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.
Ethan and I are so excited to tell you all about our new Kindergarten Curriculum Focus on Fives from BJU Press Homeschool! Last month Ethan was thrilled to receive 2 boxes in the mail full of books and kindergarten materials just for him! He couldn’t wait to dive in and started telling everyone he was in Kindergarten now!! (Having recently turned 5 he does not officially Kindergarten til our new school year, but we were decided to jump in a little early!)
I know BJU Press Homeschool’s reputation for excellent christian curriculum, although I have never had the chance to use their curriculum myself! However, I can honestly say now that BJU Press Focus on the Fives Curriculum has exceeded my expectations! I know that when you invest in Curriuculum from BJU Press Homeschool, you will get everything you need and more for your child’s education.
What is BJU Press Focus on Fives?
The BJU Press Focus On Fives Subject Kit is a full Christian-based curriculum for Kindergarten. It teaches Science, Social Studies, Handwriting, Reading and Phonics. As I said earlier it arrived in two large boxes! There is so much stuff included in this kit!!
Included in the Focus on Fives Subject kit is:
- 6 Volume Teacher’s Edition set
- Student Worktext
- Student Phonics Practice Book
- Phonics Charts
- Reading Books Set (32 Individual paperback student readers)
- Visuals Homeschool Flip Chart
- Write Now! Student Workbook
- Phonics and Review Cards
To be able to get a full picture of all this Curriculum has to offer, I want to tell a little more about each component and what is included.
Focus on Fives Teacher Editions
The largest part of this curriculum you will receive are 6 large Teacher Edition books. This is the most important part of your curriculum! In each book is every lesson plan you need for your homeschool year! Also, at the beginning of the teachers edition you have an overview of all the components of the curriculum, the goals, objectives, and instructions for how to use your teachers guides and resources.
One thing to note it that this curriculum is designed to be able to be used in a whole classroom setting or homeschool. The lessons have many activities that are described as if you would be using them with a group. Also, there are several sections about grouping students, and teacher/classroom routines. Some of these sections and resources will not apply to homeschool families, however most of it is easily used for either one-on-one or classroom setting.
The beginning of each volume gives you and overview of each week of the unit. You will see lesson objectives and resources at a glance, making it easy to plan ahead. Then, throughout the book detailed lesson plans are provided for each day. I usually was easily able to work through 1 lesson each school day with Ethan. (Some days we spread lessons out over 2 days if we had a busy day with other activities.) The amount of work included in a lesson was reasonable for a 5 year old and would not take more than and hour (probably less) if you just do the main activities. The Teachers edition also provides extended activities you can use if you want more activities for your kindergartners homeschool day. There are also reproducible pages and resources for games, creative writings, and activities in the back of each teacher’s edition book.
Focus on Fives Worktext
The Focus on Fives Worktext is your child’s main workbook to go with the curriculum. In it are, tracing pages, reading readiness, reading response pages, matching, cut and paste, science, and social studies activitiy pages your child will complete throughout the school year. This may seem small but I loved that the front and back of each page is for the same lesson! My son knows that we will do both sides of a page each day. Also, the lesson number is at the bottom of each page, ensuring you easily find the correct activities for each lesson.
Another important feature is that the pages are bound so that they tear out easily. Therefore, I can quickly pull out what we need for each lesson. This insures no one accidentally goes ahead and starts drawing on pages throughout the whole workbook. (This is a common problem with 5- year-olds and workbooks!!) Also, Ethan loved that the pages in his worktext were bright and colorful! The activities varied to accompany the lessons each day and were not repetitive. Each activity on the worktext pages were quick and easily able to be completed within 5 minutes. They are perfect for a 5 year old with a short attention span!
Focus on Fives Phonics Practice
Focus on Fives provides another entire workbook devoted to phonics practice. Just like the Worktext, all pages are bright an colorful. This book is also bound like the worktext, so that pages are easily torn out. The phonics practice follows the same order as the lessons, introducing sounds one at a time. Phonics lesson are not taught in alphabetically order. However, sounds are taught and practiced by learning more frequently used letters, easier letters to write and say first. I was excited to see and use this phonics practice. It was very well structured and is an excellent reading curriculum for children learning to read.
Focus on Fives Phonics Charts
The phonics Charts set is a very large set of full size phonics charts (8.5 x 11) on thick, sturdy, cardstock. The cards include charts representing individual sounds, diagraphs and blend. There are also cards for sight words included in the set. They are an excellent resource for practice or to hang on the wall of your school room!
Focus on Fives Reading Book Set
The Reading Book Set includes 32 individual readers corresponding to lessons throughout the years curriculum. These books focus on reading comprehension skills and are for lessons with shared or partner readings between you and your child. The books are all very light paperback, but would be fine for single student use. The pictures are bright and colorful and my son enjoyed using them in our lessons.
Focus on Fives Visual Homeschool Flip Chart
The Visuals flip charts provides support for many of the lessons. One of the first lessons provided a visual of a map of the town that the family in the story was moving to. My son loved being able to find the different places in the town that the people he had just read about went to and lived. Some visuals we have left in the flip chart others have worked better for us to remove them so that we could lay them out to use them for our activities.
Focus on Fives Write Now!
The Write Now! workbook is another student workbook that provides students with handwriting practice. This book is in black and white. It provides tear out sheets to practice handwriting of the letters corresponding with the reading and phonics lessons. Some lessons are full sheets, while others are cut in half.
The handwriting practice pages are a short but provide just the right amount of writing practice for each lesson. Activities vary and also provide pages for your child to color, trace and practice writing letters.
Focus on Fives Phonics and Review Cards
The phonics and review cards set provides phonics flash cards for games and letter sound practice. There are also flash cards for sight word practice. The cards are made of heavy card stock and are in color. These are great quality flash cards that will be useful for learning activities for your kids for a long time!
How we have used Focus on Fives
Ethan and I have been going slow with lessons from Focus on Fives doing several lessons each week. Ethan was very excited to get to start his Kindergarten Curriculum and it has been a great experience for us to begin these lessons. He has enjoyed the Bible lessons, science activities and stories we have completed together. The Curriculum weaves the following themes throughout the lessons: “God is Great, and God is Good” , “God created me and all things”, “The Bible is God’s Word, and it is true”, and “I learn in order to serve God and others.”
The curriculum is divided up into 6 units. Each Unit has it’s own teacher’s edition. The first unit is called “All Around the Town”. The theme introduces the curriculum by teaching about friends and family. The kids are introduced to characters that will be in stories throughout the year, and the curriculum mascots. (Hopscotch, Dottie, Bonnie, and Hopper were my sons favorites!). It also teaches about community helpers. We have had fun in this unit beginning to learn to read, and have received a good introduction to the curriculum. We are looking forward to completing the rest of this curriculum for Ethan’s Kindergarten year of homeschool!
What we have to look forward too…
Looking through the rest of the years curriculum, I am excited to work through the rest of this program with my son. Each unit builds on the next, and will provide a good foundation for my sons reading, writing, science, and social studies learning. This curriculum gives us a lot to look forward to. Soon we will start Unit 2, called Bookshelf Friends. This unit focuses on teaching about different types of books, authors, and illustrators, and continues teaching consonant and short vowel sounds. The third Unit, Ants to Elephants, is one I know Ethan will love! In it we will learn about animals, while finishing up the introduction to consonants and short vowels.
Unit 4 is called, Mountains High to Oceans Deep. In it your child will be introduced to basic geography. They will learn about our country, different land-forms, and the Spanish Culture while introducing consonant blends and digraphs. In the 5th Unit, Blue Skies and Gray, you will explore weather and seasons with your child. They also will be introduced to long vowel sounds. The 6th, and final Unit is called Garden Paths and Wandering Trails. This looks like a fun way to end the school year, taking kids on a trip, learning about Bible lands, gardens, and historical places, and landmarks. Students also continue to add to their reading skills with r-influenced vowels and other special vowel sounds.
Why I loved Focus on Fives!
I love that I get to use a curriculum that helps give him a strong foundation in God’s Word as well teach strong academic skills. I am excited that almost everything I need for Ethan’s Kindergarten year of homeschool is ready for me to use without having to hunt for resources and put things together myself. (This is what I did for my older sons’ kindergarten curriculum) The only thing that is not included in BJU Press Focus on Fives for your child is math. For me this is not a problem, as I have math curriculum I used for his older brothers ready for him. However, I saw BJU Press Homeschool has Focus on Fives curriculum sets available with a math curriculum added to it as well if you prefer to purchase the entire curriculum together.
Will Focu on Fives work for you?
If you are looking for a strong foundational, Christian-based, full Kindergarten Curriculum I do not think you will not be disappointed in BJU Press Focus on Fives. It is very versatile and will be a perfect fit for our Ethan this year! I know that having a ready to use curriculum for Ethan this year will be very helpful, and save me a lot of time planning! I feel Focus on Fives from BJU Press Homeschool has provided homeschoolers with a kindergarten curriculum that most families will enjoy using!
If you want to read what other homeschool families think about BJU Press Focus on Fives, click below and read more reviews from the Review Crew!