We do school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings and I consider our school time from 9AM-2PM. This includes all the regular things that other kids are doing at school - learning time, play time, snack time, potty time, lunch time, and a quiet rest. Also on Thursdays we either to a Mom's program where Eva (and Jensen) have a couple of hours in a class with kids, or I try to plan a play date. I'm not worried about social time because we are around people all throughout the week, plus Eva has the best friend ever - her little brother! This year Eva is learning how to pick out her clothes and get dressed, make her bed, and get her hair and teeth brushed (with some help) before we do school time. I had originally planned to get up early each day to have time by myself before my kids would be up on school days and, no joke, one or both of my kids have been up before that time every single day we've done school. We start each school day off by being dressed and ready for calendar time. I feel like this helps give the day a defined kick-off. We work on days of the week, months of the year, counting, and number recognition as part of our calendar time.
After Bible time we have a memory verse/song that we do for the whole week and a missionary family that we pray for throughout the week. Eva loves using the giant map to find where our missionary friends live.
Matching uppercase and lowercase letters.
Last year we mainly used the FREE AbcJesusLovesMe curriculum and I thought it was great. This year I am mixing between the curriculum and ideas my Pinterest Board.The curriculum is good for getting ideas and knowing what she needs to learn and a good order to teach things in. All of our Bible ideas are from the curriculum, along with many other activities. The teacher in me really likes finding ideas that match exactly what I want Eva to be doing and learning. I have some activities already created from last year and my goal is to add one new activity for math and literacy each week that we can choose from.
Writing letters with chalk on a canvas.
I love teaching using anything sensory. Yes it can get messy. Give a kid sand/rice/playdough and it will inevitably end up making some sort of mess. There are days when the mess gets to me by the end of the school time but I'm trying to let it go.
Writing words using markers.
Eva does some tracing books but she prefers to write on blank paper. She is really wanting to learn to write more words, which is so exciting to see as a mama and a teacher.
Building uppercase letters with craft sticks.
With all the things we do during school time there are a few things I have intentionally decided not to do. I don't do chores. I don't run errands. I don't turn on the TV. I try really hard not to be on my phone. I want my attention to really be focused on my kids during this time. It's hard because my brain just wants to "squeeze in one thing real quick" but then I get distracted. I have to really tell myself that it's like if I was teaching in a classroom, and remember that it's only a couple of mornings a week.
Making a letter of the week craft. "F" is for frog.
Using wiki-sticks to do a connect the dots page and work on number sequence.
Have you ever heard of wiki-sticks? They are awesome! We got a free sample at Grapefest last weekend and have found so many uses for them.
Observing what will absorb water.We rotate through days of doing science, music, and art. Eva's favorite days are science! It takes a bit of prep but it is so awesome to see her interested.
One thing I am also trying to let go of is the idea of time restraints. I don't want to feel like I have to do an activity for a long time if she isn't interested or feel like I have to stop doing something if she is really engaged. Some days we go through the academic part of school in under an hour. Some days we stretch it out for a couple of hours. If she wants to take a break to play with Barbies, then we do that. She did the above science activity for a whole hour.
Painting lots of pictures!Eva has told me before that she likes painting because it helps her to feel calm - paint away, sister! Don't let me stand in the way of potential calmness. I'm excited because we are getting an old easel from my parent's house this weekend.
* If you're reading all this and thinking, "Woah that seems complicated. That's too much planning," I assure you that you can absolutely do homeschooling in whatever way works for you. I just function best when I'm overly organized, which in turn leads to Eva learning better since I'm not running around looking for materials like a chicken with no brain.
That's about it. I truly love doing homeschool. Yes there are days when it is HARD to teach your own four year old. You have to combine being a mom with being a teacher and juggling an extra baby isn't always easy. But for me, and for our family, it is so worth it. I enjoy being at home with my kids and I cry a little bit when I think about the day when they will go off and not be at home with me. I'm really committed to doing 100 days of preschool with her this year. That works out to about 33 weeks, which is pretty much what she would do if she went away to school. I am beyond pumped to see how she learns and grows this year. Just writing this has made me so giddy! And of course since it's fall, I am now ready to rock all the pumpkin activities!!!!