Yesterday was our official first day of homeschooling as Jack began his Kindergarten year!
I am so thankful for the past three years that I have somewhat obsessed about early childhood education philosophies and tried many different styles of teaching to see what works best in our home. Because of that time of trial and error throughout Jack’s preschool years, I am beginning his Kindergarten year with confidence in my choices of curriculum and overall plans for our school year.
As a homeschooling mom, it is so easy to get caught up and distracted by what everyone else is doing and how they are doing it. But I have learned that just because something works great for one child or family, it may not work at all for the next. Because I have found what works well for us, I am being intentional about not perusing the internet world of homeschooling too much, in order to protect myself from falling into the comparison trap and second guessing all of my plans and choices. There are a few homeschooling blogs and sites that I know are a good fit with my style, and I will continue to use those as my main sources of inspiration and resources.
When I sat down to start my planning for the school year, I first wrote out a few things that are important to me to ensure that I didn’t get too caught up in curriculums and pretty lesson plans, but stayed focused on my goal and priorities.
…for my children to be creative, resourceful, observant, critical thinkers who have the ability to carry on intelligent conversations on a wide variety of subjects.
- Provide a creative and rich learning environment and exposure to great books, people, and places
- Show respect for their personal interests and encourage them to explore their curiosities
- Engage in meaningful conversations and answer their (many) questions with sincerity
I am what I would call a relaxed homeschooling mom. One thing I have learned about myself is that I do not like to live by a strict schedule or to-do list, but enjoy following more of a natural daily rhythm with flexible plans that allow plenty of room for life to be lived.
So here is a look at what I call our Daily Rhythm as well as our general weekly school plans…
We begin our day around 8:30 with our morning routine which includes getting dressed, making our beds, and having breakfast. We end breakfast with a daily devotion and prayer. Right now I am using the devotional Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings, which was highly recommended to me by my friend and veteran homeschooling mom, Jennifer at The Kindle Crew.
After breakfast, we clean up the kitchen and I start some laundry, and then we head into the school room to officially start our homeschool day with Circle Time, which includes a silly song or fingerplay, learning about the weather, the calendar, days of the week, months and seasons, and personal information such as full name, birthday, phone numbers and home address.
I then set out a self-directed Montessori/Reggio style activity for Aidan to work on fine motor/sensory skills, numbers and counting, or shapes and colors. While Aidan is occupied, Jack and I start Math. We are using Math-U-See and I really love the hands-on approach it offers.
After Math, we move onto Reading/Spelling/Handwriting which are all covered in one curriculum called Logic of English. I had the privilege of sitting in several workshops led by the Logic of English creator, Denise Eide, this past May at the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Nashville, and I LOVE her philosophy and approach. I am so excited to use this curriculum with Jack!
After Math and English, we take a break for lunch and a bit of free play. I also use this time to finish laundry and do some other quick household tasks.
We then head into the den for read-alouds. For our read-aloud selections, I am choosing living books from the Charlotte Mason book lists as well as reading our FIAR (Five in a Row) book for the week. You can check out our current read-alouds on my sidebar or by following me on Goodreads.
After we finish our read-alouds, we go into the schoolroom for FIAR projects and activities. If you are not familiar with FIAR, it is a curriculum based on classic children’s literature, and covers many subjects such as History, Geography, Science, Social Studies, and Fine Art inspired by the various themes found in that week’s book. For a great example of FIAR in action, check out Delightful Learning.
After we complete our FIAR activities for the day, our official homeschool day is over, and the boys turn into superheros and I start working on personal crafty projects and such.
So that is my basic plan for Monday through Thursday. I am leaving Fridays open to catch up on anything we were unable to complete, as well as time to do a nature activity as we work through the book The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms. Fridays will also be a day to work on non-FIAR projects and activities, perhaps things I found on Pinterest or one of my favorite sites, Rhythm of the Home, or something the boys have shown interest in.
In addition to our weekly plans, I am also planning monthly field trips with my good friend and fellow homeschooling mom, whose five year old son is Jack’s best friend. We have also enrolled Jack in Tae Kwon Do this year, and he LOVES it!
I am very excited about our 2013-2014 school year and so are the boys! I know things aren’t going to be perfect and that we will probably have to make some tweaks and changes along with way, especially when the baby comes in November, but I am going to approach each day and week with heaps of grace for myself and for my boys as we embark on this exciting journey together.
If you have any questions about our curriculum or plans for the year, feel free to ask in the comments or on Facebook. I love to talk about home education! In a day or two, I will take you on a little photo tour of our schoolroom, which is one of our favorite rooms in the house!