Now that summer is over (school-wise), I thought I’d finally post about my experimenting with homeschooling. First, I will start off by admitting my huge misconceptions about homeschooling growing up. As a kid, I knew some homeschooled kids and their parents always seemed weird. Plus it didn’t seem like they had any friends (looking back, I think the parents I knew actually were weird, and that’s why they didn’t have friends, but not due to homeschooling). I also thought it was only for over protective parents who were afraid of public school (I kind of had this opinion of kids who went to private school too). I was always proud I survived and excelled in public school, so why were some kids “too good” to go?
The more friends I made that were home/private schooled I realized that I was completely wrong, and someone’s personality has everything to do with how they were raised, and not necessarily where they were educated.
Also, looking back, I realized my mom homeschooled me, *and* sent me to public school. Most of the stuff I learned reading and math-wise came from my mother, and then I was always ahead at school. That was really my motivation for attempting a homeschooling schedule this past summer.
M just finished kindergarten, and while he does really well with math and problem solving, he hates reading. Hate is a strong word, and it doesn’t even come close to the loathing he has for any type of reading. I was worried that what little progress he was making towards the end of the school year, he would forget over the summer, and be even more discouraged when he had to start over again in the fall. That coupled with the fact that there weren’t any kids to play with his age, meant we had a lot of free time during the day, and I needed to get work done still.
Our schedule wasn’t perfect because a few days a week M would go with his grandparents for the day, and there was a lot of stuff going on with buying the house, but this was just a trial run to incorporate some learning into the summer, so a loose schedule was okay with me.
Our typical day looked something like this:
- snack (usually didn’t happen if the other stuff took too long)
- art or music
- reading or telling time or money
- hero training camp
Every morning we’d start with writing. First we worked on his full (first, middle, last) name, phone number, and address. Then we worked on simple sentences, ie “My name is…”, “My phone number is…”. We practiced writing letters neatly and correctly, and learned about capitalization and punctuation. The school had sent home packets of letter worksheets, which got done at this time too. Usually this was anywhere between 20-45 minutes.
For math, he would do a few worksheets of adding, subtracting, counting by 2’s, 3’s, etc. We also did some pattern worksheets here. He did really well with adding and subtracting double digits up to 20. (I’m not a teacher and have no clue what the basic levels are where kids should be, but he made great improvements over the summer in math.)
We always did writing and math immediately after breakfast, even on days he went with his grandparents.
If we were done with this stuff before or around 10, we’d have a small snack. Any later, and it would disrupt lunch.
For recess, he would have 15-30 minutes (depending on how quickly he got his other stuff done) to either play in the living room, or we’d go outside. I wish he could’ve gone outside all day, everyday, but before we moved, we didn’t have a yard or privacy. We still went out for walks and to ride his bike, but not as often as we both would’ve liked.
After recess, we’d either do art or music. I tried to always make this fun so it didn’t seem like “school”. Some days we’d make something out of construction paper, or color a card for someone for art. For music, we would watch YouTube videos that had sign language in songs and practice along, or we would play games and learn about musical instruments.
On Wednesdays at noon, we would go to a church down the street to pick up our CSA box. Then for lunch we’d usually incorporate whatever we picked up.
After lunch we’d tackle reading. Sometimes, it was an extension of what we were writing earlier, or we’d use starfall.com to play some reading games on there. We also played a game where I wrote words found around the house on cards with tape, and M had to read the words and stick them on the things. That was the most successful of all the reading lessons.
Originally, I tried to do reading first thing in the morning so that we could get it out of the way, but I found that it was a horrible start to the day since there was so much resistance.
Hero Training Camp was a program I found that was a way to teach kids about conscience. It was God based, but for the most part we just focused on being a good person. I also added some physical parts to it (outside running, jumping, etc) as gym class, so that it seemed more fun. I used the program as an general guideline and M seemed to enjoy it. We also made a Super Hero Training Video…I took a few short videos of him running around, doing jumping jacks, just being weird, etc, and surprised him with a video montage…he thought it was pretty cool.
After school was done, I had him help me with one chore/task (putting away the dishes, folding clothes, picking up a room, etc), and then he was free to play while I made dinner.
It wasn’t a perfect system due to changing schedules, but it worked pretty well for us. There was some resistance in the beginning, but eventually he got the picture that some of it was fun. Plus it allowed me time to get my work done and spend time together while we both worked at the dining room table.