoy the DVD portion and find that they need little prompting from their parent when it comes to the reading portion.
    • Students that have a Delight for one-on-one time with their parent (my boys love to cuddle up with me to read!) or that simply love silly stories.
  • I would NOT recommend to…

    Students that prefer Physical learning because this is a sitting-on-the-couch curriculum. You could try having your student use a pointer as they’re sounding out words (either store-bought or one he makes with craft supplies). And you could supplement by incorporating a physical element, like maybe using letter tiles to build words and move each tile when sounding out the words. But if this is your situation, I wouldn’t use this curriculum if you don’t already have it. You might instead want to try something like All About Reading, which I understand incorporates some physical activities (we haven’t used All About Reading, so please double-check). 

My Best Tip for Using Hooked on Phonics  

When lesson planning, set aside an amount of time (ex. 5-10 minutes) rather than what page you expect to be on. Some word families may be more difficult for your students than others, so they’ll take longer to get through.

Common Questions/FAQ About Hooked on Phonics 

  • Question 1: Does Hooked on Phonics teach the alphabet?

    The purpose of the Pre-K level is to teach the alphabet (and letter sounds) and gives ideas for fun activities, but I honestly didn’t feel it was super helpful or sufficient. All of my kids learned their letter sounds with this fantastic video (great for kids that prefer Visual and Spoken Word learning methods).

  • Question 2: How do I know if my child is ready to start reading?

    One of the things that you’ll want to look for in your child is phonemic awareness. You can do a search for phonemic awareness online, or you can refer to this post by This Reading Mama. She going into detail about the  steps a child needs to go through to learn how to read, and also has some great printables! 

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Hooked on Phonics 

Hooked on Phonics is a great phonics curriculum for kids that are interested in reading and have the patience and maturity to spend a couple of minutes sounding words out during the early stages. And the Kindergarten-2nd Grade levels are perfect for parents that need an open-and-go solution and don’t want to do a lot of lesson planning.

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