A couple of years ago, I started homeschooling my two young children (then ages 2 and 3 and a half). I hesitate to even say we have been homeschooling up to this point because it has been very unstructured and casual. To them, it has pretty much all been considered play, but to me there has been a lot of intention behind what we do. We have loosely been through The Peaceful Preschool curriculum twice, adding in things along the way that followed the kids’ interests. Most recently, we went through The Peaceful Press’ Christmas Guide and absolutely loved it!
With that being said, as the months have gone on and my children have gotten older, I have tried to increase the structure to prepare us all for elementary schooling to begin. Now that the kids are 4 and 5 and a half years old, we are gearing up to start kindergarten in January. If my son were enrolled in school, he would’ve began last Fall, but with the arrival of our newest baby in August and the holidays, we decided January would be a perfect start time. Before the baby arrived, I started researching what we would do for kindergarten and have come up with a plan I wanted to share with you all. As much as I love The Peaceful Preschool and it has served us well, it is time to move on to something else. I am looking forward to exploring The Playful Pioneers and The Precious People when they are a little older.
Although my daughter is younger than kindergarten age, my plan is to teach them together and to adapt activities to her skill level along the way. She is always welcome to join in our lessons, but not required to. Up to this point they love to be together, and she is usually very interested in learning everything he is. I try to keep a few hands-on activities (such as lacing or playdough) near the table when we do school for her to grab and use if I need to work one-on-one with him.
After much research, I have decided to use a combination of Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row for our kindergarten year. If you haven’t heard of this curriculum, it is based completely around literature, which is what drew me to it in the first place. The concept is that you read each book five days in a row, and each day you focus on a different subject that you can glean from the story. For example, one week we will be rowing the book “The Story About Ping”, the story of a duckling who gets separated from his family. After reading the book, we may study the Yangtze River, which is where the story takes place, for geography. The next day after reading, we may do a science lesson on the natural habitat of ducks. The third day, we may count all of the ducks, create a family tree of the ducks, and then make one of our own family. You get the idea. I anticipate that using this curriculum will open my eyes that every book is an opportunity to explore and learn more in every subject. I hope it does the same for my kids.
Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) is the preschool version of the curriculum. After looking over the book lists I decided to ease us in with some of the familiar books from BFIAR such as The Snowy Day, Blueberries For Sal, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and then move into the unfamiliar and more advanced stories found in Five in a Row (FIAR). I am using the guides Before Five in a Row: A Treasury of Creative Ideas to Inspire Learning Readiness and Five in a Row: Volume I as my foundation. I will build off of them using Pinterest, blogs, and ideas I drum up based on what I think my kids would love to learn. I can’t wait to share all of what we are doing and learning through these stories!
In addition to this, we will also be starting our day with Bible and adding in short lessons in math, phonics, and handwriting. Here is what we are using for each of these areas:
Phonics: Explode the Code
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten
I also plan to begin sign language lessons this year! I will be using the Signing Time K-3 Classroom Curriculum. You can find it and more resources for learning sign language here. I plan to do it with the kids a couple times a week.
A lot of exciting changes are coming up for us as we transition from preschool to kindergarten! I am sure it will be an ever-changing plan, but I wanted to share with you where we are in our journey in hopes that you would follow along. Stay tuned to see how all of this looks in real life and for overviews of the activities we’re doing for each new book that we are exploring!