One thing every homeschool mom wants is to start off on the right foot when it comes to educating the little ones. In this post, I’m going to share my homeschool curriculum choices for Preschool to 2nd grade.
In the early years of education, the most important thing to do is to read and give your child many opportunities to explore and experience the world around him.
Sure, you want to be teaching phonics and math, but a lot of learning comes from simply getting in the dirt or from being in the kitchen with mom.
There are many methods of homeschooling, which I cover in my post about Homeschool Planning, but for our home, we focus on these areas- math, phonics, language, reading, and handwriting. All of the other areas are left for the later elementary years.
“We all want our kids to learn a lot during their school years, but the most important thing is that they learn to love the act of learning. That’s what produces life-long learners.”— Liz Quick
Primary Stage of Learning Goals
It’s easy to jump into the primary stage of teaching with big, lofty goals. The main goals as we come out of this stage is to:
- Have children who are fluent readers
- Have children who understand the basics in regards to numbers
- Have children who have formed a basic foundation for writing
Keep these simple goals in mind as you move through your school experience with your children. Any time you need to assess your child’s progress, ask yourself if he is progressing in those areas.
Homeschool Curriculum for Preschool
It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to homeschool the younger years. Many learning opportunities come simply from things you are already doing at home, like counting the steps you take to go upstairs or noticing the colors in your garden.
It also doesn’t have to take hours of time to educate a preschooler. Reading a lot and communicating with your 3 or 4 year old helps them to learn so much, including how to properly carry on a conversation.
With all of that said, many homeschool parents still want to have some sort of formal process for their preschooler’s education. These are the main areas we tackle for preschool and what we used and found success with:
When choosing a math program for your homeschool curriculum, be sure to take into consideration the type of learning style you want to foster in your homeschool room. Do you want a more hands on approach? Do you want a traditional approach?
Those are things to consider when choosing a curriculum.
Preschool math can be as simple as completing a worksheet per day. In addition, practice counting as you go through your day and take time to create learning all over.
For example, bring shapes you see in your environment to your child’s attention, such as a clock that is a circle. Or, a television that is a rectangle.
For formal math teaching, we completed one worksheet a day out of the Abeka K4 or K5 Number Skills workbook. You will need to look and see which curriculum- K4 or K5- is the best fit for your child based upon what he already knows.
For Preschool, we also used the Confessions of a Homeschooler preschool program. It takes time to print and laminate everything, but once it’s done you can use it for other kiddos who are going to be homeschooled later.
Phonics and Language
It’s also important to keep this area simple and engaging for your little one. Abeka K4 or K5 Letters and Sounds is a great way to introduce letters and the written language to your preschooler.
If you complete one workbook page per day, your child should complete the workbook in one school year.
Giving your preschooler lots of opportunities to listen to good literature and to practice reading simple books is key in creating a love for reading.
Ambleside Online is a great resource for books to read aloud for children of any age. Sonlight also has wonderful book lists based upon the child’s age and skill level, as well as books for you to read aloud.
With Ambleside, you can purchase the books from different sources or find them at your local library as you need them. For Sonlight, don’t feel like you have to buy the entire kit. Buy what you need or want and leave the rest.
Abeka curriculums come with readers that are grade appropriate for your child to use to strengthen his reading skills, but be sure to do a lot of reading aloud to him, as well.
The best handwriting workbook I have found is by The Good and the Beautiful. It is simple, yet helps with those motor skills needed to be able to write well in elementary.
If you purchase the Letter of the Week from Confessions of a Homeschooler, you will find that there is handwriting work mixed it with the worksheets.
Homeschool Curriculum for Kindergarten
Kindergarten looks much like preschool, but this is the year that you will need to add a bit more phonics work. This shouldn’t take much time, but it is very helpful in teaching the kids to decode as they read.
Again, you will spend a lot of time reading with your child and to your child. Fresh air and lots of conversation is important in developing their thirst for learning.
The curriculum you choose for this grade will be dependent upon what your child knows, so don’t be afraid to level up or down to ensure your child is successful.
Abeka Number Skills K5 is what is generally used for kindergarten. Complete one page, front and back, per day.
Phonics and Language
Like the math, choose this based upon your child’s abilities and knowledge. ABeka Letters and Sounds K5 is a great workbook that will cover the written language and prepare your kindergartener for first grade.
Purchase the Abeka readers that go with the K5 curriculum or the Beginner Books that go with The Good and the Beautiful kindergarten curriculum.
Homeschool Curriculum for First Grade
First grade is where a few more workbooks are added to the daily schedule. It is still important to keep the child excited about learning, so adjust the work load based upon his needs.
As the child grows, establishing good work ethic is paramount. Give your child clear goals and gently push them to meet those reasonable goals. Let’s dive into the curriculum.
Abeka Arithmetic 1 is a great choice for first grade math. Things begin to move a bit faster and more is required of the child, so keep him encouraged.
Phonics and Language
The previous years, these two subjects were combined into one, but now they are separate. There is a Phonics and Sounds 1 workbook for Abeka and a Language 1 workbook. Do one page of both workbooks every day.
Along with the phonics workbook, you will need the basic phonics cards. These are key in creating fast decoding when reading. It doesn’t take long. Start with one chart and work through it for a week and add another. I recommend the corresponding cd, too.
If you are really proactive, you can add spelling this year. It all depends on what your child needs and how much time you want to spend doing seatwork.
This year is when the reading time for your child increases. This should be a welcome thing for child as you cultivate a love for reading in him. Choose rich books, like those from Ambleside, and immerse him in quality literature.
Homeschool Curriculum for Second Grade
This is the last year of preschool and early elementary. Next year, more formal subjects are added and the time it takes to do school increases. Second grade is the year to build so that the transition next year is smooth.
Your child, at this point, should be able to sit and do school without complaining (as we all know, life happens and we all have bad days, so don’t think that this means your child will behave like an angel). The groundwork for good work ethic has been established in those earlier years.
The work load is still quite manageable, so keep encouraged and help motivate your child to love the art of learning.
If you love Abeka, by all means continue on with this curriculum. For our family, this is when we switch to Saxon math. This is an easy transition and practicing math facts daily becomes part of the daily schedule.
If your child needs another year of phonics, complete the Abeka Phonics and Language 2 workbook. If your child is fluently reading above grade level, then you might not need to complete this book.
If this is the case, move on to the Abeka 3 Language workbook and focus on grammar for the year.
Abeka has great readers for this grade that increase your child’s reading skills. Sonlight also has a good book kit that offers many good reading opportunities for young learners.
Other Curriculum Choices
If you are looking to introduce an actual science and history curriculum during the primary years, there are several that are excellent for young children. All of these will be books to work through along side the child. They would be excellent read alouds.
- Beautiful Feet Early American History– This pack was used for each of our children throughout their primary years and each loved it. The first couple of years, I’d use them as read alouds. Then, as their reading progressed, they read them to themselves.
- Heart of Dakota– This curriculum approaches history from a Christian world view.
- Rod and Staff Science– This is a textbook type of curriculum. For now, just read it aloud to your child.
- The Good and the Beautiful– This is a teacher led program that will require you to be more involved. It is beautiful and covers a wide area of topics. Some items will be able to be completed early on and several will need to be completed once the child gets older, but it’s still a great opportunity to formally introduce your student to these topics.
Simple Homeschooling eCourse
If you are interested in learning the ins and outs of homeschooling, check out my eCourse. In this course, I share how I plan and execute our homeschool year.
I share how I store materials, how I encourage my kids to have good work ethic, and how I focus our year in a way that works for us. To check out that course, click the button below.