Homeschooling Part 1: Books

I enjoy talking about homeschooling with people. I also enjoy websites dedicated to the details of homeschooling: the schedules, curriculums, resources, and experience of other families with  similar mindsets. This may seem odd as I think the stereotype is that this is mainly the duty of the mother, however, there is a good case to made that the fathers need to step it up.                                                

In this post I want to attempt to provide a quick list of books we use that may help someone who is just beginning or thinking about homeschooling, as well as those with children in or around Kindergarten. This will be by no means exhaustive as there are many great curriculums out there.

First, as far as where to begin, the most helpful resource for us was The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. If you are thinking about homeschooling or just beginning, this resource is golden. This took us from having no idea where to start to confident beginnings.

 My oldest daughter took an interest to reading early on, so we started The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. The lessons are short and incorporate a phonetic approach, not a whole language approach (which I would not recommend). This book takes a child who may only know the alphabet and progresses from simple phonetics to a thorough ability to read. Incorporate this with some Bob Books and your child should begin to read (words such as Sam, hat, cat, etc.) fairy quickly and feel confident in their progression shortly after starting the book.

 She also took an interest during the preschool years in writing the letters of the alphabet on her own. Seeing the bad habits she was picking up (and I mean that with the best intent) we decided to go ahead and teach her writing. We started with Zaner-Bloser handwriting books which we have continued since and recommend. We also, mainly for fun, started the Spelling Workout workbooks which are fairly easy (especially book A), yet creatively entertaining.

For math we chose Saxon and, as they recommend, started Saxon K in preschool and continued to Saxon 1 in Kindergarten. There is a textbook, meeting book,  workbook (except Saxon K), and you will  need to purchase the manipulative kit which may be a little pricey but you will use for the next few years.

We also chose the First Favorites Comprehension Guide, which takes thirteen of the great books of this age level (Curious George, Corduroy, Doctor DeSoto, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, etc.) and provides fill in the blanks, games,  multiple choice, activities, etc. to help children comprehend what they read or what is read to them.  This a great workbook provided that the child is writing and reading already. However, because of the writing we didn’t use all of it and finished the writing parts orally. We also go to the library every few weeks and had read most of these books so my daughter knew the answers already. My advice: This is a good book to look at online, see the table of contents, get them at your library, and read them to your children. I wouldn’t recommend actually buying it unless your child is writing already and hasn’t read the books listed in it.

Finally, we started a fun history workbook called Bede’s History of ME. It is intended for Kindergarten and basically teaches what history is and includes stories about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, the U.S., and fun histories such as the history of dresses, shoes, toys, weapons, etc. We are using it this year and so far a great book.

Homeschooling Part 2: Resources

Homeschooling Part 3: Schedules


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