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Adding 3 "littles" Need Curriculum Advice (long)


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We will be finalizing our adoption of our 3 foster children in March, and will be adding them to our homeschool. I'm having a difficult time choosing which curriculum might be a good fit to teach all 3 together. Eventually, I'd like to teach all 5 together, but we will need time to adjust to having everyone home and getting used to a new routine.

Here is some info on them:

Boy, turned 6 in Dec., currently attending private K at Primrose School, still learning letters and letter sounds, not yet reading, printing needs improvement, mild sensory issues and occasional ADHD tendencies (not diagnosed).

Girl, will turn 5 in April, currently attending private PreK at Primrose School, knows all letters and most letter sounds, has begun to read short vowel words, prints very nicely

Boy, 3 1/2, currently attending preschool at Primrose School, knows a few letters, does a good job keeping up with his siblings, advanced language and verbal skills, incredible vocabulary and memory, traces letters and his name


They are all primarily auditory and then hands-on, especially the boys.



I used Sonlight with my two girls and loved it. However, over the course of the last year, I've already ready the PreK and some of K to them. We have bedtime storytime almost every night, a very treasured time together. I'm currently using a combination of Sonlight and Tapestry of Grace, with my older girls, age almost 11 and just turned 9, and for now will continue with those.


I would love to use something that has a variety of learning styles and that can be easily adapted to meet the different abilities of the three kids. I need something that requires little planning or preparation, and hopefully is low-moderate in cost. I also want their lessons to be fun, with hands-on activities, singing and play.


At the risk of influencing your comments, here is what I've considered so far:

1. Sonlight PreK and/or K, following the IG and repeating anything we've already done, adding in lapbooks and notebooking, hands-on etc.

2. Heart of Dakota Little Hands to Heaven or Little Hearts for His Glory. I am very drawn to this option, as it seems to include most of what I'm searching for. However, I have just a few of the books and none of the guides, so I'd be in essence starting fresh, which could be pricey.

3. Five in a Row- I have these guides, but have never really used them. My intention was to use the activities for books we read in Sonlight.

4. Letter of the Week at letteroftheweek.com- This is free, and pretty much scheduled. Hunting down the books might be time consuming.

5. Creating my own by choosing each element individually. Would be time consuming, but might be cost effective as I take advantage of what I already own and free resources on the internet.

6. Search out the advice of others.



Thank you so much for your suggestions!




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WOO HOO! Congrats on your wonderful addition. I'd suggest FIAR for a great time together or MFW K, which I understand it tender (never used it, just hear about it all the time).


I'd encourage The Phonics Road for all language arts. It can be used time and again; it also makes a nice compliment to TOG. I enjoy using them both and have been very, very pleased with out results. PR will pick up where the 5 & 6 year olds are and will lend itself very nicely to the youngest for letter of the week.

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Just wanted to say that I did LOTW with my 4 yr old. The books are pretty easy to find. I found at least one or two at the library or even on my own shelves. If I couldn't, I could substitute something similar. It has links to some online and poetry on line. It was a little time consuming to print things at the beginning of the week. I would spend Sun. evening printing off plans for the week and the coloring sheets and poetry and making the flashcards. But it was a wonderful year. We learned the sign language for each letter. Lots of good projects and games and ideas to choose from. Similar to FIAR but based on the letters. I think it would be fun to do in a group.


FIAR would be good for a group too, but you would have to add phonics, while LOTW is phonics.. just a thought.

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I LOVE HOD for the ages you are describing. I did Little Hands to Heaven with my oldest when she was 4 and we had the best time. It sounds exactly like what you were describing with the songs and the FUN!!! I didn't find it that pricey. I think that I spent around $75 for the whole thing (manual, books, CDs). Good luck with your decision!

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I would look at LHFHG. All 3 of the dc could participate in the curriculum. HOD lets you choose your own math and phonics/LA. You could have each dc doing their own math and phonics and do the rest together. You can also choose what to use as handwriting. It would be easy to place each dc at their own level in these subjects.


What do you want for Math. HOD suggests Singapore. You could have the youngest do the ABC series from R&S for phonics and math. The k'er could do the entire LHFHG as written, choosing RME or TRL. I use CLE LTR half speed for my k'er. I don't know how well the oldest reads, but maybe the older 2 could go through a phonics program together.


I use LHFHG with a 5 and a 7 year old and it works really well.

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I do have older children, two girls ages almost 11 and just turned 9. We've settled into a combination of Sonlight and Tapestry of Grace that is working pretty well for them. Even at the LG stage, I think our "littles" are too young to tag along.


Considering expenses, we divide the cost among 3 children, so we will get our money out of almost anything we choose. It's still a goal to keep spending as low as possible, and to use what we already have.


We are still negotiating subsidy with the state. It's my wish for them to finish the school year with their classes. If the state will agree to continue paying through May, we will let them finish the year. We school year-round, especially during the summer because it's so hot here in the summer. Since they are used to going to school everyday, it might be best to keep them in a learning routine.


One of the things I like about HOD is that my girls can be very active in helping them, which will be fun for them too. I've seen people discuss using the right side and left side of the page in order to combine children....have to find out how that works.




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I've been looking very closely at HOD's LHFHG for all 3. I'd pick individual Phonics and Math for each of them. While examining the week lesson plan sample, I really liked how everything ties into the Glory of God. I have experience with Before the Code, but haven't seen the two that HOD suggests. I've also been looking at Happy Phonics. Any ideas?



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For phonics, I would do something like Spell To Write and Read. I'd just do it all together. For us, I just started with all the phonics cards... I'd do one or two each day..... you can see if they are getting them. I would just have them do the phonics orally. You can have them draw out the letters in the air, or sand, if you want to practice writing, too.

I wouldn't be set on teaching them to write, unless they are already really writing on their own, basically wanting to write... (Like... if you let them... would they just choose to draw with no captions.... ) If they want to write... great... then I'd do the cursive I mention below. (it's actually easier, developmentally, to do cursive first...)

I really like the "cursive first" approach, and the 3rd grade Handwriting Without Tears is a great book to get. I think it's easier to teach "correct" letters if starting with something the child realizes they need to learn. You would need a Teacher's guide and 2 or 3 student workbooks.

If you choose to print, the Handwriting Without Tears printing is easy and simple to teach. Both cursive and print Teacher's books give great modeling for HOW to teach them to hold their pencil.... and how to form letters correctly.

You can also do a ton of reading. Teaching to cooperate, follow instructions, lost of reading to them.... well... that's what I'd do :) I'm not sure how long you've had them... But really bonding would be my #1 "subject"....


Congratulations on this step for your family!!!!


(Oh yes, Teacher's supplies should include, but are not limited... to Yummy Dark Chocolate in big quantities :))

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Yay! It sure does have its challenges but once you get adjusted it really is enjoyable. I added 4 littles 2 years ago from the Philippines.


When they first came, we spent a lot of time reading, cuddling and having calendar time. Plus I would lapbook to make it fun and get used to schooling at home.


Now...I teach them the 3 Rs at their individual levels. I use Spell to Write and Read (SWR) and Math U See (MUS). You will find what works for you. It takes a/b 1.5-2 hours daily. When I was introducing school to them, I used the Rod & Staff A-G workbooks.


Once we cover that, we do everything else together. However, I do not hit every subject everyday. We might do history 1-2x week, science 1-2x week, geography the same. I use a lot of living books and hands on projects or notebooking/lapbooking as they love to create and draw.


We are very slowing going through Early American History using books I put into 8 topics through Beautiful Feet and Guest Hollow as a guide. I use History Pockets, lapbooks and notebooking to collect what we create.


We use Galloping the Globe for geography. This is out 2nd year. First yaer I intro'd the basics of geography. Then we covered a/b 6 countries in Asia. We are in Europe now and on our 5th country. Lots of ideas can be found in GTG, which include cultures, goods, music, arts, literature, mapping, flags, money, monuments, history. Again, I collect what we do in notebooking folders.


Science is a lot of nature study, nature walks, living books. We were covering Astronomy this year using Apologia as a spine, but adding other books. But my kids love animals, so we aer always reading other books of interest. Plus we watch the Discover & Do videos (from Sonlight) that folowing the Starting Point Science books by Usbourne. They really enjoy these, and maybe we will try a few of the experiments. But we are not rigid with it.


I have the Draw, Write, Now 8 book set. They pull those books out a lot and draw, draw, draw.


We play lots of board games, cards, puzzles, etc. They are a very close sibling group and close in age also (4 kids in exactly 5 yrs), so we have our own little co-op right here.


When the weather is nice, we go geocaching while hiking in our county and state parks.


We also have Bible time, memorizing scripture, catechism, and Bible stories.


So we are learning to enjoy by finding out and discovery. We enjoy field trips too. Oh, you are going to have so much fun!


Enjoy the journey through the challenges. :grouphug:

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I think FIAR would be wonderful for that age grouping. It's very gentle and cuddly, with lots of opportunity for emotional connection, but it also opens up the world beautifully and gives them a taste of all there is to learn about. You'd want to add phonics for your 5-year-old, but the 4-year-old should be fine with just FIAR.

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Congratulations! I just started using LHFHG and I don't think you will be disapointed if you get it. I bought everything but reading and handwriting through them and it was less than $150, far cheaper than piecing curriculums together in my experience especially since you will only have to add consumables for 2 other students. Both my dd and my 3 year old ds love it (ds does the hands on activities). For reading I've used Phonics Pathways till dd got good at sounding out cvc words, we moved on to Bob books and then switched to Starfall. She LOVES starfall, I bought her the worksheet/journal and a set of the books so she can read them off the computer. We do a book a week and I can really tell she is grasping the concepts and getting more fluent in her reading and spelling. After Starfall or if she gets stuck I plan on moving her back to Phonics Pathways. Ds loves Starfall too (the ABCs part) and can recognize most of his letters and their sounds now even though I've never taught them to him.

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