Our First 4 Weeks of Kindergarten!

By Meg - 8:05 PM

We've been cruising right along the last 4 weeks with Kindergarten and now that we are officially one month in I feel like we've really hit our stride! The girls are settling nicely into their routines {some days are still a learning curve with Lilly!} and *I* am learning how to be flexible and still get all of our work and goals accomplished for the week.

I thrive on schedules. I like to know what to do and when to do it. Sometimes if our morning is going a little slower then planned I can feel the need to rush things to get back on track, but I've been trying to consistently remind myself that the slow, unhurried mornings are a huge perk to homeschooling. For instance, this morning after breakfast and chores the girls settled in to playing "house" together and I couldn't bring myself to interrupt that! A little voice on one shoulder was telling me to get them going and at the table for school but another voice was shouting "NO! Let them play!" And not because I'm being lazy and not taking her schooling seriously {the lies the enemy tries to tell me} but because play is so important for them at this age! If it happens naturally at 9am instead of during the scheduled "playtime" later at 11 then we'll adjust... Even though I know this is good and one reason for our homeschooling, it goes against my personality. But I'm learning to embrace the beauty and freedom that this flexibility can give for their little developing brains and personalities.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of what we have set in place for our school day.

We get our school day started in the living room, sitting on the floor together to do our "Morning Time." I read a lot about Morning Baskets as I was planning our schedule and liked the idea of it, so while we don't technically have things in a basket, its sort of the same idea. 

We sit together and read our devotion book. Right now we're doing "Leading Little One's to God" and I love it so far. We pray, read a poem or sing a Hymn from the book, and then recite our memory verse for the week. We go over our rules of the house with the preschool version of "The 21 Rules of This House" and focus on one rule a week with a coloring page. We also talk about the little girl in Uganda that we sponsor through Africa Renewal Ministries. Mark and I have been sponsoring her since before we were married and I just introduced her to the girls this year! I'm hoping to expound on it more as the year goes on.

During our morning time we also do our calendar, pledge of allegiance, weather, and sing our ABC's and number songs. The ABC's and 123's are more for Lilly's sake at this point and I also put some shapes and colors on one of our boards that Lilly likes to practice during this time.

Our last part of Morning Time is going over a character trait from a big book called "Character Sketches from the Pages of Scripture". Its an old book that my mom used when I was growing up and its been fun to introduce it to my girls. It uses nature and scripture to illustrate christian character traits. The biblical stories included are a little too advanced for the girls right now so we've mostly been focusing on the nature aspect and learning about different animals while I try to give practical applications for the character traits and why its important to have them. They love this part of morning time and look forward to learning more about the animals!

After morning time, which usually only takes about 30-45 minutes to do everything I mentioned above, we take a break. The girls get a little snack and some free time while I finish my tea and get ready for what we've dubbed "Table School."

I move our morning time boards into the dining room in case we need them for reference and also to help keep the exciting school atmosphere for Reaghan. When I was young we had a special school room for school that my mom had decorated with posters and desks and I remember loving it! I want to try to give those same memories to my kids.

At the table we do our Phonics, Handwriting, and Math lessons. We are using the Abeka curriculum this year and so far I've enjoyed it. I'm using the teacher guide to help plan our lessons because I felt like that would help me get my footing this first year and make sure we reach our goals and I have appreciated the guidance and resources that are in the book. I also like that it doesn't require book work every day! There is a lesson for each subject I mentioned but it doesn't always mean writing on paper; which gives me the freedom to pull in any other kind of hands on learning ideas I've found to help reinforce what we've been learning.

Learning concepts like "Less than" and "Greater than" with counting bears.
Lilly comes to the table during this time because she wants to. She gets the option to go play or sit nicely at the table, but it hasn't been perfect having a two year old at the table with us! She is not great at independent play or staying with one task/play idea for very long yet so it's been a little challenging. I think I'll write a different post on how I've been trying to address this issue with her later!

After those 3 subject are completed the girls get another little break and then we have a special subject that we do depending on the day. Monday/Wednesdays we do a very short science lesson. Tues/Thursdays we do a short Social Studies lesson and Fridays we catch up if we weren't able to fit something in on one of those days. This month we've been learning about our 5 senses and people in our community. This took me a couple of weeks to figure out how often to fit these subjects in and we're still working on it. If the girls are feeling up for it we do an arts and crafts time with painting, scissors, gluing etc. Some days we do this instead of science or social studies and I'm totally fine with that! I feel like science and social studies are enrichment subjects at the Kindergarten level the same way that arts and crafts are, so I'm fine mixing it up during the week! Everything we do at the table is usually done in an hour.

Usually by this time its between 11 and 11:30. We start morning time at 9, so all together, including little breaks, we only spend 2 1/2 hours doing school! After we're done at the table we head outside or the girls run off to play inside somewhere until lunch time.

When nap time rolls around, I put Lilly down and Reaghan stays up with me for reading time. We have a little Reading Handbook from Abeka for learning blends and words and we usually do 1 page of that a day. I'll then read one chapter from our read aloud book with her. We just finished Stuart Little last week and  she was so excited to watch the movie after we finished the book. The movie wasn't in my original plans, but when I remembered there was a movie based on the book I thought it would make for a fun movie night! She loved it and we pointed out all the differences in the movie compared to the book while we watched. <3
We started on The Mouse and the Motorcycle this week. 
I plan to do Charlotte's Web with her after that, but I'm open to more suggestions for chapter read aloud's that are good for Kindergarten!

And that's our school day! 

I'm so excited about how well its been going and how much fun we've been having!
Even though I was homeschooled growing up and always had an idea of how I wanted to homeschool my kids, I was still a little overwhelmed and intimidated when it came time to actually get started.  Now that we've started, it feels completely natural.

We'll take a couple of weeks off when Baby Sister decides to make her arrival {only 2ish more weeks!} and I have a couple of special fun and easy things for Reaghan to work on during that time to help keep her busy : ) but mostly it will be a nice little fall break of baby snuggling that I'm looking forward to!

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