Curriculum Recommendations

Preschool

The preschool years can be so much fun! As a homeschool mom, I know you’re itching to start more academic lessons with your preschooler. I was the exact same way.

As an education specialist, I know that the best way for a preschooler to learn is through play. But who said you couldn’t combine both?

The preschool years are all about exposure to academics (letters and numbers). It’s not about mastery. That’s why I don’t recommend formal lessons in the preschool years. Instead, we play as we learn about the world around us.

The Play Room is a monthly themed calendar delivered to your inbox with one simple, engaging activity per day. Each week your child will explore letters, numbers, art, science, and literature through activities that match a central theme such as farming, bugs, or ocean life.

Reading

The best reading curriculum is all-encompassing, but it mainly focuses on phonics in the early years and progressively switches to language comprehension. Since learning to read can be very systematic, lessons should be hands-on, multi-sensory, and fun.

I highly recommend Logic of English as your reading curriculum. However, some children may not be ready to start this curriculum until 1st or 2nd grade. This is normal. If your child is not ready to begin Logic of English, just keep reading out loud to your child. For more information on how a child learns to read and the age ranges for specific skills, see our Educational Standards Guide.

Logic of English is hands-on and fun. It incorporates games and movement into every lesson. Logic of English is also multi-sensory which means every lesson uses sight, sound, touch, and movement to help your child grasp each concept.

Logic of English starts with phonics and handwriting instruction. Your child should be familiar with letters but does not need to know the names or sounds before starting the curriculum. However, they do need to understand that letters and written words represent spoken language.

This curriculum teaches all the phonograms and rules in a systematic way while teaching your child how to blend sounds and read all at the same time. One of my favorite things about Logic of English is that it teaches reading through spelling, so you knock out two skills in one lesson. The curriculum also includes vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, and basic writing instruction. However, it is not a full writing curriculum, so please see below for my writing curriculum recommendation.

Writing

A good writing curriculum combines spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and original thought. It also:

  • Teaches the steps of the writing process
  • Teaches a variety of writing types and genres
  • Has fun, engaging, multi-sensory lessons
  • Is flexible and allows you to follow your child’s lead
  • Gives your child a choice on the topics they write about
  • Introduces skills in a way that builds on top of each other
  • Encourages dictation in the early years
  • Models writing and uses picture books as mentor texts

Logic of English provides the spelling, vocabulary, and grammar, but is lacking in original thought and composition past sentences. That is why I recommend adding WriteShop into your language arts instruction once your child reaches Level B in Logic of English: Foundations.

WriteShop is one of the best writing curriculums I have come across. It includes everything on my list above while making it fun for the kids. The lessons slowly build on top of each other to help your child gain confidence in writing. In the early years, WriteShop encourages you to dictate your child’s ideas so they can really focus on their thoughts rather than on the mechanics of writing.

When I added in WriteShop to Logic of English, I felt like we had a complete Langauge Arts program. Logic of English focuses more on the mechanics of writing whereas WriteShop focuses on developing original thought. It’s the perfect combination.

Math

As you begin your search for a math curriculum, you’ll run across several terms that are only used to describe math curriculum.

Mastery- Focuses on one topic at a time

Spiral- Teaches skills in small chunks and rotates more frequently through the topics

Conceptual- Focus on the why

Procedural- Focus on the how

A good math curriculum has a healthy mix of all of these methods, but most importantly the skills naturally build on top of each other. A good math curriculum should also have a strong focus on number sense and mental math. Mental math helps them think deeply about the operations and how the numbers relate to each other. Games such a Monopoly give kids a good reason to practice mental math.

Our favorite math curriculum is Math With Confidence. This is a brand new curriculum. Right now, only Kindergarten is available. Spring 2021 First Grade will be released and the following grades will be released one at a time in yearly increments.

This curriculum has a healthy mix of the 4 methods described above. They incorporate spiral review in their warm-ups which helps children build fluency over time. The main lessons are taught in a mastery format where your child will focus on one concept until developmentally appropriate mastery before moving onto the next concept.

All lessons teach the why (conceptual) and how (procedural) of each concept which helps them build a deep, connected understanding of each topic. But most importantly, Math With Confidence is parent-friendly, hands-on, and fun. The curriculum provides lots of games and real-life connections.

Science/ Social Studies

Science is such a vast subject that covers many topics and subtopics. With science, there really isn’t a specific order in which to teach the topics.

Some topics may lend themselves more to the earlier years such as animal science whereas others lean more towards the later years such as the Periodic Table.

There are two purposes for teaching science. The first is to learn the facts and understand how the world works. The second purpose is the most important…

To teach children how to think, question, learn, solve problems, and make informed decisions.

Social studies is straightforward with only two components: History and Geography.

Learning history helps us understand change, patterns, empathy, present-day issues, and our roots.

Learning geography helps us understand different cultures, global issues, and empathy towards others.

There are two amazing curriculums that I like to combine for social studies and science. Build Your Library and Torchlight work perfectly together when teaching science and social studies.

For social studies, I follow along with Build Your Library and add in the books/lessons from Torchlight that I think my children will enjoy.

For science, it depends on the year. Some years I use both BYL and TL. Other years, I use one or the other. For science, choose the topic from TL or BYL that most interests your child.