Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kindergarten Language Arts

Grade K Readers w/ Language Arts K<span class="title-options"> Sub-Package</span> KRP
Sonlight's LA K
To be upfront, my son is advanced in certain subjects for his age. Two things are language skills and reading. His handwriting is also good, for his age. So choosing a language arts program for kindergarten has been challenging. My original plan was to start him with Sonlight's Language Arts 1st grade. Reading wise, this is a great option. However, once I bought it, I realized that there is a lot of copywork. 

I have been reading Dr. Ruth Beechick's book, The Three R's. I highly recommend it! She explains the importance of not only learning to read well but to write well. To write well, one must practice copywork. I have a BA in English and in one of my upper levels literature college classes, one of my professors recommended copywork. He told our class that to be a great writer, one must practice writing. To do this, he recommended writing word for word paragraphs and pages from other great writers. This will help sentence structure, grammar, and creativity. At the time I thought it was interesting because I had never heard of it. As I've been researching the best methods for me to teach my children, his words made so much sense!

So back to language arts. I love Sonlight's philosophy in teaching. They recommend teaching through literature and living books rather than textbooks. Children learn the material enough to remember and share it, not just to fill in the blanks on a test and forget about it. I'm not using the complete package from Sonlight, although I have the Core A instructors guide, Language Arts K, Science K, and Language Arts 1st grade and many of the books. I'm not using the whole package because my son loves hands-on activities. And while he loves good books, during the day he does not want to sit still and just listen to me read, even though we do plenty of reading during the day and there are some hands-on activities.

Last year we started off using Sonlight P4/5 for pre-K along with My Father's World Kindergarten and he after a few weeks into it, he quickly preferred My Father's World over Sonlight. We continued reading Sonlight books but mostly at night and we didn't go by their schedule. I still think Sonlight is a great company and many of his favorite books are from their reading list which is why we are continuing to use them. After looking through Sonlight LA 1, I have decided that it's too much copywork for a typical kindergarten, which is why it's part of 1st grade. So I'm going to do a mix. My original plan was that I would just have him write his memory verse everyday. I think I'll mix it up depending on how long the verse is. I will also use part of Sonlight's LA K, we'll practice handwriting, and use their recommendations for Language and Thinking for Young Children. We're also going to go ahead with Explode the Code 1 and 2. These books are recommended in LA 1 but he's ready for them. We'll also continue reading level 1 readers and practicing handwriting. I love how Sonlight's LA K teaches children how to use a dictionary and is a great introduction to grammar. There are lots of games to play. He'll learn to write a letter as well as invitations. It's more than just going over the alphabet again. I think I'm also going to go ahead and continue with more phonograms and we can play games with those. I'll use some of the methods that Dr. Beechick suggests in her book. By the end of the year, I think he will have a great foundation in language arts and be ready for more copywork. The most important thing I want for this year is for him to have fun and continue to enjoy learning. He will be learning his whole life. As much as I want to push ahead, I'm going to take a step back in some ways. In other ways, we'll be continuing to move ahead. For handwriting we'll still be using A Reason for Handwriting K as well as doing handwriting practice from Sonlight LA K. In a few weeks after we start, I'll let you know what we're doing and not doing. Here's a picture of most of our History, Bible, and Language Arts. I did not gather all the books together for a picture. It's hard to find time to blog with a baby and busy 5 year old. :)

My big blue Sonlight Core A binder along with some other fun things for Bible, History, LA, and Geography

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 28: My Father's World K - Unit 24: Vegetables

We just finished our 28th week of preschool, which was Unit 24: Vegetables of My Father's World Kindergarten. We have two more units left and then we'll be ready to officially start our kindergarten year! I'll be doing a review of My Father's World Kindergarten once we are finished with all of the units.

Memory Verse: The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.  Psalm 145:13b, 15-16 NIV

Main Idea: God gives me all that I need.

This was a fun unit. Our family loves vegetables and it was fun to try new things and talk about how God makes things grow. We have a little garden and Blue Rock has enjoyed picking tomatoes all summer long. We also have lots of different herbs, squash, watermelon, and a few other vegetables growing as well as a peach tree.

This week My Father's World recommends teaching subtraction. We've been practicing subtraction with Blue Rock for a while since he loves numbers. I think one of the best ways to teach subtraction and addition is with food or other tangible objects. It makes it easy for your child to see what you're talking about.

Blue Rock went to gymnastics camp at The Little Gym twice last week and while he was at camp one day, Princess and I went to the grocery store and picked out a few vegetables we had never tried before. We got jicama and chayote squash. That afternoon I showed Blue Rock the new vegetables I bought along with the other ones. I cut some up and let him paint a picture using different vegetables as his paint brush. He LOVED this activity! He hasn't been able to paint for a while and he loves painting so this was an extra special treat. Gracie enjoyed watching him creative his master piece. For dinner I threw all the vegetables in a pan with some olive oil, fresh garlic, and a little salt and pepper. I also heated up some thin steak I bought to add with it and bought some fresh garlic bread. It was a tasty dinner.

We went to the children's museum twice this week with two different groups of friends. The second time we went we saw the IMAX film about Lemurs, which was Princess's first time to see an IMAX, movie, show, etc. She didn't pay attention that much to the screen and they are only 45 minutes and it's educational and the show moves slowly. 

We are hoping to plant some pumpkins soon to be ready in October.  Some stories we read about gardens include the story about the Seed from Richard Scarry's What do People do All Day? book, we read this story weekly, sometimes nightly. We read The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter a few weeks ago.

Here are some pictures from this past week.

Balloon vegetables: A cucumber, tomato, squash, and Lowly the worm.


Cooking potato chips. Slice really thin, cover with olive oil and salt/pepper, bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Painting with vegetables.

He painted with kale, a carrot, tomato, squash, pepper, chayote squash, asparagus, and jicama.

Baby with a kale paint brush!

This is how I prepared his vegetable paint brushes.

I'm ready to create something!

I think it looks really cool!

Dinner with our new vegetables and old favorites.

with the steak

IMAX picture

Dino dig with friends

Wall to make ping pong balls run

I finally bought him some Sands Alive! Cool stuff!

Another yummy dinner uses tomatoes from our garden as well as herbs.
Painting to classical music. He drew a boat, rain, and the ocean.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kindergarten Weekly Schedule

When I attended a Montessori school in early elementary school, we made our own weekly/daily schedules. Thinking back, I realize how wonderful that was in fostering independence. One of my goals is teaching Blue Rock to manage his time well and learn how to complete his weekly schedule. One great benefit of him learning to do this is as he gets older, if he wants to finish all of his work in a few days, he can. When I went to a Christian school in my later years, I would often work ahead in math. I really liked math but it was time consuming. I knew in middle and high school that the teacher would often assign every other problem but we didn't know if it was going to be odd or even problems. Like a nerd, I would work ahead and do all of the problems and be done with it before it was assigned. Often I worked ahead during certain sports seasons when I knew I'd be busy with late night games. This created extra work but when you enjoy something, it doesn't seem like work. Also it freed me up to do things I wanted to do during certain busy seasons. 

This is our tentative schedule. It looks prettier on Excel. Once we start, I'll make adjustments as necessary. Some subjects we'll do every day. Some just a few times a week. Once we complete something, we'll put an "x" in the box. Once we get to the green area, we are done for the week! This gives us some flexibility as well. For example, if we know we have a field trip one day, we can do a little extra work on the other days and be done a day early. I have another spreadsheet with our daily breakdown to keep things spaced out. Our day will be lighter on the day my son goes to his extra classes and we'll only do Bible in the morning, language arts, and music in the afternoon. If he wants to do math we can do math those days too. I only put three days a week for math since he likes to work through several pages at a time. If we get to some things that need more time, we will slow down and do a little math each day. Otherwise, I'm planning on doing math 3 days a week since he is already pretty advanced for his age. I'd also like to keep Fridays lighter for field trips and hanging out with friends. Honestly, homeschool students are always learning. That's another wonderful thing about homeschooling.

If you want more details about what we're doing for kindergarten, click here.

Weekly Kindergarten Schedule

Lessons per week

Weekly Memory Verse
Luke 6:31 NIV
1 per week

Books of the Bible
Old testament

Devotions Book

1 per week

5 in a Row Character Study

1 per month

Language Arts

Explode the Code 1-2

1 page daily

Language & Thinking book


Early Readers

3 books per week

Sonlight LAK and Handwriting

4 pages per week

Word practice & early readers

3 times per week


Singapore Math A & B
32 Units
1 unit per week

Life of Fred

1 chapter per week


History for Little Pilgrims - Fall
15 units
1 unit per week

Beginning Geography - Spring
93 activity pages
1 page per day


Sonlight Science K

4 days per week



1 page per week

What Shall I draw?

1 page per week


listen to music daily

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