Our Homeschool 101

We've officially been homeschooling since August 7th. I have a kindergartner and a preschooler, and now a 6 week old baby. So I have to be smart about the way I spend my time. While everyday different is filled with lots of excitement. I have tried to do my best to stay on task. This means being more organized and finding out what works best for us. Because I knew we’d have a newborn around I started planning early. I spent most of last year doing various preschool activities but never having any real direction. Which was fine because it's preschool. But this year I wanted to be better, more prepared, more organized. And since I was going to have a newborn I wanted to have everything together before her arrival.

So I did some research. First, I researched GA Kindergarten standards and made a list of goals based on those standards (see below). I created goals based what we had previously learned and what needed to be learned by the end of the year. When deciding on what buy I didn't want to overdo it. I already have an assortment of worksheets on most subjects, craft ideas, etc. So I wanted to get only what was necessary. This year I decided to focus on reading, phonics, and math. Social studies and science lessons are taught once a week. I didn't feel the need for textbooks or formal lesson plans. I wanted to have a flexible lesson plan in order to adapt based on seasons or fields trips or interests.

Here are our some of our goals for this semester:

Preschool Goals:

  • Learn and/or recognize the alphabet

  • Count to 10

  • Learn colors

  • Learn Shapes

  • Spell his name

Kindergarten Goals:

  • Write first and last name

  • Count to 100

  • Adding and Subtracting 1 - 10

  • Base Block counting

  • Learn how to read by sounding things out

  • Learn rhyming schemes

  • Write words legibly 

  • Identify opposites

  • Identify Money types

I ordered a reading curriculum, All About Reading. Bought some very basic math books on Amazon. I should note that I already had a math plan (see above), so I was only using the workbook as a supplemental resource. I bought 2 books one for Addition and Subtraction and one Basic Workbook. I have ordered some new math workbooks for goals for next semester, I'll update next semester once we start using them. 

When it comes to science and social studies, I mostly wing it. Social studies at this age is basic information about life parents names, community helpers (police, fireman, librarians, etc). So I incorporate these things into our daily lessons. Originally for science I was going to wing it but I went to a homeschool book sale and picked up this Chemistry book, Pre-Level I. I also snagged the teacher workbook and lab workbook that goes along with it. It’s super simple, but it gives the chemistry building blocks. This book can be used from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. Each week we work on a different lesson. I like the lab workbook, but I am going to save it for later. Right now we just read the book weekly, and I find a video and we draw in our science notebook. I bought these blank books from Target dollar spot. We also use them for our Friday book reports. They are an excellent black canvas to display what were learning in one convenient place.

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After having our newest member arrive I had to hand over the reins for a few days. I created a schedule of what our days look like. I typically make sure there are a lot of breaks. I realize they are still little and I don’t want to overdo it.

Free Time – 30 mins
Bible – 15 mins

  • Opening Prayer

  • Sing (2 songs)

  • Read devotional

  • Closing Prayer

Reading/Phonics – 45 mins to 1 hour

  • Go over ABC’s

  • Go though one set of rhyming cards (Lessons 2 – 6)

  • Read 3 – 5 books (Josilyn and Stone can choose)

  • Complete Worksheet and/or Handwriting sheet

Snack – 15 to 20 mins

Math – 30 mins

  • Do Review worksheets

  • Teach new lessons

Lunch/Free Time – 1 hour

Optional: Science/Social Studies – 15 to 20 mins

  • Complete worksheets and/or workbook

  • Discuss

Quiet Time – 30 to 45 mins

Free Time – 30 mins

Book Report (Once a Week)

  • Choose a book

  • Read

  • Discuss

  • Fill out worksheet and place in notebook

Arts/Crafts – 30 mins

  • Creative Play, let them decide. 

    • Paint

    • Color

    • Draw

Random Notes:

  • Potty breaks between each subject

  • Completed worksheets should be placed in box

  • Quiet time should involve quiet activities if not napping (reading, puzzles, felt crafts, etc)

  • Free Time is open play. This can be done throughout the day and/or if they get restless during work time

I homeschool most of the day as you see, bwetween breaks and other distractions. Learning time is about 2 to 3 hours. I incorporate chores into our day. They are free to play outside during free time or after all our work is done. Our typical schedule is followed from about 10 AM - 3 PM, Monday - Thursday. Fridays are reserved to run errands, there is a small amount of school work in that day, just to keep the kids on task. But it’s a very relaxed day, phonics and/or spelling test and a book report. We also make up any work not done during the week on Friday. On field trip days I don’t plan to do work, unless it’s a trip that starts late in the day (after 1 PM).

As we continue to homeschool I hope to get more learning stations. Small independent learning stations that the kids can go to to continue a lesson or complete a new task. Also I plan on doing more critical thinking in preparation for testing. I just ordered a book with practice worksheets and tests. While testing is not mandatory until 3rd grade I’ve decided to try and prepare. I don’t believe testing is true indication of all that you know. But its a good assessment to work from, and it will come in handy later in life.

I can’t say everything is easy. I get frustrated and I’m constantly tired (this might have something to do with having a newborn). But I love the flexibility and I love being able to take credit for my children’s learning. As cliche as it sounds, it’s definitely a labor of love

Jailyn NicholsonComment