Disclosure: Bookshark generously exchanged a curriculum set for us to conduct this review and feature.
It is hard to believe our first year of homeschooling is coming to an end. If you remember, we started homeschooling to supplement my son’s two day preschool attendance last year. Since we moved across the country in early May of last year, and school on the West Coast didn’t begin until September here – I wanted something to help me be intentional as I navigated teaching him in the interim. We started out just wanting something temporary, and didn’t expect to become passionate homeschooling parents! Now, look at us!?
So, I thought it would be fun today if I did a really intense overview of our first year with Bookshark, why we chose it, and what it has looked like in our home. So, I’ve been able to mostly do the curriculum with both boys. They are three and five, and since the workbooks are only intended for one child I just gave those to Liam (my 5 year old) and gave Sawyer some free printable name writing activities and shape activities instead. Bookshark is a literature based curriculum, so we can read (and read some more) anywhere. We aren’t stuck at home per se, despite homeschooling. That was very important to me. The preschool theme is “Exploring The World” so the boys are rich with culture and geography inspiration. We’ve paired these stories with globes and exotic meals! We’ve attended free cultural community nights and had some really amazing conversations about our family’s culture.
Also, Bookshark is secular. I wanted a secular curriculum so I could customize a Catholic study plan for my boys on my own. We’ve maintained their religious studies at church/Sunday school every week and participating in our local Awana program.
Bookshark tells you what to do. The first sentence in the instructor’s guide goes like: “This guide provides a schedule for reading classic stories, award-winning books, poetry, and carefully selected activities, all in just 30-60 minutes per day, 4 days per week.” I love order and schedules! So, a weekly guide has given me the confidence I need to succeed as a homeschooling parent.
However, it has also afforded me the confidence to adjust the schedule when I’d like. (For example, we read Winnie the Pooh ahead of schedule, because were traveling to Disneyworld and it just seemed appropriate.
Everything is provided. You can even add handwriting workbooks and art books. (over the year, we added both of these items as Liam became ready for them) but otherwise you are given all the tools you need to be successful and build a foundation for learning in the home with your kids. We were given math manipulatives, a clock, and even a piece of chalk. Some of the activities call for some everyday items you will likely have around your home, but they haven’t been hard to track down for us.
Bookshark will help you make mundane chores into exhilarating field trips, loaded with educational value. Our Teacher’s Guide has some incredible suggestions for field trips like the post office, grocery store, fire station, bakery, or the zoo.
This is an overview, and this week I will be sharing a more intensive break down of what our home school days look like. I love Bookshark, because they are building in my children a love of reading, the foundation for learning.