This post is sponsored by WinterPromise
If you are planning to homeschool this year, you need to check out this Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool program, WinterPromise!
When searching for the best Christian homeschool curriculum, WinterPromise stood out among the rest. I loved how they incorporated nature, creativity, independence… you know, all the things I talk about all the time haha! Their faith-based approach really aligned with what I wanted for my own kids. I honestly feel that they are an ideal homeschool program for most families!
Let’s go over the basic learning methods that they use, because that’s what made me love them before even setting my hands on the curriculum. WinterPromise is inspired by a popular homeschooling method, Charlotte Mason (named after its establisher), which I feel encompasses nearly everything one could want from homeschooling.
Charlotte Mason Homeschool Principles
This approach focuses on “Living Books”. They are written with excitement and zeal for the subjects at hand, so as to bring the story to life and create a genuine interest to learn more. There is also a strong emphasis on actually experiencing different environments and cultures, so field trips are encouraged. The purpose here is to go beyond a boring textbook and give kids a deeper understanding and appreciation of what they’re learning.
One way to bring these lessons to life is by “narrating”, which is basically just having your kids express what they’re learning in their own words. A great way to do this is through interactive journals, which are a big part of the learning experience offered at WinterPromise. We were lucky enough to get one and I’ll be detailing it more below. (Hint: it’s amazing!!)
An important element to the Charlotte Mason method is finding a balance between discipline and free time. We want to teach our children the importance of structure, following directions, and paying attention, but we also need to respect the fact that they are children. Children learn best through play and discovery, so allowing them the space to do that with their education is paramount.
A Well-Rounded Education: The Experience Approach
As amazing as the Charlotte Mason method is, that’s not all you can find within the WinterPromise curriculum! They’ve come up with their own term to describe their teaching style because it is so unique. They refer to this as the Experience Approach!
WinterPromise takes elements from different methods and weaves them together for one mega-education. They take inspiration from Charlotte Mason, emphasize the importance of reading great books, base lessons on overall unit themes, and even more! I love the way they word it, so I’ll just share how they describe it on their FAQ page:
“The result is a cohesive “mosaic” of learning, a multitude of “Experiences” — many different small pieces that together form a wonderful learning opportunity and a chance to build your family culture and make some memories! This “Experience Approach,” then, relies on wonderful literature, fantastic do-able activities that support intelligence goals, repetition that is exciting (not simply repetitive!), and a “joy of learning” approach.”
That sounds super awesome, right?? As you can imagine, I was all about this program after I read up on it. What a cool way to learn important educational stuff, while also nurturing those *really* important creativity and independence skills!
That should be enough to get you pumped no matter the age of your kids. But since my girl is officially starting homeschool preschool this year, I’m gonna show you exactly what we’re using. It will all be perfect for teaching her in a fun, adventurous, and informative way!
Everything you need to plan an entire school year is contained in these books. And the extra supplies are often items you already have around the house– it seriously could not get any simpler!
When we first received the package, it was neatly tucked into a box separated into zip-lock bags for safe-keeping. I was impressed by how thick the books were! Especially the journal we received and the Student Pages Pack. Everything is printed very clearly on quality cardstock and was hole-punched ahead of time!
Here’s what we got in the I’m Ready to Learn Basic Print Package (value $159):
- I’m Ready to Learn Teaching Guide
- Student Pages Pack
- Make-a-Letter Pack
- Letter-by-Letter Blank Book
- Pencil box filled with clothespins, assorted colored pipe cleaners, and a baggie full of little plastic finger puppets
We also got the Burrows Beehives & Beds Journal (value $59).
I’m Ready To Learn Teaching Guide
This teaching guide is jam-packed with activities covering four main themes: On the Farm, In My Garden, At the Pond, and At the Zoo. The curriculum is broken into four 9-week long units that each focus on one of the themes. Each week has four days of “work” with one free day to go on trips, have a play date, do some activities as a family, etc.
One of the things I really appreciate about this program is that the activities are straight-forward and don’t require much (if any) prep! The idea of homeschooling was overwhelming to me initially, so having it made simpler is a huge plus. In this easy-to-follow guide you’ll find daily activities that cover alphabet + reading skills, counting + math skills, and art.
Here’s what a week following this program looks like:
You can see from just one week that there is a ton of change up in how kiddos learn with this curriculum. From playing games, counting, singing, matching… there’s no sitting around filling out worksheets here! I especially love this because not only will it keep your child interested and excited to learn, but they’ll absorb information so much better from DOING rather than SEEING.
An unexpected bonus from using this curriculum is how much WE learn alongside our kiddos. They go into detail about topics that I don’t even know much about personally. It takes education and turns it into an opportunity for family bonding, which makes for a more positive experience all-around.
Student Pages Pack
Here’s where the fun happens! This book goes hand in hand with the guide, giving you all the printed material needed. There is at least one activity for nearly every week that uses something from this pack.
The content within this pack is the part you’ll cut out, write on, and use for activities. It’s a great add-on to the guide and helps reinforce the lessons in a tangible way. It’s the most workbookish part of the curriculum but it seriously won’t even feel like work to your kids, it’s so fun!
Make-a-Letter Hands-On Pack
This is an awesome way to get your kids actively learning to recognize a ton of letters/words. And that’s all while working on their categorizing and grouping skills!
The first half contains over 250 pictures to cut out and use repeatedly for a visual aid to their learning. Some weeks they’ll have to pick out items of a certain color, other weeks they’ll be picking out all the items starting with a specific sound, etc. They’ll also work on learning about money and other math skills, as well as geography.
The second half of the book has squares to cut out with the letters of the alphabet on them. They help your child get familiar with different word families, or spell out special words they’re interested in learning. All of the pages in this book are printed on extra thick card stock so they can withstand some use. I was happy about that because I did not feel like laminating all those little squares, haha!
Along with this pack, we received a pencil box filled with clothespins, pipe cleaners, and little finger puppets. These manipulatives offer different ways to make learning the alphabet a more interactive experience. Also they’re just fun to play with– I have to keep reminding my kiddos to only play with the puppets at the table so they don’t get lost before school even starts, ha!
Letter-by-Letter Blank Book
The book itself is just a set of blank pages. But it’s helpful to have it spiral bound to keep everything together as your child fills it out! Each week will focus on a different letter, which gets its own page in the book.
For each letter, your student will find pictures from magazines, newspapers, and anything else you can find that begin with the letter for that week. This is a fun way to introduce them to scrapbooking! And since it’s all contained in one book it’ll be easy to save and look back on! They will also write three simple words that start with the letter on each page to practice their writing.
Burrows, Beehives, & Beds Journal
As exciting as the rest of the curriculum is, my nature-loving nerdy heart loved this journal the most! WinterPromise has a collection of premium journals that engage kids in the lesson to a whole new level. The one we are using, Burrows, Beehives, & Beds, is the journal for Prek-K and is over 300 pages– wowza!
The topics in this journal cover SEVEN different nature themes: the woodlands, wetlands, savannah, arctic, desert, rainforest, and coral reefs! There is a strong emphasis on observing wildlife and seeing what we can learn from it. Honestly, I think I will learn as much from it as my daughter will!
Here’s an example of an activity they have to observe changes in trees:
What I really love about this journal is that it goes above and beyond the average curriculum and dives deep into each of the themes. Many kids don’t get to learn a lot of what’s contained within these pages, so I think that’s a really cool opportunity. And having it as a journal versus just a textbook makes it that much more interactive and exciting for children to work through!
Experiencing Homeschool in a New Way
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Overall, we are thrilled with what we received from WinterPromise! I love that my kids will be learning in a way that encourages their creativity, rather than stifle it. I find some more traditional approaches to education can dampen the curious spirit of children. When it becomes more about memorization and getting a certain test score, their natural curiosity can get pushed aside.
With WinterPromise, your kids will be getting a quality education, but in a way that gets them actively involved. It taps into the different ways that kids learn best, and keeps them hungry for more. It doesn’t feel like work when it’s this fun!
I’ll check back in part-way through the school year to share some more of our experience with this program. One of the fun aspects of homeschooling is that we don’t have to follow a set start date. I think we may get started a little early because we are just too excited to wait! I’m looking forward to taking my daughter’s natural interest in learning, and nurturing it through this amazing curriculum.