Are you trying to decide what homeschool curriculum to use? Today I’m sharing our first grade homeschool curriculum for classical homeschooling.
Hey there, friends. It is hard to believe that we are done with this school year. I don’t know about you, but our homeschool year went by in a blur. I always get lots of questions regarding the homeschool curriculum we are using. If you are new to homeschooling, you may want to take a look at my posts, How to Start Homeschooling and Homeschooling Methods Explained to see what kind of method you would like to use with your children. We definitely prefer classical education as that is how I was homeschooled.
If you are looking for our previous years you can find them in the posts. Our Preschool Homeschool Curriculum and Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum. Today I’ll be sharing our homeschool curriculum for first grade. I am still waiting on a few backordered things to arrive, so I will update this post with additional photos once they come in. Thanks for being patient with me.
For Kindergarten, my son used Horizon’s Math and he absolutely loves Math because of it. I personally cannot say enough good things about Horizons. I had considered using the Math You See, but it looked like a ton of prep work. Saxon Math, though it had a lot of rigor, seemed like extremely dry course work. Horizons is the perfect compromise. There is very little prep work for parents. Horizons uses a set of two student workbooks (teacher’s manual also available). The first-grade curriculum is very similar. It contains two workbooks and a teacher’s manual. The first-grade curriculum focuses on the following areas:
Units of Measurement (Dozen, Pound, Ounces, Pint, Quart, Gallon, etc.)
We saw amazing success with the Kindergarten curriculum. I was surprised that in the Kindergarten books, they were al rv,ygfgdggvxbd vuynobukmb jkoiiiio kbk bioready introducing algebraic concepts with addition. My son did so well with it, he started doing multiplication and square roots on his own! Math has become his favorite subject. I will absolutely advocate for you to buy some manipulative. Manipulatives were also a huge part of our success. Manipulatives help children visualize the math and turn it into a practical exercise. Using the blocks has really helped my son do mental math.
I highly recommend purchasing the teachers manual. The manual will help you plan out your lessons as well as provide hands-on, fun activities to teach the lesson. It will also provide additional explanations or exercises for the struggling learner. It also provides ways to make sure your child understands the concepts before moving on.
Where to Purchase
You can purchase Horizons Math through Amazon or Christian Book. It is currently cheaper on ChristianBook (links below)
Build a strong foundation for math learning with this balanced, well-organized first grade curriculum! Using a spiral-based approach, 160 brightly illustrated daily lessons follow a pattern of introduction, reinforcement, and repetition to ensure thorough understanding of counting, addition, subtraction, time, and other concepts. Includes two student workbooks; teacher’s guide with answer keys, tips, and activity ideas; lesson plans; and reproducible work sheets. From Alpha Omega Publications.
This year we are using Science in History series by Berean Builders. Every lesson has a hands-on activity which is great for tactile learners who learn best by doing. This series is compatible with classical, traditional, and Charlotte Mason methods. One very interesting aspect of the particular curriculum is that it is in chronological order from the early days of creation through discoveries and inventions, to our modern world.
Another unique aspect is that this curriculum isn’t designated into grade levels, rather mastery levels. For example, in the first series Science in the Beginning, the course work is separated by younger students, older students, and oldest students. This is wonderful if you are teaching multiple grade levels because you can teach all your children with the same curriculum. Younger students like kindergarten and first graders are given comprehension questions rather than written work. Also, once you buy the full curriculum, you can use it from Kindergarten to sixth grade.
I do want to clarify that this curriculum teaches Science from a Christian worldview. If you are non-religious and want secular Science, this curriculum is not for you as a Christian worldview is often discussed.
Because this curriculum is hands-on, there are experiments with nearly every lesson. Most of the experiments use everyday household items. However, since we plan on moving this year, I don’t want to have to worry about sourcing those things, so I purchased the lab kit which provides it all for you. The lab kit is only available on Christian Book and not on Amazon.
Where to Purchase
Berean Builders is available on both Amazon and Christian Book. Links for both below.
Science in the Beginning is an engaging, exciting, hands-on, multilevel elementary resource that is the first in a planned series of books by Dr. Jay Wile.
Introducing scientific concepts in the context of history, the days of creation are used as a structure through which a wide variety of scientific topics are introduced, including: light, energy conservation, air & water, botany, the solar system, zoology, and some aspects of human anatomy and physiology.
A total of 90 lessons are included; 15 for every creative day in the Genesis account. The first 12 are “normal” lessons and the last 3 are challenge lessons. Depending on how much science you wish to teach in your homeschool, there are enough lessons to cover every other day for the length of a school year, or, you can finish the book by only doing two lessons a week (and skipping the challenge lessons).
Students will love the hands-on activity that begins each lesson. Most are experiments (that have been field-tested for homeschoolers!), and include step by step directions to keep you on track. As this curriculum was designed for all elementary-aged students to use together, the main lesson text takes a conversational, easy-to-read tone that all students can comprehend; illustrations and photographs are integrated throughout. Review assignments close the lesson; questions are grouped for “youngest, older, and oldest” students. Students are instructed to keep a notebook, and the activities include both drawing and writing type notebook assignments. For evaluation, the notebook or oral questions can be used; tests are not included, but are in the Helps & Hints book (sold-separately).
Experiments use common household goods, though for some items that may not be on-hand, a list is provided at the beginning of the book. A full materials list for each creation-day chapter is also included for easy preparation.
299 pages with glossary and index. Hardcover. Elementary Grades K-6.
I had a very hard time choosing history. I liked Story of the World, but I heard a lot of reviews from Christian parents who didn’t care for a lot of the course work. It seems many parents were concerned about the emphasis on pagan religions. Children need knowledge of other religions, but typically this is introduced at a much later age once children are first grounded in the faith.
Ultimately, I ended up choosing Bede’s History of the US by Veritas Press. The is a very simple book that doesn’t go too in depth. I’m fine with that because I am going to be heavily focused on reading, phonics, spelling, and math. Each lesson is only two pages and the book is about 74 pages total. There are a few hands-on projects throughout the study and the book is in full color. Each lesson provides a very basic introduction of a social study concept.
The book opens with with the creation story as the very first history lesson. From there, it goes on to US relevant events. Some of the topics are The Civil War, Lewis and Clark, Pocahontas, Native Americans, The Wild West, history of inventions, Jazz, flight, immigration, the great awakening, the history of hymns as well as some art and music history.
Bede, the adorable ball of yarn with googly eyes, is a timeline. This cute character introduces young children to the basics events of American history in a fun, once-a-week lesson that emphasis what happened when. Chapters are written directly to children in a child-friendly font, with simple activities that involve drawing, lapbooking, and hands-on activities. Topics cover the breadth of American history including Pocahontas, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Jazz, Immigration, flight, Reagan, and more. 83 pages with cut-out activity pages in the back, softcover. Grade 1.
Reading has been quite the challenge for us. Jack started off really well in Kinder, but quickly lost steam during the second quarter of the year. We limped through the rest of the year. While my mother-in-law was here (she was an middle school English teacher for 20+ years), we talked to her about Jack. She stated that we should switch up the curriculum and try something different. So over the summer we added First Start Reading to our curriculum and we will continue that to help him with his reading.
A wonderful introduction to early language arts skills, First Start Reading covers consonants, short & long vowels, common words, and manuscript printing. Simple, effective, and reasonable, this enjoyable curriculum accompanies the lessons with artist-drawn coloring pictures and drawing pages for every letter. Your child will begin reading in the very first lesson as he or she progresses through five student books and two teacher’s guides.
The teacher’s manual will guide you through the program; reduced student pages are prominently placed at the top of the page; beneath, a scripted introduction and lesson are provided, incorporating letter names and sounds, ear training, letter formation with pencil checks, blendings, workbook exercises, reading comprehension questions, and other applicable exercises.
Workbook A features coloring pages with items with the same beginning letter as the accompanying handwriting page; students trace letters and can draw their own picture. Short stories are included in the back (with room to again draw a picture), and a word mastery list is provided.
Workbook B includes the letter pages, short stories, and word mastery list, as well as room to write in dictation exercises
Workbook C features handwriting practice that focuses more on words, longer stories, and a word mastery list.
Workbook D covers CVC common words, final consonant blends, and completing words.
Workbook D covers CVC common words, final consonant blends, and completing words.
Workbook E covers long vowel teams, soft c and g and the three sounds of y.
This Kit Includes:
Teacher Guide A-D, 327 pages, softcover, with blackline masters
Teacher Guide E, 80 pages, softcover.
Workbook A, 68 pages, softcover.
Workbook B, 76 pages, softcover.
Workbook C, 106 pages, softcover.
Workbook D, 72 pages, softcover.
Workbook E, 80 pages, softcover.
For Spelling we are using Traditional Spelling by Memoria Press. The student will have ten new spelling words once a week. Each day of the week, there is an exercise for your child to complete. The exercises include finding rhyming words, counting syllables, and focusing on short and long vowels. The will have four days of lessons. You can purchase additional practice sheets if needed or you can simply choose to have your child practice the words as homework. On Friday, you child will have a spelling exam. Both the teachers manual and the student workbook are coil-bound books.
The Traditional Spelling series from Memoria Press is a comprehensive, mastery-based phonetic approach to teaching spelling!
Each lesson of Traditional Spelling I has a four-page spread of written activities in the student book; at the beginning of each lesson students are given a word list that aligns with a phonics focus. The main focus of each lesson is on the phonograms being taught, but all aspects of each word are addressed. In each lesson, students identify consonants and consonant teams/blends with one colored pencil, and vowels and vowel teams with another. This aids in visualization of each word and its phonetic chunks, and makes students better decoders as they begin to see patterns in words. Students will also use different colored pencils to outline or mark different parts of the word. Word-Bank exercises, room to record dictation exercises, and a short story that utilizes that week’s spelling words are also included.
This course was designed to be the culmination of the Memoria Press Primary Reading & Phonics program. It is designed to follow completion of the Memoria Press Kindergarten Curriculum or First Start Reading Books A-D, which ensure students have mastered reading “consonant-vowel-consonant” words with short vowels. It can also be paired with StoryTime and More StoryTime Treasures in first grade, or with the literature study guides in second grade.
146 pages with glossary, softcover spiralbound. 34 Lessons. Grade 1.
This set of practice sheets is a supplemental resource designed to be used in conjunction with the Memoria Press “Traditional Spelling I” curriculum. It includes room for students to copy each word in the lesson twice. 37 pages, softcover. Consumable and non-reproducible.
This teacher’s guide is designed to be used with the Traditional Spelling I Student Book (sold-separately). It includes reduced-size student pages with overlaid answers and notes to the teacher in the margins. Lessons include an introduction and a day-by-day teaching overview with instructions on integrating the Memoria Press Phonics Flashcards and Classical Phonics (both sold-separately and both required to use this curriculum). Activities and instructions for guided student work are also provided. 179 pages, softcover and spiralbound.
Jack still struggles a little with handwriting, but compared to where he was a year ago he has made tremendous strides. Handwriting without Tears was the program that helped Jack break through his hatred of handwriting. He still a little reluctant, but he has come so far in such a short time. This year, we will continue with the program which includes three books
My Printing Book: Workbook were student will practice word drills
Writing Journal: Workbook for writing stories or paragraphs.
Building Writers: Workbook for child to start writing complete sentences
We also use the student chalk board for practicing.
This workbook is designed to be used alongside the My Printing Book Teacher’s Guide (not included and sold-separately), which contains the lessons and directions. Lessons emphasize the correct use of lowercase letters in words and sentences and teach writing on different styles of lines. In addition, activity pages combine handwriting instruction with other language arts skills.
This curriculum can be supplemented with the wood pieces set for capital letters, capital letter cards and mat for wood pieces, Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn CD, Magic C Bunny, slate chalkboard and blackboard with double lines, slate chalkboard, Flip Crayons, and Pencils for Little Hands.
This edition features more expanded room for writing, accelerated capital letter instruction, and more opportunities for practical application of handwriting skills.
94 pages, softcover. Page are reproducible for a single child only; copies cannot be made for other children other than the child the workbook was purchased for.
The Learning without Tears Building Writers composition workbook series offers extra practice for developing writing skills. Students become better, more fluent writers as they write about cross-curricular topics and practice narrative, information, and opinion-based writing styles. Simple black-and-white illustrations are paired with age-appropriate writing prompts that ask students to write facts about animals, to write a story, write an opinion essay, copy sentences, and more. 86 pages, softcover. Consumable workbook; pages are reproducible for one child only. Level B is for Grade 1.
Building Writers B covers the following skills:
Narrative: writing a story in order with details and an ending
Information: writing topic sentences, facts about their topic, and an ending
Opinion: writing an introduction that states their opinion, reasons that support their opinion, and a conclusion
This journal is designed to be used with the Handwriting without Tears Yellow Level B/Grade 1 “My Printing Book” resources. This journal is appropriate for first grade students and provides a place for strengthening handwriting and creative writing skills during independent writing time. It includes regular double lines plus space for drawing. 80 pages, paperback.
Handwriting without Tearsaims to make legible and fluent handwriting an automatic, mastered skill. Simple for home educators to use, lessons take only 15 minutes a day. The main objective for students is to achieve goals, not to finish a set number of pages.
The student workbook provides the examples, practices, and exercises for the 1st Grade Handwriting without Tears student. Perfect for students who are learning to print lowercase letters and could use some capital and number review, students who are writing words and simple sentences should be placed in this level curriculum. Lessons emphasize the correct use of lowercase letters in words and sentences, while “Learn & Check” sections help teachers and students check letter, word, and sentence skills. Activity pages combine handwriting instruction with other language arts lessons. 95 pages. Pages are reproducible for the same child‘s practice and benefit. Pages are not to be reproduced for siblings or others. Grade 1.
This 1st grade teacher’s guide provides tips and lesson plans that emphasize letter skills, word skills, and sentence skills. There’s plenty of information on how to prepare for lessons, stages of learning, instructional stages, a scope & sequence, posture, grip, spacing, and other helpful hints. Lessons include scripted questions, reproductions of reduced-size student pages, multisensory activities, finger trace and check models with instructions, page numbers, word lists, and more. 182 pages, softcover.
Designed for use with Handwriting Without Tears K-1 curriculum, the Big Sheet Draw & Write Paper‘s 11″ x 17″ sheets are perfect for writing and drawing. Use for full length sentences or to build a 8.5″ x 11″ journal by folding pages in half. The Wide Double Line Paper solves the problem of line confusion and helps keep letter placement uniform and neat.
The Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn Audio CD features songs to help develop coordination and rhythm, developing self-esteem and body awareness through upbeat and “rocking” songs. Tracks will help students develop pencil grip and writing posture, as well as letter and number formations. 25 songs and Lyrics booklet included.
Teach your students letter formations and placement of letters on double lines with hands-on blackboard activities. Measures 10″ x 17″. The sets of little sponges and little chalk pieces can also be used with the slate for parents using the Wet-Dry-Try method.
This Grade 1 kit includes:
1st Grade My Printing Book Teacher’s Guide, 182 pages, softcover. Updated Edition.
My Printing Book Student Worktext 95 pages, softcover. Updated Edition.
Big Sheet Draw and Write Paper, 100 sheets
Wide Notebook Paper, 100 Sheets
Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn Audio CD
Blackboard with Double Lines, 10″ x 17″.
Little Chalk Bits
Little Sponge Cubes; cubes are 0.5″.
Now aligned to Common Core State Standards in English, Language Arts, and Math, this new edition makes it easier to integrate handwriting into your curriculum. In the new teacher’s guides, applied writing activities provide additional lesson ideas, and home links provide strong school-home connections. Expanded teacher guidelines are also provided. The student workbooks provide new features to benefit your child, including lessons that now integrate cross-curricular connections.
So I’ve noticed that the Traditional Spelling curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears and the First Start Reading all contain elements of phonics. However, because my little guy is behind the curve, I’m going to also incorporate a dedicated phonics program. So we are adding Horizons Phonics and Reading as well. It is set up very much like the Math books of Horizons. It is in full color and workbook style.
Memoria Press’ Music Enrichment book is designed to be used alongside the Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade Memoria Press Curriculum Manuals (all sold-separately). This volume provides parents with a short backstory on each piece and biographical information for its composer, as well as a few questions for discussion about the music being studied. Teach your child more about what the song is about, interesting facts about the instruments used in the song, interesting aspects about the song’s structure, and why the composer wrote it. Purchase of this book also includes links to Spotify and Youtube playlists where you can listen to the selections, as well as iTunes links if you would like to purchase them. This book is organized by grade-year first, then by the week; the backstory on the piece and discussion question(s) are provided here. The composer biographies are at the back of the book. 178 pages, softcover. For use with Grades K-2.
I purchased some art cards through Memoria Press. These 5×7 full color cards are basically flash cards. On the front is a piece of art. On the back there is the name, the artist, the date, the genre/style, the medium and lastly where the art is currently displayed. The goal is to have my son familiar with all these pieces of art. Some of the art included in this pack:
Enrich your child’s educational experience with beautiful pieces of art from all periods, including the Renaissance, Romanticism, Impressionism, and more! The front of the card features a full-color work of art; the back of the card notes the name, year, author, artistic movement, type of medium, and where it currently is housed. These supplements are coordinated with the Memoria Press primary First Grade Enrichment Guide: Classical Core Curriculum (sold-separately), which contains short biographies of each artist and information about each piece. Set of 33 5″ x 7″ Art Cards. Grade 1.
We decided on Christian Enrichment by Memoria Press. Like the Music Enrichment textbook from Memoria Press, the Christian Studies Enrichment Book from Memoria Press also provides lessons from Kindergarten through Second grade. Since we didn’t use it for kinder we will double up the lessons in first grade to twice a week.
The Christian Studies Enrichment uses The Story Bible as a companion. You will read the assigned bible story. The you will study the definitions in the study guide and have your child answer the questions. You can choose to have your child complete it orally or as a written assignment.
Memoria Press’ Christian Studies Enrichment: The Story Bible for Kindergarten through Second Grade features week-by-week lessons for use with The Story Bible from Concordia Publishing (ISBN 9780758619020) (not included and sold-separately – this book is a required resource).
Each week’s lesson plan has a list of unfamiliar vocabulary words with definitions; before reading each story in The Story Bible, go over the vocabulary words and discuss their meanings. A list of questions is given for after reading the story; answers for teachers are provided right after the question for an easy discussion flow. Lesson plans are organized by grade, with weekly plans given for Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. 128 pages, softcover.
Introduce your child to the wonder of the Bible with this Bible storybook written especially for children who are beginning reading to help them grow confident in their reading and understanding. With more than 130 Bible stories and magnificent illustrations, children will be captivated with the adventure and excitement as they discover the Old Testament promise of a Savior and the New Testament fulfillment of that promise with the coming of Jesus. The Story Bible also includes includes:
Wording drawn directly from the Scriptures
Read-aloud, or read-along format
Glossary of key terms
Recommended for ages 3+.
That’s it for our first grade homeschool curriculum. I will update this post throughout the year if needed. Also, please excuse the odd lengthy links. I don’t care for how Christian Book has their link system set up. I’ve provided a Christian Book link since they are the most reasonable price wise, but you can find many of these titles on Amazon as well. I’ve linked to both when available.
Jellyfish, whales and sharks. These are some of my family’s favorite ocean books for toddlers that your kids will love.
We are doing ocean week for our tot school so I thought I would share some of our favorite Ocean books for toddlers. Both my boys love the ocean. My older son seems to love it more which is why I decorated his room with an ocean theme. Right now, we are doing tot school with my youngest. It is sort of like a preschool, but more play time. It also focuses primarily on three things. Colors, shapes, alphabet and number recognition. He knows them pretty well, but we make sure to reinforce the knowledge everyday through play.
My oldest really loved this book. Mr. Seahorse is a great book to add to your collection if you are an Eric Carle fan (Very Hungry Caterpillar). This sweet story tells the tale of how the male seahorse carries the baby sea horse eggs until they are ready. Mr. Seahorse has become a favorite of my boys. This book is offered in a classic paperback in a board book style. I’ll leave the links below for both.
My Octopus Arms is a playful and colorful story by Keith Baker. My boys have always loved this book. This book is just plain fun. It’s the story of an octopus who uses his arms to do various things that humans do. This was a great way to teach about our arms as body parts and sense of touch. It is a simple book but it is so silly that the kids love it.
The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book. This sweet book has been around since the late 1990’s. The book focuses on a moralistic tale of a fish who has beautiful scales. The fish around him only have regular scales. A fish asks him to share one of his beautiful scales, but the rainbow fish refuses. The tale is a parable of sorts about both vanity and sharing.
The really special thing of this book is that the rainbow fish has holographic scales on every page which is sure to delight your child. It was a favorite of my cousins when they were young and now a favorite of my sons.
I Spy Ocean Animals is a fun book even for preschoolers. Even my six-year-old still loves it, So this is a great I spy books. It is in a board book which I always loved with little ones. I know they take up a lot of room on a bookshelf, but my boys were so rough with books I needed something that could survive them!
This book is a lift-the-flap book. If you are unfamiliar with it, a lift-the-flap book has flaps on the inner pages and your child can peek underneath to find a hidden illustration or words. If your child has a hard time sitting or staying entertained with books, lift-the-flap books can be really helpful. Honestly, they helped my oldest enjoy books since his attention span was so poor.
There are 100 ocean animals featured in the book and they also go through the ABCs to help build language. If your child enjoys, I spy activities be sure to visit my other posts, Halloween I Spy and Christmas I Spy which include free printable games for your kids.
Good Night Ocean is a delightful little bedtime book. The book goes through all kinds of diverse sea life in the ocean. It goes through everything from beaches and reefs as well as sharks, whales, and various sea life. The story itself is pretty simple, but my children enjoy going through marine life. This book is actually part of a larger series that explores other locations and parts of our world.
Do you remember Raffi? Maybe I am showing my age here, but Raffi was a children’s entertainer. He was not a favorite of mine when I was a kid back in the 1980’s although many of my friends liked him. In any case, one of his favorite songs has been turned into this book and my boys have really enjoyed it. Baby Beluga tells the story of a baby beluga whale with a heartfelt ending that will make mamas choke up. It is a sweet book and it comes in both traditional paperback and a board book.
I’m The Biggest Thing In the Ocean is a lovely book by Kevin Sherry. The book focuses on a giant squid and his travels discovering other sea life in the ocean like jellyfish and turtles. I definitely think this book is more suited for very young children. I have heard that the board book version and the classic book are not identical. Just something to keep in mind if you purchase. The board book appears to be an abridged version.
Way Down Deep In The Deep Blue Sea is the story of a boy swimming through the ocean and meeting all kinds of sea creatures. At the end of the story, we learn that he is actually in his bathtub playing with his imagination. It’s a sweet story and both my boys really love this book. The story is quite simple, but sometimes that’s all a child needs. My boys enjoyed it so much that we bought a copy for their cousin since they refused to gift their copy.
Are you a Beatles fan? Well, my family is. The Beatles are my dad’s favorite band of all time. So when I found this children’s book, Octopus’s Garden by Ringo Starr, I was pretty excited. This book is just the complete lyrics of Octopus’s Garden. My boys love this book because when we read it, I always put on the song and we read/sing it together. Also, this isn’t the only Beatles children’s book out there. Paul McCartney has a book All You Need is Love and With A Little Help From My Friends just to name a few.
Hello, World! Ocean Life is a book that is perfect for babies to about 3 years of age. It will likely be too simple a book after that, but it is a great language builder for infants and toddlers. As far as I can tell this book is only available in a board book format. This is actually part of a larger series. The series includes other science-related topics like bugs, artic animals, rainforest animals, planet earth, etc. So you may also want to look at their other books if you like this one.
Thanks for joining me. I hope you and your children enjoy these ocean books for toddlers. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of our favorite ocean story time books. This month I’ll be sharing our first-grade curriculum picks so don’t forget to subscribe and come back!
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Join me as I share 12 beautiful Easter books for children, perfect for filling Easter baskets or just sharing the story of the Resurrection with kids.
Becoming a parent was very interesting. I never considered how I might share the Easter story with my children. My boys, ages five and three are interested in Jesus, but are barely starting to understand the concept of sin, much less theology like the hypostatic union and substitutionary atonement. That understanding will come in later years, but right now is really just about them being introduced the the passion of Christ, the crucifixion and the resurrection as it happened.
Today, I’m going the share 12 beautiful Easter books for children. Each book is different and I will try to illustrate some of those differences. You can give the book as a gift to your child or even tuck it in their Easter basket like I do. If I see any differences in denomination, I’ll try to mention that.
12 Beautiful Easter Books for Children
God Gave Us Easter
God Gave Us Easter is a favorite book. We actually have the companion book, God Gave Us You, which is a beautiful book about how God created us. In God Gave Us Easter, the book includes the same characters and similar beautiful language. I will say that this book doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of Jesus dying on the cross. It keeps it very light hearted. So if you are looking for something with more of a high-level overtone, this one is a beautiful book. This book is probably better for very young children that you understand death or the idea of crucifixion. See below for my more biblical choices.
The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Us Who Jesus Is
This is a beautiful storybook with a biblical foundation showing us the character of Jesus. The storybook has lovely illustrations for each story and a bible passage. The stories selected are designed to give children a look at the character of Jesus. We see Jesus as a teacher, redeemer, rescuer, friend, King, savior, Each story is one page long and includes a scripture passage. At the end of each story, there are questions for children to think about or answer. This one is a favorite of ours! I think this book is great for preschool age through about nine.
Notes From Jesus
This is a lovely book! Although it isn’t specifically Easter themed, I think it is really lovely because it lays the foundation for establishing a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. It provides answers to common thoughts and questions like, “how does Jesus feel when I mess up?” “Is it okay to pray with my eyes open?” “Does Jesus care about my day?” The answers are simple in a narrative that is easy for young children to grasp and thoroughly explains God’s love for us.
This book is recommended for ages six and up, but honestly, I find it perfect for my four-year-old who is just starting to build a relationship with the Lord.
We Believe: An Alphabet Primer
I’ve included this book, for those looking for a Catholic perspective. We Believe: an Alphabet Primer is a lovely book with simple, colorful beautiful illustrations. The artwork is vibrant and has a lovely color palette. In the book the alphabet is used by theological terms. If you are a Catholic, you will probably enjoy that this book discusses things like the Eucharist, the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. I was raised as a Catholic and this would have been a lovely book when I was young. If you are a Protestant, like I am now, you may want to skip this book as it does have Catholic theology. This book is best for children four and under.
This sweet book, Lift the Flap Easter Stories for Young Children, is great for little ones who have a hard time sitting still for stories. When my boys were between the ages of two and three it was so hard to get them to sit for stories. This is where I think lift the flap books are very helpful. It gives them something to do while we are reading and keeps those little hands busy. This short book is about sixteen pages and is perfect for ages two through five. There are multiple flaps per page with colorful explanations. This covers the major events surround the resurrection story but omits the gruesomeness of the crucifixion because it’s designed for toddlers.
The Donkey Who Carried a King
This book by reformed pastor R.C. Sproul is a beautiful, endearing story and certainly one of my favorites. Now this book is going to be very different from other books in this list. First, this book is not really centered around the events around the resurrection, ( I mean it IS and it ISNT) rather it is centered around Christ coming in humility not to be served but to serve. In essence it is more of a moralistic tale than a play by play of the Easter story. I think it is a really good book especially when paired with other Easter stories.
If you like Twas the Night Before Christmas, you may really enjoy this Twas the Easter Morning as well. This book uses the same ionic pentameter of Twas the Night Before Christmas except it tells the story of Easter instead of Christmas. That makes if for a special telling of the Easter story. The illustrations in this book are really breathtaking. I have a feeling this one is going to be a classic story in years to come.
The Easter Story
The Easter Story book is great for kids around the kindergarten – first grade age. The book is biblically based with lovely illustrations and isn’t too long ( it is 32 pages). There is also a board book version available if you want tear resistant pages. It is not graphic for children who may not be ready for the crucifixion. However there is just one small thing I would change and it is probably a minor detail to most parents. It says that Jesus died so that we “will” all go to heaven. We don’t want to imply universalism to our children. It should read so that we “can” all go to heaven. This is probably such a minor detail that most parents won’t care. After all, that kind of theology is something that can be discussed when children are older anyway. Still, this is a great biblical story.
100 Little Bible Words
So I’ve included this book, 100 Little Bible Words, in the list because I don’t want to leave out infants or children under the age of two. This board book contains 100 words to build the vocabulary of your little man or lady. Throughout the pages it goes through major biblical themes like the creation story, Noah’s ark, etc. It provides a scripture, then provides words related to that part of the Bible. For example, Noah’s ark lists many animals. The creation story teaches words like Adam, Eve, apple, tree, sun, light, sky, etc. Although this isn’t specific to Easter, I still think it is a great book to start introducing biblical vocabulary. This little book is perfect for an Easter basket.
The Very First Easter
The Very First Easter by Paul L Maier is a beautifully illustrated book of the Easter story. The book is biblically accurate and Christ focused. The illustrations are really lovely and contains accurate scripture. However, I thought I would mention two things for the discerning reader. The first is that the book infers early on that the Easter bunny is not real. If your children believe in the Easter bunny, this might catch you off guard. Additionally, after stating the scripture verbatim at the Lord’s supper, the book says then explains that it is a sacrament which offers grace and forgiveness of sins. It is fairly subtle but obviously, your views on transubstantiation may find this verse troubling. I think it is subtle enough, but I still thought I would mention.
The Story of Passover
I thought I would include The Story of Passover by David A Alder in the list. While this book isn’t about the death and resurrection, I think it’s appropriate for children to understand what passover is referring to in scripture. After all, I don’t think it was any coincidence that Jesus died on the anniversary of God setting the Jewish people free from slavery. For we were slaves to sin and now we have freedom in Christ. This book centers around Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. The book is full of bold illustrations and is good for preschool and young elementary school children. My only critique is that although it explains the events leading up to passover it doesn’t not fully explain the passover seder.
The Donkey No One Could Ride
This sweet book, The Donkey No One Could Ride, by author Anthony DeStefano is a sweet tale of a donkey who felt unworthy until he meets his master, Christ. This adorable rhyming tale is best for kids under the age of seven. I will add that this book doesn’t really tell the Easter story like other books. Rather, this is more about our relationship with our master. It also centers around Palm Sunday. Still I think it’s a really lovely, innocent tale that will encourage children to see the love of Christ.
We have a had a great homeschool year. My kindergartener is reading very well and he is obsessed with spelling at the moment. I’m so glad that we have managed to keep their interest in school even though we aren’t getting out much. I am so grateful that we had a wonderful and productive Fall. That said, I am so glad that we are taking some time off in December. We will be taking a whole two weeks off and just focusing on fun activities and play, so I’ll be sharing some of our fun activities here on the blog.
Printable Christmas I Spy
To Christmas off, I’m sharing a printable Christmas I Spy that I’ve made for my kindergartener. I think that children under five might struggle with it. I purposely made it a little challenging by using similar objects. Therefore, it is better suited for ages five and up. You can download it here and print it out at home. Feel free to share this post with others.
You can download some of my other FREE games and activities for other holidays
And coming soon this month, I’ll be doing a printable Christmas Memory Game! Stay tuned or subscribe to the blog to be notified.
As with all my printables on the blog, you can print them without an email sign up, although I”d love it if you subscribed.
You can use the following for your I spy game:
There is an answer key at the bottom of the page that states the objects to find as well as how many of the items there are in the maze. I suggest having your child count and color them as they find them. I’ve included lots of objects that are similar and objects that are not in the key to make it more challenging.
Snowy Village Christmas Game Bundle
Whether you are taking your Christmas Party to the next level or just want some fun holiday-themed activities with your family, this bundle of ten printable Christmas games are sure to delight everyone!
Download your free Thanksgiving Word Search for kids. This is a fun word recognition activity for elementary school aged children.
Hey friends, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Thanksgiving has always been a special time. First, my mom’s birthday almost always falls on the week of Thanksgiving, so it’s always super special. Secondly, as a child, I used to love to hear my grandfather’s stories about our own Apache heritage. We are prepping for Thanksgiving this week. I imagine this year, Thanksgiving will look different for many families. I’ve heard some cities are locking down again. If you are in one of those cities, I’m sorry. It’s very tough to be apart from families especially this time of year, especially after all we’ve done already this year. We are staying home and cooking for a few immediate family members.
Today, I’ve created something fun for your older elementary school kids. I’ve created a free Thanksgiving word search for kids. Who knows, maybe it will keep them busy long enough to butter rolls! I personally used to love word search games particularly as a kid. Who am I kidding? I still really love them. I always felt like it helped me with my dyslexia because it forced me to concentrate.
Benefits of Word Searches
Sometimes word searches can get a bad rap. They seem like they are just busywork, but the truth is, they have lots of benefits. Here are some of the perks to incorporating word searches into your child’s playtime or school time.
Word recognition – Word recognition is very easy for adults that have been reading for years and are familiar with recognizing words by just a glance. While such things are obvious to adults, it’s not to you our little ones. For the emergent reader, word searches require them to truly hone in on the letters that make up the word.
We visualize words as a picture – Word searches have a unique effect on our brain. When we search for a word in a word search, we continually picture the word in our mind, thus reinforcing the spelling and structure of the word. This, of course, improves memory.
Focus on letter combinations. It’s in our nature to look for parts of the word that are unique like ie, uo, ea, tr, etc. We tend to hunt for letter combinations in word searches. For example, in the word Thanksgiving we tend to look for the letter combination ‘TH’ and ‘NG.’
Spelling – This might seem obvious and that’s because it is. Word searches encourage spelling. When you word search, you will have to examine the maze of letters to find the letters that make up the word and you have to spell it in order to know if you have found the word correctly.
Improves Vocabulary – I like using word searches to help reinforce vocabulary words. You can make the word search for just about any subject. Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, etc.
My Word Search
I’ve created this word search with 25 different Thanksgiving-themed words. Have your child search for the words horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. To add an extra level of difficulty, the words can also appear forwards or backward. I’ve created the word search in a .pdf document. You will need Adobe Acrobat or some other pdf viewing software to view it. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free.
I love coming up with some of these fun games. I created a Halloween I Spy as well and I plan on making a fun Christmas version as well in the next coming weeks. Also, be sure to check out Snowy Village Christmas Game Bundle available in my shop here on the blog or in my ETSY shop.
Snowy Village Christmas Game Bundle
Whether you are taking your Christmas Party to the next level or just want some fun holiday-themed activities with your family, this bundle of ten printable Christmas games are sure to delight everyone!
Are your kids bored this week? Download my free Halloween I Spy Printable for a for spooky Halloween activity that’s fun for all ages.
Hey Friends! We are in October and here in my house we are wondering how things will be different in 2020. This year, lots of things have looked differently. This year, we did all of our birthday parties on Zoom and we even had drive by parties. My husband and I have had to get pretty creative on how we can keep the kids entertained.
Personally, I’ve been creating lots of printables to keep my kids busy. Things that are low cost and certainly things that kill their boredom while social distancing. You see, I know many people have returned to relatively normal lives, but since we help my elderly parents, we are still strictly quarantining. I keep telling myself one day this will be all over!
So, I decided to create a fun Halloween I spy printable to add to our homeschooling activities. My kids love I spy games and they are so fun to do. But they are more than just fun, they are actually educational. So why are I spy games good for kids, you ask.
The Benefits of I Spy Games
It Builds Memory Skills
Memory games and I Spy games help your child fine-tune their photographic memory. When children search for the image in the maze of other pictures, they must use their visual memory to find the picture. Using I Spy activities really strengthens your child’s memory. This is essential for growing children. It can be really frustrating when children disobey us. But as a mom of two, I’ve learned that many times my kids don’t mean to disobey, they simply forget. Little ones still have budding brains and it has become really apparent to me as I’ve homeschooled that children really need memory training.
It Improves Focus
Children have to focus when they do an I spy game. Nearly all young children struggle with concentration and focus. That’s why training their minds to focus through games is so helpful. To them it is just play or a fun activity, but ultimately you are trying to get them used to focusing so it can carry over into school work and other life skills.
They Can Improve Counting Skills
Some I spy games, like the Halloween I Spy printable I’ve created for you, asks children to find the picture multiple times. This forces children to keep count. When you complete the I spy printable, have your child make tally marks as they find the picture.
Halloween Watercolor Wall Art – Set of 4
It’s time to start decorating for Halloween and My Beautiful Mess Blog has a fun Halloween Watercolor Wall Art set to help get you started. This fun digital download set contains four individual 8×10 printable prints you can print and frame.
I can recall when I started to teach my children colors. We did lots of color sorts. I’d give my child math counters of different colors and they would have to sort it into the coordinating colored bowl. Why? Because sorting helps your child not only decide what color it is, it helps them figure out what color it is not. The same is true for I spy. As your child sorts through the jumbled pictures, your child will have to hone in on the discrepancies, differences, and similarities between the pictures and ultimately decide if the picture is the same they are searching for or not. Your child will have to use visual discrimination to determine the differences.
How to Use The Halloween I Spy Printable
The printable is a US letter-sized document. I’ve made it into a PDF document you can download. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat or some other PDF viewing software. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free here.
I’ve purposely made the pictures black and white. First, so that the images are harder to find. Secondly, so that your child can color them in when they find them. He or she can also put an “x” over the image if they’d rather not color. If it’s easier for your child they can also put little tally marks in the answer key if they want.
Whether you are homeschooling or trying to supplement your child’s ability to read, you’ll love these free preschool sight word flashcards. Simply print them using your home computer.
Welcome, friend. We’ve started homeschooling already this year and my boys are doing awesome! My oldest is now in Kindergarten and we have been working hard on learning to read. Can I be honest with you? I was terrified to teach reading. We’ve been working on it over the summer with the help of Hooked On Phonics. If you would like to know what else we are using, be sure to read my posts Our Preschool Homeschool Curriculum and Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum.
My son is doing well reading emergent readers. I ended up creating some flashcards to help him and I thought I would share them here on the blog. Let me share why I think these free preschool sight word flashcards are helpful to your new reader.
Is Your Child Ready to Read?
Although this post is labeled for pre-schoolers, honestly it is for any child that is a beginner reader. “Level 1” just doesn’t have the same ring as Preschool. I thought about trying to teach my son to read in preschool, but I did not feel he was quite ready. How do you know your child is ready to tackle reading? Believe it or not, children give us clues that it may be time to start introducing reading on their own
They are motivated. Children who ask to learn to read or show signs of motivation to read are probably ready to put forth the effort it takes to learn reading.
They know how to navigate a book. Children should have already grasped the concept of how reading works like starting on the first page, going from the top to the bottom of the page and words going from left to right. They may start pointing to words and letters on the page. Additionally, they may even point and ask what the word says.
They recognize letters. Children should be thoroughly familiar with recognizing all letters of the alphabet.
They should have a good understanding of phonics. Kids should understand what a rhyme is. They should know what a syllable is and should have a good understanding of the phonics of single letters.
If your child is not there yet, don’t fret! Children learn at different stages. Some may need more familiarity with letters or letter sounds before they move onto reading. That is perfectly okay. Over the summer, my oldest started to show motivation, something he had lacked all through preschool. He would sit in his bed and pretend to read, repeating phrases he had memorized from the book. That was the main reason I knew he was finally ready. He was showing interest and motivation…finally.
Using Sight Words
Sight words are words that are short and easy enough for your child to recognize and read without having to sound it out. Sight words also make up 50-70% of the sentences we use all the time. So learning how to read sight words can immediately build confidence when your child starts reading emergent readers. Sight words help build the foundation for more challenging, complex words.
To use these flashcards, print them out on white card stock on your home computer. Make sure that your printer is set to full bleed and that it doesn’t shrink down the pages or the alignment may be off. Trim down following the trim guides. If you prefer, you can laminate them for extra sturdiness.
Sit in a distraction-free area and show your child the flashcards. Model the word. Have your child repeat the words back to you. If your child loses focus, redirect them to look at the card. Also, if your child struggles with the enunciation of the world, hold the card up to your mouth so they can see how you are making the sounds with your lips. If your child begins to become frustrated or very disinterested, stop and resume another day. Young children have a short attention span and you don’t want this to be an awful experience.
For best results, do this daily. When you feel your child is ready, challenge your child to read the words by himself or herself. If he or she is incorrect, I suggest not telling them they are wrong as this can crush budding confidence. Instead, keep it positive. Simply model the word correctly by saying, “The word is…” Then tell them they did well for trying. Always boost your child’s confidence whenever you can.
If your child is practicing handwriting and you feel they are proficient enough to start writing full words, you can always give them sight words to trace or copy. This will help them become even more aware of helping them memorize them. I have a printable you can download. The words are printed in light grey and your child can trace the sight words with their favorite pencil or crayon.
I hope that these help you and your little one enjoy the beginnings of your reading journey. If you would like some other fun printables to do with your kids take a look at my other posts like Valentine’s Day Bingo and Printable Halloween Memory Game.
Need some help teaching preschool at home? Today I’m sharing the resources we used for our preschool homeschool curriculum.
Today I’m sharing some of the resources we just finished using for preschool back in May. I’ve had lots of friends reach out to me about homeschooling their preschool child because of Coronavirus, so I decided to sit down and provide all of our resources. You can take a look at the Kindergarten curriculum we are using for my oldest this year in the post, Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum.
Homeschooling isn’t as scary as it sounds, at least not at the preschool level. Not only will you child be learning lots of things, but it is also an incredible bonding opportunity for the two of you.
Most states don’t have regulations for homeschool preschool because preschool typically isn’t compulsory, but always check your state regulations before getting started to make sure the curriculum you choose complies with state guidelines and prepares them thoroughly for kindergarten. You can find your state regulations here.
A Preschool Introduction
Before I begin, I want to clarify that young children at the preschool level learn best by doing and by learning through play, not textbooks. I organized our school year by unit studies. Meaning we focused on a particular theme for a week and did activities around them. If you are interested, I’ll provide our unit studies below
A typical preschool day for us includes the following:
Math (number recognition, counting, patterns, reinforcement of shapes and colors)
Handwriting (how to hold a pencil correctly, learning how to write numbers, letters and basic shapes)
Reading (Reading favorite children’s stories)
Bible Study (simply reading a bible story from your favorite children’s bible)
Phonics: Letter recognition, letter sounds
Arts & Crafts (fine motor activity like coloring, painting, drawing, paper plate crafts, etc)
Science (informal introduction to our body, animals, plants, space, etc)
One of the best teaching tools I’ve ever found are little animal counters (called manipulatives). You can use them in many different activities. I have found that children learn math best when they can visualize it. That’s what makes these counters invaluable. My oldest, now in Kindergarten, is grasping the concept of subtraction and addition thanks to these. Honestly, I think this is about all you need to teach math in preschool with the exception of learning to write and identify numbers. Here are some of the activities you can do in preschool just with counters.
SORT BY COLOR: Color sorts challenge your child not just to select the correct color but also eliminate the incorrect colors. It provides you with a way to gauge how well they really know their colors and how well they can distinguish between colors that are similar such as blue and green, orange and red, purple and blue, etc.
COUNTING: Obviously, you can use colored counters to simply count. Most counters come in packs of around 100 making it great to count all the way to the 100.
SKIP COUNTING: Once your child masters counting, they can learn to skip count with the counters. Like counting by twos, by fives, and by tens Many children don’t learn this until Kindergarten so it’s okay if they aren’t ready for it in pre-school.
PATTERNS: Counters can also be a tool for critical thinking. Identifying patterns is an early Math skill. With colored counters, you can create patterns (e.g. blue-blue, green-green, blue-blue, green…) then have your child finish the pattern. Or you can remove a counter and ask your child which color is missing. Once your child has mastered identifying patterns, challenge him or her to create their own patterns.
POSITIONS and QUANTIFIERS: Counters are also a great way for your child to learn positional directions like above, below, first, last, top, middle, bottom, right, left and quantifiers like more, less, greater, less than, etc. Lay them out in different directions and then ask your child to identify the one on the right, left, on the bottom, etc.
If you prefer a workbook/textbook experience for Math, we love Horizons. We are using it for Kindergarten and my son loves it because it incorporates hands-on and textbook learning.
I wish I had known about this program when first teaching my son to write. We tried multiple programs and every program left both of us in tears! My oldest was very resistant to writing. He was great at pre-writing activities, but had no desire to use a pencil. I had heard lots of great things about this program so in the final months of our preschool year I changed our handwriting curriculum to Handwriting Without Tears. The results were amazing! We made more progress in the first month of the program than we had in the prior 10 months of the school year. (We homeschool year round). In three months, Jack was finally writing his own name without any help or prompting. I honestly can’t recommend this program enough. Now he begs to do his handwriting first before other subjects. It has totally changed our school day.
One nice thing about the program is that it breaks the letters down into individual strokes for your child. Instead of just trying to copy the letter in full, children color and fill in a picture using the strokes that will be needed to make the letter. Then they’ll try to trace and write the letter on the next page. Over the book, it increases in difficulty. Struggling writers are often frustrated by the precision and concentration needed to write small. So the book has students practice on a larger scale in order to build confidence before asking for precision and control.
If you can afford it, splurge on the chalkboard. It made the lessons extra fun for my son and he loved the novelty of doing extra practice on the blackboard.
Many preschoolers are not ready for reading on their own yet. That’s okay. The way to encourage your child to read is to read to them. Reading to your child every day can foster life long literacy. Just one or two storybooks a day is all you need. I normally tie our books into our weekly unit study. For instance, if we are studying ocean week, we read at least one ocean-themed book a day. You don’t need to spend a fortune. The library is a great resource for books. Many libraries even allow you to search and reserve books online so you aren’t spending a ton of time searching for them at the library. You can see some of the classical books we are reading through preschool and kindergarten here in my post Classical Books for Kindergarteners. Don’t worry, they are perfect for preschoolers too.
Also, you can keep track of all the books you read with your child with my FREE Reading Log Printable.
Learning to read starts with learning the sounds of the alphabet. It’s really that simple. There are lots of ways to teach that. My son learned the alphabet really well by three. Then after his third birthday, we started to work on all the sounds the alphabet made. It is still hard for children to start putting the sounds together into words. That’s where phonics programs really help.
There are lots of phonics programs out there. Ultimately, you will need to choose what is right for you. Explode the Code is a very popular choice for homeschoolers and it is heavy in writing and drawing as well. A good friend of ours taught their twins how to read using nothing more than the book entitled, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. (We are also using that book as a supplement) A comprehensive program that some friends have used is Little Champion Early Reading, but it is on the pricey side as far as programs go. There is another popular program entitled All About Reading. And of course, there is the very popular Hooked On Phonics. We are currently using Hooked On Phonics and we started at the Pre-school level.
The main reason we chose Hooked On Phonics is that it has been around for a very long time (my own brother used it) and the price is in the middle price range of phonics programs. We used it all through pre-school and now we are using it in Kindergarten and my son loves to read the emergent readers. More than anything, it has helped him become interested in reading instead of resistant.
And that is the best kind of advice I can give you when it comes to homeschooling. If you or your child are becoming increasingly frustrated, more often than not, the curriculum just isn’t a good fit. Don’t be afraid to change what isn’t working. You know you have hit the sweet spot when your child is engaged, willing, and making progress.
Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts are very important for preschoolers for a variety of reasons. First, arts and crafts are fine motor activities. Having to use glue, scissors, crayons, paint, etc, fine-tunes their fine motor skills which inevitably helps with writing. It gives them an opportunity to use their budding imaginations and is also a sensory experience. All you need is a small list of supplies and the possibilities are endless! Honestly, we just found a craft every day on Pinterest that coincided with our theme.
Preschoolers should also be mastering the use of scissors. By doing arts and crafts they will get plenty of practice, but if you still feel like your child needs more practice (like mine did) you can purchase a scissor practice book. I’ll provide some links for art supplies because honestly, Target is one of the more reasonable places for school supplies.
There isn’t a lot of resources for preschool Science. We just bought a few educational Science related things to help foster a love for Science. Children at this age really just need to be able to distinguish between living and non-living things. They also should be able to recognize and name body parts, basic things in nature (plants & trees, animal types, the weather, and the seasons). Keep in mind, lots of Science can be learned by simply including the subject in your daily reading.
For instance, we purchased this book with 20 STEM pre-school activities. We also received this awesome body book from our Aunt and we decided to incorporate it into our studies by going through a page or two a day. My son became totally obsessed with the human body. I’m shocked at what my son learned by going through it. Then we got a Science lab kit and we found some fun kitchen experiments. We are using it again this year for Kindergarten.
We also used a Pre-K Science workbook by DK Workbooks. It isn’t very in-depth, and I really wish it was in color instead of black and white, but it does include many of the basic concepts that preschoolers should know.
If you are religious and you want to start introducing God into your studies I have found at this age all that is needed is to read a bible story and ask your child some questions. In Kindergarten we are using The Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible. However, the wording may be above your preschooler’s vocabulary. My oldest child wasn’t quite ready for it when we started preschool, but was ready around Kindergarten. What a difference a year makes in a child’s vocabulary! Therefore, the other two we used at the younger preschooler age was 365 Bible Stories and Prayers and The Beginner’s Bible.
Before You Go
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit today and read about our preschool homeschool curriculum. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’ll try to respond promptly.
If you are nervous about homeschooling, don’t worry. You and your child will do great. It can be a little scary at first. As parents, we want to make sure our children aren’t falling behind in school, but I promise it isn’t as scary as it seems. Children learn so much by playing and by you explaining things to them. So take every opportunity to do that and try not to stress over it too much.
Interested in homeschooling, but don’t know where to start? You aren’t alone. Take a look at my quick guide on how to start homeschooling. It’s easier to get started than you think.
If you are here, it’s because you are considering homeschooling. First off, let me say I’m proud of you for taking charge of your children’s education. Whether you are dead serious about starting or simply want to find out more about what it takes to educate your children at home, know that you are doing a great thing for your family.
There are lots of reasons families decide to educate at home. Currently, many families are considering homeschooling due to COVID concerns and the instability it might bring to the upcoming school year. Whatever your reasons they are both valid and personal. Today, I am going share with you how to start homeschooling.
How To Start Homeschooling
Review Your State’s Homeschooling Laws
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. The very first thing you’ll need to do is review your state’s homeschool regulations. Homeschooling laws are regulated by your state, not the federal government. You can find your state’s homeschooling laws at HSLDA. Some states, like Texas where I live, have few regulations, giving parents lots of freedom and autonomy. However, other states have moderate regulations and a few states (primarily in the North Eastern United States) have far more stringent regulations. These laws will tell you:
How many school days are required
Mandatory number of days (attendance)
Notifying the local public school/withdrawing children from public school
Figure Out Who Will Teach
There are a few states that require homeschool teachers to have teaching certificates. Some states only require it if you are teaching additional children that aren’t yours. That’s right! Did you know that many states allow people other than parents to homeschool? It’s true. Homeschool teachers can be parents, neighbors, aunts or uncles, even grandparents. This can be a great solution for working parents who want to homeschool. For example, in Texas, you can teach up to five kids that aren’t yours before the state requires a teaching certificate. So if my brothers wanted me to homeschool their kids alongside mine, we can. You’ll need to figure out who will be facilitating school and make sure it is in accordance with state regulations.
Decide on a Homeschooling Method
There are lots of ways to educate a child and homeschooling provides different methods of teaching. If you are homeschooling temporarily due to COVID, you may want to consider doing Traditional homeschooling. Traditional homeschooling will mirror public schools in structure and method. There are other methods like Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschooling, and Eclectic. I’ve created a separate post entitled, Homeschooling Methods Explained, where I explain the differences in detail.
Decide on a Schedule
Part of planning your homeschool will involve planning out your school calendar. It is important to note that some states have a required number of days your child must attend school. 180 to 185 days is the average requirement. In some states, like my home state of Texas, there is no attendance requirement. This is great because it means you can finish your school year as quickly as you want or you can stretch out your school year-round with lots of days off during the year. Many families simply follow the same schedule as their public school system. For some it just makes it easier.
Personally, we homeschool year round. First, it ensures your child doesn’t forget things over the summer. Plus it means I don’t have to remotivate them (or myself) at the beginning of the school year. Also, it means we can take lots of vacations or time off anytime we feel we need it during the year. This really helps us from feeling burnt out. It means we don’t have to take our family vacations in summer when everyone else is also vacationing. (Thats right. No lines at Disney World!)
Choose a Curriculum
The idea of choosing a curriculum can be really overwhelming to parents who are homeschooling for the first time. My advice is not to stress too much over it. If you and your child are struggling you can change the curriculum at any time! One of the best resources I ever found is a book entitled, Duffy’s Homeschool Picks. In this book, Duffy writes in-depth curriculum reviews and also helps you assess which curriculum will best meet your needs. Here are some things you need to consider when choosing curriculum.
How to Choose Curriculum
TEACHER-LED OR STUDENT-LED: Curriculum is designed to either be led by a teacher or by the student. In the early years, students will likely benefit more from having you work directly with them. However, as your child matures, independent learners may benefit more with the autonomy found in student-led curriculum.
SECULAR OR RELIGIOUS: You will need to decide whether you want religion to play a part in your child’s studies. Some religious families opt for a secular curriculum with separate religious or bible studies. Others prefer religion to be intertwined in subjects. Many secular curricula are religion-friendly, meaning there is unlikely to be anything in direct opposition to religious tenets. This will become especially critical in Science when deciding whether to teach creation or evolution.
YOUR HOMESCHOOLING METHOD: Curriculum varies widely in their approach to learning. Your curriculum choices may be impacted by the homeschooling method you wish to employ. Be sure to read my post, Homeschooling Methods Explained for an in-depth look at the different homeschooling methods.
YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE: Just like us, children have different learning styles. Some children are auditory learners, while others need to visualize concepts. Still, others benefit more from a hands-on (tactile) experience. One advantage to homeschooling is the ability to use a curriculum tailored to your child’s learning style. It is important to note that young children are generally tactile learners and may change learning styles as they mature.
HOW MUCH TIME YOU WANT TO SPEND: Some curriculum requires prep work on the part of the teacher, while others allow you to dive right in. Some curriculum is relaxed, others are rigorous and of course, there is everything in between. You will need to figure out how much time you are willing to dedicate. This is especially important if you are a single parent, working parent, or are teaching multiple students.
SPECIAL NEEDS: Consider if your child has any special needs that may influence the curriculum you choose. Not only are there curriculum choices that are special need friendly, but there are also support groups for families.
YOUR BUDGET: You will decide how much you are willing to spend on the curriculum. It is important to note that there are many free and low-cost options available. In fact, some school districts even offer public school online at home and it’s completely free!
ONLINE OR TANGIBLE: You will need to decide how much screen time your child has. There are pros and cons to both. Some parents want their kids to be tech-savvy and comfortable with online applications. Whereas other parents feel too much time online can stunt literacy. Many families find a happy medium or encourage technology in later years like high school.
Join Homeschooling Groups
One thing that is wonderful about homeschooling is the community. I have found homeschooling families to be wonderfully accepting and helpful to other families, especially those just getting started. Other families are a valuable resource for both motivation, advice, and socialization, so look into joining homeschool groups. You can find many online, even on Facebook.
Other Common Questions
Do I need to formally withdraw my kids from public school?
The answer depends largely on your state laws. Many states do require you to submit a form to avoid truency problems. You can find your state laws here: https://hslda.org/legal
Will my child receive a diploma when he / she graduates?
A diploma is just a piece of paper saying that school was completed. If your child wants a paper diploma, homeschool parents can order them online. https://www.homeschooldiploma.com is a great place to order them and other graduation items.
Can my child still attend college if they are homeschooled?
Absolutely. In fact, I was a homeschooled child and attended college. Colleges will require a high school transcript and may require a standardized test such as the SATs.
Where can I get a high school transcript?
Parents will need to create them using the child’s grades. Most online homeschool planners make it easy to create a transcript based on the grades you input.
I’m nervous about teaching math and science. What happens if I struggle teaching a certain subject?
First, teacher manuals will teach you how to teach the subject and how to engage your child. If you still feel uncomfortable, you can also look into a tutor. Aside from tutors, Co-ops are a great resource for teaching help. Co-ops are teacher-led, classroom style classes. You can always put your child in a co-op for harder subjects. Another option is to simply get together with another homeschooling family for help.
What is a co-op?
A co-op is a group of homeschoolers that come together for classroom-style learning. The co-op class can be lead by one appointed teacher or a group of them. The co-op can include traditional subjects like math and science, electives like drama and art, or extra-curricular activities like band, orchestra, or sports.
What if my child has special needs?
Homeschooling is great for children with special needs. For starters, there is no shame or peer pressure for going as slowly as your child needs. Homeschooling also allows you to tailor the curriculum and learning process to your child’s specific needs. These days there are lots of homeschool curriculum that is designed for special needs like dyslexia, autism, ADHD, etc. Just take a look at one example at https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/special-needs/
Will my child be socialized?
Absolutely. Children not being socialized is the biggest myth about homeschooling. As a homeschooler, you should get involved with co-ops, support groups, extra-curricular clubs, sports, and other homeschooling families. Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers aren’t stuck at home all the time. Rather, they have the freedom to accompany parents, volunteer, and join other homeschoolers during the day for social activities.
What happens if I need legal help regarding homeschooling?
There are many coalitions that help protect the rights of homeschool families. Many coalitions provide legal assistance, forms, information, legal resources and sometimes even legal representation. Some are state specific (such as Texas Homeschool Coalition) and others are for all fifty states (such as HSLDA).
Do my children need to complete state standardized testing?
This depends on your state’s homeschooling laws. Some states require it, while others exempt homeschoolers. Many colleges and universities may still require your child take the SATs or other college entrance exams.
How do I know my child is learning as much as public schooled children?
This is often a common concern of beginner homeschoolers. First, many parents choose to homeschool because many studies show that homeschooled children are more advanced than public schooled children. However, if you would like to compare you child’s progress to public school you can use the state core standards to set educational goals.
What kind of records do I need to keep?
This is dependent upon your state’s individual homeschooling laws and regulations, but generally speaking, you will need to keep records that prove your child’s progress, attendence and abilities. These may include items like attendance records, grades, names of curriculum used, reading lists, field trip lists, standardaized testing scores, work samples, volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, and subjects mastered.
I hope I have answered some of your basic questions on how to start homeschooling. If you have other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will answer as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!
Today I am pulling back the curtain and giving you a glimpse inside our homeschool room. Join me for our homeschool room tour!
I am often asked about our homeschool room and with so many friends turning to homeschooling this fall due to COVID, I’ve decided to give you our homeschool room tour. First, let me start by saying, I know how blessed I am to have a dedicated room. I know most people don’t have an extra room to use. That said, many families opt for the kitchen table or home office as a learning space. However, when my husband and I were building our house, years before we had children, we knew we were going to homeschool. Therefore, we built this room just for homeschooling. If you are just homeschooling for this coming year due to COVID, a kitchen table is fine! If you are interested in learning about more about homeschooling permanently I have lots of homeschooling posts including, Homeschooling Methods Explained.
Lots of moms have asked me if you need a dedicated room. I would say you need a dedicated space. That doesn’t mean the room can’t serve more than one purpose. Up until last year our classroom was also a playroom. But since we buckled down on home education, we removed the toys and put them in their bedrooms. That would probably be my only caveat. I have found that if you have little ones, removing distraction is key. Having the toys in the same room as our learning space is just too distracting for my little guys.
Let’s start our tour and I will explain why and how I do things.
Our room is the game room in our house. It is at the top of the landing in our house. Before kids, it was just another comfy living space. Our space isn’t really decorated. I added some color with a rug, but it was more to protect our carpet in case we accidentally spilled glue, paint, or other stuff. I’d rather replace a $100 rug than wall-to-wall carpeting! I put up some matching curtains for color and made some streamers and alphabet with paper and stickers. A few of the alphabets have fallen down and I just haven’t made time to get the ladder from the garage and put them back up. I’ll do that before we start school again in a few weeks. Other than that it is a hodgepodge of bookcases and file cabinets. I don’t really care if things are matching. It’s more about functionality than aesthetics.
The Desk and Chairs
I’ll be honest, it took me forever to decide what kind of desk and chairs to get. There are so many options and I had no idea what I wanted it to look like. Well, I finally made a decision a few years back. I decided to build my own desk with IKEA accessories. I got two desktops from IKEA in gray. They are basically long rectangles. Then I bought four drawers and put the tops on top. We then secured the top with brackets. I offset the drawers to create a square table with four workstations which gives us plenty of space to work.
Furthermore, I decided on this set up for one main reason. I have no idea if we will always be in this house. Right now, we have space to create this four-workstation look. However, if we have to move, I can take this desk apart and create more of a traditional workstation with two drawers on each side and a rectangular top. It’s versatile.
PARDON MY KIDS THINGS ON THE FLOOR. I purposely didn’t pick them up because I want you to know this room is almost never pristine! We live in this room and it is often messy and disorganized. Real-life, friends!
In the drawers, I keep art supplies, workbooks, construction paper, playdoh, paper plates (for crafts and painting), and all kinds of other school-related materials. On top of the table, I found a cute craft carousel from Michaels Craft Stores. Here I keep all the supplies we use all day long so they are close at hand. Things like paintbrushes, glue sticks, glue, markers, pencils, erasers. dot stampers, pencil sharpeners, watercolors, rulers, etc.
I decided on these chairs by IKEA because they adjust to the children’s height as they grow. They were $35 each and they still have them on the IKEA site. Additionally, we have an old tv in the room for when we watch educational videos and we have a Melissa and Doug Calendar.
We repurposed my husband’s old office bookcase. In here I keep our curriculum, educational books, some educational games, DVDs, dictionary, thesaurus, etc. I keep a large trash can here for all of our craft messes. I also keep some folders (Target Dollar Spot) for my teacher organization. I also keep my teacher planner (The Happy Planner) on this rack. We have a teacher whiteboard and a wooden abacus which really helped my little ones count and are helping them learn addition and subtraction. Below the whiteboard, I repainted an old coat hook mint and sprayed the metal gold. I found some metal pails at the Target Dollar Spot and filled them with things like dry erase markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.
We have a smaller children’s table and chairs which my mother had specially made for my boys. It doesn’t provide enough room for our studies so we use it as a dedicated coloring station. I have this awesome roll of paper dispenser which is bladeless for the kids to draw on. I give them each a pail of crayons and they have fun drawing away.
We use an old filing cabinet for a lot of my teaching materials including teachers manuals, sensory bin fillers, file folders, worksheets and other things we want put away from the kids. We have a globe which the kids absolutely love! It has been such a great learning tool! I’ll go through the bookcase with more detail.
On the Top
Up at the top, I keep bins for Art, Colors, and Language. The art bin contains things like paints, glitter, etc. I keep these things up high so that the kids can’t get into them and potentially spill them on the rug. In the colors bin, I keep colorful counters that we use for math and color sorting as well as other color-related activities. Lastly, I have a tub labeled “language.” In this bin, I keep different kinds of letter related activities.
On the second shelf, I have some awesome picture vocabulary photo cards I bought from Lakeshore learning. I keep extra boxes of pencils and erasers. I keep dot markers in a glass container. Also, I have two photo boxes (purchased at Michaels) that are full of all kinds of math activities and learning items like play money, shapes, etc.
On the Middle shelves I have a storage container with drawers. These are similar to what you might use as an organizer in your garage for nuts, bolts, and screws. Originally, I used this for language. I had letters of the alphabet on each of the drawers and inside the drawers I put objects that started with that word. For example, the letter ‘C’ drawer had things like a candle, cotton, candy, coins, a car, a crayon, and a cardinal. You get the idea. After my kids outgrew this, I use it to store small parts that we use for homeschooling. We use TOOB figures in our learning all the time. For example, when we learned about Egypt, I bought some TOOB Egyptian figures. We learned what everything was called and then we pretended to excavate them in kinetic sand. So much fun!
The decorative boxes are just filled with miscellanies like flash cards, lacing cards and other things. The decorative boxes were purchased at Michaels craft stores.
The last shelves have some miscellanies. I have a nautical tote filed with felt activity books (quiet busy books). We use these for quiet playtime during the day. I promptly put them away after using so that we don’t lose pieces. In the magazine holders, I have activity books organized by grade level.
On the bottom, I have file boxes. In these boxes are 180 manila file folders. They represent 180 school days. Each one labeled with a day (e.g. Day 1, Day 2, etc) I organize the kid’s schoolwork into these folders. Once we get through all 180 folders we are done for the year.
Thank you for joining me on our homeschool room tour. I hope I’ve given you an insight as to how we stay organized all year. If you have questions about anything, I am happy to answer them. Just leave me a question in the comments and I’ll answer.