Preschool and pre-k books for 2014!

By the time I had finished listing out (with pictures for once!) all of our books for Emily (in first grade) and the programs we’re doing together, I was too tired to get around to posting the last few pictures.  So, here’s an overview of what my preschooler (Charlotte) and pre-kindergartner (Jenny) will be doing this year.

First, these are the core books for Jenny for pre-k.  These are books that I’ll be reading aloud.  Some of the books are missing (I’d had a stack of books that I’d just finished reading out, and when the kids cleaned the room they stuck them elsewhere on the bookshelf, so they missed the picture.


There’s a nice mix of more advanced picture books with some chapter books in which each chapter tells a different story (so no need to follow a plotline from day to day).  So far she seems to be doing fairly well with them.  She wasn’t thrilled about Uncle Wiggily the first day we started it (“No pictures!  I don’t want to read a book without any pictures!  There has to be a picture on EVERY page!”), but after the first story or so, she warmed up to it.

She is definitely very, very sensitive, though.  Almost every day has her practically in tears over something or other.  Animals or children getting hurt in the *slightest* will really set her off.  And it doesn’t even take that.  The other day, I was telling my mom my disappointment when I realized that I’d forgotten at a restaurant that I’d bought a sandwich to take home with me, and I’d thrown it away when I threw away the other trash.  She overheard, and started crying, “Poor sandwich!  It doesn’t get to be eaten???  Poor, poor sandwich!”  Real tears, people.  This is definitely my sensitive one.  I was thinking to do Core A with her next fall, but… we’ll see.  They’ve toned it down a bit, I know, but it may still be too much for her.  If need be, I could reorganize P4/5 by geography and do it with Charlotte, and combine Jenny in with her.  Doing it geographically would vary it up a bit, and I could use some of the other geography stuff from when when we did geography this past year.  She might need that extra time before she’s ready for Core A.

Jenny also has several workbooks this year.


Her favorite is the Developing the Early Learner books (we don’t appear to have book 3, so I’ll have to buy one when she gets close).  She’s zooming through those.  She likes to call them her seatwork, since Emily has seatwork, and she really likes the activities.  She’s way ahead on those versus the rest of the core (except the Berenstain Bears book, she’s ahead on that as well).  I actually just found the logic book again, so I’ll have to try her with that again sometime, as it’s been a while.  It’s a little complicated because I have to read it to her, and she needs a lot of help working through it.  The Earlybird Kindergarten Math is her main math book.  She’s not generally a huge fan, but she does well with it.  I keep meaning to start Rightstart Math with her, as I have all the stuff, I just a) don’t always seem to have the time, and b) don’t seem to think about it when I *do* have the time.

Next is reading.



We’re using All About Reading to teach reading.  Jenny is on level 2.  We’re actually taking a short break from AAR, as she was getting to the point where she really just needed more practice with the things she’d already learned, and for more of the really easy stuff to become sight words, before moving on.  So we’re actually running through the IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) program PAL (Primary Art of Language).  I’m not generally a huge fan of its structure, but it teaches things in a different order and from a different angle from AAR, and so it’s reasonably complementary as a second program.  I’m not sure if we’ll go all the way through it and then go back to AAR, or just do it for a little while, or what.  I’ll see how it seems to be working.

Along with that, I’m having Jenny practice reading a bunch of Dr. Seuss books.  She’s getting more fluent and sounding out fewer words, which is good.  Not only does it mean that she’s seen the words enough to remember them, but it helps her read faster and understand more, which makes reading less of a chore.  She’s definitely getting more and more interested in reading.  The other day, she wanted to read a picture book we’d gotten at the library (“Mrs. Chicken and the Crocodile”) which wasn’t even intended to be an early reader.  She did really well.  I needed to help her here and there, but she read most of it.  These are some of the Dr. Seuss books that she’s reading.



She’s also been reading books from the library, like Biscuit books and some easy Caillou books.  I think I might see if they have Elephant and Piggie, as those are a lot of fun.  I don’t think these will last her a whole year, although it really depends on exactly when a kid starts to take off.  I think she’s getting really close to that, though, based on how quickly she’s suddenly progressing from sounding every word out to know tons of words by sight and doing well with sounding out words she doesn’t know.  Such an exciting time!

Charlotte is doing Core P3/4.  We’re doing it fairly casually, usually I just grab a book and read a story from it each day before starting Jenny’s P4/5.  I find it easiest to keep using the same book until we’ve read all the stories in that, so right now we’re reading the Richard Scarry book, which they both like.



I’ll probably do the Mike Mulligan and McCloskey books near the end, when she’s getting closer to 4, because they are definitely the slowest and hardest of the books here.  We’ve already read Madeline a few times, as it’s apparently a favorite.  And that Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics?  It is practically falling apart, it gets so much use.  It is probably the absolute favorite children’s book we own.  It’s much better than the other big compilation, the “20th Century Children’s Book Treasury,” because that one eliminates a lot of the pictures and shrinks the ones it keeps, and is just not nearly as good.

Charlotte doesn’t really have any workbooks yet, but I’ve been having her do some of the “Letter of the Week” activities from “Confessions of a Homeschooler.”  She likes those a lot.  We’ve done A-D, I think.  I need to get more of those printed and ready for her.  We’re also going through All About Reading pre-level 1 (not sure why I didn’t think to take a picture of that one).  It’s the precursor to the program the older girls are doing, and it teaches the letters and their sounds, plus other important pre-reading skills like rhyming, breaking apart words into sounds, etc.

And that’s basically it for this year!  We’re having fun, hope you are, too!



Homeschool books for 2014!

It happens that we’re just about to start a new level in a number of subjects.  We’ll be starting Sonlight’s Core B (history and literature) for first grade in about a week, and we’re just a week into Sonlight’s Core P4/5 for pre-kindergarten.  Emily is finishing Singapore Math 1A and about to move on to 1B.  On top of that, we’re just finishing Sonlight’s Science B and we’ll be doing Apologia Astronomy next.  So, since we have all these fun new subjects that we’re about to start all at once, I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of our books and give you an idea of what we’ll be doing for about the next year.

First, these are the world history books (some are Sonlight Core B, others are supplements) that are general and cover multiple periods of history.  For the next year, we’ll be covering creation through the fall of Rome.



Most of these are Sonlight books, but I added in “Pages of History” and “the Story of the World.”

I have a few books about dinosaurs and the Ice Age, not pictured (they’re from the Creation point of view, but we’ll cover macro-evolution at some point in a later year and discuss the arguments for and against).

We’ll be spending quite some time on ancient Egypt, so we have a whole collection of books we’ll be reading on it.



Of the Egypt books, only “Tut’s Mummy” is actually a Sonlight book.  Some of the rest are from Veritas Press, others are just books that I thought interesting.  I keep going back and forth about Tirzah.  I think it’s a little complex/difficult for first grade, so I might end up holding off on it and doing it when we make our second pass-through of world history in 6th grade.  But we’ll see.  I might also consider just giving it to Emily as a reader.  I didn’t put it in the schedule, though.

Next is Greece.  The only Sonlight books specifically on Greece were the “Greek News” book and the Greek myths book.  I thought adding in Aesop’s fables, and (not pictured, as I’ll get it from the library) Mary Pope Osborne’s children’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” would round things out nicely.  Between the three, they cover some of the major influences of Greek writing on our modern world.



I’m really excited about the sticker book for ancient Greece.  My girls really loved the sticker book we used during geography (Usborne “Sticker Dressing Around the World”) and so I thought they’d enjoy it again during world history.  I bought “Usborne Sticker Dressing Long Ago” only to discover that all but one page were actually not ancient enough to be civilizations we cover during Core B.   So we’ll do that one page (Egypt) and then set that book aside until next year.  I did get separate sticker books for Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  The Greek one is particularly interesting to me, because it’s specifically a sticker book of Greek myths.  Not only that, but it uses famous works of arts as the illustrations for the myths!  So you get an introduction to famous pieces of artwork (paintings, sculptures, etc.) along with the Greek myths themselves.  I’m planning to line it up as much as possible with the Greek myths book, so that we’ll read one myth and do a sticker page that goes with it each day.  They don’t line up perfectly, but they actually do line up very well.

On to Rome!  Again, here, most of the books are ones that I added, with the exception of “Detectives in Togas” and “Roman Diary.”  I added “Roman News” because Sonlight uses “Greek News.”  



So, that basically covers history.  I have some additional books that I’m planning to add in that cover other periods of history, like ancient China and India, but most of them are library books and so I don’t have them available to take pictures.

Along with the history books, Sonlight includes a number of books that are just literature.  A few are historical, but most are pure fun, just great children’s literature.  In later cores starting with Core D, a much higher percentage of the literature books fit with the time period that you’re studying.  But in the early cores like B, only a few are historical.




Now that we’ve covered history and literature, let’s move on to science!  We’re almost finished Science B, and we’re going to do something different for a little while and try Apologia Astronomy.



It’s the first book in Apologia’s elementary series, so we’ve never tried any before.  I’m not sure how the girls will do with studying one subject for a longer period of time.  Also, Apologia generally schedules science to be 3 times a week, I believe.  I’m inclined to try just doing it every day, and see if we can keep up with the amount of reading.  Some people who do it every day just cut the readings into smaller portions.  So, we’ll see.  We’ve often gone through science faster than scheduled, doing two days’ worth at a time, but Sonlight Science and Apologia may be different in whether you can do that.

Next is math.  Math is our main subject, so there’s plenty of math go to around.  Singapore Math is our main math and Emily does it every day, but she also does a second math session that alternates between other math programs.  She does Life of Fred two days a week–this is her favorite math–and other days she does a Kumon book or a critical thinking book (those are pictured with language arts).



In Singapore Math, Emily is finishing up level 1A.  She’s actually finished the textbook and workbook, but as you can see from this picture, we also do the Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems books.  There are a number of review pages at the end of the Intensive Practice book, so it’s taking her a few weeks to finish those before we move on to 1B.  But I would anticipate that she’ll do 1B and 2A this year.  Since we add in those extra books, it does take us a little longer than the traditional semester to finish each book.

The Life of Fred series is really great.  They’re stories that follow a character named Fred, who is 5 years old, a math genius, and a college professor.  Yes, it’s meant to be funny.  In each chapter, he first discovers a need for some kind of math, and then does the math.  At the end, there are a few questions to make sure the child is following along.  Emily loves these.  So far she’s done Apples, Butterflies, and she’s almost done Cats.  I figure that she’ll probably do Dogs, Edgewood, and Farming over the next year.  Since we’re currently doing LoF 2 days a week, and there are 19 chapters in each book, that’s 57 chapters in 29 weeks.  She might end up getting to Goldfish, but I’m not sure.

Next up is language arts.  I was using Sonlight Language Arts for this, but I grew too frustrated over trying to match up Emily’s reading and writing levels.  So at this point, the only thing we’re using from Sonlight Language Arts is the activity sheets, which Emily really enjoys.  We’re almost finished with the activity sheets from LA 1, and we’ll be starting the LA 2 ones in a few weeks.



Critical Thinking is a bit of math and a bit of language arts, so I’m a little irregular with how I schedule it.  There are two thinking skills books here, and I’ll probably do one and then the other.  The Mind Benders book is basically logic puzzles.

Emily is just starting cursive this year.  The Transition book has half in manuscript, half in cursive.  So she does cursive 4 days a week, then manuscript one day a week, just so that she’s still getting practice in it.

Language Smarts is a fun language arts book that has basic grammar and writing skill practice.  We skipped over the first 67 pages because it was teaching basic reading skills that Emily already has and was bored by.  I did have her start with compound words, though, as, while she can read them fine, I thought the activities were beneficial because of how it has you guess what word it means.  It has good activities like finding synonyms and antonyms, determining whether something is fact or inference, and formatting a letter.  I think it’ll be a good book.

Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons go together.  WWE alternates between copywork (copying down a sentence from a good book) and narration (listening to a story, then writing down a summary of it).  It draws the copywork and narration passages from a number of very classic works of children’s literature, so I’m planning to have Emily read those books as readers as we go along.  Right now, for instance, she’s reading Mary Poppins.  She’s also done Alice in Wonderland, some stories from the Blue Fairy book, and a bit of Adventures of Pinocchio (she hated that one, so I let her off).  First Language Lessons is more of a grammar book.  It teaches things like nouns and verbs, common versus proper nouns, and the like.  It also includes some poetry memorization.

Emily is also doing All About Spelling and All About Reading, programs I really like.  She’s really pretty far ahead of the levels that are currently available of All About Reading, but I’m having her go through it anyway to really learn the rules.  She’s near the end of AAR 2, so I used AAR 3 in this picture.



We do have some extracurricular books, but to my eternal shame, we don’t get to these as often as I’d like.  We have a music program (the girls also take violin, this is more of a general music program), an art program, and we are learning Chinese.  While we’re actually about halfway through book 2 in this art program, ARTistic Pursuits, the first book has some art from various ancient civilizations, so we’ll probably go back through and do some of the art projects again as we cover those periods of history, just for fun.



I think I’m going to end this here, because it’s late and I’m getting tired.  I have a few pictures of the pre-kindergarten and preschool books that my younger daughters are using, so I will try to post those next time.  But these are the ones that my first grader is using, or that will be used by the whole family.  I hope it might be helpful to some people!