Homeschooling a kindergartner- walk me through your day - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 05-03-2013, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Next year I will try my hand at homeschooling. My oldest just misses the cutoff for kindergarten. I figure why not try HSing now and if we hate it, no harm done and she can start K next year. I have read a ton, but still can't get an accurate picture of a day in the life if you will. I realize this will differ from family to family, even child to child, but if you can will you share an average day- what sort of lessons? How long do you spend doing structured learning? Thanks.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." ~Mark Twain


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#2 of 8 Old 05-03-2013, 08:32 PM
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You are right that it varies a lot! We are finishing our first year of homeschooling here. My son is 7 and I also have a 5 yr old and a 19 mo old.

We wake around 8am, have breakfast and do chores together - feed dogs, laundry, rooms. Then reading aloud usually followed by science / art projects. Then some exercise, usually in the backyard, and it's time for lunch. After lunch is our longest period of work, usually 3 hours. My son does math, geography and typing online while I get the baby to sleep and my daughter has reading time...then I check my son's work and we usually do history together. He loves to read so he'll be reading on and off throughout the day.

On Mondays we often go to the library and load up on books. On Tuesdays he attends a full day enrichment program consisting of science, technology, art and theater. On Fridays we almost always have an extended the baby gets older we are able to venture further from home and do more field trips. Also on Fridays we make an effort to get together with other families for our outing.

Hope this helps!
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#3 of 8 Old 05-04-2013, 05:09 AM
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Picture your average day now and imagine fitting in half an hour to an hour of reading aloud, math, handwriting, or reading instruction/practice at random times during the day.  That would probably be about what our average kindergarten day was like.  We don't have any kind of daily or weekly schedule at all and spend very little time doing anything you could call structured learning.  For kindergarten, an average day would probably include one to three things that could count as homeschooling.  I would read aloud from a chapter book every night and sometimes during the day.  Many days I would read other books aloud, too - picture books, stories from a book of fairy tales, non-fiction books on science or social studies topics.  Both my kids could already read some at the start of kindergarten and didn't need a lot of phonics instruction at that point, but I encouraged them to practice reading aloud.  One of them had trouble developing fluency and needed me to provide her with regular reading practice time and one just took off with reading and was reading chapter books by the middle of his kindergarten year.  Sometimes we would go for a hike or go somewhere where the kids could catch frogs or insects.  We might catch and keep crickets or caterpillars or a toad.  Sometimes we would do a science experiment.  Sometimes I would write out math problems or have my kid do a math worksheet, or give a lesson on coins or measuring.  Sometimes I would give a handwriting lesson or ask my kid to write a little.  Sometimes my kid would draw or paint or make things out of paper or try some simple sewing.  Sometimes we would go to a museum. 

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#4 of 8 Old 05-04-2013, 09:14 AM
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We take our morning slow, eat breakfast and play for awhile. By 9am though I like to either get them outside or do a craft of some sort. Usually a bit of science or social studies (maps, world cultures, ect.) is mixed into the craft. We read a lot of books. In the afternoon we might do a little bit of formal math and reading instruction as DD shows interest. I keep everything very informal and low-key. I try to do nature walks and get them outside in the garden as much as possible. We leave lots of time for playing. She does take a couple of classes (gymnastics and dance) but only because she wants to. All in all it is probably and hour and a half of actual structure broken up throughout the day.

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#5 of 8 Old 05-04-2013, 09:31 AM
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My eldest missed the cutoff by 8 days and we did something similar 14 years ago when she was not-quite-kindergarten-aged. I think Daffodil described it very well. We didn't even do that much structured learning, but I did make an effort to encourage interest-based projects, devoting maybe an hour a couple of times a week to those things, and also to participate a little bit in homeschoolers' social gatherings or occasional classes. I think we did an 8-week series of swim lessons, occasional park days, and four art classes, just to start getting plugged in to the homeschool scene. In my case we viewed it as a bit of a "demonstration year" for homeschooling and I wanted my kid and my extended family to see that homeschooling was a viable and vibrant choice that allowed for social connections and extended beyond the walls of our home. 


Otherwise it was just a case of living life. Lots of housekeeping, yard work, outdoor exploration, cooking, baking, animal chores, community errands and events, imaginary play, physical play, stories read aloud to my kids, questions answered, conversations had.



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#6 of 8 Old 05-04-2013, 01:41 PM
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Here's what Kindergarten looked like the first time around.  The girls were 4.5 and 2 when we started. 


Mornings: breakfast, morning chores.  School consisted of several pages in various workbooks (Joy's choice; she loved them), cutting/glueing pictures, using magnetic letters/numbers, drawing/writing, any arts and crafts, etc.  Erica either joined in or played on her own in the same room.  Pick up for snack time.


Mid morning:  snack (fruit/water; they had milk for breakfast; I don't buy juice); go on a walk around the neighborhood, usually with a theme--find things that are the same colors as the rainbow; how many x can you find; count items; etc.


Lunch time:  music and read books after lunch; picked up to get ready for nap time.


Rest/nap time: Both girls took naps until age 5-6.  And half way through the school year, I was pregnant with #3; I needed a nap.


Mid afternoon:  snack (more fruit or veggies/dip; some crackers; water); free play.  This is the time I sewed or read or just otherwise did something for me that didn't involved the girls.  Pick up for dinner.


Dinner:  after dinner quiet play, pick up, bath, stories, bed.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#7 of 8 Old 05-04-2013, 04:37 PM
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Ds is doing his kindergarten year right now. It doesn't really look any different from when he was 4 last year, except that he has gained some more privileges over the year (mostly at his request).  He can cook on the stove (with supervision), he was just outside using a drill with dp.  He is allowed to walk around the corner to our community garden alone (as long as there is someone to meet him at the garden), he can go in the basement etc.


We've hit on most of the regular kindergarten stuff throughout the year just naturally.


In K they focus a lot on coins and how much they are worth, and ds has a piggy bank and is interested in money.


He's always been interested and motivated by math so we have a subscription to DreamBox Learning and he is 1/2 of the way through the 2nd grade curriculum.  


We also got a couple or reading games and many ipad apps that are reading, math etc focused and let him have some time with those.


We go to the library, we check out both fiction and non-fiction books and talk about what makes a book fiction vs non-fiction.  We've recently been talking a lot about "realistic fiction" vs "fantasy" but that was just through a natural conversation not something I decided to "teach" him.


An average day doesn't really mean much to us, as our days vary a lot and are kinda based on what other things we have to do, whether or not we are babysitting that day, the weather, whether or not friends are around etc.


We live in a house with 6 adults and two kids (ds and a baby) so he has a lot of folks to talk to and explore things with.  

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#8 of 8 Old 05-06-2013, 09:21 AM
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DD2 is an October baby, so is a bit in-between.  She would have started kindy this last fall, but she is in many ways more in line with first-graders, but not entirely quite.  For some activities (4-H, Girl Scouts) she is listed as 1st grade.  So, that said, I'll tell you a little about both last year and this year.


For us, there wasn't anything different between these 2 years and the years before.  Last year and now, we watch videos first thing in the morning.  Often it is something "educational", but almost as often it isn't.  Except you could point out that some non-educational ones tie into books, and even Kung-fu Panda opens up the world of martial arts, etc. orngtongue.gif  These days, shows like Electric Company count as favorites.  DD2  will often get up and work a puzzle while dd1 (8yo) finishes watching.  Usually the girls get up and play together at that point.  10:30 is the morning meltdown, but I'm ready for the day by then.  Last year at that point we would have a snack and I would read on the couch.  DD2 would pick up a stack of books from the shelves and "read" them (this year she really is) and would resent when I would stop and pay attention.  


At some point, they would get outside.  DD2 has always loved her sandbox, and still does.  Both girls love bike riding.  When we were in town, we'd walk to the library and perhaps hit the playground.  Some days we get ready and go on errands and lessons (gymnastics, riding, now girl scouts, the occasional 4-H meeting).  A few years ago, when dd1 would have been kindy age and before we had lessons of any kind, we would hit the farmer's market every week.  Even back then, the girls received a small allowance--one quarter per year per week.  I would also let them pay cash at the market.  Visits to the post office.  Self-checkout at the grocery store.  Now, the girls like writing PLU numbers down at the co-op, and they have some snack allowance to spend each week, so they decide how to spend that, how much they have left, etc.


DD2 was always excellent at inventing her own games and playing on her own-- parent pleasing stuff, like playing with wooden pattern blocks, using feather quills to trace letters in books, poring over stacks of books and her precious field guides, inventing whoknowswhat with paper, scotch tape and string-- she even invented a "printer-scanner" and I have video of her demonstrating it!  Both girls had full access to as many tools as I dared.  Give the child the measuring tape, and she would be busy for hours.   They took many many hundreds of pictures with the camera--thank heavens for digital!


We have had chickens for years, and so there was always several times in the day the girls would be outside feeding treats to or otherwise bothering the chickens. 


DH would get home and there would be requests for baseball games (which, apparently, I am terrible at... or so they say) and other things dh is so good at motivating them to do.  They often want him to play board or card games.  I would like to say they are in there helping me with dinner, but no.  They were always too busy with each other (playing, fighting) or with dh to want to help me much.  These days, they are often set up at the dinner table, drawing or writing some... thing that is their current project...mmmm...thing.  Or origami.  Or just spelling words (??!!) that they've decided to play with.


Then the day would end with dh telling the bedtime stories.  Somewhere during the days, we managed to learn math, reading, spelling, loads of science, literature and whatever else.  Kindy is easy!

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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