So the one question that I always get asked is how do you know what to do ?
Every homeschooler that I have ever spoken to / emailed / or blog I have read does it differently. Why ? Because our kids are unique and so what works for one kid may not be the exact answer for another but I do know that it helps to read what others are doing/ using to get some ideas. So the list below is what we are currently using, or have used with success, I will add to this as we go along.
Half way though my daughters First year I heard about the Core knowledge books and bought the book – What Your Year 1 Child needs to know (affiliate link). It gives good suggestions on what you could include in your curriculum. I did not read the book cover to cover and we did not follow every suggestion but I do think it helped to give me some confidence in terms of what I could include and it had some great suggestions for teaching some of the subjects. I also really liked the recommended book lists that they include after each subject. I have since bought the What your Year 2 Child needs to know and What your Year 3 child needs to know (affiliate links) and I do continue to dip in and out of these books for ideas.
Reception Year / Year 1 in the UK
When we first started teaching Pink her sounds we used the Usborne Phonic Workbooks. These are good but we found them limited for homeschooling, if your kids where going to school and you want to do something at home to reinforce what they learned at school then these would be great.
So we switched to Jolly Phonics. We have since used a number of the products in this range. (I have recently done a mre detailed post on the Jolly Phonics range including lots of photos)
- The Jolly Phonics Activity books are great for introducing a sound but do not give lots of writing practice.
- The Jolly Phonics DVD this is good to use along side the Activity books. It is very simply done but both my kids love it and they still ask to watch it sometimes. Also the DVD is great for introducing some ideas that are missed by the activity books – eg 2 vowels go walking the first one does the talking.
- The Jolly Phonics workbook (buy this as a set it is cheaper). This is writing practice. There is one workbook for each activity book
- The Jolly Phonics teachers resource book. I only bought this at the end of Pinks Reception year and it is great it give lots of ideas and extra worksheets. If you have not homeschool ed before this can be a great help.
- The Jolly Grammer teachers resource book. We are using this for Pinks grade 1. I am photocopying the worksheets as and when we do the relevant section. I have found this very helpful as it explains a lot, sets out lesson plans and gives some good ideas. We will be sticking with this and moving onto the Jolly Grammer 2 resource book once we have finished this. I must say that we are not sticking to their timetable as I have found that Pink needed some extra time inbetween introducing new concepts so we will probably take a bit longer than 1 year on the first Grammer book.
We started off with the BOB readers (affiliate link). These are very simple and are great for when the kids are just starting to blend the sounds. The graphics used are simple which where a bit advantage for Pink and she and get overwhelmed if faced with too much on a page. A group of bloggers have been producing some great worksheets to go along with these readers, see link below
Once Pink had gotten some confidence with the BOB readers (we only did the first 2 series) we then switched to a great South African reading series called the Cub reading series. Pink loves these. There are also some workbooks to go along with these but we have not done any of these.
We also love our Usborne reader Fat cat on a mat and other tales (affiliate link). I have started making some free worksheets to along with these stories. As I make a new worksheet I will share it on my blog.
We have also recently started using Nessy for reading – it is a lovely site. We have currently signed up for the free program but are considering paying as we love the word games and the little rhymes really stick it the kids head. A friend is also using the Maths section and her child is really enjoying it.
I lot of the Maths work that we have done have been hands on activities. I have printed a lot of wonderful Maths worksheets and activities from the 3 Dinosaurs website. (maths activities). We have used a number of these pages together with our Snap cubes. We love our snap cubes, we use them for counting, adding, subtracting, working out what number is more or less, the list is endless.
We have also been working through a very good Maths activity book also from South Africa called Shuters Premier mathematics.
When I started homeschooling Pink I was a bit confused about what kids as young as Pink do in Science so we got the Carol Vorderman science books for Key Stage 1. I have used these as a guide to see what the kids in the schools here in the UK will be covering. We have not stuck to it 100% but it useful for me. When it comes to Science we have really followed the kids interests here.
We have bought a lot of the Usborne Beginners books about animals. We have read these, discussed them and often done activities around the animals that we have read. I can not recommend these books enough, they are great. You can get these on amazon or on ebay.
We have also played a number of the games on the BBC Bitesize in the science section. Both kids love these games.
Art and Crafts
Most of our art and crafts just seem to happen. We will be learning about an animal and we will get our paints out and try and paint a picture of get some toilet rolls out and try and build something. There are lots of good idea on Pinterest.
My all time number one art book for Pink has been Usborne I can draw animals. This breaks the drawings down into very simple steps which are easy for the kids to follow. I bought ours for around 3 quid from a 2nd hand bookstore.
Some websites where you can get printouts
Twinkle primary resources– I have used a number of their free printouts and loved them. I have recently started looking at some of their premium pages and am in the process of doing a number of blog posts about these.
3 Dinosaurs – I am a huge fan. I have used lots of their themed packs.
Education.com – I have joined and get 10 free worksheets per month. I often find lovely worksheets here
Activity village – lots of great colouring pages, activitty ideas and I love their handwriting pages with the lines