homeschool

Our Pre-K Homeschool Day

Good morning, everyone! It is Monday and everyone is still sleeping, the rooster is crowing, the sun is making pink and orange streaks across the sky and I am finally sippin’ on some pumpkin pie spice creamer in my coffee. Life is good, y’all!

 So recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Olivia’s homeschooling after posting some pictures to my personal Facebook page. What is your schedule? What do you do? How do you keep Oakland busy? What materials do you use? How do you make a lesson plan?
Let’s start by saying that Olivia is in preschool, so it’s a very relaxed environment. I believe that children learn best through hands on, getting dirty, playtime. It is good for them to explore, get messy, make mistakes, and learn!! A lot of our “learning time” doesn’t come from a cute printable packet, or from textbooks (although some does!) Most of our learning comes from everyday life: measuring ingredients and baking with mom, counting blocks as she stacks them, learning to be fair when noticing her pile of goldfish is more than her brothers and how she can make them equal, setting the dinner table and learning one to one correspondence with forks and plates, sorting her laundry, working those fine motor skills with her play dough mats, and so on. I do like having worksheets just so I can see progress, but like every other kid, she learns from life. You see, learning is so much more than sitting a child down in a chair and drilling them on facts. It’s a time to have fun! To work together! To laugh and play and learn new things beside one another!
::calendar time, reading lessons, playtime, and math::

Our schedule looks a little different than what most people’s homeschool schedule looks like because we do our “official” days on Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday. Olivia goes to a half day Kindergarten readiness MMO program 3 days a week where she has a blast learning and playing with her friends. That is on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Although she has a great time and we love her teacher, I know that Olivia already knows most of the things they are teaching, such as shapes, letters, letter sounds, writing her full name and simple math. This is all review for Olivia, so on the days she’s home, we’re learning different things. Our daily routine is pretty simple, and although I don’t follow a strict time schedule (because inevitably, the baby will need changing, someone will need a snack, a goat will get loose…you get the idea) we do follow a rhythm of how our morning is supposed to flow:

By the way, this weeks theme was “Fall.”
-I wake up early, around 6am, and have my quiet time and coffee. (God willing!!) and I usually set up      an invitation to play (you can find a lot on Pinterest)
::I set up a very similar invitation to play with homemade play dough. I scented mine with pumpkin pie spice for even more fall sensory play!::
-The kids get up, they get a milk and have free time while I start breakfast.
-We usually eat around 8am, and do calendar during that time.
-After calendar and breakfast I clean up, then we start on our reading, which usually lasts about        30 minutes. We use The Reading Lesson. I have Olivia do some writing activities or early
     literacy games to supplement our book work. Sometimes we just read a book!
 
 
-We go outside when that is finished up, where we play for about an hour. It starts getting            pretty hot by that time & the kids are ready to come in.
-When play time is over, we come in for a snack and a drink. This is usually around 10:30. The kids        cool off and I tie up any loose ends from the morning, like turning over a load of laundry, or sticking an extra messy kid in the shower. That last one happens a lot.
-Time for our math lesson now! We’re currently working our way through the Saxon Math K book. We just got started with it, so I will go as far as we can before it get’s too complicated. So far, so good! I also like to add in some supplemental worksheets here or do math games, puzzles or sorting activities. She loves cutting and gluing (hey there fine motor skills!!) so I like to find her fun pages that incorporates this.
-We finish that up and we are done with “lesson time” for the day. We play until lunch time. I like to      try to incorporate our weekly theme into our dramatic play (pretend/dress up). For example, we      played “pumpkin patch” this week. I just set out all the fake pumpkins I have collected for fall
     decorating and gave her a basket to put her “picked” pumpkins in. I added the cash register and
     some play money to “buy” the pumpkins with and she was set!
On Thursdays, we do a nature study in the morning before it gets hot & then we go to the library & out to lunch together. We’re working our way through a year long, nature based curriculum that I’m absolutely in LOVE with. It’s called “Exploring Nature with Children” and is available in PDF form online.
This book has nature walk ideas for every week, of every month and it is awesome! I want to teach Olivia about nature, but I need help sometimes, since although I’m a fan of the outdoors, I’m not a naturalist with all the answers. This book gives you specific things to study while on your walk, like seeds, trees, lichen, different plants and animal life. It has an overview of the subject (teaching the nature walk leader) and also has an accompanying poem and piece of artwork that correlates with the lesson plan. It also includes extension activities if you want to continue your nature lesson when you get home. It’s great for those of us who love a Charlotte Mason learning environment!
We do our reading and math lessons that afternoon.

That’s it! That’s our week. It isn’t complicated at all, and if she isn’t feeling it that day, we don’t do it. It’s that simple. I want to create a love of learning in Olivia…in the end of it all, that’s really all that matters to me! You can teach facts, but you have to instill a love for learning. We keep Oakland right in the middle of everything with us, because really, he refuses to have it any other way. I give him worksheets and crayons to fill in. He gets paper to tear up and a glue stick. He does art with us…he’s right in the mix!

In the afternoons they usually play outside or we rotate structured table toys with free play. Sometimes we throw in art. One of their favorite activities is the sensory table and I just want to share it because its one of my favorite things to set up. We set ours up in the water table, but it has been filled with everything from water beads, to rice, to beans, to ice, to shaving cream. Be creative! This week our table is full of chicken feed, because it is full of seeds and great fall colors.

I put some leaves, pine cones and pumpkins in to add to the fall feel. The kids love to scoop and pour and dig their hands down into it. And the chickens love to come help clean up!

I think that coming up with a lesson plan is an entire post in itself, so look for it coming up soon! There were lots of activities not included in this post, like making our homemade, fall scented play dough, and our “What Do We Know Chart.” We also always get books on our theme from the library and from our own stash as well as search YouTube for videos that really help visually tie everything together. I also try to incorporate a field trip that relates to our theme, and all of that will be included in the follow up post on how I create our lesson plans.

If you’re interested in doing something like this with your kids, I suggest focusing on Reading and Math first and adding in other stuff later because it can get overwhelming fast! Pick a theme your kid likes and go from there. There’s a ton of free packet printables online as well as workbooks at places like Walmart, Target & Barnes & Noble.

What are some learning activities that you do with your kids? Please share them with us so we can join in the fun!

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