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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our Kindergarten Homeschooling "Curriculum" and Supplies

Y'all should knowi by now that I'm homeschooling my kids. Lee is pretty much working on a kindergarten level, whereas Ike is... I dunno, working at his own level. (I have no clue how someone would differentiate between a 2 year old level and a 3 year old level. I just know that Lee is doing pre-first grade workbooks, so its easier to peg him at the kindergarten level.

Our homeschooling day varies tremendously. Some days, like today, we do lots of schooling, and some days are pretty much living life in a homesteading way, which isn't any less educational; it just is educational in a non academic sense, per se.

We've spent very little on actual schooling supplies for our kids. What we have spent, for the most part, has been given as birthday gifts, because, like most young kids, my children are absolutely thrilled to learn, ask to learn, beg to be taught things, so educational workbooks, games, and activities are the types of gifts my children love most, much more than "regular" toys. By getting educational birthday gifts for our children, we hit two birds with one stone and spend less money than if we bought birthday nonsense gifts and homeschooling supplies.
As I've mentioned before in the post about my kids' birthday party, grandma also helps by getting educational birthday gifts, making my total expenditure even less (not to mention less clutter in the house from toys that won't even get used).

What do I actually consider to be part of our homeschooling "curriculum" and "educational tools" in our home that we use to homeschool the boys?

First, there are all these books, workbooks, and magazines.



Last year I bought 2 workbooks (for pre-kindergarten aged children) and gave them to Lee for his birthday. This year for his birthday, I bought two more workbooks for kindergarten/entering first grade that teach so many different subjects, from math to sorting to reading and writing the local language, etc..
I borrowed a copy of Explode the Code, a workbook that teaches how to read and write English, from a friend of mine who used it with her kids, and now have moved on past it
In addition to those things, I had a neighbor moving away who was downsizing. She put out all her children's old schoolbooks on her front lawn, first come, first serve. I found so many amazing finds there, many of them perfect for Lee right now, including a book that teaches to read with Phonics, plus a few more slightly advanced beginning to read books.

There also were science books, geography books, and religious study books, all of them on a 1-3 grade level. I've also dumpster dived for a whole set of math books, from 1st to 8th grade, and basic language arts  textbooks for lower elementary school.
I also have a great book that teaches botany to kids in a story book form that I got for free in exchange for a review on my blog, which will be coming shortly.

To supplement all of that, we've got a bunch of back issues of Ranger Rick nature magazines to teach the kids all about different nature subjects.

Total money spent on the books part of the curriculum? Less than 20 dollars over 2 years, and they doubled as birthday gifts.

In addition to schoolbooks, I also consider these 6 games as part of our homeschooling material. 


At the top left, you can see some of our Lego (knock off brand). It really develops our kid's fine motor coordination and creativity- Lee makes some truly amazing things with his Lego, better even than I could sometimes! He learns about symmetry, balance, patterns, and so much more from playing with those Legos. 

Underneath it is a game called "Shape Shuffle" that is so terrific, I can't share enough good things about it. It teaches shape recognition and problem solving skills, not to mention constructive thinking skills. There are all different levels in it, so that its good also for my 2 year old, and also for my 4 year old, and there are even harder levels so that my son can still be using it in another year or two.

The game has different boards with different pictures on it, as well as different colored shapes. You put together the shapes to create the designs shown on the different boards. 

There are simple boards, like this one, where you just match the shapes, that my 2 year old, Ike, has fun doing.


There also is the harder level boards where there is just a basic outline of the picture, where the kid has to figure out which shapes combine to make that design. Some of these are perfect for Lee, and some are still too hard for him to do on his own.


This game is really terrific, and the best thing about it is that it was mine as a kid, so my mom just passed it down to me to use for my kids, so I didn't need to pay for it. 
I'm sure with some creativity and some very cheap supplies (cardboard, markers, and scissors), a frugal parent can make a game like this all on their own.

Below that is a game that is really meant for 8 years old and up- Brick by Brick, a puzzle game made from 5 different shaped bricks that you have to combine to make all sorts of different shape combinations, ranging from relatively easy to very hard.
There are different cards with different challenges, and on the back of each, there are the solutions, telling you which brick shapes go in which place. Lee is still too young to do this game from start to finish, but he's able to piece together the various towers using the solutions on the reverse of the cards.
Its a fun game from kids through adults, and a game that Lee will definitely be growing into. It was a gift from my mom as she saw how much fun Lee had playing with that toy at her house when we visited. In the meantime, its fun for myself and my husband to play with as well!

In the upper right is the amazingly stupendous game that my mom and step dad bought Lee for his birthday this week. (Sorry, its not available in the US, or I'd say what it was called.)

First there is this big board with multicolored triangle "pegs". There are all sorts of patterns made from different colors that are shown on cards that the child has to match up. This has both easy patterns/pictures as well as complicated ones. Lee just sits there and does this on his own; it's so much fun for him to use!


It also comes with this spiral notebook with all sorts of different activities for the child to do.
Here are some of the many, many educational activities/things for the child to figure out inside.


In this one, the child is supposed to figure out where the animal is in relation to the various objects, and match them to the pictures above.


In this one, the child is supposed to figure out which group of shapes/pictures each of the pictures on top belongs to.


This one- match the silhouette with the picture.


This one- which part of the chicken is missing?


Which 2 animals combined to make this silly animal?


Which picture is missing in each pattern?


What number is missing?

In the spiral notebook, there also are glossy pages with mazes, writing practice, drawing practice, etc... along with a dry erase marker.

Its a really terrific game. 

I also have another game that I bought Lee last year as a birthday gift. Its called "Preschool University" and has many different puzzle games that teach everything from sorting, categorizing, numbers, noting differences, etc...

And then there's the homemade mathematics manipulatives that I wrote about last week. 

In addition to all these aforementioned things, I also use a bunch of different materials to teach religious subjects, and we have a whole bunch of craft supplies that we use to do all sorts of educational crafts and projects.

So, not too much spent on educational material on my part, but fortunately, lots and lots and lots of learning to be accomplished without breaking the bank!

Do you homeschool your kids? What type of curriculum and supplies do you use to educate your children? How much have you spent on homeschooling supplies? Would you give homeschooling things as birthday or Christmas gifts, or do you have a problem with doing something like that?

Linking up to Simple Lives Thursday. WFMW

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I love your blog! I found this part very interesting for my kids, but I was wondering if you could please tell me the name of that terrific game that it is not sold in the US. Thanks a lot!

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