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I am going to be homeschooling our daughter. She is currently 4 years old (December birthday) and we are excited about this new experience. She is eager to read. She's been writing for a year now - she spends all day asking me "how do you spell" and as I spell words to her, she writes them. It's a lot of fun!

 

I will be attending a homeschool conference in a few weeks and am trying to decide on curriculum for next year. I was considering Sonlight, but have some concerns. The majority of the cost for Sonlight is reading books - books that we can easily get from the library.

 

We spend a lot of time already each day with reading and will continue to do so. I am wondering of good curriculums to get her sounding out words. I have looked at the 100 easy lessons book - but it doesnn't really grab my attention.

 

I am a new homeschooler, so need things spelled out a bit more. Thank you for your help!

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We really like McRuffy Phonics. It tells you exactly what to do. With Sonlight you can purchase the guide and then check the books out at the library. I've gotten mine also from paperbackswap.com. You can also check out the used boards here, at homeschoolreviews.com, and homeschoolclassifieds.com. I've been able to save a ton of money doing that.

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Have you checked out OPG? We skipped the first section about learning the letter sounds, because ds already knew them at 4. I will say that he started out not too excited about the book, but just this week, it is what he asks for first! It really is a simple, no frills way of learning to read and it works.

 

Also, if your dd likes writing, I would definitely suggest ETC. Both my kids love these books.

 

I would skip Sonlight if I were you... like you said you could easily get quality books at the library to read.

 

If you want to do math, I would go with Saxon. it is easy enough for young ones not to get overwhelmed. You could start with K or 1. K is a very gentle intro, with little to no writing. (Mostly games, number activities, and learning to count.) If you go with 1, I would wait till she is a little bit older (closer to 5).

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Have you checked out OPG? We skipped the first section about learning the letter sounds, because ds already knew them at 4. I will say that he started out not too excited about the book, but just this week, it is what he asks for first! It really is a simple, no frills way of learning to read and it works.

 

Also, if your dd likes writing, I would definitely suggest ETC. Both my kids love these books.

 

I would skip Sonlight if I were you... like you said you could easily get quality books at the library to read.

 

If you want to do math, I would go with Saxon. it is easy enough for young ones not to get overwhelmed. You could start with K or 1. K is a very gentle intro, with little to no writing. (Mostly games, number activities, and learning to count.) If you go with 1, I would wait till she is a little bit older (closer to 5).

 

 

 

What is OPG? Where do you find this? Thanks for the help!

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I will be using WinterPromise Basic K Phonics with my young 5yo in the fall. This year we did I'm Ready To Learn preschool while he is four. I can't be a testimonial for the WP phonics program yet because we haven't used it yet. It's something to check out, though. One thing about WP or SL, if you decide you want one of their themes or cores, you can buy the books used at half.com or betterworldbooks.com as well as borrow from the library in some cases, just buying the instructor guide from the homeschool publisher.

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We use ABeCeDarian with my four-year-old, I like it because the teacher manual lays everything out and it's not terribly writing intensive, the level A also includes handwriting instruction. We added BOB books and Nora Gaydos readers for practice until she could read "real books" and now (doing level B) Ariel can read easy books like Green Eggs and Ham and Go, Dog, Go.

 

There are spelling chain activities, which help the child learn to spell, like you lay out C A T to spell cat, then tell them to use the letter tiles to make cap, then map, etc.

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If you are a Christian you may really enjoy Little Hands to Heaven. Samples here:

http://www.heartofdakota.com/

This has Bible stories, finger plays, songs, activities, and crafts that all mesh and help the child to REALLY remember the stories and love them. Speaking from experience. :o)

 

You can skip the letters part and just add your own phonics if you feel your child is past a letter per week.

 

I love the looks of Adventures in Phonics. You can view samples of the wkbk, TM, set of 4 phonics readers, and charts here:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=29810

Edited by Susie in MS
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I wouldn't buy any specific curriculum. At 4 or 5, she simply needs a bit of reading, writing and gentle math instruction. Other than some paper, pencils, markers, glue, and other artsy/craftsy stuff, and maybe some workbooks (Kumons, Singapore, Rod & Staff), all she needs is to be read to. I think it's a waste of time and money to purchase prepackage curriculum for littles when all those materials can be found at your library and Target/Wal-mart/Barnes and Noble.

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I agree with Stacey in NJ. The Rod and Staff preschool series of workbooks is really great. I'm of the better late than early camp, too, so feel there isn't a lot of reason to rush into "curriculum" at this young age. So much of the learning at this time just comes naturally to them.

This may go without saying, but something to think about as you read the many responses you will receive is what *your* goals, children, life and home are like. Many of these programs are really great, but that doesn't mean they will be great for *you*! You might want to spend some time thinking about what your vision of homeschool is, what you want your children to come away with, what things are important and what things you can live with "good enough". It can be very overwhelming to read the message boards and everybody else's opinion, before you've had a chance to form your own!

Edited by LoveBaby
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I've done a lot with the Sonlight 3/4 and 4/5 programs by just using their reading lists. They pick books, but I can get them from the library and read them on our own. The Sonlight teacher's manuals don't add a lot anyway. There is a Sonlight Preschool yahoo group that has a number of schedules using the Sonlight Preschool material. The Developing the Early Learner workbooks are good; my five year old has loved them. We worked through Headsprout because it was fun and she is not a handwriting kid. It's not my favorite for phonics, but it got her reading with few tears. We moved on to Explode the Code and have played around with phonics from Dancing Bears. We have read some easy books and the Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader. If you want to do math, I like Right Start. But none of it is important. Read out loud to her, and if she's interested in academics, some phonics and math.

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My ds is oh-so-close to four, as he would happily tell you (birthday's later this month). For next year, we're planning on doing some Kumon workbooks (cutting, tracing, all that jazz), phonics (OPGTR), handwriting of some kind - probably the Handwriting without Tears preK stuff, and then math of some kind. I haven't decided if I'll do math formally or informally. Aside from that, we'll just read lots of books. I attempted to do a big formal 'curriculum' for prek and k with my oldest and this is what I've learned as a result. ;) Any 'content' subjects I want to touch on will just be part of what we read aloud.

 

Oh, yes, and lots of time outside. :)

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We used various workbooks...letters, numbers, colors, shapes, cutting, pasting, mazes, hidden pictures, etc...from a variety of publishers--School Zone, Fred Schaffer, Carson-Dellosa, Kumon, and others. Most I got from a teacher store here. The Kumon ones I bought on Amazon.

 

Then we have lots of puzzles (started with the wood peg puzzles, then the cardboard ones within a frame, and worked up to 24-25 piece boxed puzzles), lacing, counting bears, flashcards, coloring books, stickers, playdough, stencils, dry erase board & markers, dry erase activity books, and on and on and on.

 

I bought 3 years worth of Brain Quest, and every now and then pull that out and continue where we left off.

 

I also bought a number of things we're barely using anymore, or not at all: Five in a Row, Cuisinaire Rods, Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K, Explode the Code Pre-K. I might get back to some of those for my oldest dd, or maybe not. I have a feeling that I'll save HWT and ETC for younger dd.

 

Oh, and we give the library a reason to exist (we check out tons of picture books--also early readers as read alouds).

Edited by gardening momma
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When my oldest was that age (also a Dec. birthday) we used OPG, a math workbook from Walmart just because he begged for it, and Five in a Row. We have a fabulous library too so just checked out tons of books. I loved the FIAR literature-based units. Now Homeschoolshare.com has tons of free activities and printouts for all the FIAR books and lots of other great children's books if you didn't want to buy a manual at all.

 

I really credit FIAR with igniting the love for learning and love for good books in my children.

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My four year olds don't get much more than lessons in Phonics Pathways if they're interested, and a library card. :lol: Well, the Leapfrog Alphabet Factory movie is perfect for that age. Some of mine liked workbooky stuff, some didn't.

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Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. Here it is at Amazon.

 

This is absolutely what I would recommend as well. The lessons are short, easy to use and it's phonetic. DS just started it this school year and is already whizzing through Magic Treehouse books. I can't say enough good things about it.

 

Other than that maybe some math and handwriting, but I wouldn't push it if the child wasn't interested at that age. For math I'd do Basic counting, shapes, patterns, etc. maybe, but that would be about it.

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My second DD will be turning 4 in late September. This is what I have planned for her.

 

 

  • Sonlight's P 4/5. (I used this curriculum with my oldest DD, so I don't have to buy it again. :D It is SOOO worth it! If I had to, I'd get the books at the library, but I really appreciate owning them. My girls read them over and over)
  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. DD is showing interest in learning to read now, so I'm working through it slowly already.
  • BOB Books, Sonlight's Fun Tales
  • Kumon and other Pre-K workbooks. DD loves to "do school" like big sis.

 

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