Of all the phonics programs I have interacted with over the years, A Beka’s is most definitely my favorite! How We Use A Beka Phonics will give you a glimpse in to the specific items I order from A Beka and how I use them in our homeschool preschool. Do I purchase entire curriculum kits? The short answer is no. Starting at the preschool level, I pick and choose certain items that I like to use to achieve various learning goals that I have for my little ones, and everything else I do with them at this level is…well, it’s either a Montessori-inspired activity I found on Pinterest or a hands-on learning activity I picked up at a yard sale or on consignment.
Let’s get started with an explanation of how we use A Beka Phonics….starting at the tot level!
For the two-year old year, I like to focus on the alphabet: a letter-a-week works well for us! Week one, we focus on the letter A…Week two, we focus on the letter B…you get the idea. We stick with very simple hands-on activities (things I already have around here or easy ideas I find on Pinterest), and workbooks are not a part of what we do each day.
*The internet is full and overflowing with letter-a-week curriculum that has already been put together for you! With a quick online search, you will find an overwhelming number of programs from which to choose. I have enjoyed brainstorming and putting together simple plans specifically for my little ones, but I have found great inspiration by taking a peek of some of the excellent letter-a-week programs that have been put together by others and made available on-line! Psst…many of them are free to download!
For the three-year old year, I like to continue the letter-a-week concept – focusing on one letter of the alphabet each week – starting with A and working our way through Z over a period of 26 weeks. It is during this time when I like to introduce A Beka Phonics Chart #1 (vowels):
[We usually sing this song each day. It’s sung to the tune of B-I-N-G-O.]
The vowels of the alphabet, I know them all by name-o.
A-E-I-O-U, I know them all by name-o.
and A Beka Phonics Chart #2 (all 26 letters of the alphabet). We sing the alphabet. We say each special word that goes with each letter. We practice each letter’s sound.
We practice these charts each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In addition, we typically plan to do one A Beka’s Letters & Sounds for 3’s worksheet and one A Beka’s Numbers & Skills with Button Bear worksheet each Monday and Wednesday with a third Letters & Sounds for 3’s worksheet either on Tuesday or Thursday – for a total of five worksheets per week.
You may be thinking, “Five worksheets?! Five worksheets a week?! For a three-year old?!” Let me clarify! Each of these worksheets are very basic with a simple activity of either tracing [for example] one uppercase and one lowercase letter or tracing a single number and coloring a picture that goes with it. Simple. Simple. Simple. I am absolutely not in favor of overwhelming little ones with an over abundance of worksheets!
Quick Tip: I don’t always do the worksheets in order. Can you tell I march to the beat of my own drum? Yes, and that’s one of the beautiful things about homeschooling – you can do that! It’s wonderful! So what do I do? I do the A worksheets during A week…the B worksheets during B week…It’s that simple. Find what groove works best for you and your kiddos and don’t be afraid to go with it!
After each day’s worksheets (Maybe we should refer to them as activity pages – Does that sound less daunting?) have been completed, then it’s on to hands-on activities that provide practice and reinforcement in our areas of focus! Once again, we stick with very simple activities that we either already own or I’ve found in Pinterest.
We kick off the four-year old year with the Writing with Phonics K4 Workbook as well as Phonics Charts 1 & 2, but as the year goes on and our preschooler grows in their understanding of phonics, we add additional phonics charts to our daily practice and we begin using the following A Beka products:
Blend Practice Cards B (as we move toward the Kindergarten year)
Two-Vowel Word Cards (as we move toward the Kindergarten year)
Clue Word Cards (Use as you wish – These complement the Phonics Charts.)
We have also enjoyed using the Little Book Collection that A Beka offers. While these cute little consumables are not a must, they have been a great supplemental item and an awesome confidence booster – perfect for a preschooler entering the world of reading on their own!
A closer look at the Blend Practice Cards A and the One-Vowel Word Cards that we use heavily throughout the four-year old year:
Quick Tip: New to A Beka Phonics? A Beka’s Basic Phonics Sounds CD can be great practice for kids but also a huge help to parents, too!
Kindergarten at Home
For the Kindergarten year, I order the Letters and Sounds K5 workbook as well as the Writing with Phonics K5 workbook.
A couple of the supplemental readers are fun, but I wouldn’t suggest ordering all of them. There are so many great options out there – in your home library, at your local library – and this is definitely an area where you can save a little bit of money.
Psst…I love the little Bible Memory Verse Cards – I used them when I was in Kindergarten (back in the 80s…ahem…), and they’re just a little something extra I like to do with my kiddos – definitely not a must.
As you move in to the Kindergarten year, it’s a great time to begin giving those Blend Practice Cards B and Two-Vowel Word Cards more of a workout! Here’s a closer peek at those!
Some educators feel that A Beka’s curriculum is too traditional, but I love the strong foundation it builds. This is definitely not to say that their phonics program is for everyone! Every child is different…every parent teaches in their own unique way…but this is simply why we have chosen to use it for our preschoolers. Some parents may feel overwhelmed by the thought of learning A Beka’s phonics curriculum. I can completely understand this as it may seem like a foreign language to those who have never taught it; but I promise that if you choose to give it a try, after a little bit of time, it will become second nature to you and your child! A Beka’s preschool curriculum allows you to start with basic concepts and then grow from there as your child moves along in the program.
Interested in guiding your child toward reading before they start kindergarten? Time and time again, I have seen A Beka’s phonics curriculum prove to be just the ticket – establishing an incredible foundation and creating the most confident readers!
Disclaimer: Formal schooling for your toddlers and preschoolers is not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. Schooling toddlers and preschoolers is a fairly new phenomenon, and in my mind, Homeschool Preschool is simply a somewhat more organized/structured approach to providing your little one(s) with focused activities (many of which you are probably already doing!) that will reinforce all of the amazing things they are already learning in their day-to-day experiences. Provide them with loads of opportunities to play. Read aloud with them…A LOT! Encourage them to explore in the great outdoors. Place more of an emphasis on hands-activities than workbooks. You may thinking, Well then why on earth are you suggesting all of these workbooks? This post is simply a glimpse in to the products we have chosen to use in our Homeschool Preschool – They serve as a guide for our school year with Montessori-style activities making up a larger part of our day-to-day.
As always, feel free to e-mail me with any questions you have, and I will update the post accordingly!
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