While I was at the hairdressers today, I met a lovely homeschool mom from across town and the two of us, foil-wrapped heads and all, quickly plunged into gleeful note-comparing about our children and curriculum choices. After her hair had been fluffed and dried and she headed back to her personal trenches, I said to my hairstylist rather sheepishly, “Sorry–can you tell we don’t get out much?” She just laughed and said she didn’t either, so she didn’t mind! Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about curriculum and choices lately (it’s that season, girls, isn’t it?) and on the recommendation of Kim Brenneman in her fabulous book, Large Family Logistics, I’ve determined to sit down and make lists over the next few weeks of our own family’s planned scope and sequence for each grade level. Of course, you get to come along. So if you’re thinking about homeschooling and don’t know where to start with your precious little ones, or if you’ve been homeschooling but don’t like what you’re using, or if you’re just a person who loves to read what other people have to say, here’s a short glimpse into school at the Krasawski’s!
In the fall of 1997, my first son had turned 5 and I was raring to start homeschooling. My father-in-law taught at a little Christian school up north at the time, and they used Alpha Omega curriculum. So I purchased their Kindergarten package–reading and math–and off we went. We had a great year! It was simple to use, open and go, with a few manipulatives for him to use. Life was good.
By the time it was Zach’s turn a couple of years later, I’d done some more studying about teaching reading and decided to give Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons a try. A simple, scripted, black and white workbook designed to be done on the couch by parent and child in a little under 15 minutes a day, it was a perfect fit! He, too, learned to read quite simply and we enjoyed the process. I think I continued using Horizon’s math that year, too. And this has been the Krasawski Kindergarten Curriculum (I know that could have read “Kurriculum” and it might have looked cute, but have to admit I harbor ill will toward people who misspell words for cuteness’ sake, LOL!) ever since. While I’ve needed to take extra time once or twice with my littles who were not quite as eager to jump into reading, this is an incredibly easy to use and understand program that *works.* And that, after all, is the point, is it not? “100 Easy Lessons” means just that, so if you have to do a lesson more than once, or if you’re not a Monday-Friday homeschooler, you can still finish it by the end of your school year! Horizon’s math program for kindergarten is still my favorite, even ten years later, too. It’s colorful, straightforward and most of the kids have enjoyed doing it. Not much more you can ask. A Reason for Writing K is what I use for handwriting practice.
goals–to learn that learning is enjoyable! Learn to read using basic phonics, to count and add and subtract and write numbers well, and start handwriting work.
Tools: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Horizon’s Math K
Reason for Writing K
That’s it! Of course, now with Classical Conversations we’ve added in all that memory work and love it, plus during their brief school day on Tuesdays we’re getting fine arts, science and public speaking time. Usually five year olds are big fans of listening in on whatever I’m doing with the older ones, too–history, science, whatever–and especially enjoy coloring maps, building volcanoes, and doing “cave-paintings” on the fence right along with their buddies.
Of course the most important book in our homeschool will always be the Bible, and children are encouraged to sit quietly while Mom reads to everyone from it most mornings after breakfast, as well as to take part in memorizing whichever chapter the family is working through. The youngest ones are often the quickest to accomplish any memorizing tasks–watch them surprise you! Also, if you begin training the children in habits of neatness and organization at this age, it will be much easier for you than it is for me, as I regret to say I’ve been negligent in this area and reap the results of that more often than I care to admit. Ah well. Perhaps one of the next two will pick up . . . about picking up when *they’re* in Kindergarten!