When I decided to homeschool this year, it was about this time last year. My baby was newborn and my son was in a local private preschool. He loved it! But every time I picked him up from his 2 1/2 hour class, he’d be tired. He wanted to learn more and I wanted to encourage his interest, but preschool took him away from me at his peak hours. I knew I could do a better job of taping in to his interests if I had him home for those morning hours.
We informally did school on demand during the summer, and then in September we started more formally with kindergarten. Here’s what we’ve been doing. My daily homeschool schedule and our curriculum choices for my gifted 5 year old (plus infant) are pretty enjoyable.
Spelling and Phonics. My son taught himself to read when he was 3 1/2, so teaching reading was not a concern for me. When the year began last September, I started teaching basic spelling and phonics (as a review) by using All About Spelling. I really didn’t like it. When I was invited to participate in the Logic of English Foundations program, I took the chance, and we’ve loved it. It is very interactive for my interested child, but it also is rigorous in it’s scope and expectations. I’ll share more about this at another point.
Math. Miquon math has been a fantastic program. With an initial investment of a set of Cuisineaire centimeter rods and textbooks for under $7 for the digital copy, it is also very reasonable. We use the rods to learn the relationships between numbers and visualize the mathematics we are learning. I also acquired the first book in the Singapore Primary Math series (book 1A) and we work on that sometimes. I’ll talk more about our math choices another time as well.
History. We’ve been doing American history this year. I have been pulling together a list of picture books for each subject. I will post this on the blog at some point too. We’re still in the American Revolution. I’m not sure when we will move on. I’m taking it at his pace, which means we don’t do it every day and I have not set time frame for finishing it.
Science. On demand. My son is very interested in the planets, so sometimes we read library books on those. Other days he awakes interested in storms or electricity or seasons. We read and study whatever he is interested in. We do not have a formal program for this and it is perfect. For his age, more is not necessary.
That the main bulk of our homeschool curriculum. Raisin is also in a homeschool gym class once a week through the park district: he has an hour in the gym for group games and then an hour in the swimming pool having a lesson. We read scriptures together each morning for a devotional. I try to add in Spanish as much as he’ll take it too. More on Salsa Spanish to come. And sometimes I teach him a little bit about playing the piano.
Our day (Monday through Thursday) looks like this:
about 7 a.m. Raisin awakes. He reads a book or works on a personal project (writing a story or letters or something) until he is ready for the day. He must be dressed before breakfast.
about 8 or 8:30 a.m. We have breakfast.
9 a.m. After breakfast, Raisin has a morning chore, such as cleaning the kitchen floor, emptying the dishwasher, sanitizing door knobs, etc. Then we sit down for morning devotional. We read a few paragraphs in Gospel Principles, a manual geared toward adults but basic enough for Raisin to understand. We also read a scripture that goes along with it.
9:45 a.m. We head upstairs for school time. Baby Strawberry may take a nap about now. Other times, she plays in her play area, which is in the school room. We break school down in to timed increments.
- Math. About 15 minutes. How much Raisin can do in 15 minutes is our limit each day. I help as needed.
- Logic of English Instruction. We learn the new phonograms or handwriting strokes as needed. This is usually a quick time, maybe 5 minutes.
- Spelling. Again, Raisin has 15 minutes to write his five spelling words. Most days he gets all five. Other days, he complains and only gets through two or three.
- Handwriting/copy work. There is often a practice sentence to write with a Logic of English lesson each day. At the beginning of the year, Raisin did not have the patience or the confidence to write a full sentence. But now I set a timer for 15 minutes and he usually finishes copying two sentences in that time. It’s amazing how he’s progressed in just a few months!
- Phonogram game. If the lesson has a game and we have time, we’ll play the game. Sometimes we’ll go back and play a game from a previous lesson.
- History. If we are in a good mood, we’ll read a picture book to go along with our American history learning. We don’t read for more than 15 minutes.
By 10:30 or 11 a.m., we are mostly done with school for the day! We might go to the library or a friend’s house. We have homeschool P.E. once a week. Raisin might play with legos, Trio, or GeoTrax in the basement. He might chase his sister around the play area and make her laugh. I love having flexibility!
Sometimes we have “free writing” time in the afternoon, where I coach and help him write his stories. Sometimes Raisin likes to go on his blog and write a story via the computer or post a digital picture he has created. Sometimes in the later afternoon he watches a movie about history (Liberty’s Kids is a favorite!) or Spanish (Salsa Spanish is fantastic) or science (Sid the Science Kid or Magic School Bus). We have a quiet time, where he has to read quietly in his room, after lunch when baby Strawberry has a second nap.
I have loved the flexibility that homeschooling provides. Fridays we have an enrichment co-op, and we’re a part of two other homeschool groups for field trips and get-togethers. We have lots of time to socialize and we learn a lot together at home too. It’s the best situation for us right now.