You know that moment where you declare something, and then life has a funny way of proving you wrong? I can remember, like it was yesterday, having a conversation with a fellow co-worker about people who homeschool their kids. I remember declaring at that moment that I would NEVER be one of those parents. My hypothetical child (because let’s be honest, I was not a parent when I made this ridiculous declaration) would only be attending public school.
Fast forward six or seven years and here I am a mom to a five-year-old little boy, and I am proud to declare that I am in fact exactly what I said I wouldn’t be, a homeschooling mom (see life is funny right?). As much as I would love to share with all of you the reason why we chose to homeschool Logan, I’m going to save that post for another day. Instead, I would like to share with you what resources and curriculum we are currently using. And, if you stick with me, at the end of the post, there will be a free printable for you!
A Few Tips
So, before I dive into what we are using to homeschool Logan, a few things to keep in mind. First, I am NOT an expert at teaching my child. In fact, I find myself googling and searching Pinterest for guidance and ideas on a regular basis. I am also hitting up my homeschooling mom friends who are further along the journey than I am.
Second, the curriculum and resources that I am recommending are geared towards pre-K and Kindergarten because that is all we have done up to this point. I plan to do a blog post each year with updated curriculum and resources for what we are using as Logan gets older. So, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and bookmark our website so you can find out what we are using next year if this is something that interests you. 😊
Now, third, I am not in anyway trying to push homeschooling on to anyone! I believe that you must do what is best for your child. Each and every family and child are unique, and I understand that homeschooling may not be for you. This is just what works for us, and we feel like it is best for Logan and our family. So, no judgment here. These could also be excellent resources for you to help supplement your child’s education.
Our School Room
Let’s start with a quick tour of our school room. It is not fancy in any way. It’s just a simple area that meets all our needs. I do the bulk of our school day (which is generally an hour or two) at the kitchen table. Yep, you read that right, I use our kitchen table, not a desk or a special room designated as the “school room.”
On the wall by the table, I have a magnetic chalkboard that I purchased from Amazon this past summer. I know what you are thinking, chalkboards are messy, and it sort of is, but, it’s a great way to work on handwriting. Kids need resistance when learning to write and a dry erase boards doesn’t provide that, and it is sometimes hard to get little ones excited about using a pencil. Hence why I bought the chalkboard. I did find some dustless chalk (which isn’t completely dustless, but I imagine it’s better than the regular stuff) and it came with a handy eraser.
Then, at Aldi I found these square dry erase boards. I use them to write down what is being taught for the week in each subject. Unfortunately, they are no longer available, but I did find a similar one here. I love these just because it’s convenient to have all the information for the week in one easy place to look at. Plus, if Shadrach wants to know what we are working on, he can glance at the board and see it.
The last thing I purchased that I use in our school room are these magnetic clips. I use them to hold up our timeline (or history) cards. I needed a way to display the cards each week, and these clips work perfectly with our magnetic chalkboard for that purpose.
Before we officially started homeschooling, Logan begged me to teach him how to read. He had just turned 4, and I’ll be honest, I was completely overwhelmed at the thought. I didn’t have a clue where to even begin. I did some research and started with the book How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (whew that’s a mouthful).
This is a great book, but I will say, it’s not for every kid. Logan hated it! In fact, it sort of turned him off to reading for a while. The lessons are kind of long, and he just wasn’t ready to sit and learn when we tried it. If your child is five or six and is ready to start learning to read, this book might be a good place to start.
The book I ended up using is Alpha Phonics, which came recommended from a fellow homeschooling mom. The lessons are short, and even though Logan does fight me some days, he is learning to read from it. I love it because it’s teaching the phonetic sounds and not sight words. So, basically, everywhere we go, Logan is trying to sound out all of the words he sees, which this bookworm mama is absolutely loving!
There are about 150 lessons, and we are only on lesson 55. At this point, he can already sound out lots of words. He has even read small, easy reader books to me. So, Alpha Phonics is my number one recommendation if you are wanting to teach your child to read!
Teachers Pay Teachers
Last year was our first official year homeschooling. Since Logan was only 4, I wasn’t quite ready to just jump into a whole big expensive math program. I just wanted something that was simple, fun and cheap. That is when I stumbled upon the website Teachers Pay Teachers. Which is basically the Etsy for teachers.
This is an amazing and overwhelming website! It’s a place where teachers can make resources for other teachers and parents. They are mostly things that you can purchase and download. Then you print and prepare them however the instructions direct you. I love this site first off, because I’m helping to support school teachers. It is a way for some of them to supplement their income.
Second, I love it because I stumbled on some great shops (think Etsy, where each teacher has their own little shop) that gave me exactly what I was looking for when it came to a simple math program for Logan.
Here is my warning though, it’s great, but I did spend A LOT of time prepping and putting it all together. There were lots of printing, laminating, and cutting. However, Logan learned so much from it. Here are the shops that I have marked as my favorites and what I used from them:
Fun Hands-On Learning – The Early Learners Math Curriculum is what I used. I will say, I know I said above that I was looking for an affordable curriculum last year and this is currently $92. When I purchased it last year, she had just started creating it and I only paid $32. It has gone up in price since she has continued to add to it.
Now that brings me to the Math curriculum that I chose for this school year. I will say that there are SO MANY options out there for homeschooling curriculum. I find myself very overwhelmed with it. So, a lot of the time, I will get a few recommendations from some of my homeschooling mom friends and research their suggestions to see which one is the best fit for us.
This year, I decided that the activities I printed from Teachers Pay Teachers last year just wasn’t enough and I wanted something with a little more depth to it. I ended up choosing Math Lessons for a Living Education (Level 1). This is a Charlotte Mason based program (and if you don’t know who or what that is, feel free to check her out here) that shows how math is in the world all around us instead of just being numbers.
The website has a little evaluation test you can do to see which book you should start with your child. I skipped doing this part for Logan because I felt like even though some of what I taught him last year would be in the level 1 book, I figured going over it all again wouldn’t hurt him. So far, he and I have both loved this program! It’s simple, and there is a good balance of worksheets and activities. It’s usually the first thing he asks to do each day.
Side note, this is a workbook. I don’t believe that you can make copies, I think you have to buy a book for each child. The pages are perforated so you can tear them out, and they come with holes on the side so they can be placed in a binder if you wish. We are just working straight out of the book, and it seems to be fine for us. Ultimately you can do whatever works best for you. Just keep in mind that it’s not the type of book that you can use for more than one child or sell when you are done.
Right now, the bulk of Logan’s education comes from a program called Classical Conversations. I’m afraid I could go on and on about this program, but I will spare you and just share with you the subjects that we are learning, and you can read more in depth about the program here!
So, Classical Conversations provides History (in the form of a history sentence each week and a timeline that is memorized each year), Geography, Science, Math (basically learning to skip count and some basic math rules), Latin, and English grammar. This is all information that I teach and reinforce with Logan each week at home. Basically, we are just working on memorizing the facts, I don’t do much in teaching the why behind everything right now, but will as he gets older.
Then, on Tuesday’s we have what is called a Community Day. We do pay tuition for this because it is kind of like having semi-normal school for half a day. The difference is that I go with him and then I continue teaching and reinforcing what is taught by a tutor that day, throughout the rest of the week. On Tuesday’s they also introduce art and music, which I love!
If you have never heard of Classical Conversations, I encourage you to head over and check it out! We LOVE this program, and Logan has learned a ton from it so far. And, in all honesty, I’ve learned so much from it as well! The best part to me is that there is a built-in community of families that we get to interact with regularly and that I have as support and encouragement during our homeschooling journey.
Okay, that is all I’m going to say about this, I promise! I feel like I could write an entire post just about this program, but I won’t. If you have any questions about it all, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me!
The last thought I want to leave you with is that I really do try to have fun with Logan. I believe it’s important to make learning fun and this may look different from day to day. Sometimes it’s doing a fun activity, like playing an educational game. Other days it might be doing a fun worksheet together. Ultimately it can be anything that gets your child excited about learning!
One place you can look for some resources is education.com. They are a whole website dedicated to helping you educate your child, and they give you lots of fun and creative ways to do it. So, head over and check them out! Then come back and download your fun, free worksheet below!
Top Homeschooling Resources and Curriculum?
Okay, so that is the cliff notes version of what we use to homeschool! If you are just beginning your homeschooling journey, I hope these resources and our curriculum choices will help guide you on where to start. Keep in mind, these may not be the absolute top resources and curriculum out there. You do have to do a bit of research and digging to find what will work best for your child.
As I’ve said, I’m not an expert at homeschooling but I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have! So, please drop a comment below, or send me an email. If you are a veteran homeschooling mom, what are some of your favorite homeschooling resources and curriculum?