I love the Core Knowledge Sequence as a yardstick for what your child should learn during their education. It is nice to get a rigorous map laid out for each grade level as a place to build from when choosing the right curricula for your child.
I have several “What Your ___-Grader Needs to Know” Books and I think they are great reference. I use them in combination with The Well-Trained Mind, Memoria Press and other resources to map out what I want my kids to learn.
Each grade corresponds with the information in the free downloadable Core Knowledge sequence, and there are resources available on their website if you are interested in following the sequence closely.
I mostly use the grades above Pre-K as a reference rather than anything more, but I love the Pre-K book and matching activity guide book 1 and book 2. It is a complete curricula for the ages of 3-5 and it is so much fun. The main book contains a lot of read-aloud material in it from subject areas including: poems, songs, stories, history, science, and art. There are great pictures and it is visually appealing. My kids have loved sitting with me while I read it to them.
I love how the activities are so fun. When you read, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” you can have your child retell the story using the provided cutouts in the back of the book. Then on another day you can make porridge while your child tells you the story again. They revisit the story a few times throughout the activities so that retention is built and lasting memories are made.
There are multiple stories including fables and folktales. The stories featured are from all over the world as well. I like the variety and the fun ways that they encourage the child to retell the story and learn sequencing. It seems like a lot of the cooking activities go with the stories and songs, and those are some of my kids’ favorites.
There are songs to sing and art pages to look at. One of my favorite pages has you read about Matisse’s The Snail, sing the song, “I’m a Little Teapot,” and then make a teapot collage with construction paper over an outline of a teapot. The child tears the paper and uses a glue stick to arrange the paper into an artistic teapot reminiscent of The Snail.
There are science experiments about bugs and plants. You read about insects and then make a model insect and learn to identify insects (as opposed to spiders). You learn about seeds and how they grow. You learn about the organs inside the human body. There are lots of stickers in the back of the book that your child places to learn about insects, patterns, human organs, shapes and more.
The activity books are organized by weeks, so that if you stay on schedule you have 36 weeks of activities to do and after one school year you have completed both books and covered the material in the Pre-K book.
The best part of the program is the fact that it is mostly pick up and go. You can look ahead and see the materials needed in the sidebar of the activity book page. Each page gives you a list of what’s needed as well as additional ideas to take the learning further. The basic structure is read from the text, do the activity, and then do the “Go Further” activities to reinforce the learning.
Each activity book is $20 on Amazon. The main text is around $13. I purchased the entire program myself and I didn’t get anything for my honest review.