My son and I just finished up three months of homeschool and I wanted to share the curriculum we used since I loved it so much!
Now, I had no intention of homeschooling. I’ve joked that I will probably homeschool my youngest son when he gets to highschool because I imagine him ditching school so that he can go surf and if that is the case, I’d rather teach him what he needs to know at home and then drive him to the beach myself lol. But my kids are 4 and 6 right now and the main reason I send them to our local public school is so that they can hang with friends, get to know their peers, learn some cool stuff, and enjoy that sliver of independence away from me that they value.
Why Not Distance Learning?
When schools closed in March for the remainder of the year and instruction was replaced with “distance learning”, I raged. I know everyone was trying their best during these unprecedented times, but school is the SAFEST place to be for some kids unfortunately. Dropping off a laptop and setting up free wi-fi for families in need sounds great and all, but as a former online teacher I have seen firsthand the frustration that can come from families who either don’t speak English or who are not familiar with technology trying to troubleshoot a laptop that freezes or won’t connect to the internet. What about the families with two full-time working parents and multiple children who simply do not have the hours a day necessary to help facilitate online learning? I worried about an even bigger divide occurring, pushing students already at-risk further away. I could go on and on!
And then for my family personally, the thought of distance learning had me bumming. We don’t use tablets or ipads at our house, the kids don’t use my laptop, we don’t do video games right now, I’m trying to keep my kids away from social media for the next decade, and I just didn’t want my 5 year old sitting at a computer every day in the middle of a pandemic. (I already feel isolated enough in raising my family this way so please know that I realize I am the weird one here, and I think it is awesome if distance learning worked for you – the best part about being a parent is we get to individually figure out what works best for our own families and my opinions here have nothing to do with what you do at your house. You are fabulous.)
So I talked to some educator friends (you can check out the valuable information they share on Instagram here and here), opted out of distance learning, and purchased a darling homeschool curriculum that I absolutely loved. I sincerely hope my son can physically return to school this Fall to resume playing with his friends, mastering those monkey bars, and enjoying the MAGIC that happens on-campus but if that isn’t the case, I would definitely use this curriculum again. Here are the details!
The Good and the Beautiful Homeschool Curriculum
What I liked best about this curriculum is that is essentially has no prep. You open up the day’s lesson plan and everything you need to do is written right there for you. There is no busy work – it is effective learning in less time. We spent about 20 minutes a day on Language Arts, and 20 minutes a day for Math and in 3 months we actually covered the entire kindergarten Language Arts coursebook! (If I were to do homeschool again I would spread the lessons out for an entire school year and also add in some fun science and history). The curriculum is wholesome, family focused, and has an emphasis on great literature, art, and nature. My son enjoyed it and learned so much!
We used the Level K Language Arts Course Set. This included the course book, 30 mini-books, a level K reader, and phonics cards. The 120 lessons focused on phonics and reading, spelling and grammar, punctuation, literature, and art. Here are some sample pages!
I didn’t do the entire year of Math like I did language arts because the math lessons are more time consuming so we did half a year. I loooooooved the extensive use of manipulatives – this curriculum was very hands-on and helped my son a lot. We got the K course set which included Course Book Part 1 (didn’t use), Course Book Part 2, and the Math Activity Box.
We didn’t finish the handwriting book but will probably work on it as a refresher before first grade. The pages are a combination of proper letter and number formation mixed in with fun dot-to-dots and drawings/coloring activities.
Creative Arts and Crafts
The art book has a variety of super cute projects and I really liked that they are all in one place instead of me having to look online to find ideas. Usually I love searching on Pinterest but this made it a lot easier these last few months!
We haven’t cracked this open yet but I couldn’t resist getting these adorable little nature books. The boys explore outside 90% of the time so this seemed like a fun add-on where they can collect leaves, draw what they see, etc.
That’s all I’ve got! I know very little about homeschool, aside from this 3 month experience that I did not plan ahead or prepare for and there are tons of seasoned homeschool families out there with many more resources. But for what it’s worth coming from a mom and a former teacher, I totally would recommend checking out The Good and the Beautiful!