My former-school-teacher-husband has been wanting for us to choose an official curriculum for this fall, and Philomena has had such eagerness to get to work after so enjoying preschool.
In this post about preschool from last year, I shared what books we used, as well my thoughts on play being the most important work she could do at 4 years old. I still believe that book work should be a very small portion of her education as a 5 year old, with play and living life alongside me in our home still being the most valuable learning experiences she can have right now.
I needed to find a way to marry my husband’s desire for a program and Philomena’s self-motivated enthusiasm for book work, with my desire to keep things very relaxed and without pressure for, well, a 5 year old.
We settled upon Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) as our curriculum for the time being, and I couldn’t be more pleased. (Several of the books you will see below are extra stories or resources we wanted in addition to their core curriculum).
This is a classical curriculum with no pressure put on little kids. The suggested daily schedule listed in the kindergarten syllabus suggests about 45 minutes a day, four days a week on formal learning, which I think is very realistic considering how excited Philomena is to work on things.
The Good, the True, and the Beautiful
The core of the curriculum centers around instilling a love of beauty in the child. The curriculum includes subjects like math, social studies, handwriting, and reading. But what I loved is how religion, art, nature, traditional hymns and songs, poetry, amazing little science experiments, and lots of good books with lovely illustrations are the primary focus of the kindergarten curriculum.
If the soul holds good, true, beautiful, noble, and heroic images, it will be inclined to love those things…(and) prepares the way for an appreciation of the true… even in terms of intellectual formation, fostering the fine arts is important.”Laura M. Berquist, founder of Mother of Divine Grace – from the introduction of The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum
Let’s get down to it – we did not enroll with MODG, because I just don’t find it necessary at such a young age. Instead, we simply purchased the syllabus and most of their suggested books for the grade level found here, and added in some additional books that we wanted to include. Below you will find photos of the books and a brief summary of each one. I will start with the workbook type material, and then move on to the beautiful storybooks and similar items.
MODG Kindergarten Syllabus – This has a great introduction to the curriculum from the founder, a list of why each book was selected, a sample daily schedule, the daily lesson plans to guide you through completing everything by the end of the year, and a list of supplemental books and activities to go with the liturgical year.
MODG Our Catholic Hymns – This a basic Catholic hymn book with traditional hymns your kids are likely already familiar with, as well as hymns specific for different holy days and seasons.
MODG Kindergarten Science – This focuses on the seasons, nature, and has some really fun science experiments like dissolving an egg shell.
MODG Kindergarten Social Studies – This is a little book that teaches some very basic concepts like a “President” to your child, and includes one page write ups with big color photos on different monuments or national parks in the country.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (find it here) – This is a basic reading program that people seem to either love or hate. I will have to see if Philomena clicks with it. My cousin also sent me the Little Angel Reader program if we don’t like this. (I’m not expecting Philomena to be reading this year. My guess is we’ll be hitting this harder next year based on where she is now.)
The Harp and Laurel Wreath (find it here) – This is a book of poetry and dictation that MODG uses for grades K – 12. It has a fantastic introduction by the curriculum’s founder about why poetry matters, and then many selections that start off simple enough for a kindergartener to learn, all the way up through extensive passages for high schoolers.
MODG Handwriting – This is a basic tracing each letter type of handwriting book that includes lots of fun little Bible and Catholic pictures and words in it.
Philomena loves lots and lots of consumable pages at this point, so I grabbed these very basic number/shape/letter books at Dollar Tree so she can do as many pages as she would like!
A is for Annabelle (find it here) – This is the sweetest little rhyming book that goes through the whole alphabet while talking about a dolly and her little accessories. I thought it would be so fun to use as we learn letters.
Around the Year with the von Trapp Family (find it here) – The rhythm of the liturgical year is going to continue to be a huge part of our schooling and daily life, so I was thrilled when Sophia Institute Press gifted me with this book. Maria von Trapp, (yes – the one from the Sound of Music!), wrote this book to share all sorts of traditional foods, songs, hymns, stories, and more for the whole year following the Church Calendar. I know that rooting our homeschool and domestic church with this book will be a great blessing to our school year. Sophia has a whole line of homeschooling resources that you should check out here on their website!
The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith (find it here) – I cried the first time I read this to the girls. The illustrations are just lovely, and the clever story on the value of just one Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being offered is beyond poignant. This is my current favorite book in our family library.
Take it to the Queen: A Tale of Hope (find it here) – By the same author as the previous book, this is a beautiful new fable honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, represented by a humble neighbor who becomes the queen of a village.
Around the Year Once Upon a Time Saints (find it here) – This is a really neat collection of stories about different saints for the whole year. Instead of a dry, one page per day type format, this is a book that makes the saints’ lives come to life with really engaging, longer stories.
Peter Pan (find it here) – This is a beautifully illustrated version of the original story by J.M. Barrie. I have never read the original and was surprised how thick this was when it was gifted to us by some friends. We are excited to read this as a family read-aloud at night this school year!
The Golden Children’s Bible (find it here) – I was thrilled to open this Bible when it came. It is a very dense, complete Bible as far as kids editions go. This is not a tiny condensed one with just a few main stories. It has tons of illustrations that the girls already love looking through.
The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter (find it here) – I love the tiny little individual books telling of Peter Rabbit and other classic Beatrix Potter stories, but they are very expensive as new box sets. I found this full collection of all of the stories in one volume used for a great price.
My, Oh My, a Butterfly! (find it here) – This is a fantastic Dr. Seuss book that really dives into a butterfly’s life cycle. There are tons of fascinating details that make is a great science book for my little girls, and the clever rhymes and pictures make it engaging and fun to read.
Roses in the Snow (find it here) – This is a beautiful book with lovely watercolor illustrations about a little girl listening to stories of her namesake, Saint Elizabeth.
Blueberries for Sal (find it here) – This classic story from the 1940’s tells about a little girl blueberry picking who runs into a mama bear doing the same!
The Story of Ferdinand (find it here) – I love this little book about a little bull in Spain who cares nothing for matadors and fighting.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (find it here) – This is a longer story than the other selections in the photo above, all about a little boy who finds there are bears after all on his mountain!
The Owl and the Pussycat (find it here) – This is a little poem about an owl and a cat in love.
I will also keep using a few things from last year’s school year like The Year at Maple Hill Farm and The Saint Joseph Children’s Beginner Book of Saints, as well as any library books we pick up on topics that the girls are interested in.
I hope this post helps you if you are needing a little inspiration for additional resources for your own kindergarten! May God bless your endeavors this coming school year.