Monday, January 10, 2011

Our Kindergarten Homeschool Schedule

Almost everyone who homeschools has a schedule they do that is their own. While everyone does things differently, I've written down our homeschool schedule so other people can look at it and make a schedule of their own. I reviewed a lot of other people's styles before I came up with a schedule that worked for us.

This is our general daily homeschool schedule for our five year old kindergartener. We do units and I plan them out using the internet, library and creativeness. I view this more as daily goals, sometimes stuff comes up and we just don't have time for something and we will just do it another day. Or on some days we don't feel doing karate/dance/ practice so we don't. I'll go into better detail on what I like to accomplish during each part of our schedule below the list.

Practice writing name and go over calendar - 5 minutes
Extra fun/learning activity - 5-30 minutes depending on the activity
Karate practice - 5 minutes
Dance practice - 5 minutes
Gymnastics Practice - 5 minutes
Creative Art Time - 5-30 minutes
Letter writing practice - 5 minutes
Letter sounds practice - 5 minutes
Number Practice - 5 minutes
Japanese practice - 5-10 minutes
Read unit books - 30 minutes
Unit activities - 1 hour

We also read from a chapter book each (ok, most) nights. We choose ones that interest him with pictures throughout. Right now we are reading Zombiekins. We also read a picture book of his choosing each day, sometimes before we start our homeschooling day, sometimes after, and sometimes around bedtime routine time.

At the start of the day we take a few minutes to practice writing his name in his writing practice journal (it is just a spriral notepad that I wrote "Son's Writing Practice Journal" on the front). After he writes it we go over the calendar. (We bought a calendar at a teacher store, but you could use any regular calendar.)

The "extra" activity we do is really varied and I try to just do something fun. Sometimes we play with legos, some other manipulative, color, play a board game, put a puzzle together, etc. It depends a lot on our mood and what else we have planned for the day.

For karate practice (he is enrolled in a class once a week) we go over some of the areas I feel he needs to work on to better succeed at class, practicing the moves he is learning. For dance practice (he's not enrolled in classes and I'm not qualifed to teach haha) we use free rescources I have found online. For now we are using a few instructional videos on YouTube and we are focusing on hip-hop style of dance since it's fun for him. I was able to find some easy dances he can do with only a little practice, a good motivational booster as he works up to harder stuff. We don't do much with gymnastics, usually just a stretch or too and mostly to help with balance in karate.

Creative art time is a time where he gets to just draw/paint/design with play doh etc. whatever he wants. We don't use coloring pages here, the idea is for him to use his imagination and gain some early art skills. I don't tell him what to draw but he sometimes asks for suggestions, so I'll say something like people or mountains, just to get his mind flowing. Sometimes he just draws on his own time anyways so we skip it during the homeschool part of our day.
For letter writing practice we go back to his journal and practice writing the letter of the week. He doesn't trace the letters. (I tried having him trace rows and rows of a letter and he could do it, but even after tracing ten lines he couldn't write that letter, not even immedietly afterwards. So now he just looks at the letter already written and if he's still having trouble I show him with my finger how to write it and he will write it free hand on the paper. This has worked really well for him.)

Letter sounds practice is usually during the writing practice (as he writes a Bb we'll say "B says buh buh buh" and sing it as a little tune) or we will use and focus on the letter we are learning about. For numbers we usually just count or do some other small number thing.

We are learning Japanese as a second language. I'm not fluent by any means (I'm learning just as much as he is!), but I really think it's important to know a second in this day and age so we are starting young. We have a giant paper tree on our wall and each week we add a new leaf with a kanji (Japanese character word) to our tree in addition to learning the hirigana and counting 1-10.
To finish our homeschool day we read our unit book(s) (units are the biggest part of our day as they incorporate science, math, history, social studies and other subjects into our learning, for instance for A we'd do a day on Abraham Lincoln as history, a day of Africa for social studies, Alligators for science, and for math we'd focus on adding such as adding animals). For each unit word we'd read books about it, do some kind of hands-on learning (craft, game, etc.) that I've either found online or come up with on my own. Sometimes its one or two small things, sometimes its a large experiment or craft, sometimes its just a game outside or a movie tie-in inside. It really depends on the word!

I've tried to keep most of our day of us being up and doing something or hands-on activities and it's all in short amounts. I just like to have every little part of our day mapped out so I know what my goals are daily and weekly (otherwise I know I'd forget little things that take 5 minutes more often than not!) Even if we start (that's wake up) at 10am we are still finished by the time public school gets out at 3pm. We do very little workbooks although I admit we do have a few we bought at the store and we do those every once in awhile, usually when we are too busy to do anything else, and we just save that "else" for another day. That's the joy of homeschooling, going at our pace and schedule!

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