Our Favorite Homeschool Curriculum for Preschool, Kinder, and First Grade

Our Favorite Homeschool Curriculum

Welcome back to the third post in my homeschooling series. This time I will be letting you know our favorite homeschool curriculum. If you missed my last 2 posts, they were about the Benefits of Homeschooling and the Challenges of Homeschooling.

So far I have been homeschooling for 3 years. We started when my son was a preschooler and he just finished first grade. We have tried many different homeschooling resources in that time. Some have worked out wonderfully, and some did not fit into our family well.

Here are some of the best homeschool curriculum choices for teaching your younger children:

Language Arts

Abeka Writing With Phonics- I love that this curriculum teaches cursive writing right from the beginning. It also goes along well with their phonics book, so your children are actually learning to read while writing. Abeka is very Bible based, and scripture is heavily entwined with the lessons, as is character development. The KJV Bible version is used. Kindergarten teaches both upper- and lower-case letters as well as blending and short words. The first grade moves onto sentences and paragraphs.

Explode the Code- I have to say that this is my favorite. I have been using it with both my son and daughter with great results. The lessons are short and to the point, and it is very inexpensive. The teacher guides go more in depth and give you lessons to teach. They are helpful, but not necessary. I found that it is a nice accompaniment to the Abeka workbooks as well. With my son, we went directly into the Explode the Code book 1, and with my daughter we started with the Get Ready for the Code books.

Bob Books- These books are great encouragement for a beginning reader. They come with stickers, so I write the date that my child was able to read through the book by himself in the back cover and let him place a sticker next to the date to commemorate his accomplishment.

Letter of the Week- This is a little more pricey but definitely worth it in my opinion. It is set up with a chapter for each letter with tons of lesson plan activities for each week. The lesson plans include suggestions of activities to do for each letter. Some examples for letter A: visit an Airport and watch the Airplanes, go to an Aquarium, learn your Address, cut Aluminum Foil into squares and glue onto a cardboard A, draw a picture for your Aunt, talk about emotions that start with A like Anger and Afraid, eat fruits that begin with A like Apples and Apricots, etc. There are also activity sheets for the child to learn how to write and color each letter, and word cards to color. This is best geared for Preschool or Kindergarten.

Horizons Preschool Curriculum Set- This is a whole preschool curriculum that covers language, math, science, and social studies. It is Bible and creation based, with verses coming from both the KJV and NIV versions of the Bible (you choose which verse to use). I used this curriculum for my son, and I wish I had used it for my daughter as well. He was so much more prepared for Kindergarten. I didn’t continue with the first grade because I didn’t like how they were teaching subtraction towards the end. It was too confusing. But my son did go into Kindergarten already knowing how to add and subtract, so that was a plus. All the lessons are laid out for you each day, and there is very little prep work for you to do except gathering the materials for the craft or cooking activity. The lessons were so fun, it didn’t even feel like we were learning or teaching, but at the end of the year I saw huge growth and improvement. The song cd is a cute and catchy addition as well. Highly recommended for preschool!

Math

MCP Mathematics- I love this math curriculum. The lessons are fun and short. It is mastery based, so your child works on mastering a certain skill before moving on. It is easy to teach, since it is laid out for you in the teachers guide, and it even gives you suggestions for children that need a little more help. I tried Saxon for a year and a half because I had heard such good reviews and really wanted to make it work, but it just wasn’t for us. My only regret with this curriculum is that we didn’t find it sooner! I used it the second half of this year with my Kinder and First grader, and will be continuing with it next year.

Science

Real Science Odyssey-Earth and Space-Level 1- Expensive, but worth it. It is not creation based, but not evolution based either. Just the straight science facts, which I appreciated. It is very project oriented, so you have to be prepared to be hands-on. Which worked really well with my children, but if your children don’t like projects this wouldn’t be for you. There is a book and media list at the beginning of each section, so the kids had fun going to the library regularly and watching shows like “Magic School bus” on NetFlix or Amazon Prime. Most materials are found around the house, although you may have to purchase a few.

History

We took a very Charlotte Mason approach to history this year, and just read a lot of living books and took field trips. Here are a few of the resources we used:

North American Indian Girl and Boy Paper Dolls- 

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving-



The True Story of Pocahontas-



Samuel Eaton’s Day-A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy-


The Pilgrims of Plimoth-


Bible

We loved using Grapevine Bible Studies in our homeschool this year. You use whichever Bible version works for you. They have downloadable e-books as well as hard copies. My kids loved being able to draw out their lessons using stick figures. Each section takes about a week, and there are maps to fill out and verses to memorize. My kids have learned so much using these studies. They are very well put together and go in-depth without being dry.

Electives

Both of the elective classes we did this year were in video format. The kids liked it because they got to watch a video, and I liked it because it gave me a break from teaching. I did find that I still had to watch them though, especially the art, because I had to know how to explain the painting or drawings they were doing after.

Spanish-La Clase Divertida (The Fun Class)- Spanish is a big deal for my husband, because much of his family doesn’t speak English, or at least not very well. It is important to him that our kids know at least basic spanish. I liked this curriculum a lot because not only is is video based, but the teachers are also Christian, and give some background into the Mexican culture. It is Mexican Spanish, not Spain Spanish. (They are similar, but there are definitely differences. In fact, my husband and I were out to dinner a couple weeks ago and overheard a couple from Spain talking–sounds very different! We didn’t even recognize it as Spanish at first. So if you are in the US, Mexican Spanish is the way to go.)

Atelier Art- Most projects can be done with basic art supplies like paint, large paper, and markers. My kids loved art day!

I hope that you find some of these suggestions helpful to you. I would love to hear about your experience with any of these, or any homeschool curriculum that has worked for your family.

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  • Theresa Beauteeful Living

    I have such admiration for those who have found a way to make homeschooling work for them and their kids. Thank you for this list of great resources. I’d like to practice more math this summer with my soon to be 2nd grader :).

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      My son will be going into 2nd as well! 🙂 There are lots of math practice books you can find if you do a quick search on Amazon, or you may even be able to find some at your local Target.

  • http://fcnextdoor.com Kara

    Yes! I agree with Tee – it is great that have found a way to homeschool with great resources!

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thanks!

  • http://www.themorrelltale.com/ Tayler

    I’m glad that you use published curriculum! There are some homeschooled kids from my childhood church congregation that couldn’t read or do math well at any age because their mom just taught them…using no published curriculum! Thank you for doing a good job teaching your kids!

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      That is sad. I think homeschooling can be amazing and beneficial in most cases, but then there are cases like that. All children do learn to read and do math at different ages, but if they aren’t learning those things at all, the parents are really doing a disservice to their child. If it ever got to where I couldn’t teach my children, I would definitely explore other options.

  • Rosevine Cottege

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Marissa

    Oh, my kids love the BOB books – they are so helpful in showing me what areas we need to focus on as my oldest has some difficulties with clearly speaking (not quite a lisp… but still….)

    Also, I’d love to invite you to share this with my weekly link up that opens every Thursday on Reading List, the Cozy Reading Spot. We share anything that is on our minds, hearts and bookshelves and this is such a perfect addition! If you’re interested…

    Thanks for sharing!

    Marissa

    Reading List home to the Cozy Reading Spot

  • http://confessions1rst.blogspot.com/ Maria K. Hass

    My kids are doing Spanish with Hooked on Phonics and they love it. It’s very computer based. I’m Hispanic but my husband isn’t and he didn’t feel as proficient in Spanish as he wanted to be. So he invested in Rosetta Stone for the family. We are excited about that! Also I love Grapevine for Bible Studies, also look into Doorposts.com! But a Bible will work too. I taught ABEKA at a Christian Private School for a year and it is a very effective Kindergarten curriculum. Right now I’m using Oak Meadow and I love it too but it’s intense to use if you have three children all spread apart in ages. Thanks for sharing! I’ll look into some of your resources too. Glad I stopped by from the Women With Intention Link UP.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I would love to get Rosetta Stone one day for myself and my older daughter. I have heard it is very good.

  • http://www.giveaways4mom.com/ Victoria H

    I will have to try some of this out during the summer with my boys. I am not a homeschooling parent but on the weekends and during school breaks we continue education at home.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      That is great that you still teach them when you have them home!

  • Chari of CIC

    Thanks for sharing these! I will check them out for my little ones during the summer time! God bless!

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Let me know which you use and how you like them!

  • Marie Wikle

    Great resources for the home school or those with little ones at home!

    @spreadingJOY

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      True, they could also be used with younger ones before starting school. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Andrea

    Hi there! I found you from the I Choose Joy! link party. 🙂 I have a kindergartener and a toddler as well. We have enjoyed using Explode the Code and BOB books. I let my daughter color them, and she loves that. Have a great day! @makethistheday.com

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      How fun! My kids love to color as well. Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.wifemummynurse.com/ Sarah McKelvy

    Thanks so much! My daughter will be in kindergarten next year, and we’re planning on homeschooling her.

    • http://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Good luck! Homeschooling is so rewarding. Have you checked out the other posts in this series? I will be writing more in the coming months and next year regarding homeschooling as well, so I’d love to have you pop back in from time to time.

  • Laura Hicks

    I homeschooled my boys for 3 years after they closed our country school. Loved it!

  • Erin Vincent

    We homeschool/unschool and love it! My son enjoyed all of the Bob when he was learning to read.They are great 🙂

  • Jann Cobb

    I am a public school teacher and I love the Bob books! I wish we could also use the Abeka series in school it is so well done. The explode the code looks interesting. stopping by from Reflect.

  • http://beingwoven.org/ Being Woven

    What a great batch of books for teaching and learning. I tutor now and have used “Explode the Code” and the Bob Books. This list and your reviews are surely a help to others who are looking for their curricula for the new year.
    Glad I came by, ~ linda

    PS… I have a giveaway @
    http://the-reader-and-the-book-reviews.weebly.com/blog/scarlett-gray-joins-the-parade-by-suzanne-stamboulieh-a-give-away
    I am also @ http://beingwoven.org

  • http://rozkwalker.com Roz K Walker

    Thank you for this list! I saw a few that I had not heard about and want to explore. I appreciate the reviews!

  • terri presser

    Thanks for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays Miranda, i always appreciate seeing what other homeschoolers like to use. Blessings

  • Raising Samuels

    This is a great list of homeschool curriculum! We are using Horizons math this year and I love the BOB Books! I am hoping to do some Abeka next year as well. Thanks for sharing this week on #SocialButterflySunday. Hope you will link up again this Sunday!