Our Current Curriculum

I have been working on this for months now and finally have it as done as it will get for now, I will update and change it in the future.  I hope this page helps answer some of the FAQ concerning our curriculum. There is a link to this page in my top navigational bar, under the “Homeschool Help” section.

This list was updated April 2012.

As we change and add/delete programs, I will come back and update this page!

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Ladybug  ~ Tot School, age 3

Krash ~ In between K and 1st, age 5 1/2

PacMan ~ 4th Grade, age 9

Family

  • USA Geography
  • World Geography
  • New Testament Overview, from Grapevine Studies
    • This is a once a week thing we are using as our family time, it is targeted towards Krash and PacMan, but Ladybug is included too.
  • Calendar Connections
    • We are using these mostly for PacMan, but depending on the theme, Krash and Ladybug pick up on the facts too.
  • What’s in the Bible DVDs
    • We are watching the episodes together during school time and discussing them.  Ladybug obviously doesn’t really “get it”, Krash tends to pick up on some of it but needs to watch episodes repeatedly.  PacMan LOVES them the most and is really learning a lot.  I hope to continue using these on a regular basis in the future too!
  • Speekee Spanish & Boca Beth
    • Ladybug is the biggest fan of these, but these programs have helped us all pick up on some simple Spanish.
  • iPad

FAQ ~

I heard your boys are enrolled in a cyber school, how does this work?

Yes, they are and we have a VERY unique situation.  We are enrolled in a cyber school but we traditionally homeschool just like someone using Calvert who bought it from their site.  The only difference is that my kids get their supplies, curriculum, computer, printer, and MUCH support for free.  We are so incredibly blessed to have this option, it is working for us right now.  I teach them every single subject, and we use traditional Calvert texts and books…hardly anything is done online for my boys-except fun games and such we have access to.  This is another perk for us we have free access to: First in Math, Study Island, Let’s Go Learn, Brain Pop, and more.  These sites are amazing.

If you are wondering what state we live in, you can email me privately.  I just don’t publicly share the name of our specific school and location online.  Let me emphasize that all sates are different and ALL cyber schools are different.  I personally do not know ANYONE else who has a situation like mine {except those enrolled in my particular cyber school}, most are much more controlled from what I have heard.  Here is a place on Calvert’s website that allows you to seek out using Calvert with a partner school in your state.

Would you use Calvert even if you didn’t get it for free through your state? 

I am not sure.  I do love it, but I think I would look into something like Sonlight or My Father’s World ~ with a more Christian backbone.  I have heard great things about those.  I also think Mystery of History and many products from Bright Ideas Press look awesome.  I would probably piece together subject by subject, although the box curriculum approach is really nice and works for us.  So, maybe I would stick with Calvert, maybe not.  I honestly don’t know!  I have NO problems with Calvert, and it has served us well since PacMan’s PreK year.  I specifically have really enjoyed Calvert from grade 2 on, which is the beginning of where I am not as comfortable teaching!  I absolutely love Calvert this year {4th grade} and am really benefitting from the box approach in a grade I am so uncomfortable teaching!

Why are you using All About Reading for Krash if Calvert has a good reading program within it?

Honestly-I got AAR to review and decided to review it fully to help my blog readers.  I do not need a program to teach reading, I have done it with hundreds of children and it just comes naturally for me {I am a former Kindergarten teacher for any new readers}.  Something I truly love.  I followed Calvert’s program with Pac, but still basically did my own thing, which is what I have done with Krash too.  BUT, I get tons of questions from moms who tell me that teaching reading does not come naturally for them!!!  They want me to recommend a program and up until now I couldn’t since I had no experience with any homeschool reading program {other than Calvert}.  I can’t recommend Calvert’s reading program separately {it is great, but it only comes with the complete box curriculum}. When given the opportunity to review AAR Level 1, I jumped at the chance, knowing this would give me the experience I needed to give my readers an opinion on this reading program-which so far is amazing and definitely what I recommend!  I used All About Spelling Levels 1 & 2 with Pac and loved it.  We went to AAS when he began struggling early on.  He has now went back to the Calvert spelling program and does fine. Our great experience with All About Spelling led me to want to review All About Reading.

Will you enroll Ladybug in the cyber school when she is in PreK?

Probably not, I am thinking of taking PreK-1st and doing it myself for her.  But, that may change and we may enroll her if Calvert is still available.  Being a former K teacher, I just really, really enjoy doing my own things for these lower grades!

Will you always homeschool?

We believe in making this decision on a year-by-year, kid-by-kid basis.  We had no idea we would ever be homeschoolers, so we realize that we have no clue what God has in store for our family.  For now, we cannot imagine not homeschooling, and are very thankful to have been led here.

Are you against public/private school?

Absolutely NOT!  I believe that the decision of schooling needs to be made by individual families based on so many different circumstances.  I NEVER thought we would homeschool, but now am so glad we do {although it was very rough for me the first year}.  Some homeschooling families need to go back to group education for various reasons or during different seasons of life and who knows-that may be us one day.  I know the Lord will guide us each year in making this decision and I trust He guides families individually in this area. 

Why do you homeschool?

Honestly we started because of the area we live in.  We are inner city missionaries living in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods and the schools aren’t anything to jump for joy about.  We looked into private school but it just wasn’t in the budget, and it wasn’t something we really felt called to.  We have fellow missionaries on our team who homeschool and even though at first I thought they were a bit nuts-ha ha, I now adore them and the knowledge they have shared with me.  Although the decision to homeschool was made due to circumstances, we now feel we would continue even if we had the opportunity to send our kids to a great public school.

Do you have a daily schedule or routine? How do you “do it all”?

Updated: See our A Day in Our Homeschool Series Here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 {part 4 coming soon}.

Loosely, yes…but we seem to work better being a bit more flexible.  We know what we need to accomplish and we usually do that-but we tend to go with the flow more since Ladybug often has sassy attitude problems and throws our mornings off a bit.  We school intensely each afternoon while she naps…even if she doesn’t sleep she is in her bed from at least 1-3:00.  This afternoon quiet time is vital to our day!

We try to keep a basic outline of a routine…Calendar Notebooks first thing, Pac upstairs to accomplish independent work while I play with the little 2 {focusing on Ladybug for at least 30 minutes each morning}.  Snack, recess, lunch… Then nap for L-bug and individual school for the boys.  We usually finish up all school around 3pm each day.  In the middle of it all we fit everything in somehow!

We still use a lesson plan blog for PacMan, and Krash still uses workboxes.  I now categorize Pac’s blog by colors {green-independent, blue-possibly need help, red-with mom}. It is SO easy and we both love it.

It is hard for me…the whole schedule thing.  We have good and bad days.  We have on and off-routine days.  We get things done most of the time and then there are days when I let the little 2 watch too many “educational” DVDs.  There are days I adore being with my kids all day long and days I wish I could bury my head in the pillow and not emerge for hours, or possibly days!  If you are struggling with creating a routine/schedule that works…know you are not alone.  I have been at this homeschooling things for 5 years now and I still struggle.  We get through yes-but it is still a struggle for me.  I often get asked how I “do it all” and I wrote a post about that here if you’ve wondered my thoughts on this topic.  The post is older but still applies!


If you have any other general questions about our curriculum, please leave in the comments below and I will do my best to add the answers to this list!

All About Reading Level 1 ~ On Sale!

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I am so excited to share the news with you!  All About Reading Level 1 is ready for purchase AND they are offering 10% off this week only for the launch! 

I was blessed to receive the Level 1 Kit {shown in the photo above} to review and have just begun using it with Krash! We were also sent the Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit and love it all! 

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I am busy preparing it all and so far I LOVE what I have seen.  Seems to be the perfect combination of phonics, vocabulary, fluency, & comprehension.  I believe ALL are important.  You also know I believe sight words are an important part of learning to read and I just love what AAR has done with the teaching of sight words.  The words that cannot be sounded out have a little “bad guy” printed on them with a sign that says “Rule Breaker” ~ how cute is that?  It reminds the student that some words don’t follow the rules we learn and need to be memorized by sight from the very beginning.  The first Rule Breaker word is “the” and appears in lesson 3. 

Krash and I have completed 1 lesson so far and it was exactly the type of thing I was looking for {even though I didn’t even really know I was looking}.  He needs some extra hands on work and some phonological awareness work {auditory/verbal} with sounds.  He is flying through sight words with You Can Read and doing well with phonics, but this is just the perfect addition for him.

Here is a peek at our set-up.  This photo was snapped in the middle of our first lesson, Krash had to remove himself for a potty break!IMG_7520

I will also be starting All About Reading Level Pre-1 with Ladybug in January-more details to come on that too! 

Wondering if YOUR child is ready to learn to read?   Read this article,

Checklist: Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Read?

for some wonderful information!

Remember…

All About Reading is offering a 10% discount to all of you from November 29th {today} through December 6th, in honor of the launch of All About Reading Level 1! You will also receive a free 10$ gift with your order if you order this week! {No coupon or code needed}.

Kindergarten with Krash ~ YCR/unit 12, RRSK/Ff, Theme/Pumpkins

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You Can Read: Unit 12 {she, who, this, away}

RRSK: Letter Ff

Theme of the Week: Pumpkins


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You can download all of the printables for this unit FREE here on the main RRSK page, just scroll down until you see them!  We do 2 activities from the set per day, making 10 total activities.

RRSK Ff

This week we did John 3:16, and instead of making up my own verse tune, we used the tune from Seeds Family Worship {Eternal Life, on the Seeds of Faith CD}. In the printable set, I offer 2 versions, the KJV from the book and the NIV from the CD…be sure to print the ones you want for each page that has the verse on it!IMG_6356

I am not sure if I have ever shown a photo of his current work area, here he was working on one of his pages, you can see he is not actually sitting at his desk in this shot, his actual desk is off to the right, he is sitting at his workbox shelf.  I hang up his RRSK and his YCR stuff together now.  His completed work gets hung up on the cork boards over his desk.IMG_6384

Gluing the verse, we did this one in strips, since it was so long…IMG_6392

Glittering his sight word {even though he already knew it}IMG_6436

Reviewing our past sign language letters and working on the letter Ff, I really need to laminate a set of these!

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Here he is singing for you, if you don’t recognize the tune, be sure to download the Seeds version, it is wonderful! 

 

RRSK Letter Ff Printables Here!

If you want early access to printables beyond what I have blogged about, you can see info about purchasing here!  Currently I have units Aa-Ll available in the early access section.


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We used unit 12 from You Can Read.  Here’s a glimpse into some of the You Can Read work he did.  I don’t have many photos because he is doing a lot of the work independently now while I am working with PacMan. 

He decided to try a highlighter for tracing and really enjoyed this.IMG_6396

Finding words in sentences in the dry erase center, still one of his favorites.IMG_6593

Stamping his words ~ not one of his favorites {YCR add-on}…IMG_6446

He LOVES the sight word graphing {YCR add-on}IMG_6734

Adding words to his caterpillar.IMG_6730

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Krash wants to play the same word games every day now! 

Check out more wonderful Word Play ideas here, and add yours!


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We strung out our pumpkin activities over a couple of weeks, here’s a few he did.

Color by wordIMG_6590

I called out a sound and he had to find the letter.IMG_5794

Color word workIMG_5802Simple additionIMG_5804

Color by NumberIMG_5806

Extending the patternIMG_5815

Labeling the pumpkin partsIMG_5816

Jack O Lantern Face Race gameIMG_6442

Pumpkin observationsIMG_6597

And, of course, carving his own pumpkin.  Hating every moment of the guts digging.

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One thing I really love about Calvert, is their phonics readers.  They have a strong phonics approach to teaching reading and their phonics readers are wonderful.  They take a word family and the simple sight words a child has already learned and make a simple book.  For the next book, it combines the word family from the previous book and a new one, plus the known sight words.  There are 20 books all together.  As far as I know you cannot buy them as a stand alone set, at least not new ~ I have seen them on eBay and Paper Back Swap.

Each book has a signature page in the back for the child to read it to different people and get them to sign it.  We have a 3 person “rule” meaning he has to get at least 3 signatures!  He likes the challenge, here he is earning one from Baba and one from Pac Man!

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We got out our Alphabet Sounds Box, worked with 3 different sounds…IMG_6726

He is VERY into addition facts and is miles ahead of his K curriculum, so we just do our own thing.  He has memorized his addition facts {after learning the process itself quickly}, in a way Pac never did!  Here is is working with our math facts file folder game.  He looks at the fact and puts it in the correct pocket…IMG_6629

He has access to a web program called First in Math, he loves this and here was working on addition facts also!IMG_6438

One of his all time favorites, Guidecraft’s City BlocksIMG_6560

Stacking PegsIMG_6874


A few items we used…

Visit Preschool Corner {& 5K too} for more fun learning ideas!

Kindergarten with Krash ~ RRSK/Ee, YCR/unit 11, Monsters

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You Can Read: Unit 11 {funny, am, not, make}

RRSK: Letter Ee

Theme of the Week: Monsters


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You can download all of the printables for this unit FREE here on the main RRSK page, just scroll down until you see them!  We do 2 activities from the set per day, making 10 total activities. 

Here’s just a few photos, as I didn’t take many this week!IMG_5299

Math, working on counting backwards 10-1 using number disks and the eggs in a basket printable…IMG_5727

 

He felt confident with the verse this week and wanted to sing by himself again!  You can download the printable with the verse tune here on the RRSP Letter Ee webpage.

Letter Ee Bible Verse

 

RRSK Letter Ee Printables Here!

If you want early access to printables beyond what I have blogged about, you can see info about purchasing here!  Currently I have units Aa-Ll available in the early access section.


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We used unit 11 from You Can Read.  Here’s a glimpse into some of the You Can Read work he did.  I don’t have many photos because he is doing a lot of the work independently now while I am working with PacMan. 

Silly fonts with dot paintIMG_5733

He still loves BINGO, even more when his brother has time to play with him…IMG_5348

We got out the Review BINGO {YCR add-on} for units 1-8 and he loved this.IMG_5351

 

I let him choose between box handwriting and stamping words and he chose box handwriting this week {YCR add-on}…IMG_5367

 

He LOVES the sight word graphing {YCR add-on}IMG_5375

 

He is SO proud of his caterpillar, that has now extended off of the original wall.  He BEGS me to add words every day.  This has been such a huge motivator for him!IMG_5302

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Krash wants to play the same word games every day now! 

Check out more wonderful Word Play ideas here, and add yours!


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The monster sensory bin was a big hit all week.  Krash didn’t get into creating monsters but loved using the materials for all sorts of activities.IMG_5120

He really enjoys the fraction work in the Kindergarten Printables.  Seeing fractions on Mike was no exception…giggles all around!  We got out our pizza fraction game to use as an example while I was using the teaching sheet before he went to dot paint the other sheet.  He really liked the pizzas as examples!IMG_5243

Then it was off to dot paint!IMG_5247

 

Greater than/less than in our mini pocket chart.IMG_5362

Money with monsters.  The repetitive nature of this activity {with different themes each time} is really helping him.  He now know the names & values in just a few short weeks!IMG_5297

Listening and following directions with monstersIMG_5304

Matching descriptive monster sentencesIMG_5372

Monsters Inc. matchingIMG_5723

He wanted to do his old puzzle from the Monsters Tot PackIMG_5731

Finding the difference with monsters….IMG_5288

Labeling his monster parts {he chose to write instead of cut/glue}…IMG_5368

The boys both played the monster drawing game with me…IMG_5356  IMG_5358


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Magnetic boy doll is still a favorite!IMG_5284

Showing Ladybug his Cars 2 book from the library…IMG_5329

Looking all studly and cute at the pumpkin patch…

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A few items we used…

Visit Preschool Corner {& 5K too} for more fun learning ideas!

Webkinz Kindergarten Printables

Webkinz K Printables

I took photos of our Webkinz to turn into “clipart” a long time ago and never did anything with them, until now.  Recently, I decided to put together some Kindergarten Printables for Krash to use in the future! We won’t be using these for a few weeks, but I wanted to go ahead and share in case any of you have little Webkinz fans!!  Even if your kids aren’t into Webkinz, but enjoy animals they would probably enjoy these!

Here’s what is included in the free Webkinz pack…Slide1

 

 

Using a number line…

Slide2 Slide3

 

 

Greater than and less than, using the alligator mouth as a visual aid.Slide4

 

Naming coins…

Slide5 Slide6

 

 

Basic Time…Slide7

 

 

Sorting…Slide8

 

Matching descriptive sentences…

Slide9 Slide10

 

 

Easy reader with color word emphasis…

Slide11 Slide12

 

 

Rhyming Words…

Slide14 Slide15

 

Sight Words…Slide16

 

Basic CVC words with tracing and matching sentences…Slide13

 

Simple Story…Slide17

 

Write a sentence…Slide18

You’ll see us use these in the near future!


 

I hope many of you can use these new Free Kindergarten Printables

and I hope to have more soon!  They are available to download for free!