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Summer is more than half over and my grand plans to start kindergarten instruction haven’t exactly flourished. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been learning. We took a family trip to the beach and visited an aquarium. It was a small aquarium with several touch tanks, and we spent a long time working our way through several exhibits. Thea did a week of VBS and then two weeks of swim lessons. Formal school hasn’t gotten much attention. I’m still feeling torn about what curriculum I’m going to use in the fall. I’ve been waffling between Five in a Row and My Father’s World. Both have advantages and disadvantages. It may simply come down to which of the recommended books our library has more of. But until then we’ve decided to keep things simple. I finally dragged out our two “learn to read” books that I purchased earlier this year.

100 easy lessons

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Ordinary Parent's Guide

The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Child to Read

Neither was of any interest to my daughter and who can blame her, they are really boring to look at. But we started with an Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Child to Read because I thought the lessons seemed interesting and I like the poem used to help learn vowels. Plus, the premise of 100 Easy Lessons is to teach the child the sounds the letters make before the letters themselves. Well, silly me. We just spent the last two years learning letters. So I didn’t know how well that one would work for us anyway.

We’re only a few lessons in and while my daughter doesn’t love it, she will listen. My son will sit and listen to anything new for a least a little while, so he tries to learn the letter sounds which makes my competitive daughter more engaged.

Games for Math

Games for Math: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Learn Math, From Kindergarten to Third Grade

We’ve also been using Games for Math. I know that this isn’t a formal math curriculum, but it’s a way of trying to make math more fun. I honestly wish I could find a curriculum that focuses mostly on the practicality of math. I loved story problems when I was in school, because they made sense. They were based on real life. I think that if we made math as practical as possible kids would be more interested in it, but until it’s applied, it feels so abstract. (Fortunately my daughter is still too young for the “When will I need this anyway?” argument).

We’ve also been trying some new read aloud books. After we finished The Wind in the Willows I gave my daughter the choice of going back to the Little House on the Prairie Series, The Secret Garden, Heidi or All of a Kind Family. She chose All of a Kind Family.

All of a Kind Family

This book is an old favorite of mine. I’ve reread it and the others in the series more times than I can count. I vividly remembered when I was standing at the shelf of the Emmaus Library and I realized that this book, which my teacher had read to us in school, was one of a series. I was so excited and took out the other four books and was done with them in less than two weeks.

I love that through this book my daughter and I are exploring a different time in history and different culture. All of a Kind Family tells the story of working class Jewish Family living in New York City before World War I. It is filled with beautiful Jewish traditions and holidays and the fun filled and tender interactions of the family; mother, father and five daughters.

So that’s our simple homeschooling summer so far. I’d love to hear how you spend the summer with our kids, whether you homeschool or not.