Well. Here we are, friends. I'm going to be a homeschooling mom for the 2020-2021 school year. This was not an easy decision. Before I had kids I thought I might homeschool them one day. I quickly changed my mind when I became an actual parent. Even with a background in education (elementary school teacher and librarian), I realized that I didn't want to homeschool and would most likely be sending my kids to public school. Then COVID. I ultimately came to the decision to homeschool because I'm a firm believer in Kindergarten being a time to learn and experience the world and I didn't want masks and rigid rules being my daughter's first public school experience. I also understand that I am coming from a place of privilege. Not all families have the ability to be able to easily homeschool and I want to name and recognize that. And I also want to affirm whatever decision you have made as a parent during this time. Whether you send you kids to school, do virtual learning, or homeschool, I'm sure coming to a decision about school for this upcoming year was not an easy one.
I'm writing this post for a couple of reasons. First of all, this is me getting down on paper what we will be doing for the year. Second, because I have a background in education, I thought it might be helpful to share what I'm doing with some other kindergarten families out there. If you've wanted to homeschool your kindergartener, but weren't sure what to do with them curriculum-wise, here's what I've come up with. I hope it's helpful.
Here is my five year olds' morning chore list. I use one word descriptions on her chore chart (she keeps it in her room) to help her learn new words.
Dressed (clothes on)
Hamper (dirty clothes in hamper)
Bed (make bed)
Floor (bedroom floor clean)
Teeth (brush teeth)
Hair (brush hair)
Dishes (put breakfast dishes away)
My almost three year old has a few chores as well, but I do help him with them: Get dressed. Hamper. Make bed. Toys off floor. Breakfast. Dishes.
We'll be using the Exploring Nature With Children by Raising Little Shoots ($18). This pdf book includes a years' worth of weekly ideas including a themed nature walk, a themed book list, a poem, a referenced piece of art, and extension activities. We also have a subscription to National Geographic for Little Kids ($15 for a yearly subscription). I also highly recommend this weather pack from a teacher friend (her Teachers Pay Teachers shop is full of really great resources for other grades as well).
The science and social studies standards in NC are pretty basic and can easily be taught through literature tie-ins. For example, one of the social studies standards is "explain how seasons change over time." You can read books about seasons and discuss seasons throughout the year to easily cover this topic.
Phonics: 4 Weeks to Read ($69.99)
I purchased this system in March so that I would have some easy readers on hand for my daughter. We've slowly been going through it (definitely not in 4 weeks) and I have really liked it a lot. It's a simple phonics system that includes a student workbook, lesson plans, 53 books, and flash cards. We'll continue using this throughout the school year.
The rest of the ELA standards can be covered when you are reading aloud, doing science and/or social studies, writing, etc. Reading over these standards a few times and familiarizing yourself with them will allow you to incorporate them into what you are already doing. The Exploring Nature With Children study mentioned above covers many of these.
My teacher friend (whose Teachers Pay Teacher store I mentioned above) recommended this math curriculum. I purchased the first unit and really like it a lot. The teacher who created it follows the math common core standards very closely and gives you everything you need to execute. You can try out the first unit for $12 before buying the bundle with all of the units ($95).
Our Schedule + How We'll Execute
*Note: I will have a sitter/nanny at my house from 9:00-1:00 Monday through Friday. She will be helping me do the above homeschooling things. Those hours will also be my work hours.
Phonics: I'll be doing the phonics lesson with Harper (my 5 year old). Elias (almost 3 year old) will hang with my husband or have tablet time while we do this.
Morning Meeting: going over the alphabet, numbers, weather predictions, story time, etc.
Math Lesson: Using the curriculum from TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) mentioned above.
Read Alouds: I'll be getting books from the library that cover the science and social studies standards + the occasional activity to go along with them.
Nature Walk/Study: Using the above mentioned Exploring Nature with Children pdf book.
Other: Art, dress up, play, etc.
Quiet Room Time (saying a prayer now that I will stay strong and actually make this happen)
Educational Tablet Time: Harper will be doing Reading and/or Math Eggs (you can get a free 30 day trial) during this time and Elias will do some games/apps that are at his level (I may use Reading Eggs for him as well).
TV Time: The kids can pick from some pre-approved shows. I particularly like Wild Kratts (lots of science/animal tie-ins) and Umizoomi (math related).
Outside Play or Nature Walk (if the nature walk didn't happen earlier in the day)
Dinner: My husband is now the official cook in our house and I AM HERE FOR IT!!!
Get ready for bed, bath, stories
Have any questions for me about kindergarten homeschooling or curriculum? Comment on this post and I'll help as much as I can!
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Y'all. I read 77 books this year (follow me on Goodreads here)!! My goal was 75 and with 2020 being the year of the pandemic, I was able to make it happen. I listened to many of them and also bought SO. MANY. BOOKS. that I have random stacks throughout my house. Below you'll find my favorites by category...
This list includes favorite things from this year (excluding books because they needed their own post)!
Favorite TV Shows: Ted Lasso, Bridgerton (Shonda Rhimes does it again), The Queen's Gambit, Schitt's Creek
Favorite Movie: Y'all, I can only recall watching two movies this year. I did really love the ones I watched: Happiest Season and Little Women.