Homeschool Curriculum Planning for First Grade and Pre-Kindergarten
I am going to lay out how I go about Homeschool Curriculum Planning and the entire list of our 2022 Homeschool Curriculum Picks for First Grade and Pre-Kindergarten with pros and cons. I am also going to tell you why I picked them and our experience with some of them.
Before we get into this article it is important that you know I have 3 kids. One is going to be in first-grade this year and the other two are going to do pre-kindergarten. I am very very relaxed with the preschool and pre-kindergarten years.
However, I am not relaxed about our daily schedule and them actually participating in school each day. I have a child with autism and a severe developmental delay, as well as, a child that struggles with some anxiety, so we truly thrive in a routine each day.
Homeschool Curriculum Planning: Our Picks for First Grade and Pre-Kindergarten
First I will walk you through our 2022 Homeschool Curriculum Planning: Our Picks for First Grade and Pre-Kindergarten and then I will lay out the pros and cons of each curriculum.
Our Homeschool Curriculum Pick for First Grade and Pre-Kindergarten is Classical Conversations. Also known as “CC” and we love it! I have watched every youtube video out there by parents that think it’s a mlm or have had awful experiences with their particular group, but we have loved it.
As far as the MLM claims, I have read extensively about this and my final conclusion on it, as a former pre-kindergarten teacher that also writes curriculum, is that we all need to be paid for the work we put in. They have put in so much work and time into creating a wonderful and Biblical worldview curriculum. We would honestly pay double. The value for what you get is kind of awesome!
On the note of bad group experiences. I feel so sorry for the families that have had these. We have been so blessed to have directors that truly desire for a peaceful and flourishing community that glorifies God and it is obvious. They do an incredible job of advocating for families and empowering the tutors to be able to serve the families well. And they do!
The tutors in our previous group are women I not only respect highly but they are also women that I long to look like. I want to be on the front lines of our kids education and hold myself to a standard that I believe my children deserve and the Lord calls me to be obedient in. And they all walk this out on a daily basis.
Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pick: Classical Conversations
It is a well rounded curriculum as far as history, scripture memory, and ELA go. They are what I would consider heavy on the ELA and history. The timeline our kids memorize and study is Biblical and so fascinating to see the kids learn, and then understand and apply to their work.
It is a classical model of education (obviously) so they start with memorization and then move into the application process. The easiest way to explain this model of education is to remember the ABC’s.
First we teach our kids to sing the ABC’s. They learn the melody and get most of the letters right LMNO might not be correct. Ha!
Second we start teaching them about the actual letters. They learn the sounds they make, how to write them and say them correctly, etc.
Then we teach them how to put them into words and eventually they read, spell and use them for a function other than memorization or structure.
This is how the classical model works for all aspects of education. For example, we teach them the Preposition song, then they learn the words and what they mean, then they put them into sentence structure and use them in an applicable and functional way. The older kids are amazing to watch and listen to their knowledge and see them start applying it in real life.
There is also an aspect of this with scripture memory. Which we love. It’s not just about memorizing but using scripture in our daily lives. The memory and application! They have something called the Timothy award that kids can try for each year which is an entire passage of scripture!
As far as the community goes, all parents have to be involved. Which is a pro and a con (haha). It is good because we are all there together and there are a lot of hands helping. A con because (again, as a former teacher) sometimes when parents are in the room their kids actually act worse for the tutor then if the parents were not in the room. But for the most part is it wonderful! It’s also nice because all the hands-on science and art is done on the community day so the mess doesn’t have to come home unless you decided to do more than what is involved in the curriculum.
The “seasoned homeschool moms” are a treasure trove of information! AND they’re more than happy to help you in your journey.
The math curriculum is good, but I personally feel like there is some application that can be done a bit earlier for our kids. This is a personal choice and you will have to make that choice for your family. The good part about this is that as they learn the CC math facts you start to see little light bulb moments while they do their hands on math.
We haven’t experienced this but because it looks different than the school system it might be a hard transition in or out of it. Although, I know a family that transitioned into CC this year for the first time and their kids thrived!
You will need a different reading curriculum! I have loved teaching reading to my oldest and am so excited about the other two. This is not built into the CC curriculum. This also only applies if your children do not already know how to read. We started early so I had to teach them how to read. Whereas some of you might be moving from public or private school to homeschool and maybe a teacher might have already done this.
There is reading as they get older. We aren’t there yet! Phew!
I don’t completely agree with everything in the tutor agreement or the statement about how we (the parents) are the best teachers. BEFORE you tune out please hear me out! I do believe that it’s a calling on a lot of us, but God has a different walk for all of us and as believers we are called to raise our kids up in His word and to teach them about Him.
Where I don’t agree is that in my own life different women poured into me as a student and changed my life and I don’t think my mom would have done the same had she homeschooled us. (I love my mom, but she would agree, even though she’s a teacher). My personal opinion is that we need to be careful not to shame other parents for sending kids to school or the role of a teacher in students’ lives.
I think this just bothers me because it feels like a mom-shame statement instead of an encouragement to homeschool families. Again, OPINION. I still love this curriculum and our community.
Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pick: The Good and the Beautiful
The literature is rich! And some of it is so sweet! It’s a heavy “sight word” curriculum which we love! You can decide if that’s a pro or a con for your family. We have used flash cards since my oldest was about 18-months and before I was a pre-kindergarten teacher I worked at another daycare and “taught” the 18-month-old class and I did flash cards every day with those little ones. My kids and students have always loved them!
They have a completely FREE option! You do have to print it out yourself but everything is available for free and they just came out with a new edition this year! Exciting!
Her team of writers is impressive! It’s been edited well and vetted by many! This is so encouraging to me as a curriculum writer, it’s a difficult task and they have nearly perfected it!
I don’t really know how I feel about the math. It’s just not our favorite but we have friends that love it, so again, this is opinion.
It’s “Christian” but it’s not exactly directly from a specific denomination from what I can tell and I feel the need to kind of monitor everything. But I feel this way about all things that are “Christian” just because there can be theological differences among many Christians and I have the right as my kids’ parent to teach them the one I feel is right.
Although I try very hard to tell my kids that “In the Lain Family we believe xyz… but you have to decide if you believe that too.” I want to teach them from a young age to own their own faith and beliefs. It’s hard sometimes!
Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pick: MEP
The best part is that it’s FREE.
We love that it’s not just a workbook of a bunch of math problems or tons of word problems that are confusing. It does utilize both, but they use a little family to introduce concepts and problems to the kids.
You do have to print it out but there are little props (we glued them to popsicle sticks to make them puppets) and my kids all enjoy the story aspect of it.
You do have to print it all out (just like the Good and the Beautiful’s free option). There are no paid options with this curriculum that I am aware of as of now. Which means it’s not something you order and it comes in the mail ready to go. You have to do some prep work before starting the lessons. But it’s totally worth it!
Homeschool Curriculum Planning Pick: Lain Learning
I created it for me, so I can customize everything. BUT I have made that an option for you if you have a free canna account too. Not everything can be customized, but there are many things I offer that can be.
It’s created by a mom a former teacher, so I modified my old curriculum that I used in my classroom to be more suitable and fit in better with the Classical Model of Education.
I offer a lot of free stuff in my free resource library. Currently I am reconstructing the entire thing and going to have it up by September 1. I hope you enjoy it. It’s honestly a passion project that I just love because using it with my own kids is THE BEST!
It is Christian curriculum. I believe that we are given such an opportunity to disciple our kids and while I fail a lot and recognize my need for Jesus. I try. And I have woven Jesus and His Word all throughout my own curriculum.
It’s not a complete program. I only have preschool – Kindergarten resources. I am working on a lot more first grade focused reading resources this coming year, but it’s not available yet.
It isn’t free. I do charge for mine. I think it is amazing that the lady that runs The Good and The Beautiful can offer her’s for free, but I don’t have the resources or funds to continue to have it available for free. Websites and delivery software all cost money. However, I don’t charge much. My hope is that I can offer it at a low enough price that it makes sense for you and for me. I know curriculum can be outrageous, and I don’t think mine is… but we all like free, don’t we?
I know that seems like a no-brainer, but this year I am intentionally teaching my kids to have a quiet time in the mornings. We have always read together, but my oldest can read now and I want to give her the opportunity to. I’m most looking forward to this part of homeschooling this year.
That’s it for our curriculum picks this year. We are simplifying our homeschool this year. Last year I pulled from so many places and it was exhausting trying to keep up. I don’t want to make that same mistake again this year.
With that said, I would still love to hear your picks! I love diving into curriculums and looking at them. I can be a bit nerdy about pre-kindergarten curriculum in particular since that was my focus for several years.
Homeschool Curriculum Planning Picks
I want to just add a note here at the end for the moms that are just starting out especially. This isn’t an exact science. You can change things if you need to and you don’t need to feel guilty about it! Sometimes different curriculums just don’t click with our kids and sometimes they click with one kid and not the other. THAT IS OKAY. I would venture to say it’s normal!
Keep going! I also want to add that you don’t have to use a curriculum at all. There are so many printable planning sheets on the internet that you could just grab one and plan a week or six at a time for each subject with random things you think will work well for your kids. You are in charge! You are doing GREAT!!
As you are planning check out this post about First Day of School Traditions. They have become such a sweet time in our home. We love to celebrate the small moments in life and this is no different.