When you fall out of love with your curriculum…

We’re on our last 6 weeks of Timberdoodle Kindergarten. I had very high hopes for this curriculum, but in the end, I honestly didn’t like most of it. At least not the actual “academic” components. Let me explain.

I consider “academic” components as things that are used to teach or enhance the basics. The three R’s. Reading, writing, Arithmetic. In our kit, we received (and how it worked for us):

The not so great stuff, or great stuff, just not great for us at the moment…:

The Reading Lesson

This was a good investment, and Peanut will be using this for the next few years to learn how to read. It’s nicely laid out, and very easy to implement. We do a page or two a day, but lately we’ve found Peanut isn’t progressing, so we’re taking a step back and using another phonics curriculum to reinforce what he already knows. We’ll pick this back up in a few months.

Italic Handwriting Book A Kindergarten

I thought it would teach the absolute basics of handwriting, and it really doesn’t. It assumes your child can draw certain shapes. I would prefer another curriculum like Handwriting Without Tears, and I will be picking up a copy of it when I order our McRuffy Math this year. Not that this program is bad, I will use it once Peanut is able to print.

 

Spelling you See Level A

Now this was definitely a ‘put on the shelf for a year, maybe two’  book. Peanut can’t write. Peanut can’t read. How the heck can he spell? Really??? I had hoped that this would integrate components from The Reading Lesson, thus learning how to spell the words he is learning to read. I even downloaded, printed, laminated, and cut letter tiles so Peanut could use them instead of writing. But no way. When he’s learning to read the word “cat” but having to spell “pot”, it got too confusing.  It will be a good asset in a year or two. Now, it collects dust.

 

Developing the Early LearnerDeveloping the Early Learner

Another four books for the shelf! Again, Peanut needs better fine motor control before he can do pretty much all the pages in these. Color, trace, mazes, etc. are not easy when you can’t handle using a pencil or crayon yet. Still, it will be an asset in a year or two. But collecting dust now…

 

 

Math U See Primer
Oh I had such high hopes for this. I envisioned my Peanut happily counting, adding, subtracting, and using manipulative blocks to reinforce what he was learning. I envisioned smiles at  the mention of math time! Instead, I got met with defiance, and when he finally sat down to do math, he spent more time making battleships and airplanes than actually learning. Why? Because he was very frustrated with it. It moved much too fast for him. I’ve written about this in an earlier post (or two, or three… ) and so for now it sits, like the others above, proudly on the dust shelf. Will we eventually use it again? I don’t know. If we don’t by 2019 I’ll probably sell it. Brand new condition, no writing in any pages, but maybe a few tears of frustration! hahaha!

 Beginning Geography

Yep, you guessed it. Shelf. Dust. Why? Because, again, Peanut can’t read yet. How is he supposed to know Main Street or University Boulevard if he can’t read them? How is he to know the sign for Bank vs the sign for School?  It does say on the cover it’s for K-2 so I will keep it for another couple of years and try it again.

 

Cola Fountains and Spattering Paint (what a huge) Bomb!

Not once single experiment worked for us! We ended up checking YouTube and found some people who had some success with them. Again, dust collector!

 

 

TinkerLab

Very beautiful book, and tons of great experiments and art projects. Why is it on the dust shelf? because a lot of the projects take items that aren’t easy to get here. In time, i’ll start getting them, but for now these great ideas sit waiting for the time I can do them with Peanut.

 

 

 

So what do we actually use from our Timberdoodle kit? All these:Kumon Cutting Skills - Set of 3Djeco Friends Light Clay KitVisible Human Floor PuzzleKumon Mazes - 5 book setBOB Books Set 1: Beginning ReadersUsborne The Big Book of Things to Find and Color miniLUK Set AThree Little Piggies Smart GameOodles of DoodlesDjeco / Discover Color Color-Mixing Workshop, Chirp-Chirp

Pretty much it’s mainly fun stuff. games. activity books, toys, art. So what did I end up using to supplement for the actual “academics”? I pulled from several sources.

Phonics and reading: Progressive Phonics takes absolutely no assumptions with your child. You start at ground zero. It is in depth, easy to do, and even has lesson plans! You can even incorporate handwriting too, which she provides, if the child is ready. All you need is a printer, some paper, cardstock, a laminator (or clear packing tape – poor man’s lamination for me!) and scissors. Peanut is learning how to read very well with this. It’s interactive, so I read, he reads, and we enjoy silly stories together!

It has Stories, flashcards, worksheets, lesson plans and even words for the wall!

Beginner Book 1 Screenshot 2Screen shot of Book 1 Activty Worksheets, page 1Word Wall Small Size

We also use Hooked on Phonics. It is a fine dance with this one. We tend to take two steps forward then one step back. Still, it’s working, so between that and Alphabetti, then The Reading Lesson for reinforcement, Peanut is getting there!

We also use Explode the Code get ready series, but don’t do any handwriting. Peanut is definitely better at learning his sounds with this series! 

Geography: Daily Geography grade 1. It moves at a gentle pace, and isn’t as intense as Beginning Geography. We actually enjoy this one!

What was my biggest “pro” about Timberdoodle Kindergarten? I’d say all the fun stuff. We were introduced to games, puzzles, and art kits we normally wouldn’t even have heard of! The STEAM (science technology, engineering, art, and math) hands on components are awesome!

Biggest “con” about Timberdoodle Kindergarden? for us, it was boring. same old thing every single day. Unlike programs like Bookshark or Moving Beyond the Page, there is nothing to look forward to. No learning about dinosaurs one week, and learning about airplanes the next. It lacks any kind of “journey through the world” as I call it. It’s endless days of math, geography, a game, writing, reading, a game, cutting, mazes, a game. If you want to learn about octopusses or medieval knights, it won’t happen in this curriculum! I know they keep costs down by not including books to read, but at least a weekly theme, a suggestion for read aloud books to go with them, would be appreciated.  Would I recommend Timberdoodle? Yes and no. Yes for the fun stuff, but use another company such as Bookshark, Sonlight, or Moving Beyond the Page for your main curriculum. Also, as grades in Timberdoodle progress, so do the amount of workbooks. Not great if your child has issues with fine motor skills!

So now my coffee is cold, and Peanut is up and begging for some “Minecraft” time. I guess that’s my cue to say goodbye for now, and I hope your day brings you much laughter and smiles. Till next time!

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