Are you new to homeschooling?
Here are four things you need to consider when beginning your homeschool:
Your goal is to consider what is an education is anyway and read about unschooling, deschooling, and learning.
But those things I want you to tuck into the back of your head for your kids entire childhood. Because you won’t get firm on your notions straightaway. Just consider them as you enjoy your kindergarten year with your kiddo.
So how to do kindergarten in your homeschool?
Kindergarten is a rite of passage, right?
I put my first six-year-old daughter on the bus at the end of the block, then I went directly home to load my other two girls into the minivan and followed that yellow bus to the school.
Yeah, I did.
My oldest daughter bumped along the gravel road on that green vinyl seat while chatting with a new friend. She checked out the first graders behind her and the second graders behind them and behind them, third graders until the bus was bookended with high schoolers.
My six-year-old daughter looked out that wide window, past the railroad tracks, past the silos, past the silky yellow fields, to the gigantic butter-coloured school.
I would grieve this day (or celebrate it) by chasing that yellow bus with my camera in the ready position.
I balanced that camera on top of the steering wheel, stuck it out of the side window, and photographed those few miles for the record book.
This was a momentous day, my daughter began her journey toward independence, at age six.
Just 1,990 days before, she and I traveled a different path: from the hospital post-partum ward to her cradle in our first apartment.
Just 1,990 days before, she fed directly from me, she bathed because daddy brought her to the foldable tub on the dresser, and she slept because I held her in my arms.
Her days of dependence were coming to a close.
When I’d pulled that minivan into the school parking lot, I slowly crept by the bus to capture her first descent off those three black steps…click click click.
“Good job, Hannah,” I yelled. (I’m not sure what I thought she did well. It was me that should have been congratulated. I had managed to stay on the road with two squirming toddlers while I perilously photographed that bus while I drove.)
Fast forward six years: my youngest is getting his hair cut. The stylist asks how I want his hair prepared for his first day of kindergarten.
Hmm, kindergarten? But he’s four!
The cut-off date is January, she tells me. The parent can decide whether he goes to kindergarten now. It’s your choice.
Hmm, somehow the kindergarten years slipped from my awareness (not that I would ever have considered kindergarten at four). But I hadn’t been thinking about my son going to any school, because he was the youngest of four.
I wasn’t thinking about grades at all anymore.
Rather, I’m pursuing an education for each of my kids based on interests first, and also incorporating things I think are important too.
Kindergarten: days of play centers, introductions to line-ups and bagged lunches, sounding out letters and counting manipulatives, reading stories at the foot of a teacher, resting on blankies at quiet times, and swinging on playground equipment at recess.
I decided to skip the mile-drive camera in hand this time. I’ll simply photograph him on the front porch.
Those first 1,990 days slipped silkily through my fingers like one long night. I’ll try to keep closer to my youngest son’s next 1,990 days and keep him home to learn and play.
Now what would I do with him at home?
What would I do with a kindergarten child if I had one now?
It would be pretty simple.
Here would be my kindergarten homeschool curriculum:
And enjoy the books. We’d tote home dozens of hard-covered storybooks every week from the library (& we’d probably routinely pay hefty library fines too: welcome to homeschooling!)
Oh, and I’d let my kiddo play with Lego, dolls, draw, or whatever will keep his hands busy, while I read for a little bit (“a little bit” might mean five minutes or sixty: I’d observe my child.)
I’d think learning opportunities, not school subjects.
I’d definitely do Five in a Row. What a fun curriculum.
(But if something stopped being fun, I’d stop it.)
I’d use a workbook, like Evan Moore’s books, for maybe printing or number recognition or addition (if my kiddo didn’t have to work too hard to do the activity).
But I’d only do it if my kiddo wanted to do it and I’d only do it in a subject my kiddo wanted and only for fewer than twenty minutes each day unless my kiddo wanted to do more.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: I’d follow my kiddo.
We’d do clockwork practice with a simple clock.
I’d explain to him how to use a clock.
A minute or two a day is all I’d need to explain it. Just a basic introduction would be all he’d need. Because I would know that a teeny exposure to any subject will make an expert, or at least capable, in a few short months.
We’d go outside every day.
We’d walk, look at leaves, discover what’s hiding under logs in a pond, listen to birdsong, lay in a field, and stare up at the sky: whatever, we’d just hang out in nature together.
We’d create a routine and regularly use it.
A simple routine. One that didn’t force us to wake too early, but still allowed us to be present in the morning hours.
- One that honoured the other kiddos in the house.
- One that definitely got him, and me, enough sleep.
- One that included my natural interests and his, one that included my natural rhythms too.
- I’d learn flexibility when the routine wasn’t working and wouldn’t do it when it wasn’t.
We wouldn’t do more.
I wouldn’t try to be competing with a local private school, trying to convince myself that whatever I was doing really was more effort and brilliance than a private school education.
Because I’d know I wasn’t trying to make a school at home.
We’d chart the weather.
We’d begin to discover different cloud forms, temperature shifts, barometer, and thermometer use.
We’d dabble in science fun.
We’d do poetry teatime every day.
Cause it’s fun.
And we’d read any poetry book that struck us as fun.
Just because it’s pretty.
We’d include other fun days.
We’d find a way to make fun days.
We’d create traditions around them even.
- 15 ways to incorporate fun into your homeschool
- 15 Fun Activities for First Day of Homeschool Party
- 14 Fun Activities to Include in a 100 Day Homeschool Party
- How to Make Halloween Homeschool Fun & Educational
- How to Incorporate the Happy Homeschool Hygge, Twenty Easy-to-Adopt Practices
- How to Use Little Women in your Homeschool Celebrations
- Egyptian Part-ay: Homeschool History
- 24 Favourite Things in my Homeschool Christmas
Just because I love it.
(I’d learn to do things I loved to do with my kids.)
- How to Engage Art History in your Homeschool in a Child-Directed Way
- how to do homeschool fine arts even if your kids don’t want to
- How to Do Fine Arts in your Homeschool in a Child-Directed Way
- how to do homeschool fine arts study
I’d let them play.
Because I’d be confident that playing was learning.
I wouldn’t fuss about reading, writing, or arithmetic.
I’d teach boundaries now.
And I’d ask myself, what do I need?
And I’d start practicing that question, a lot.
Like incorporating quiet moments, separate times, or dealing with conflict in a respectful way.
I’d seriously consider what I need and determine to include me in my homeschool from the beginning.
(This might mean making ants on a log, or mac n’ cheese, or having them chop veggies alongside me at dinner: just get them involved early.)
And create a routine with our menu plan, so I wouldn’t feel stressed.
- How to Create a Homeschool Weekly Menu Plan: Start with Fish Monday
- How to Create a Homeschool Weekly Menu Plan: Chicken Tuesday
- How to Create a Homeschool Menu Plan: Vegan Wednesday
- How to Create a Homeschool Menu Plan: Leftover Thursday
- How to Create a Homeschool Menu Plan: Pizza Frida
I’d incorporate games into my homeschool on the regular.
All the games. Any games. Whatever games we were into.
Because I’d know that we would eventually play every game known to mankind.
(Oh, and I would make sure to invest in Hasbro stocks. Might as well earn money from all that natural investing.)
I’d read about homeschooling, unschooling, learning, and child development.
I’ve got my homeschool mama reading list.
And I’d make sure I was chatting with other homeschool mamas who were reading too.
Because reading helps me show up on purpose in my homeschool (& my life) if I choose the right influencers.
And I would join the Homeschool Mama Book Club too (but I actually couldn’t do that one, because I wouldn’t have created that yet. By the way, it is actually a thing: you can join it here!)
I’d listen to more podcasts.
- Homeschool Mama Self-Care (my podcast),
- Readaloud Revival,
- Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids
- and Brave Writer with Julie Bogart.
(Of course, none of these podcasts were around when I began homeschooling, but if I could, I would surround myself with a whole bunch of homeschool mamas and learn from them all).
And fun, I’d make sure fun was the prime goal of my homeschool kindergarten.
Deschool your Homeschool Journaling Workbook
Deschool your homeschool journaling workbook that aids in your self-exploration, to get clear on how to bring freedom & individualization.