Preschool & Grade K/Prep
So you are going to begin homeschooling your little one next year and you need some help and encouragement? This is the first in a series of articles that we hope will assist parents in their curriculum choices by providing a bit of structure and extra product information.
Planning that very first year can be exciting but also very daunting as you feel the weight of responsibility and wondering how you will manage, especially if you have toddlers and babies around. There are a few options and you will need to work out what is best for your child and you, as you consider how your potential schedule will fit in with your family dynamics.
We have enjoyed putting together a few suggestions for you below which we hope will help with your planning process. These suggestions come from our own experience and familiarity with our products, and also from customer orders of other experienced homeschoolers. We thought it would be good to have some combinations already worked out so you get on track a bit before you begin wading through all the possibilities.
One important thing to remember for the beginning student at age 4-6 is that you do not have to spend hours 'doing school'. Start with half an hour a day and build up to 1-2 hours of 1/2 hour blocks spread out over morning and afternoon (if you like - do what works best). This time can include not only formal bookwork, but art and craft and other hands-on activities, as well as time spent reading aloud to your children.
We have options for Preschool and Grade One together in this article simply because most homeschooled children can do all of this in 12-18 months as opposed to 2 years if taught in a school.
Preschool Ages 3-5
Preparing to Read
Focus on learning the alphabet, recoginzing and writing letters, with introductory lessons in picture study, narration, and poetry. More information on how to implement narration can be found in our article The Art of Narration.
We recommend Singapore maths Earlybird Preschool Math 1A and 1B for this level.
Earlybird Preschool Math 1A covers beginning concepts such as matching, comparing, relationships and sorting, etc. There is no writing required in this volume as the child learns to recognise and read numbers, count orally and draw pictures for the activities. There are 18 lessons each consisting of 3-4 pages.
Earlybird Preschool Math 1B teaches the reading and writing of numbers, counting to 10, the concept of zero, time sequence and more. Plenty of space is given to practice writing numerals as well as opportunity to write answers to problems. 18 lessons plus 2 revision lessons.
Both books include teacher notes when required at the foot of the pages and are full colour consumable workbooks. You would want to have a few manipulatives on hand such as counters, blocks, etc to enhance learning. At the rate of one lesson per day, it would take about one school term to complete both books.
Earlybird Preschool Maths 2A (out of print) & Earlybird Preschool Maths 2B
Reading aloud to your children is the single most important thing you can do to accelerate and develop their language and literacy skills. Children of this age especially love to hear you read aloud to them. Visit the library regularly, with a crate, for putting all your borrowings in! We have found that little ones will read and re-read the same book several times, so start building your own library now. We have a great selection of delightful story books to get you started. But don't limit your library to story books; include just as much non fiction books for a good foundation in the skill of wide reading and an entrance to the 'door to knowledge'.
If you are wanting to know a little more about the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling a great little book to start with is Meet Charlotte Mason. It gives a good summary of the whole philosophy and will help you on the way to practising the elements of a CM education such as narration, picture study, nature study, etc.
If you like what you read in this one and want to get your teeth into something more practical A Charlotte Mason Education: A Homeschool How-to Manual is one of the most definitive books on applying the CM method to your homeschooling. Practical information presented in a simple way to help you implement the CM method.
Prep/Grade K Ages 4-6
Once your child knows his letters you can begin teaching him the sounds (phonograms). The hurdle between sounding the letters and actual reading is learning to blend the sounds and form them into whole words. Phonics is the the most economical way of teaching a child to read and spell. It is much easier to memorise the 72 sounds than a myriad of words by sight. When a child knows his phonograms, he has the ability to read any word that is new to him because he knows how to build words. All the programs we provide are phonics based. At this level you can add more into your timetable, but not necessarily. Continue to keep your lesson times short, and enjoy your little ones by saving brain space for meaningful interaction with them.
Option 1 Ages 4-6
If your child has a handle on preschool maths concepts then he is ready to begin New Syllabus Primary Maths Grade 1 is aimed at children aged 6-8. It is used currently in Singapore schools. Concepts taught are: introduction to numbers, the concepts of addition and subtraction (moving up to 100), shapes and patterns, basic measurement, time, money and introductory multiplication and division. You will need parts 1A and 1B for one year’s work. New Syllabus Primary Maths teaches all metric. If you want to teach your child imperial measures then you would use Primary Maths U.S. Edition.
Learning Language Arts Through Literature - Blue Package is an all-round beginning English program. It teaches reading and spelling with phonics covering single through to multiple phonograms. Spelling is introduced using the word families approach, e.g. words ending in –at such as bat, pat, sat, etc. Readers are included as well as templates and instructions for activity cards, etc. Introductory grammar concepts are also taught. Everything you need to teach these subjects plus much more are included in this one package: workbook, teacher’s instruction book and readers. Story books are also used/read which are available separately.
Beginning handwriting is taught the Blue LLATL package.
By listening to you read aloud to them, your children will hear fluent reading which helps them progress more quickly. It is to their advantage that they want to hear the same story over and over again! You see our range of classic picture books here.