Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kindergarten Homeschool - Week 1

I have an official Homeschooler!  Ok, not quite "official" as I don't have to register her with the state for another year, but as far as I'm concerned, we're official this year! 

I have had a great time and completely stressed out about what, how and when to teach Grace.  She is such a smart kid and I have been searching through ready-made curriculums, piecing subjects together and of course had the complete "what am I thinking" meltdown.  After I went through all that and my husband gently reminded me that at the Kindergarten level I can't really mess her up, we settled for a pretty simple routine.

Calendar - Basically we talk about what day of the week it is, the day number, what the temperature is and what it looks like outside.  I want her to start to understand the mechanics of how a calendar works and begin to put weather and temperature together - I also want to move to "and what does that mean for how we should dress?"  It is basically a fun, quick start to our morning and while she draws in what the weather looks like, I have time to make sure I'm not missing anything for reading or math!

Reading/Writing - We are using "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" that I borrowed from Stephanie (my homeschool friend, mom of 5!).  So far so good!  We are moving slowly but just like I remind Grace, we want to take it slow now because when it gets harder we want to be at the right pace.  There is a writing portion at the end of each lesson so that covers our writing section, but we also incorporate writing into Bible and as we get more proficient at letters we'll do more writing activities.

Math - We are using a first grade math book this year that is set up for a classroom.  I again think that activities are too simple but we will soon be getting into things she hasn't seen before so those will require more time and repetition.  I think this pace is good for us now and we are working on things like counting higher numbers, using a number line and memorizing the names of the higher numbers.

Bible - My goal here is to pick a verse each week then do various activities with it.  We'll write it, memorize it, illustrate it, talk about meaning and why it is important, etc.  This week we are doing Philippians 2:14 (Do everything without grumbling or complaining) which I picked specifically so that as we are getting into this new routine I can remind her to do it cheerfully, although I've gotten no complaints so far.

Read Aloud - Right now we are reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  I was going to start with Little House on the Prairie but I couldn't find one in time so I picked up this book for $1 at Target!  I told her there is a movie based on the book so when we finish reading it we'll have a movie night.  At a chapter a week it will take us a little while.  My goal here is to expose her to good books but also to see how she does with story line retention, focus and not immediately seeing resolution to the story.  We might switch to picture books, but I want to see how she does before we make a decision here.

This schedule so far has given us about 45 minutes of desk time.  Now, I know that she needs active time but I think at this age the rest of her day is active so it's ok to have her sit still for some time.  She is also a great "worksheet" kid and has the desk mentality, at least for now, so she enjoys this structure.  We will spend time outside of scheduled "school time" to do some hands on things - baking, measuring, cause and effect, etc.  I'm just not concerned about formally doing much more than reading, writing and math at this point.

I'm excited to be able to move at her pace, enjoy learning with her and have this quality one-on-one time with her.  We have a happy, busy family and I want to make sure she gets the focus that she needs!  I want my children to get a quality education, at their own pace and really excel and I can't wait to see what this journey will look like. 

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