Spring 2019 Update: What we are Using for Preschool and First Grade

What we are using for Pre-k and First Grade

Spring Homeschool Curriculum Update

Every homeschooling family does things differently. Personally, we don’t follow a traditional school calendar or schedule. Instead, we do homeschool year round, a little bit each day (most days).

However, we do consider the “year” starts in the fall, just for consistency’s sake. This fall, Evan will begin 2nd grade, and Oliver will be in Kindergarten. For now, at least, that leaves the boys in Pre-K and 1st grade.

Because both boys are still so young, I’ve been focusing on the “three R’s” – Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.

The Year So Far

During the course of a year, we ebb and flow, and we change up what we are doing. The current school year started with Torchlight for both boys. It was a great way to dip Oliver’s toes into more purposeful learning. I loved the organization and thoroughness of Torchlight, but as somebody that couldn’t justify buying all of the books, we had difficulty getting multiple of the required books through our library system. As such, Torchlight became more of a supplement for us.

Another thing that we have enjoyed utilizing this year are the books “What Your Preschooler Needs to Know” and “What Your First Grader Needs to Know.” We are going through these books with both of the boys, together.

We finished the Preschooler one, and are working on the First Grader book. Once we’ve finished, we’ll get the Kindergarten and Second Grade books. These books are great and encompass a little of every subject, which I find really helpful.

We’ve faced a lot of changes in our schedules this year, which has also required us to simplify how we do things. One thing that really helped us stay organized through everything was getting a new Kallax (shelving system from Ikea) to keep the kids’ games, workbooks, and crafting supplies sorted and easily accessible.

While you won’t see science curriculum below, we did find a place that does once a month science classes for homeschoolers. They also do spring break camp and summer camp. While we won’t be able to do the full week summer camp, the boys both attended a day of the spring break camp, and they enjoyed it tremendously.

Where We’re At Now

The boys get tablet time for roughly an hour a day, 6 days a week. One of those days is “free time.” The other 5 days the boys must play educational games, of which we have loaded several onto their Fire Kids tablets. (If you know any great apps you can get on the Fire Kids tablets – leave a comment!)

In addition to their tablet time, we try to fit in workbooks most days. I have a tendency to over-buy, and my mom likes to gift us some as well. My house is overflowing with education supplies. I’m only going to mention the ones we are currently working on – that are on a designated shelf on the Kallax.

Preschool Curriculum


Top row from left to right: Kumon: Around the World, Kumon: My Book of Alphabet Games, BIG Dot-to-Dot (no cover), Reading Readiness.
Bottom row: Kumon: Uppercase Letters, and Get Set for School: My first School Book.

Oliver is a reluctant learner. He doesn’t like to sit still, and for the longest time refused to even color. We’ve only just started having him do schoolwork, and my aim has been to make it fun.

He absolutely loves mazes, so we have a Kumon maze book, Around the World, which I have to limit how much he does at once. The book without a cover is a Big Dot-to-Dot book which he’s completed most of, so I’ve removed the completed portion of the book.

The Dot-to-Dot book was the first workbook we introduced as it has dot-to-dot, as well as alphabet and numbers. It’s full of fun activities, so younger kids may not even realize they are learning. Following suit, the Kumon: Alphabet Games book is another fun way to encourage learning.

The “My First School Book” is part of the Transition to Kindergarten set by Learning Without Tears. I figure when he gets through these, I’ll bring out the next book that came with it.

On the bright side – Oliver has turned around and no longer hates coloring or school work. He still will only do a little at a time, but he especially likes the book from Learning Without Tears! I am so relieved.

Top Row: Kumon: My book of Writing Words, Critical Thinking, Beginning Traditional Cursive, Draw Write Now.
Bottom row: Scholastic: Success with Math, and Writing.

Evan enjoys learning more, and whizzes through his workbooks. The Critical Thinking and Writing workbooks pictured above were from my mom, so I actually am not sure where they are from. They do seem to be older.

The Scholastic Success with Math workbook is actually too easy for Evan. After he gets through with what we have, I plan on looking into a full math curriculum for him. [He really enjoyed and did well with Smartick when we used that, but it’s not in the budget currently.]

Awhile ago, Evan explicitly asked about learning cursive, so I bought this simple workbook, as well as Cursive Kickoff from Learning Without Tears. I’m currently holding on to the one from Learning without Tears until after we’ve finished up some other things. (I also ordered Building Writers B by LWT and think I need to get the whole set!)

I’ve already made some tentative plans about what curriculum I would like to use next “school year” with Evan, though I haven’t totally decided about Oliver, yet.

One thing that is still up in the air is what we’re going to do for math. If you have any recommendations for math curriculum, please leave a comment. I am open to all suggestions!

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