When H was in Kindergarten, I pieced together a curriculum that would make her feel the wonder of learning, but wouldn't seem like the same formal lessons that would soon follow. I wanted Kindergarten to be a good introduction to learning, while still being lighthearted and different than the rest of her schooling.
This is a sponsored post for Sonlight. I was compensated for this review, but wasn't required to share a positive opinion. These are all my honest thoughts about this product.
Now that Mr. E's Kindergarten year is peeking out over the horizon, I'm looking for options. Piecing something together again honestly sounds exhausting: I'll have another child to educate, and a toddler in tow. I've been on the lookout for something that is open-and-go, centered around living books, and is not a mini-rendition of the formal lessons to come. Exploring American History: History/Bible/Literature K from Sonlight will be a great option for us, and for your gentle Kindergarten year, too.
Kindergarten American History Curriculum
Exploring American History: HBL K is designed specifically for young children ages 5-6 in Kindergarten or first grade. There is an instructor's guide, two volumes of Heroes and Happenings, picture books, and short chapter books. (We received the instructor's guide and Heroes and Happenings books, but you can get all of the living books included.) Miss H helped me unbox and test out the curriculum, and immediately fell in love with the Heroes and Happenings books. They are colorful books filled with stories from history, ranging from the Vikings to modern history-makers like Temple Grandin.
Sonlight wanted to create a curriculum with lots of picture books for young children, but knew that keeping the cost down would be difficult. The Heroes and Happenings book solved that problem! The two volumes are well-written and engaging. Miss H has been asking to read them every morning on top of her regular lessons.
The teacher's guide has a laminated map that can be used while reading through the books with your child. My kids always find maps to be magical, but they don't know that we're easily integrating another subject, geography, as we map different locations around the world.
History Through Living Books
On top of the Heroes and Happening books, living books are scheduled throughout the week. Some of the books go along with the history topics, and some are general read-alouds. Miss H was so excited to see the book list. We've found some books that we might read before Mr E's scheduled kindergarten year; we're just too impatient!
I think the living books appealed so much to my daughter because they are not the same titles that we've been reading for four years. Normally, Kindergarten and early years book lists contain lots of repeats. While there are some familiar reads here, most of them are new to us.
One thing I think I will adapt is to skip the comprehension questions, that mostly begin with "what" and "why." Instead, I'll use narration for comprehension. I really like that the teacher's guide says to use the questions if you think your child needs them. Do what works best for your family! There are some discussion questions that get into the ideas of the books, making those ever-important conversations flow easily.
Each day has a Bible reading from the One Year Bible for Children. What a gorgeous edition! Several Bible stories are read each day, and there is a new memory verse every week. The Sing the Word CD corresponds to each memory verse to make scripture memory easier. When I've tried to do weekly memory verses in the past, we usually lose momentum in a few weeks. Having the memory verse planned out and written in front of me is crucial for us!
Is It a Complete Kindergarten Curriculum?
Depending on your state's requirements, or your own personal wishes, this curriculum is mostly complete. You can add in math and science from Sonlight, and you'll be all set. You also might want to add in phonics and "the riches." For me, since I like to keep kindergarten informal, it will be plenty of learning for my little guy!
One thing I love is that it schedules four days of lessons. That is so helpful for busy families that have activities, enrichment programs, and church groups throughout the week. The teacher's guide is so well-organized that staying on track and doing the daily lessons will take very little prep.
For busy families, or for those wanting to simplify Kindergarten, this is a curriculum definitely worth looking into. You can request a Sonlight catalog here!
This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and over.