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Last year we eagerly began our first Kindergarten year of homeschooling. I bought a TON of resources. Set the perfect homeschool schedule and kept to it.
For about two months. Then I realized I was trying to create “school” at home and not homeschool. And I was putting a lot into these early years that is truly unnecessary, distracting and empty!
The beauty of homeschooling is it is a natural way to foster a life long love of learning. It’s not a way to be guided by the clock. If we let the clock be our guide we might miss the natural flow of our topic exploration. When things really peak their interest we carry it on.
So year two I threw out the schedule and shelved many “school” ideas and decided to get back to basics. Outside time, long walks talking about the formation of the Earth and nature and eliminating lots of busy work. We also use curriculum and the many free resources available to us!
Here is a list of everything I want to accomplish in a day and as we go about our day we check things off and get reminded of our goals.
*I want to add a disclaimer to remind everyone that no one is perfect and bad days happen. Please do not believe for a second my house is not a complete mess some days or my children (or I😬) always have glad hearts. This is not true we are human and flawed but operate under abounding grace and love of our savior Christ Jesus without whom I’d be bald or/and in dream escape land.*
Our task list looks like this:
- Pledge of Allegiance (the only very school like thing I decided to keep)
- Bible reading (This used to happen at lunch time but my youngest has recently rejected the high chair so at lunch time I am usually chasing after children and cleaning up messes with one hand while eating with the other. So we moved our Bible reading to bedtime. This is the Bible we are reading through and all the littles find it very engaging. )
- Writing lesson (we use Handwriting Without Tears and different workbooks I’ve collected from many places. Such as the dollar store, Amazon and local retailers. I’ve also written out sentences and had the kids do copywork.)
- Reading lesson (We are using Teach Your Child To Read in a 100 Easy Lessons. Great book!)
- Math lesson (We use Mathusee and dollar store workbooks)
- Science lesson (We use Sonlight for this.)
- History (My goal is for the littles to understand American history through the president of each term in these early years. We started with George Washington last year and taught our history from that and questions surrounding that. There was a lot to cover with the founding of our country, first presidency and his life. They retained so much for such young children. We included many, many books, field trips and a few documentaries to bring the time period to life. Obviously we won’t dedicate a whole year to each president but George happens to be our favorite and the years leading to his Presidency are essential to understand American history.
- Extra for the day
M- spelling test (This is a small test I orally administer. They actually really enjoy the challenge!)
T- piano lessons
W- bible verse copy work (I pick a verse and they copy it. This helps work on sentence structure and I want some of their first writings to be God’s word!)
Th- computer time ( There are many free educational games online through sprout, Disney and nickjr but I pick which game. As my main goal is computer familiarity and typing at this young age. Then they can have fun game time if everything else is finished.)
- Supplements (This is anything I find on Pinterest or teacherspayteachers.com that I think would be useful. Also notebooking time, extra reading, dollar store workbooks and all our hands on tools. ( Puzzles, math manipulatives, games, flash cards, Bob books and our popular train cards!) I steer clear of busy work and stick to writing practice, crafts such as scissor work or math worksheets.)
- Read aloud time-I only consider read aloud time our current chapter book. The many other books we read a day are counted as part of different subjects. (This is a time I adore. I usually read to the kids while they swing outside in early afternoon, play toys or legos. There are only two rules when Mama reads: listen and play quietly where they can hear. After I read I ask a couple of questions. This helps with reading comprehension growth. We do one to many chapters a day.)
- Activities -outside, legos, crafts, art (I put this on the list to remind myself to make time for all of these things everyday. We go outside everyday, weather permitting, three to four hours. Usually we start the day with two plus hours outside and then we go outside again before I start dinner. This is so essential to a child’s development and health for me that I make it an utmost priority.)
- Chore (This is a specific chore Mom picks on top of their makings beds, putting away clothes and cleaning up after meals daily. Usually one kid vacuums using our small vacuum and another washes the table for dinner.)
- Pretty close to the rest of the week. Except we switch out lessons (with the exception of science) for learning trough reading. And use our hands on materials much more because there is more reading by Mom.
- This is also the day we do catch up if any interruptions or appointments caused us to fall behind.
- The kids also do their one chore and one extra chore this day to prepare us for a relaxing weekend.
After the kids finish their chores they are dismissed for the day. Our sit down school work usually takes 3 hours a day. If we go longer the youngest joins us at the end for some quiet play while the bigs finish. Otherwise the older kids play toys until the youngest wakes from their nap then we all head back outside with our read aloud before dinner. Overall I would say we do school from 8 am until sometimes 4 pm everyday as I believe much of our essential learning is done outside. We also add chores into the school day because I believe this is a huge benefit to the children in their future, abilities and work ethic.
What I love about a task list homeschool is it frees us to attend events outside the home more often. And if we do decide to join a play group meetup or library science day it does not throw off our whole day. We have tasks I mark off before going and tasks I mark off after we come back. No big deal when they get done or in what order each day! Where as when we had a schedule I felt more overwhelmed by the unexpected than joyful about fun events!
If I was to give one piece of useful advice to a new homeschool mom I would say start small and build. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the world. There is a lot of busyness that is celebrated nowadays so actively look for things that will produce fruit!
I hope our day gave you some fresh ideas for yours and as always be blessed friends and be a blessing.