We are first-time homeschoolers and this year we will be homeschooling for kindergarten. The decision can be really overwhelming at first, especially for those of us that didn’t plan to homeschool, so I decided to break down what the best homeschooling resources I’ve found and plan to use in our home school. Most of the resources are faith-based and include a focus on God.
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1. HOMESCHOOL OVERVIEW RESOURCE: THE WELL TRAINED MIND
The Well Trained Mind is my overall guide for home education. You can see in the video it’s big, but don’t freak out! You don’t need to read the whole thing in order to get started!
Honestly, I’ve only read the beginning and into pre-k / kindergarten because that’s all I need right now. It breaks down what to teach and how to teach in the simplest, most effective way. Plus, the recommended resources for every age and subject is very valuable.
When I prayed about school for our daughter, God put homeschool on my heart. But I was very reluctant. This book was a confidence booster. I’m know I’m not the only mom who’s read it and thought “Wow, maybe I can do this.” It’s an incredible guide.
More Good Homeschool Books
- The Call of the Wild and Free
- Teaching from Rest
I listened to these audiobooks on Audible. Try Audible and get two books free. Some public libraries also have them available on Hoopla.
2. READING: BOB BOOKS
Reading is my #1 academic goal for kindergarten. The Well Trained Mind explains simple and effective ways to teach letters and sounds. It also includes a list of Recommended Beginner Readers that they’ve personally vetted as first books to use when children start sounding out words.
I waited (what seemed like) forever for the BOB Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers to be in stock on Amazon. They have 4.8 stars from over 3,500 reviewers on Amazon, so I took that as a clue that they are well-loved.
The box of books came and I’m very happy with them. So happy I bought the Sight Words Kindergarten set too. They are a great confidence booster for kids learning to read. Our daughter loves that she can read a whole book by herself.
3. LANGUAGE ARTS: THE GOOD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
A fellow mom recommended The Good and the Beautiful curriculum. I decided to try this one because it is focuses on:
- good character
- beauty in nature
- clean literature
With a younger toddler at home and a business to run, I wanted a curriculum that was open-and-go without requiring prep. The Good and the Beautiful checked all those boxes, so I hit buy and moved on.
I ordered both the Level K Primer and the Level K Language Arts & Literature books. Our daughter was in 4k when schools closed and she had not yet mastered her letter sounds, so we are working through the Primer first and we’ll move on to the Level K book next.
So far my daughter and I are both happy with it. She knows letter sounds, vowels vs. consonants, short and long vowels, and can sound out and spell quite a few words already.
- I ordered the Level K Primer and the Level K Language Books from the Good and the Beautiful website.
4. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
When we reached the first assessment point in The Good and The Beautiful Language, I realized our daughter needed a little more help putting the pieces together for reading. So, I added in one lesson per day from the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
It helped a ton! To be honest, neither of us loved these lessons at first, but we stuck with them and now cruise and enjoy the predictability of them. We’re over half-way through and it’s been a great tool to pair with our other language/reading curriculum.
5. MATH & CALENDAR: THE GOOD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
For the same reasons mentioned above, I choose The Good and the Beautiful math curriculum. It came with two course books and a box of manipulatives. The Activity Box includes a Rekenrek, pattern blocks, wooden cubes, place value mat, and a lot more.
I was excited it included a book for practicing calendar skills because I had already planned to combine math and calendar time in the morning.
So far, I know some additional tools I will supplement for math skills are a timer and an analog clock to learn about time, and our cash register to learn about money.
- I ordered the K Math Books + Activity Box from The Good and the Beautiful website.
- I ordered a solar-powered Cash Register with Money from Amazon
- I ordered Mini Wooden Geo Solids from Rainbow Resource
I ordered a Visual Timer from Amazon(returned, got a replacement, both stopped working, so I do not recommend this one)
6. HANDWRITING / COPY WORK
We’ve used quite a few different handwriting or copy work resources the past few years. Workbooks and dry erase activity books are great for handwriting practice at home or on-the-go.
- School Zone Big Preschool Workbook
- My First Learn-to-Write Workbook
- Wipe-Clean Alphabet (Usborne)
- Wipe-Clean 123 (Usborne)
- Wipe-Clean Ready for Writing (Usborne)
- The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Workbook
- Handwriting Practice Pad
7. CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS COMMUNITY
I thought I was done after getting our overview book and reading, language, and math tools, but God’s plans weren’t done yet. We joined a local Classical Christian Community too.
By grace, I was connected with several other homeschool moms from our church and learned about Classical Conversations. We are halfway through our first year in Foundations Cycle 3 and loving it!
I’m excited for strong fellowship, faith, and curriculum. CC will provide an introduction to science, scriptures, fine arts, math, Latin, English, history, and geography.
The resources we use are:
- The Foundations Curriculum, Fifth Edition
- Foundations Audio CDs, Cycle 3
- Tin Whistle
- Trivium at the Table Placemats: Cycle 3 Geography
I purchased these from the Classical Conversations Online Bookstore.
MORE HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES
Some of the extra Homeschool Resources we use are:
DRY ERASE BOARDS + MARKERS
We have two magnetic dry erase boards, one for each child. We use these every single day for math, writing, reading, spelling, and drawing. I love that they’re magnetic and we keep them on the refrigerator.
SCIENCE – HUMAN BODY/ANATOMY
This year we are focusing on our bodies. We started gathering books about our bodies since our oldest was a toddler due to the severity of her food allergies. Learning about our bodies is even more critical for those whose bodies have an anaphylactic reaction to food.
- Human Body Activity Book for Kids (K-3)
- Big Book of the Body (Usborne Book)
- Look Inside Your Body (Usborne Book)
- Lift-the-flap: What is Poop? (Usborne Book)
- Lift-the-flap: What are Germs? (Usborne Book)
- Oregon Scientific Smart Globe from Amazon
- States and Capitals Books
- United States Puzzle
- World Atlas Jigsaw Puzzle (Usborne)
The globe was recommended on this list of 48 Best Gift Ideas for 5-Year-Old Girls. It’s a nice tool for the kids to learn things about countries that I don’t know.
READ ALOUD BOOKS
We get books from the library, but we purchased our family favorites that I know we will re-read many times throughout their schooling years. After the libraries shut down in 2020, I’ve learned having a few great book sets on the shelf is a worthwhile investment:
HISTORY – AMERICAN HISTORY + TIMELINE
- Classical Conversations History Timeline Cards
- Who Was ____? What was ____? Books
- Adventures in Odyssey American History Compilation (8 CDs)
DRY ERASE CALENDAR
We have this giant dry erase calendar in our homeschool room. It’s not necessary to begin but if you have the room, it’s been a great (big) way for the kids to see how a calendar works and what’s coming up for the month.
It’s nice to have the squares for each day so big so the kids can practice writing too. We place velcro days of the week in the note section on the bottom to practice learning and writing the date.
These are not only fun and educational, but the open play is great for toddlers through elementary age.
MORE THINGS TO KEEP TODDLER BUSY
Trying to juggle multiple kids is no joke. While they will sometimes join in with your lesson, other times they need things like books, puzzles, and toys to keep their hands and minds busy while you teach older siblings.
- Melissa and Doug Floor Puzzles
- Melissa and Doug Puzzles
- Toy Kitchen, Cookware, and Food
- Melissa and Doug Puffy Stickers (useful at community days or church)
- Water Beads
- Books sorted by theme (Vehicles, Seasons, Animals, etc)
FUTURE CURRICULUM AND RESOURCES
I also plan to give these homeschool curricula a try in the future. Some I already purchased and some I am still considering. These come highly recommended from experienced homeschooling moms I’ve gotten to know and trust.