Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Eclectic Homeschool Curriculum - Kindergarten and PreK

H is for Homeschooling!
2011-2012 will be our first year homeschooling and we have a Kindergartner and Pre-Ker. Our homeschooling methods is going to be eclectic since we will not be using a boxed curriculum or one specific method. Our reason for going eclectic the  first year is mostly due to money but also so we can learn what our children's learning styles are before investing in expensive curriculum.

The books and materials we will be using are free or very inexpensive. Most of our workbooks and textbooks were obtained through online giveaways, used curriculum sales, dollar store and goodwill. We will also be utilizing Internet resources, Wii games, educational DVDs, computer programs, flash cards, board games, printable lapbooks/unit studies, the great outdoors and educational toys. And of course crayons, glue, scissors, chalk and lots of paper. Every Friday we will go on field trip of some sort.

Gwyn on her Kindergarten Jumpstart Program.
Art supplies
We are going to try to organize our day using a workbox system similar to Sue Patrick's, but since we don't have a lot of space we are actually going to be creating a file cabinet system. The goal is to have both kids work on the same or very similar stuff. Gwyn is ahead of Rowyn on a lot of things and their learning styles are different so we will see how it goes.

So far here are the resources we have gathered and plan to use and I am sure more will be added throughout the year. I'm still trying to figure out a good planner to use that will assist us in organizing and planning our days lessons. Suggestions on planners are welcome!

-Hooked on Kindergarten
-Tick Tock Time
-Hooked on Kindergarten
-Sight Words Workbook
-Sight Words Flashcards
-Scholastic Phonics Books
-Hooked on Phonics Level 1
-Early Reader Books
Writing/Language Arts:
-Hooked on Kindergarten
-Learn Handwriting Workbook
-Visual Encyclopedia
-Readers Digest - Dig It Minerals/Rocks
-Harcourt - Science
-Atlas of the Universe
-Natural Inquirer Journals
-Marvels of Creation - Sea Creatures - Masterbooks For You
-Complete Zoo Adventure - Masterbooks For You
-Birds at your Fingertips
-Insect World - Time Life
-Weather - Smithsonian
-Our America History/Geography Book 2 - A Beka
-Encyclopedia of History - Usborne
Geography/Social Studies:
-Our America History/Geography Book 2 - A Beka
-Atlas of US - Scholastic
-Everything Kids Geography
-Various Unit Studies/Lapbooks
-Answers Genesis for Kids - Masterbooks For You
Foreign Language:
-My First Spanish Words
-Rosetta Stone
-Body An Amazing Tour of Human Anatomy
-Prime Time Activities With Kids
-Art lessons with Daddy (the artist)
-Creative expression - working on lap books and unit studies
-Playing with musical instruments, listening to music, dancing
Physical Education:
-Soccer for Rowyn
-Martial Arts for Gwyn
Other Resources For Each Subject:
-Numerous websites - too many to list here, eventually I want to have them organized so I can share them
-Numerous workbooks
-Jumpstart computer programs
-Board games - Memory, Guess Who, etc.
-A,B,C/1,2,3 Blocks
-Flannel board
-Wipe board
-Playdough mats
-Wii games - I Spy, Dora, etc.
-Learning Mats

Many of our resources are designed for older children, but they have great pictures and information and we figure they can be used as a spring board for discussions and age appropriate unit studies or lapbooks. Some of my favorite unit study/lapbook sites are, Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett, 1+1+1=1, Confessions of a Homeschooler. There are many others but these are the ones I frequent the most.

Our Homeschool Bookcase

Please feel free to share your thoughts and encouraging words.



Sally said...

I found you by way of Educating Layton's Link-Up, and it looks like you have an exciting year ahead! I wish you all the best!

Ticia said...

I love Currclick, it has so many awesome things on it!

Kathy Balman said...

@Sally Thank you! I am so nervous.

Kathy Balman said...

@Ticia I love how there is so much to choose from and how inexpensive everything is.

April said...

I love the Dollar Store and Goodwill for Homeschool (well, for everything actually...) I think you have a very smart approach to your first year. You're going to do great and don't look back! And actually you may find you never do want a boxed curriculum. Eclectic (or as I call it-- "fly by the seat of your pants" is much more fun!) I'm going to follow you because I have A K-1st daughter and a PK son. Maybe we can be of some help and support to each other!

RockerMom said...

It looks like you guys will have a wonderful year!! Thanks for sharing... I love to see what other people are using. :)

Anonymous said...

Great choices! Many blessings on your first year of homeschooling :) You are more prepared than I was my first year of homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

I am also starting this year with a Kindergartener, and also using an eclectic bunch of materials. I feel better knowing I'm not the only one doing it this way for the first year and that the money situation isn't just hitting our family. (not a good thing by the way, but we have to do what we need to to survive.) I am going to follow you and see how things go for both of us.

Jessica S. said...

Thank you for joining in on the ^not back to school bloghop! I love seeing everyone's curriculum before school starts! Thanks

Sally said...

:) I thought this looked familiar! I just popped on here from HOTM's NOT back to school hop! isn't this so much fun!?!?!? I don't have as much as you do, but the point is to learn together and have fun, isn't it? You guys are going to have a BLAST!!! stop by and see what we're doing, too!

Amy said...

I have never checked out the dollar store for school stuff. I need to do that. Just popping in from HOTM "not" back to school link up :-)

Jennifer said...

Visiting from the hop. I hope you have a wonderful year!

Jenni said...

Looks like you've got some great plans for the school year. I love the idea of using free or nearly free resources. Do you use a lot of library books? How do you come across free curriculum? I'd love to read more about that.
Visiting your blog from the hop. Many blessings to you as you start the new school year.

Tracy said...

Have a blessed year!

Tiffany said...

Wow, lots of great resources!! Have a great year!!

Tristan said...

Welcome to homeschooling, it's a blessed adventure! We've used workboxes in several forms and our favorite is in a crate with hanging file folders, similar to what you're planning. You can see some of the ways we done them in this post:

jeana said...

Looks like it will be a wonderful year! Enjoy!

rowena___. said...

looks like you're off to a good start! you have more resources now than we do in our fourth year. LOL enjoy your homeschool, i wish you many blessings and great reward.

Sharla said...

Sounds like it's going to be a really great year! With all those resources at their disposal, your kids are going to be experiencing learning all around them. All the best in your first year of homeschooling! It sounds like you are already off to a great start!

Stacy said...

Hi!! This is our second year, and we are still doing school the way you are, free or very near it. I love planning, so I like it this way so far. This will our second year homeschooling, so I know how you feel. Good luck!!! Now following!!

Dusty (To the Moon and Back) said...

Hello there! Stopping by from the Heart of the Matter blog hop! I think I recognize you from "stalking" the Terrific Tuesday freebies on facebook! lol. Looks like you have a great year coming!

Tracy said...

I bet you will enjoy this so much that you'll never really want a boxed curriculum. Have a fantastic year! It looks like a lot of fun. Stopping by from the "Not back to school" hop.

Tracy said...

I'm giving away an Usborne Atlas today, if you need to add that to your stash. The giveaway is open until 5, and it's for the Essential Atlas of the World at

Kathy Balman said...

Thank you everyone for your encouraging words. We started homeschool today and so far we are off to a great start. We are easing into it this month.

Kathy Balman said...

@Dusty LOL yup that's me.

Kathy Balman said...

@Tristan Thanks I will check it out. They already are blowing through their boxes for the day. I only gave them 7 so they wouldn't be overwhelmed they are very eager to learn today!

Kathy Balman said...

@Amy We have dollar tree it is such an amazing store and everything is only a $1! Also the Target $1 section is wonderful!

Kathy Balman said...

@whatcausesjoyeveryday Thanks for following!

Kathy Balman said...

@Jenni Yes we plan to use library books. Actually I think we may be going there tomorrow. I think I will write a post about where I find our free or very inexpensive stuff. I have entered a lot of giveaways and won stuff. I have also joined a lot of FB and twitter parties where I have won quite a bit of stuff.

Lisa M. (aka. Lisa @ Farm Fresh) said...

Wow! I was not that brave since this is OUR first year homeschooling...I decided to go with a curriculum to help me keep from getting overwhelmed! LOL! But I have a LOT of supplemental things too. I was fortunate to snag a lot of freebies or super inexpensive materials at Goodwill and also books on Good luck on your endeavors!

KarenW said...

Blog hopping here! I think I would have loved the workbox system if I knew about it when mine were younger. Such a great idea! Best wishes for your homeschool year.

c said...

I have pre-k boy and am doing a lot of the same thing - using old stuff from years of classroom teaching and the library are my main resources. Thanks for sharing!

AnnG said...

You have collected a lot of great materials for this year! Have fun and enjoy teaching your children!

Megret said...

Ours were in PreK and K last year! What a fun year this will be for you!

Warm memories flooded back when I read "art lessons with Daddy, the artist." My dad is an artist, too, for a living and he taught me lessons as a child, also. :)

Leah said...

I too am jumping in my first year of homeschooling. A kinder and a pre-kinder. I'm using a hodgepodge of stuff too. May I suggest Pinterest to organize all your online resources? If you haven't heard of it, it is AWESOME for organizing all things Internet.
You can view my page here to give you an idea of what you can do.
Best wishes with the school year!

kewkew said...

Looks like a great year. I just found out about geocaching last week and subsequently looked into Letterboxing. They sound really interesting.

Stacy said...

I loved Before Five In A Row last year and did it all with internet searches and the library. Plan on doing it again with my kinder this year.

Kelly said...

I love it! We do things a bit differently too! Stoping by from the hop.

Samantha said...

Looks great! I'm visiting through the "not" back to school hop. I went with a boxed curriculum for kindy last year and ended up unschooling most of the year because the boxed stuff didn't work for us like I'd hoped so I definitely think you're taking a smart approach this year. I too love the dollar store and goodwill for teaching stuff!

RachelT said...

Hi! I'm stopping by from the NBTS hop. I hope you have an awesome first year of home education! I can't believe that we are beginning our 6th year. We started with K and PreK for my two children the first year and it has been such a blessing! I like to use currclick too. Have a great year!

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