Hannah Elisabeth, Homeschooling, Mommyhood

{Not} Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week (a little late!)

In college, I majored in Christian Education.  So, for me, researching educational methods, curriculum choices, and learning styles is just as much fun as it is practical.  So, I was both excited and sad to hear about Heart of the Matter‘s {Not} Back to School Blog Hop week dedicated solely to curriculum – right up my alley!  The sad part comes in because I totally missed the link-up window last week…and, because we are not scheduled to {not} start school (since it is sort of our first year, we aren’t really going back) until September, it appears I am very much on track to also miss this week’s link-up on our school room.  But I am working on getting it if not finished, then at least presentable before the linky closes.  But, for now, you can at least check out what we will be doing in that room (our curriculum choices)…even if I am a little late to the party…


I had decided on using a classical approach even before Hannah could crawl!  I discovered Tapestry of Grace a little later (about 3 years ago), and it appeared to be a perfect fit!  So, the “core” of our curriculum has been settled for some time.


So, I am beyond excited to finally (read: “officially”) get started!


I suppose that you could say that, “officially,” we have been doing “pre-school” for a couple of years already.  Although, I totally went against type, for both of us, and used a less structured – when she needs/wants to learn it she will, and we’ll figure out a way to accomplish it – approach.


By less-structured, I do not mean no-structure! (Have you met me?!)  Because I wanted her to have a strong foundation in the basics, I created a (rather lengthy) scope-and-sequenceto serve as a guide for Hannah’s (and Lord-willing, any future children’s) pre-school/kindergarten years.  (Yes, years.  See this pagefor a more detailed description of what this entails.)  We based our pre-school time on this list of goals and objectives, rather than centering it on a specific curriculum.


While this (slightly) less structured approach worked quite well, we are both ready for a bit more structure!


However, in choosing my curriculum for this year, I realized that myideas of what my child should know/needs to learn in Kindergarten is quite different from what she is actually expected to know.  So, even though Hannah is “technically” of Kindergarten age, some of the material that we will be using this year is first-grade level.  This is not an attempt to pressure my child (or anyone else’s) into a misguided quest for academic superiority and over-achievement. . I simply chose the material that I felt would best cover the information that I believe she needs to know by the end of this year.


“Kindergarten” (age: 5-year-old) Curriculum



Select Resources

(Leading Little Ones to God, by Marian Schooland

A Faith to Grow On, by John MacArthur
The Big Book of Questions & Answers, by Sinclair B. Ferguson
Truth and Grace Memory Book – book 1, ed. by Thomas Ascol

ESV Bible and/or ICB Illustrated Bible)


Language Arts:
Teaching Your Child to Read in100 Easy Lessons, by Siegfried Engelmann

Bob Books

First Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind)

Select Beginning/Easy Readers



Start Write – D’Nealian

We have been using the Kumon Upper Case and Lower Case workbooks for the past year.  Mostly, the goal was to solidify and reinforce letter/sound recognition. But, they were a great place to start.  Now, I think her fine motor skills are developed to the point where she can handle more.  And, I’d like to focus on the look of the letters/words, as well as legibility.  And, I prefer the look of D’Nealian, compared to normal block lettering.


Social Studies:

Tapestry of Grace…Year 1
Year 1 Lapbooks

Select Books & Read-Alouds

We will be taking this area rather slowly.  According to the (very helpful!) representatives that I spoke with, and the TOG website, this can be used as early as Kindergarten.  I will be using the lapbook kits to help supplement and reinforce the lessons.  We will see how it goes, and if needed, we may stretch this first year over two years.



Saxon 1

I had a very hard time deciding between Math-U-See and Saxon.  Although I heard mainly good things about both programs, I did ask friends who have used one or both for their honest opinions on the drawbacks or negative features of each. 


With Math-U-See, I heard several complaints about how multiplication facts are taught.  While it will still be a few years before we reach that level, I felt it was worth considering even now. (One parent went as far as to say that they wished their child had never learned it that way, because it became so confusing, they were having to re-teach things the child already knew/should have known.  And, it was becoming a major source of frustration.)  With Saxon, most of the negatives comments that I heard were based on the amount of work required in each lesson.


But, when it came down to it, Saxon just made more sense to me.  (Possibly because the school that I went to used Saxon, so the style and format were familiar.)  But, since I am the one doing the teaching, I had to go with what I understand.  Plus, I figure, I can alter the amount of “busy work” required to match her mastery of the concepts. 


And, yes, you might notice that we went with level one on this.  We have been working on (what I considered) very basic math facts for a while now.  But, in talking to several different curriculum vendors at our recent homeschool convention, we discovered that Hannah would either zip through the kindergarten-level math curriculum and I would have to spend twice the money purchasing the next level before the year was out, or she would be very, very bored for the duration of the year.  Neither option was particularly acceptable in my mind, so they suggested looking at the 1st grade material…and it seemed a much better fit.  There is a good review of the basic facts that she already knows, and enough new material to keep it challenging. 



Bob Jones Science 1

I chose Bob Jones science because it most closely matched up with what I wanted her to learn this year – simple and basic facts and experiments.  Right now, I only have one child, so I can completely tailor our curriculum to suit her needs.  That may not (I am hoping) always be the case.  If it is, I may stick with Bob Jones, or I may switch to something else.  I really liked the Apologia materials, and am tentatively planning to use it in the future. (I think it would be especially good if I am ever in the position of needing to teach multiple grade levels at once.)  But, for now, it is a bit more advanced than what she is ready for at the moment.



Teach Them Spanish – Grade K. 

Yes, Spanish…in kindergarten.  It wasn’t in my original plan, but after hearing it around town, at church, and on a few episodes of Handy Manny (we are not Dora fans), Hannah has been begging to learn.  And, I think it is a great idea!  Sadly, I’ve pretty much exhausted what little I remember from my 3 years of high school Spanish just trying to teach her a few words!  So…we’ve added Spanish to our kindergarten plan.



Ballet/Jazz Class


  1. This is so cool to read! I have plans to do a more structured homeschool-type preschool for Jordan this year. I’ve done a few things here and there for her the past couple of years, but nothing horribly consistent. I figure if my child is requesting school time, I’d better get my rear in gear! 🙂 Plus it will be a little bit busier around the house this year, and a structure, and special time spent just with her will be beneficial for her I’m sure. Do you have a preschool, or prep for Kindergarten list of things that they “should” be able to do by certain ages? (Or a link?) I’ve been collecting as many of those as I can find so I can be sure to prepare her for kindergarten with as much as I can. I’m pretty good on the English side of things, but when it comes to everything else, I’m a bit lost.

  2. oooh. you have given me much to check out!
    what a great curriculum plan

  3. Joy

    Looks like a great line up for the school year. Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  4. That looks busy, but great choices. We are stating TOG ourselves this year. I did start FLL with mu now 6 1/2 when he was 5 a well. It is a good curriculum. I have used 2 of your bible choices (LLO to G) and I can only say great choices.

  5. Can’t wait to see how it goes!!!!

    Have you heard anything about Cursive First? Or All About Spelling?

  6. […] the bookcase.  Our state’s homeschool convention was at the end of July, and I still had a few curriculum decisions to finalize and order at that time.  So, I am still anxiously awaiting the arrival […]

  7. Jill

    Choosing curriculum is a lot of fun. I look forward to it each year, even though I keep with the same programs. It is so planned out with the first child, too. You should have seen my Lizzy’s Kindergarten year last year: Child #3 with two older siblings, two toddler siblings and a new baby in the house. Let’s just say she didn’t quite cover all you have listed there! 🙂 However, it was quite providential that I spend the year I was pregnant teaching her 100 EZ lessons so she could do Saxon 1 as a Kindergartener and read her own papers! The Lord is great, gracious and abundant and I pray this will be a wonderful year for you and Hannah!

  8. […] you compare what I am about to say below, to what I said around this same time last year… You might notice a bit of a […]

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