I have been homeschooling my daughter for two years now. I started homeschool preschool with her when she was 2.5 years old. After two years of preschool work, she started kindergarten in September 2016. Unlike most kindergarteners in public schools, my daughter learned to read right after she turned 4, so, although I consider her at a kindergarten level, many of the materials that she and I use are marketed for first grade. If you are interested in any of the materials, easily find copies on Amazon via my affiliate links.
In addition to specific subjects, I included a number of general kindergarten workbooks in my kindergarten curriculum.
Essential Skills and Practice, Grade K provides essential practice in language arts, math, science, and social studies The 320-page black-and-white workbook include high-interest reading passages, math challenge questions, science experiments, crossword puzzles, word searches, and more that supplement our larger lessons. My daughter especially enjoyed the section of social studies activities.
Although I had read mixed reviews about The Visual Guide series, my daughter and I both enjoyed The Visual Guide to Kindergarten. The 192-page full-color workbook uses bold infographics to present fascinating facts about a variety of topics in language arts, math, social studies, and science. My daughter loved the change in style from conventional workbooks and textbooks. The infographics are easy to read but packed full of information. The questions and other activities for each section help reinforce the information presented.
My Kindergarten Learning Book covers multiple areas of study including the alphabet and printing, reading skills, social studies, transition math, addition, and fun activities. The 384-page workbook also comes with a CD-ROM of the complete book. My daughter enjoyed most the activities throughout the workbook. I especially liked the social studies section, which included short sections on each of the fifty states and some major countries in the world.
Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills, Grade K guides kindergartners step-by-step through a variety of engaging and developmentally appropriate activities. The 544-page full-color workbook covers topics such as phonics, reading, reading comprehension, language arts, writing, and math. The workbook provided plenty of extra practice for my daughter on basic skills, specifically in language arts and math.
My daughter loves Curious George, so I included Curious George Adventures in Learning, Kindergarten: Story-Based Learning in our kindergarten curriculum. Recommended for students between the ages of 5 and 6, the 320-page workbook features twelve new mini-stories that provide context for math, reading, and science practice that strengthen foundational skills in math, literacy, and science. My daughter completed one section at a time.
With 320 full-color pages, Reading & Math Jumbo Workbook: Grade K provides additional activities on alphabet, sight words, handwriting, phonics, numbers, shapes, and other topics necessary for kindergarten-level reading and math. Although some of the pages were a bit challenging, I like the variety offered by the workbook. The different sections provided many exercises that I had not seen in any other kindergarten reading or math workbook. I also appreciated the sections on test taking because my daughter needs to learn the skill for the future.
Learning to Read
As I already mentioned, my daughter learned to read at the beginning of the year right after she turned 4. I taught her to read using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner. By the time my daughter reached lesson 75, she and I abandoned the book because she was already reading extremely fluently on her own. Whenever I am asked for recommendations for teaching a child to read, I immediately recommend 100 Easy Lessons without hesitation. I plan to use the book with my son when he gets a little older. The book is also aimed towards older children who are struggling to read using other methods.
Because my daughter could already read pretty well on her own when she and I began kindergarten last fall, I decided to use the five textbooks in the McGraw-Hill Reading (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5) series for a large part of her reading lessons. Each lesson begins with a poem for the child to read and then a read-together section on the author and/or illustrator of the subsequent reading. At the end of the reading are questions for the child to answer and some additional activities. The reading become a little more difficult with each lesson and book.
I picked up the 2016 edition of First Grade Reading 32-Page Workbook with Sticker Sheet from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. Each page contains a very short reading passage followed by some questions. Each two-page spread focuses on a different reading skill such as the central idea, order and sequencing, context clues, and summarizing.
Having used multiple DK Workbooks for preschool, I purchased DK Workbooks: Language Arts, Kindergarten to use during kindergarten lessons. The 60-page workbook includes activities on upper and lower case letters, syllables, plurals, simple punctuation, and other fundamentals of language arts. The exercises provided additional practice on topics that my daughter had already learned. However, like all DK workbooks, the pages are glossy, which makes writing in the workbook more difficult.
Although not labeled as a reading workbook, DK Workbooks: Spelling, Kindergarten focuses more on reading skills than spelling. The 60-page workbook includes activities on letters, vowels, consonants, letter sounds, rhyming words, syllables, and reading. The workbook contains quite a bit of handwriting practice and basic reading practice but not as much spelling as I had hoped. Like all DK workbooks, the pages are also glossy, of which I am not a fan because regular crayons, markers, and pencils do not work well on the shiny surface.
Handwriting is currently the largest focus of our writing lessons. To work on her printing skills, I started with The Brainy Book of Handwriting, which is recommended for kindergarten through second grade. The first part of the book focuses on printing letters and then words. The second half focuses on cursive. After my daughter finishes all the printing lessons, I will save the rest of the book for when she starts learning cursive writing in a year or two. I also purchased a couple of other handwriting workbooks as supplements: Handwriting: Printing, DK Workbooks: Handwriting: Printing, Kindergarten, and Traditional Printing.
For spelling lessons, I have been using the printable spelling lists for Grade 1 from K12Reader. The first grade spelling words program covers 36 weeks with each week containing five different printable spelling worksheet activities. Each week introduces eight new words in some combination of sight words, rhyming words, pattern words, and academic vocabulary. Unlike her mother, my daughter is awesome at spelling, so I also supplement each week with additional rhyming words.
I also used the Sylvan workbook Kindergarten Success with Sight Words as a spelling supplement. I must admit that the activities were a bit easy for my daughter, who started reading right after she turned 4. Instead of a page a day, my daughter completed a section at a time. Depending on when my son learns to read, I may start using this 128-page full-color workbook sooner with him.
I additionally picked up a copy of the 2016 First Words Homework Helper Kindergarten from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 64-page full-color workbook introduces young learners to beginning words through fun writing and spelling activities and other games.
For math lessons, I am using the textbook Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K and the accompanying workbook. The 420-page full color textbook begins with basic counting and contains sections on patterns, plane shapes, solid shapes, wholes and parts, and more. The 124-page black and white workbooks provides supplemental practice for each section of the textbook. My daughter has been completing an entire unit every two weeks.
Math Made Easy from DK Publishing provides a complete home-study program to help children practice essential math skills. The 160-page workbook covers numerals, more and less, basic addition and subtraction, size, and position, among other mathematical topics. The activities are engaging, and my daughter can read the instructions herself. My biggest complaint is that, like all DK workbooks, the pages are glossy.
The activities in Kindergarten Basic Math Success were designed to help children catch up, keep up, and get ahead in basic math skills. From Sylvan Learning, the 128-page full-color workbook includes sections on numbers; sorting, classification, and patterns; geometry; and measurement. The workbook was designed to be completed one page a day, but my daughter typically completed larger chunks as review. However, I did not realized that Kindergarten Super Math Success, which I also purchased to supplement our lessons, included the full Basic Math Success. Super Math Success also includes games, puzzles, and additional shapes and geometry. I suggest purchasing only the Super Math Success to avoid duplication of material.
Created for children between the ages 5 and 6 in kindergarten, DK Workbooks: Math: Kindergarten contains exercises on sorting objects into sets, counting to twenty, comparing shapes, writing time, and other fundamentals of math. The 60-page workbook provides supplemental practice pages to a larger math curriculum. Like all DK workbooks, the pages are glossy, of which I am not a fan. I honestly would stick to Math Made Easy and skip DK Workbooks: Math: Kindergarten.
More of a math book than a problem-solving book, DK Workbooks: Problem Solving, Kindergarten teaches children to think critically and build math skills to help solve word problems. The 60-page workbook includes activities on numbers, counting, shapes, addition, subtraction, and graphs. All the activities are appropriate for kindergarten-aged students. However, like all DK workbooks, the pages are glossy, of which I am not a fan because regular crayons, markers, and pencils do not work well on the shiny surface.
As I already mentioned, my daughter loves Curious George. I therefore included Learning with Curious George Kindergarten Math as part of our math curriculum. The 64-page full-color workbook includes activities on gathering information, graphs, sorting, differences, patterns, and following directions. The activities were a bit easy for my advanced kindergartener, but she loved the workbook anyway.
The Complete Book of Numbers & Counting, Grades PK-1 provides activities on key math concepts such as addition, subtraction, time, money, place value, graphing, comparing numbers, and recognizing number rhymes. As with other subject-specific workbooks in the series, the comprehensive workbook offers focused instruction and fun activities. The 416-page full-color workbook is geared towards children in preschool through first grade, so I will probably start the book sooner with my son and I will continue the more advanced sections with my daughter as she begins first grade level work.
I introduced time to my daughter using the My Book of Easy Telling Time: Learning about Hours and Half-Hours workbook from Kumon. The workbook introduces young learners to the concept of telling time by concentrating on the hours first and then incrementally introducing children to half- and quarter-hours, which also helps improve the general understanding of numbers. I like the slower pace of this workbook and the repetition, which reinforces the basics of telling time.
Telling Time: Grades 1-2 provides 32 full-color pages of activities that keep younger learners focused while practicing important concepts such as telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, and minute; reading traditional and digital clocks; and solving word problems. The workbook has been an excellent supplement to our lessons on telling time.
I am also using Telling Time Stick Kids Workbook, Grade K and What Time Is It? Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1 as supplements to our math lessons on telling time. The kindergarten workbook helps children develop an awareness of time through activities that focus on parts of the day, duration of time, telling time, and time vocabulary. The first grade workbook provides activities that focus on telling time, time word problems, and time vocabulary. In addition to analog and digital clocks, the workbook also includes practice with calendars, which is a useful addition that I have not found in other telling time workbooks.
I introduced money to my daughter using the My First Book of Money: Counting Coins workbook from Kumon. The workbook introduces little learners to the concept of money by providing plenty of practice working with each coin before moving on to the relationships between coins less than $1. I like the slower pace and the skip counting activities, which have helped my daughter better learn to count money.
Learning about Money: Grade 1 provides 32 full-color pages of money-related activities including identifying coins, counting sums of money, solving money-related problems, and more. My only complaint is that the workbook includes only pennies, nickels, and dimes — no quarters.
Recommended for children between the ages of 5 and 7, Grow to Know: Addition from Kumon provides a step-by-step workbook that helps children learn to add the numbers 1 through 9. The workbook is extremely basic but offers plenty of additional addition practice. My daughter completed two pages at a time.
I picked up the 2016 edition of 1st Grade Addition Homework Helper from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 64-page workbook provides plenty of extra basic addition practice. My daughter completed a handful of pages each day after she learned the basics of adding small numbers.
For science lessons, I am using the textbook Houghton Mifflin Science: Level K and the accompanying workbook. My daughter finds the 80-page textbook quite easy to read. I like the question at the end of each lesson that I use as reflection. I also like the reading book recommendations. The consumable workbook reinforces the information from each lesson with a full-sheet practice sheet for each lesson.
Although I am not necessarily a fan of Common Core, I have also been using Common Core Science 4 Today, Grade K: Daily Skill Practice to supplement our science lessons. The 96-page workbook provides standards-based activities for each day of the week on a variety of science topics. My daughter completed a week at a time as opposed to doing one smaller activity each day over an entire week. I used the weekly topic pages as review after studying the same topic in Houghton Mifflin Science: Level K.
My daughter is extremely interested in space, so I also used National Geographic Kids Super Space Sticker Activity Book from National Geographic Kids as an additional science supplement. I like the little snippets of information, which have been supplementing our other readings about space, planets, and the solar system. I only wish that the activities were more related to learning about space than some of the simpler activities like mazes. The aliens are a bit off-putting too. However, my daughter enjoyed the activity book, which worked as a nice supplemental resource for our homeschool lessons.
I also check out many books from the library to supplement our science lessons.
For social studies lessons, I am using the textbook Harcourt Social Studies Grade 1: A Child’s View and the accompanying workbook. The 400-page hardback book covers topics such as civics and citizenship, geography, and people. I chose the grade 1 level for my daughter because I could not find an acceptable kindergarten social studies textbook. The lessons are short enough to keep her attention but still provide adequate information. She enjoys doing the questions at the end of each section. The accompanying workbook allows my daughter to review each lesson with one page per lesson.
For health lessons, I am using the textbook Harcourt Health & Fitness: Grade 1 and the accompanying workbook. The 288-page hardback book covers topics such as body systems and keeping the body healthy. The content is exactly what I was seeking for health lessons. My daughter can read almost all the text by herself. The questions at the end of each lesson help her reflect on what she learned. The pictures are bright and colorful. Because my daughter reads at a second or third grade level, I chose the first grade textbook for her kindergarten year. I also could not find an acceptable kindergarten level health textbook, but I am super happy with this textbook. The accompanying workbook provides practice that reinforces the information from each lesson. Most of the worksheet pages cover two or three lessons per page.
For art lessons, I used An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work. The 180-page full-color book introduces children to more than 50 great artists and their works, representing a wide array of artistic styles and techniques. Each chapter provides biographical and background information on a specific artist followed by fun activity ideas to expand on the lesson. The book is further categorized into themes ranging from studying nature and observing everyday life to breaking traditions and telling stories. My daughter enjoyed listening to the information and looking at the images of the artwork and then completing the activity for each artist. I will continue to use the book for art lessons in first grade and beyond.
For general music lessons, I have been using Music for Everyone! Recommended for preschool through second grade, the 64-page book provides music-related activities and reproducible pages.
I am also using Sing Along and Learn: A Complete Collection of More Than 80 Learning Songs with Activities for the Early Childhood Classroom for general music lessons. The 176-page book comes with five CDs with more than 80 songs for use in early childhood. While I have not used much of the book, I have used the musical CDs quite a bit. I plan to continue using the book and accompanying CDs as my daughter starts first grade lessons and my son begins preschool.
I played many instruments between fifth and twelfth grade, so I am an excellent background in music. To introduce my daughter to more structured music lessons, I am using It’s Recorder Time to teach her about reading music and playing an instrument. The beginner book uses a basic method for building finger technique, intonation, and tonguing through the performance of folk, classical, and familiar songs. I will continue using the book for first grade lessons and beyond.
All images via Amazon