Nuts and Bolts of Kindergarten

On a typical day, Noah knows we do 3 “school times”: Calendar and Bible, Story time, and Box time (math and phonics). We spend about 90 minutes per day on formal school subjects.

Other things like read alouds and science get woven into the regular fabric of our day, so to Noah they wouldn’t get classified as “school time”, but there is plenty of learning happening.

Next year we will be doing things quite differently, but this is an overview of what materials have worked for kindergarten.

Calendar Time: We use selected items like weather graphing, letter of the week, and calendar work from Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, and Mama Jenn. My favorite part has been using Songs for Saplings Bible verses and the accompanying printables. I’m amazed at how well both boys learned the Bible passages!

Bible: The Story Bible includes gorgeous illustrations along with each Bible story. The Story Bible includes a few questions, a simple activity, and a prayer at the end of each story. I dream of buying the mini poster size reproductions at Northwestern Publishing House!

Literature: We started with Five in a Row – story books with accompanying activities. Then we changed to reading from a Charlotte Mason booklist, but still doing many of the activities like Five in a Row. We also do audio books and read alouds, most currently Trumpet of the Swan and Magic Tree House.

Phonics: We started the year with Montessori phonics work. After Noah made progress with those, we switched to Explode the Code workbooks.

Yes, he draws obnoxious lines and x’s over pages when he’s done. Homeschool is cool that way.

Early Readers: Dick and Jane, Bob Books, and currently loving the Biscuit books

Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears

Math: Currently using Math Mammoth and Life of Fred. We dabbled in Khan Academy, Harcourt, Aleks, and MEP this year, but now we’ve come back to Math Mammoth. I intend to stick with these two picks until Noah’s ready for Beast Academy.


Science: Mostly nature study with interest-led learning. We head out hiking at least once a week and are currently obsessed with birds.


We also do many things that do not go directly with the listed curricula. We throw in sight word work, living math, narration, flashcards, beginning coding apps on the iPad. Also, there’s Wild Kratts and Magic School Bus – and an occasional youtube video of baby pandas counts, right?

Are these the same curricula used in schools? Or are they specifically homeschool curricula?

Some of each. Handwriting Without Tears started as a program geared toward homeschoolers. Now it’s used in regular classrooms. The MEP math program started in schools and now is popular with homeschoolers.

A school chooses curricula to fit the average learner. One of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability to choose curricula to fit one child’s learning needs. Consequently, many of the programs we’ve chosen to use with Noah are not regular school programs.

As an example, Explode the Code is a phonics program known to have success with students with speech and language issues and that consists of simple black and white workbook pages.  It’s connected amazingly well with Noah!

Yet I would never choose Explode the Code for a classroom of 20 learners. While it might connect with a few of the kids, there are other programs out there that would connect with a greater majority of students.


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