This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Christian Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum from BJU Press: Focus on Fives ~ a TOS review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations. 
We are wrapping up our current school year but if you are looking for a Christian Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum, for your home learning for next year then I suggest you take a look into the program from BJU Press Focus on Fives kit from BJU Press Homeschool.
We received the 4th edition of the BJU Press Focus on Fives to use with my 5 year old son, Micah. This curriculum is geared for the Kindergarten year and includes 180 lessons taught over seven units. Each unit aims to bring the excitement of formal learning through phonics, Handwriting, science, social studies, and reading.
BJU Press is a Christian company so the course material will be presented with a Christian worldview. I like that the Focus on Fives has four essential pointed throughout the entire curriculum.
~ God is great and God is good 
~ God created me and all things
~ The Bible is God’s word 
~ I learn in order to serve God and others
There was lots of excitement on the Friday afternoon when our boxes arrived. Upon opening the boxes we discovered all the goodies inside including the:

Teacher materials: 

~ Six (6) spiral-bound Teacher’s Editions 
~ Phonic Charts with Alphabet cards 
~ Handwriting charts 
~ Spelling Cards 
~ High Frequency word cards 
~ Phonics characters 
~ spiral-bound visual flip chart

Student materials: 
~ Worktext 
~ Phonics practice book 
~ Phonics review cards 
~ Write Now! Book 
~ 34 Reading books
Everything you need to teach this curriculum is found within the Teacher’s Edition. The layout is detailed and you know right from the start the goals of the lesson and how to use the instructional materials provided. They are essential to the curriculum. The back of the Teacher’s Edition contain a resource section with the instructional aids, songs, assessments, and other materials needed to teach. I really like how the Teacher’s Editions are sturdy. The front cover is a thick laminated page while the back is a hard cardboard back. Inside the pages are thick and colorful.
The Student workbooks are softcover books.. They each contain bindings that are open to allow you to remove the lesson page.or to lay the page flat. I like that feature a lot as well. The pages are colorful and and filled with lively illustrations pertaining to the lesson. My son enjoyed this.
The Visuals came in a handy flip chart. It is made of two cardboard covers and is spiral bound. I like that you could just flip right to the visual needed for the lesson you were doing. Phonics charts are included as well on heavy, glossy card stock. There are many charts that include the alphabet song to individual letters and reading cards. The Phonics and Review cards are also a thick card stock. They include the alphabet, blend sounds, and word cards.
Our favorite part of the curriculum is, yep, you guessed it. The books! This set includes 34 Reading Books that encourage silent and oral reading. The books are printed on regular paper (thicker than computer paper) in half sheet sizes. They progress from being pictures stories to books with short text to longer paragraphs.

My only complaint with these is that they are printed on just regular paper. I would love to see the front and back cover laminated so that the book will last. This isn’t a big deterring factor for me and doesn’t take away from the entire program as a whole. When we are not using the books I have them stored away in a poly envelope for safe keeping.

I also want to mention that in July there will be optional videos that accompany this course. You can find a sample video HERE.
Overall, this is a great curriculum for Kindergarten. It is well thought out and each unit is complete. This is not an open-and-go curriculum so you will need to spend some time preparing before teaching your child. Not anything super hard, just cutting and organizing pieces for the lessons. This curriculum works well for my son, even though I feel the tone is written for a classroom setting. He enjoyed the colorfulness of the pages and the program as a whole.
The only thing that I truly did not like is the font in which the letters are written. For example the “i” is written with a loopy tail. At first glance my son did not know what the letter was because it was written this way. So, I just corrected it by writing over it as a straight line. This simple modification by me doesn’t change the whole program but adapts it to fit our family. But don’t just take my word for it. Thirty-five of my CrewMates had a chance to review this with their Kindergarteners so be should to check out their thoughts by clicking the banner below.
BJU Press Focus on Fives {BJU Press Homeschool Reviews}

 Format ~ physical books, *video lessons coming in July 
 Ages ~ Kindergarten
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