Saturday, August 13, 2011

Curriculum 2011/12

Smiley ~ Preschool/Pre-K:

Smiley has shown increasing interest in academic activities over the past year and particularly enjoys science and reading. I wanted to give our days a little bit more structure and have therefore decided to order curricula... When we start our school year in September, Smiley will only be 3.5 years old, so at a preschool age. His interests are more at a Pre-K level though, so I will call next year a Preschool/Pre-K hybrid, which we will likely continue until he turns 5 in January, 2013 and we can "officially" start Kindergarten.

Here are our choices for the next school year:

History, Science, World Cultures, Bible, Language Arts:

SONLIGHT P4/5: The spine of our curriculum next year will be Sonlight. I have heard such wonderful things about this curriculum and cannot wait to get started. Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, which seems to be the perfect fit for Smiley, who LOVES to be read to.

FIAR: I also bought Volume 1 of Five In A Row, another literature-based curriculum, using picture books. We will likely add in FIAR units every once in a while, to supplement our curriculum, particularly if we decide to stretch this year over 18 months.

We will be supplementing with our own science units and monthly themes, largely based on Smiley's interests, the season, and holidays. We will also try to go on regular field trips to make our learning as meaningful as possible.

We will use different resources for reading that are either free or that I have purchased in the past. I prefer a phonics approach to reading and our curriculum is therefore largely phonics based, with the addition of sight words (helper words).

Hooked On Phonics (HOP): I purchased HOP K-2nd Grade for an excellent price (about $20) a while back. Smiley started Level K a couple of months ago and has done wonderfully with it. It is by far his favorite reading program. He much prefers it over the BOB books.

Bob Books: We have the first set, but as I mentioned, Smiley is not a big fan of them.

ABC Reading Eggs: This is a fun online reading program that Smiley really enjoys. It is a great supplement to HOP, as it slowly introduces word families (phonics) and supplements with sight words as well.

You Can Read: A great FREE reading program by Carisa. We use this program for our sight words and for all the fun learning activities Carisa shares so frequently. We LOVE her blog!

Ready2Read: We love this free reading program from The Moffatt Girls. It combines phonics and sight words.

Handwriting Without Tears: We will be using HWT~ Get Set For School (Pre-K) as our writing curriculum.

In addition to HWT we will do many fine motor activities, including sensory bins, cutting, gluing, play dough, beads, etc.

Singapore Math: We will be using Singapore Math: Early Bird Math as our math curriculum this year. We will heavily supplement this with lots of hands-on activities. One resource we will use is Jolanthe's Preschool Packs, which we will try to coordinate with our monthly themes.

We will do lots of arts and crafts coordinating with our monthly theme or our Sonlight/FIAR curricula.

Smiley is very active and needs lots of time to run around :) We don't have a garden and going to the playground/park is therefore of utmost importance!! We like to go to the park every morning for at least 1-1.5 hours and most days, again in the afternoon. This is also a great time for him to meet his friends, such as during our weekly homeschool playgroup.

More formally, Smiley will start swimming classes and may switch to gymnastics or a ball sport as the weather gets cooler...

Lovebug ~ Tot School

Our little lovebug will turn 2 in September. My main goal for her is to have fun and learn to love learning :)
Her learning activities will be very play-based and child-driven. I am sure she will take part in many of the activities her big brother is doing as well. We will get most of our ideas from Carisa's wonderful Tot School ideas.

Linked to: Tot School, Preschool Corner, Blog Hop


  1. Sounds like a great year. You will love SL. (I did get the credit, BTW. Thanks so much.)

    We're going to be adding in some Before Five in a Row this year. Such fun! It worked out that many of the reads are in the SL p3/4 that we're also using.

  2. Welcome to the Five in a Row blogroll! We started 'rowing' our year and love it :)

    Many blessings on your homeschool journey,

  3. It's fun for me to see another young one working around the kindergarten level. My little girl is 3.5 and we are using many of the same resources you are. Where did you get your Handwriting WT from? I've been trying to figure out what to buy and am unsure of what I need!

  4. Hi, sounds like a great year. I so wanted to go with SL, but we just couldn't afford it this year. So we are going with Vol 1 of FIAR. We are going to take 2 weeks to row a book (sort of like I took 2 weeks to do a letter of the "week.") My daughters are 4.5, 3 and 1.

  5. Hi Allie, yay, I am so excited that you have similar plans for your girl. We will follow your ideas throughout the year :) Here is what I bought from HWT: Pre-K Activity Book (, Teacher's Guide (, Wood Pieces ( and Mat ( I am sure you could only use the activity book and teacher's guide as well! Handwriting is the area that is most difficult for Smiley, so I decided to get more resources for him and really work on the basics... We will do a lot of fun fine motor activities as well (play dough, beading etc.) to work on fine motor dexterity and strength. Depending on how it goes, we may take a while to work through these books :)

    Kewkew- Oh, I am so excited that you've chosen to do Vol 1 of FIAR as well. I can't wait to see all the activities you will do :) I also plan to stretch it out over a couple of weeks, especially if we do it in addition to Sonlight. I know, it definitely is on the pricey side! You could always check if your library carries the books of P3/4 or P4/5 and if they have most of them, you could just purchase the IG. I think the one for P3/4 is around $20... I was thinking of doing that for level P3/4 in the future!!

    Stefanie- Oh good, I am glad you got it :) And yay on officially starting the new school year!

    Tamara- Thans so much! I can't wait to see what everyone is doing :)

  6. I think I'm going to have to talk hubby into purchasing the HWT. Our daughter can write but her hands are still weak because she is young so I'm hoping that by using that program I can help her to strengthen and learn to write the correct way. Thanks for sharing those links!