Kindergarten at Home - The things we loved!
Reagan is our oldest child and here are some things we did with him this year for Kindergarten that we loved! They aren’t in any particular order. Hopefully some of these will work for your family also!
We read hundreds of books! - seriously, I go to the library so often that I know when the librarians get haircuts. The Indianapolis library is wonderful. I gather materials from great book lists and request the titles online. Then about once a week I pick up my fresh bag(s) of books and we enjoy them together. We mostly read picture books although we have a system for chapter books that has worked really well. We are creating a caterpillar on our playroom wall that has the titles and authors of all the chapter books we read. Once we read 10 chapter books the kids get a fun outing of their choice. (The upcoming outing will be Chucky Cheese.)
Here are some great places to find high quality books:
-Honey for a Child’s Heart- Gladys Hunt
-Amongstlovelythings.com (Read aloud Revival podcast)
-Read for the Heart – Sarah Clarkson
We jumped into books! – We borrowed this idea from Mary Poppins (one of the chapter books we read this year). A wonderfully fun way to study geography and various cultures or habitats around the world is to get a fun book like Atlas of Adventures and “jump in” by viewing a video on youtube. For example, we recently read about viewing the Northern Lights from glass igloos in Finland and then we watched a video about this real-life resort where you can go and do that! Or, after reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins we watched a Netflix documentary on the arctic. This is a really fun way to learn!
We played games! – Games are a great way to reinforce many of the math and sequencing skills we’ve been learning this year. Some of the games we’ve enjoyed recently are Connect Four, Yahtzee, Chess, various card games, Sequence, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Twister, Memory, and Rack-O. I used to think I needed to assign a math worksheet every day in order for it to count as “school” but now I find myself assigning a game 2-3 times a week in place of or in addition to another math assignment and I have been really happy with the results.
We made a Timeline! – we painted a huge stripe on our school room wall and have been taping pictures of various historical figures up as we study them. It’s been helpful (for me too) to see when Claude Monet lived in relation to Abraham Lincoln or Saint Nicholas etc.
On average, we spend 2-3 hours per day doing “school”. Probably only about 30 minutes per day is spent on worksheets or assignments that feel really “school-like.” That said, there is a time and place for worksheets and reading lessons and we have really enjoyed the following curriculum:
Math: Math-U-See – we flew through the Primer and are now working on Alpha (the blocks are great)
Unit Studies: My Father’s World – Kindergarten – We have used the parent/teacher guide for our unit studies which are supplemented with library books (of course!). These also include corresponding bible lessons that go with each study which is great!
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears
Our day typically worked like this:
Morning Time – this happened during breakfast or right after (depending on how happy the baby was). I used this time to introduce our unit studies, read poetry, have a bible lesson and/or read several picture books.
Notebook Assignments – This method is amazing. You can check out an explanation a here.
Extra-Curricular Activities – 3 or 4 days each week we had a class or playdate late morning.
Read Aloud Time – I tried to set aside 20 minutes each day to snuggle on the couch and read to the kids. Sometimes, if they weren’t feeling snuggly, they would play legos or trains quietly on the floor while I read.
Quiet Time – Even though my oldest two don’t nap anymore, I set a timer (when the baby goes down) and we all spend some quiet in separate rooms. This is a great time for me to have a cup of coffee and spend some time with the Lord but it is also beneficial for the kids to know how to entertain themselves for an hour each day. This time timer is wonderfully helpful!
Finish assignments and then free time/video games/tv etc. – Reagan discovered video games this year and they have proved to be a great motivation to finish his school assignment.
All in all, we have loved home schooling this year! I hope this Kindergarten list will be helpful for you as you begin/continue your home school journey!