Our Frugal Homeschool Curriculum (K4 & 1st Grade)

Frugal Homeschool Curriculum

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I have struggled with curriculum this year, because I have agonized over what to do with my struggling learner. If he were in public school, he’d be one of the youngest in his class since his birthday falls just before the Sept. 1st cut off. And, with lacking social skills and his learning delays, I think it might be beneficial to continue on with Kindergarten this year.

I think the most important thing for right now is to be true to my core beliefs and values about learning and homeschooling. In theory, we’re more laid back. Student-driven, play-driven.  But then I see all the other homeschoolers around me who are so much more structured, and they look at me and judge me because my day and my curriculum doesn’t look like theirs.

But here’s the thing. I’m so done with all of that. We’re going to do kindergarten our way this year, and I have a feeling it’s going to work much better than it did when we were straddling “our way” and “their way.”

So, here are our  frugal curriculum choices.

Reading

This is the area my 5-year-old really struggles in. We’re using All About Reading Deluxe Pre-Reading Package from All About Learning Press (I received the package for free for review). We have all really enjoyed it.

I have heard great things about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, so we are also using that.  We’ve just started and are on lesson 7 and I have already seen great results.  I will say that the lessons are crazy boring and tedious, even for me. But, they seem to be effective, so we’re sticking with it. I got this book from PaperBack Swap for less than $1, but you can get it used from Amazon for around $10-$12 after shipping.

Bible

It is so important for us to be teaching our kids God’s word. I got this book: Explore Bible Stories: 52 Bible Lessons for ages 4-6 (how perfect is that since I have a 4 year old and an almost-6 year old!)  We’ve already done a bit with it and we love it. It’s actually meant for Sunday school, so there is one big lesson each week, with several stories/activities to fill an hour long time. I do a lot of tweaking, but it’s a nice guide for me. We break it up into lessons throughout the week, but they are stories, songs, activities, etc. They are FUN for kids to do, and not really lessons.  The book starts off with Genesis and the days of creation, which I think is a perfect unit study for kindergarten, since it ties into things like animals, nature, our bodies, etc. It covers a lot of things they should learn, and puts it into a Biblical perspective. That is kind of going to be our theme for the year overall.

We also do a lot of scripture memorization. Well, a lot is relative, but we do it through children’s church and AWANA. I started out doing ABC and character trait verses as well, but it was too much for them to try and memorize at once and keep track of. I want them to learn them for good, so I don’t want to rush it.

Other

We have our morning board (which I hope to share within the next couple of weeks), which covers some calendar, weather, character traits, etc.

For other things like community, health/body topics, math, and to reinforce letters/reading, we use simple workbooks like this one or this one. Since I have 2 students, I created dry-erase workbooks for them out of these workbooks so they can be re-used.

These things will be supplemented with lots of reading books, playing, drawing, coloring, making up stories together to use our imaginations, household chores, educational board games, and lots of fun activities.

For my 4-year-old, we pretty much do the same things. He is very smart and loves to do school with us, so he does basically the same things, just in a more laid back way.

So, there you have it. Our simple, and frugal Kindergarten curriculum :) I’m hoping to share more in detail over the coming weeks about the specifics.

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Comments

  1. Monica Ingalls says

    My son will be 5 in October, he is my sixth….in our state we do not have to start formal education until they are 8. Two of my boys did not read until 8 and 10 despite my efforts. I have found most homeschoolers still try to teach like the public schools and the best advice I have ever had was from the book " For the Children's Sake". After 18 years of homeschooling, I have learned reading aloud, nature studies and lots of opportunities for writing and copy work are some of the most valuable school lessons that don't require a "curriculum."

    • Crystal says

      Thank you, Monica! That is what I believe as well…but then I’m talking to some Classical educators (which I do believe in some of their ideas, but not all) and they are talking about the importance of having kids reading ASAP, preferably when they are 3! But I’m more of an “unschooler” at heart, and I believe in more learning through life kinds of concepts. Our compulsory school age is 6 here.

  2. says

    God led you to homeschooling so you could do it HIS way…not your neighbors way! Good for you for deciding to focus on what your own family needs—I know how hard that is not to compare! :) Your kids are still so little…and it looks like you’re focusing on the important stuff—especially character training through the Bible! Hope you have a great year!

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing Crystal! One thing I love about homeschooling is that we can teach at whatever level our child is at. It’s great you are flexible and able to meet your child where he is at! I know that my mother in law is a pre-first grade teacher and all the younger 5 year olds from Kindergarten end up in her class, they just don’t seem to ever be ready for 1st grade when they start so young.

  4. tina @ september says

    this looks good- I think your choices are great here. Our oldest missed the “cut off” as well… still I struggle with waiting on him to be ready rather than feel the pressure from others that he should be doing this or that by now blah blah blah… Good job mama!

  5. abkinsey says

    We love “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons!” My oldest learned to read at age four with that book and has been rolling ever since. Just goes to show you don’t have to spend a lot to get something good. :-)

    • Crystal says

      That is so true! Our struggling learner has been doing great with it. It’s so exciting to both of us to see the progress he is making. And, our just-turned-4 year old is doing fantastic as well.

  6. says

    Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons great resource, I have been using this with my 5yr old this summer. We are on lesson 55, I do find them to be incredibly boring and difficult to get her thru but her confidence and skill is growing daily. The real joy has come now that she has read one or two books on her own.

  7. Jesse says

    Its hard to look the other way at what others are doing, but it is imperative if you are going to give your kids the education they need and keep your sanity. I’ve about done myself in comparing my kids, my school, my teaching skills to others. It just isn’t worth the heartache! Also, as a mom of almost 6 with 3 boys, I wouldn’t call your 5yo son a struggling reader. He’s only 5, mama, he will get it figured out in his own time. :-) AAR Pre-reading will be great because it is gentle, but he will learn some great stuff, too. Don’t sweat it if it takes awhile, my older two boys didn’t become readers until 8 and 10. I wish now that I would have spent more time in mud puddles and jumping on the trampoline with my boys at age 5 instead of pushing them to learn to read on my (society’s?!) timetable. If you keep your timetable in mind, you will do just fine!!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jesse! In a county where nearly ALL of the kindergarteners are reading by the end of the year, it is hard not to doubt myself when my 6 year old struggles to get such things. But I have found even over the past short year that he only struggles when I’m pushing him past what he’s ready for. Once he’s ready, it comes much easier for him…(imagine that! lol). Thanks for sharing that your boys didn’t become readers until 8 and 10.

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