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.
BJU Press Focus on Fives is a multi-subject Kindergarten curriculum that covers science, social studies, handwriting, and phonics. This is a bible-based system that was created by BJU Press Homeschool. We received the entire curriculum and used it with our daughter.
Focus on Fives provides introductions to science, social studies, handwriting, phonics, and reading. This curriculum is filled with activities to teach and improve phonemic awareness, reading strategies, comprehension, listening, and speaking. God’s word is also included throughout to help begin training for a Biblical Worldview. This system includes Teacher’s Edition guides, Worktext book, 34 Reading Books, Phonics Chart Homeschool Packet, Phonics Practice Book, Write Now! Handwriting book, Teaching Visuals Flip Charts, and Phonics and Review cards.
The Teacher’s Edition guides cover the guidelines and instruction techniques for the entire curriculum. There are six guides and each covers a separate section of sequentially ordered lessons. Each begins with goals, explanations of their biblical worldview themes, learning center ideas, and details on how to use the instructional materials. The detailed lesson plans show how to present the material to your child. At the back of each guide is a resource section with instructional aids, writing guides, songs, and assessment tools.
The Worktext book provides assessments for all the subjects and weekly evaluation pages. Additional pages are included at the end of each unit to track student progress. All the pages are completely color printed with age-appropriate, eye-catching illustrations. The Phonics Practice book provides daily exercises for phonics skills and word families. A few stories are also included for further reading practice. This book has a lay-flat spine so the pages can be easily removed.
There are 34 Reading Books that encourage silent and oral reading comprehension. First picture stories are only provided but the books progress to include text, quotations, and longer paragraphs. The books are printed on regular paper and are the size of half a sheet. Bible stories, poetry, family, and games are just a few of the themes covered. These books were shrink-wrapped and didn’t come with a storage container so I placed them in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
The Phonics Charts Homeschool Packet is a collection of the visuals for the program. It includes alphabet song charts, high-frequency word cards, cards for all the phonics characters. Each character is based on phonics traits like long and short vowels and silent letters. Word family cards, phonics song charts, handwriting wall charts, and spelling cards are also included. All components are printed on cardstock but these are not spiral bound. Once the shrink wrap was opened, I used two large binder clips to keep these together.
The Write Now! Handwriting book has over 150 pages of additional handwriting practice. Your child will work on letters, words, and sentences for beginning writers. This is a black and white printed book with the aforementioned lay-flat spine design. The Teaching Visuals Flip Chart houses additional visuals for the program. It includes 46 papers connected with spiral-bound hardcovers. The Phonics and Review Cards are smaller versions of the song charts, word cards, letters, and blends. These are about the size of an index card and did not come with a storage container. I decided to add them to the aforementioned Ziploc bag.
OUR ROUTINE & FINAL THOUGHTS
We jumped right into using this curriculum every day during the review period. Each day took approximately one hour to work through all the components. During our school time, I thought every activity provided a good developmental transition for all subjects. The strategies and guidance within the guides were also very helpful. I also liked the quirky phonics characters like Mr. and Mrs. Short, Uncle Short, Miss Long, Marker e, Miss Silent, and Bossy r. The graphics included throughout the entire curriculum was also noted. I especially enjoyed watching our daughter work through the Worktext book because it was so colorful.
The Biblical Worldview themes were my favorite thing about this curriculum. Focusing on how God is great, God is good, and that God created us and all things is a wonderful foundation. By pairing that with the understanding of why the Bible is God’s truthful Word you can clearly convey why we serve God and help others. The only improvements that need to be made with this curriculum are containers for the review cards, charts, and books. BJU Press Homeschool did a great job with this Focus on Fives curriculum! It will definitely get children on a path for developing the skills needed for first grade.
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