After finding a place of comfort with all my checklists and TEKS, I'm taking time to rely on just one of the lists I downloaded. The curriculum outline has enough detail for me to insure that we cover a lot of standard kindergarten skills and knowledge, but is not so lengthy that it's torturous to use. I will rely on this outline for formulating our units and the activities and work we cover for those topics, but I'll also be using this outline when I create our year-long plan or map.
Before I do that, I want to get a handle on how to use some of the gazillion tools my sister has shared with me. Two full boxes of materials were brought up, and that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what she has. After eliminating an entire box of what I definitely won't be using, I have a full box of books and curriculum to dig through. Among my favorites are titles such as Take Any Book, by Neil Stitt, Story Stretchers: Activities to Expand Children's Favorite Books, by Shirley C. Raines and Robert J. Canady, A Year of Hands-on Science, by Lynne Kepler, and Teachin' Cheap by Linda Holliman.
I can't offer any kind of opinion on these books yet, but as I use or go through them I will make a point to do reviews on them. If you know anything about these feel free to share your experiences with them. I know I am lucky to have all these resources, and still more to come!
What I do love about these books, and why I have singled them out, is that they will empower any parent or teacher with the ability to create their own lesson plan or curriculum based on the needs and preferences of their children or students. I do have public school curriculum available to me, and I am spending time looking through that, week by week, lesson by lesson, and trying to pull from that what will be most useful for us. What seems most obviously not for us is some of the time that is required to be taken in a classroom on things just because of the nature of teaching large groups of kids. Some of what is covered seems like overkill for teaching one on one, and some of it is just stuff we do in our every day lives, like working with sounds of letters and counting infinite numbers of things. Either way, I am excited to dig through the stack and uncover goodies.