Our Home School Days--Getting Started

This semester has been full and fun! The first 6 weeks of our home school adventure extended me to my max. Because we hadn't planned on this schooling avenue, I had not prepared. This left me spending my evenings researching curriculum, planning the next days activities, as well as looking long-term ahead in the year to make sure all the state requirements for Kindergarten were included. I have a handful of close friends who homeschool and who span a variety of styles and curriculum. I wasn't drawn to the "boxed sets" of curriculum for this year. For one thing, we were already several weeks into the school year when we began, I didn't want to have to "catch-up" or recover ground she'd already learned. Already established in a daily Bible lesson and application activity, I didn't want to abandon that to go along with a boxed set nor add another lesson to our day. Plus, I figured Kindergarten is a good year to experiment. She had already mastered about 80% of the objectives for the year. My mom had given me a great set of weekly readers a few years ago that we dug into this past summer, so there was little left to purchase. The structure of our day and how much ground to cover at a time were the biggest question marks when I began.
Once I decided upon "Circle Time", I structured the rest around that. From polling others, I expected Kindergarten to be a half-day, with about 1.5 hrs of hands-on by me.
We enrolled the girls in children's choir and AWANAs on Wed. nights at church. Besides the obvious benefits of worship and scripture memorization, these activities provided them with a social outlet, a big group choir experience + performance, and field-day like games in the gym. It also gave me 2.5 hours once a week to plan and prepare, which is so helpful. Having that time to myself to really concentrate was much more fruitful than trying to do it after the kids were in bed, by which time, my brain is usually turned to mush. Here's what typical Monday looks like:

Tuesdays and Thursdays are about the same, with the addition that Thursday afternoon is "chore day" at our house. Each child has age appropriate chores (this is not part of home-school, but just life in our family) which of course for the little ones takes longer to accomplish than if I just did it all myself, but I feel it's good for them to start participating and learning responsibility now and eventually they'll be better at it. Big sister already cleans their bathroom all by herself, and that actually IS a huge help!

After Circle Time, we set up lessons at the kitchen table. Kindergarten has lessons every day. Pre-school has lessons 2-3 days a week. And Bubba...well I don't make him sit there. More times than not, he'll soak up the time to have all the toys in the house to himself, but occasionally he gets envious of their big girl activities and wants to scribble with a crayon or try the glue, or as pictured here, complain that he doesn't get to use a marker.
Once we settled into this routine, the kids--all 3 of them--and myself really started to thrive.

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