By: Jennifer Murray

Simplistic Kindergarten Homeschooling

This is by no means a how-to or instructive post, just a glimpse of what homeschool with our little “class” of kindergarteners looks like. Obviously, we’re just newbies  and have much to learn, but we’re happy to share what how we’re wading our way through our rookie homeschool  year.

simplistic kindergarten homeschooling

Whelp…we’re well over half-way into our homeschool kindergarten year, and I can honestly say I’m enjoying it.  There have been plenty of days when I’ve doubted myself and been tempted by the “big yellow bus”, more frequently I’m gaining confidence and loving this rhythm.

At first I was extremely overwhelmed.  Pinterest and the homeschool blogs taunted me; curriculum catalogs nearly swallowed me whole. I felt like I had taken on another full-time job. I retreated to reading the The Well-Trained Mind and  decided to start with some of their recommended resources and the materials that had been passed down to me or picked up along the way. I had to SIMPLIFY if I wanted this to work for our family.  

So how do we homeschool, plus work from home, AND try to save what sanity we have left?

 

  • We enrolled our boys in a 1 day a week program that covers science, Latin, geography, history, art, and music. 

In addition, they get to socialize with a classroom of kids their age, get instruction from a master’s level teacher, and get to participate in “normal” classroom routines. {It relieves me from some of the pressure of covering everything and  gives Brad and I a 6 hour break to be as productive as possible to start the week!}

homeschool coop options in indianapolis

  • We keep our curriculum simple. 

Reading/Phonics – We are working our way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and supplementing with other phonics activities and materials.

Math – I pull the majority of our lessons from this simple book, My First Math Book. It’s simple, colorful, and covers nearly all of the kindergarten math standards.  I’ve supplemented with some addition/subtraction worksheets, and other hands-on activities.

Science – I’ve kept this very simple for this level.  Most of our activities and learning come from hands-on activities and library books. I love the freedom to study what they have interests in: animals, astronomy, anatomy, electronics, etc. and they seem to gain so much being motivated this way. We love the LeapFrog Tag Solar System, several iPad science apps, Snap CircuitsWild Kratts episodes, as well as Ranger Rick Jr. magazines to incorporate science in our every day learning.

HandwritingThis is Brad’s subject – which I was so grateful to have off my plate!  We use Handwriting without Tears and love it!  It’s amazing to see their transformation and improvement!

Again, I’m thankful for how much they cover on Monday’s to keep my load at home a little lighter.

handwriting without tears homeschool kindergarten

  • We read aloud often.

One of my favorite parts of the day is when I have all four of them surrounding me with a good read. We’re working our way through this Read-Aloud Books for Boys list, and we get lots of picture books from our local library as well.

homeschool chapter book ideas

  • We allow ample time for creative play.

There are plenty of opportunities throughout our day for creative play.  Legos, wooden blocks, drawing/coloring, and imaginative play are the top pastimes in this house, and I’m so thankful to have them home to take it in for a little while longer {in spite of breaking up fights}.

ideas for homeschool art

  • We encourage physical activity.

The winter months are more challenging, but thankfully there’s a gym near us that has open gym hours.  Inside our house we resort to family room basketball, a kids’ workout video, occasionally a game on the Wii, and more roughhousing than I could have ever imagined.  With spring will come hikes, playing at the park, and SOCCER!!! Bring it!!!

physical activity for homeschoolers

  • We spend time outside of the house to experience hands-on learning opportunities.

We are fortunate to live close to great museums and parks that we frequent often – from our favorite Children’s Museum to Eagle Creek Park and our local library offerings. 

homeschool field trip ideas   

Are we getting it all right?  Absolutely not.  How long will this part of their education last?  We really aren’t sure.   It’s nothing fancy, but we are LEARNING along the way, and it works for us in this stage of life. 

I’d love to hear how YOUR school year is going (public, homeschool, private) and how you are keeping things simple!

 {Related Posts}

 

*This post includes some affiliate links.

31 Responses to “Simplistic Kindergarten Homeschooling”

  1. Melissa
    February 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    We are doing public school kindergarten, and I HATE it. I don’t know if it’s the school, the kids, the teacher, or what, but we won’t be doing public school next year unless we move to another county. First off my son is ahead of his class in everything (which probably has a lot to do with his home life, we work with him on reading, math, science, etc at home. I try not to miss a teaching opportunity). They have 19 lists of 20 sight words each list to “master” before the end of the school year, my son has been done with all of them since the beginning of November. No other kid in the class has more than 6 lists mastered and 40 percent of the class has one or no lists mastered. He’s ahead in math and some days when I ask him how school was that day he cries and is disappointed that they didn’t get to do math or science at school that day. So we are supplementing with more math at home. I hate the kinds of things he learns from other kids in the class. I hate that the teacher rewards with candy. I hate that he has a mean kid/bully in his class. I hate that we are in a “Title I Distinguished schoool”. I didn’t know what that meant before school started and when I found out I about lost it. Most people don’t know that what that means is that the majority of the kids in the school qualify for free or reduced lunch so the school receives extra federal funds for its education programs. Well that is all well and good but no matter how much federal funding you throw at these programs/kids, it doesn’t make the parents care any more than they do, or work more with the kids at home. I couldn’t care less if you are rich, poor, homeless, etc…just care about your kids education and work with them at home. My kid isn’t a genius or anything, that is not why he’s ahead. He is ahead because he’s the kid of parents who care about his education and want him to succeed in life so we work with him and pay attention to him, not just plug him into the TV/video games for our convenience. If I could stay home and homeschool I would in a heartbeat.

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Melissa, I’m so so sorry to hear that you have had such a rough year. Unfortunately, I think its common for us to face some of these challenges with our kids’ schools no matter what area of the country or option you choose. I’m praying for your family as you persevere through the next few months and hope for better days in the near future!

  2. Adrienne Garrison
    February 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Way to go, Jen! As a Kindergarten teacher, it looks like you’re covering the bases and giving your boys a chance to LOVE learning! :) If you keep going with this, you might want to look into the resources of Reading A-Z.com, particularly their leveled books and lesson plans, and Raz-Kids.com. I love it for building fluency, decoding and (most importantly) comprehension.

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      You have no idea how encouraging that is to hear! Thankful for my background in education (speech-pathology) before starting this journey, but still feel inadequate in so many ways! Thanks so much for the resources! I’m all ears!!!!!

    • Melissa
      February 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      I also definitely recommend razkids.com. It’s an amazing resource and there is also an app for it. I also highly recommend brainpopjr.com. Another amazing resource for all subjects but I especially love it for science. Well worth the money. You can try it for 3 days for free. Fabulous job Jen! I also work with my boys ages 4 and 6 at home after school and on the weekends and I love it!

      • QuatroMama
        March 1, 2013 at 8:41 am #

        LOVE these recommendations! There’s so much how there that’s not so great, so I love hearing of ones that are proven winners! So glad that you’re loving your “homeschooling” too. We all do it to some degree, right? (or at least we should!)

  3. shelly coulter
    February 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    We are doing public school, full day kindergarten. And my son LOVES it. His little brother and I sure miss him during the day and I wish it was half day…but thats not offered in Wyoming. BUt he is doing great. He also is ahead of most of what they’re working on. His homework is extremely easy for him…but we supplement with extra reading at home. I considered homeschooling but was so overwhelmed…I probably would have done it if we had a one day a week option of school like you do. That’s awesome! Looks like your’e having so much fun with your kiddos. :)
    shelly coulter recently posted.. Math Night Excitement

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      So so glad to hear that you have a good fit for you and your son, Shelly! We didn’t have a 1/2 day option here either, which was one of our factors that led to trying homeschooling. I think we ALL do homeschool to some degree – whether it’s public/private/whatever we’re all concerned with teaching and training our children. Such an incredible privilege and calling!

  4. leah
    February 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    We’re doing some similar things! Lily just finished 100 Easy Lessons (she got over a “hump” around lesson 75, and then her confidence, speed, and willingness to read exploded!) and Jacob is on lesson 36. Lily is on the 2nd book of Handwriting w/o Tears (the yellow one – she recently finished the orange one), and Jacob is on the pre-k one (green). I love that you get to be a part of one-day school that takes care of the hard things for you – wish we had that here!

    PS Your kids’ workout video link too me somewhere weird…
    leah recently posted.. Finally Some Weight Gain?

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Leah, it’s a huge blessing to hear from someone who’s been there and “on the same page”. We’re almost through the K book of Handwriting – so glad to hear positive things from 100 Easy Lessons too…I have one that is struggling a little bit more than the others.

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Oh and I’m fixing the link right now…so sorry about that!

  5. Laura
    February 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    We do things so very similarly to you! My five year old is in Homelink, which has classes “on campus” two days a week. The rest of the time he is home. It’s perfect for us! We are using Handwriting Without Tears and teaching sight words and phonics rules, number sentences and other basic math skills, and we enjoy Curious George and Magic School Bus DVDs and plenty of books!! Thanks for sharing this, I wholeheartedly agree that Kindergarten should be pretty simple with lots of time to run and play and create. :)
    Laura recently posted.. {dear you}

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      So is Homelink an online program? I’ve heard of something like this, but haven’t looked into it any further. Sounds like a great option – so glad there are some in-between options popping up!

      • Laura
        March 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

        No, homelink is an on-campus program just like a traditional classroom, but filled with other homeschoolers. Great staff, super program. :)
        Laura recently posted.. grandma’s plum kuchen

  6. Crystal
    February 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Sounds like you’re doing fabulously. As my mom liked to say, homeschool is just living life on purpose.
    Crystal recently posted.. Giveaway Time with Healthy Houseful

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      So quotable! =) Thanks for the pat on the back, I needed it this afternoon. <3

  7. Courtney
    February 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Sounds like you are right on track! My mom homeschooled each of us for kdg and 1st grade and then sent us to public school starting in 2nd grade. I enjoyed both, and homeschooling at that age gave me a great start to my education! I’ve seen the Handwriting Without Tears books used at the one school I do a lot of substitute teaching in. They look good. They have cursive ones too when they get older. One of the Christian schools around here has been recently advertising their (new this past year) “University Model School” option they have which has some at school and some at home. Sounds kind of like what you have. Are their any co-ops in your area? I know people at my church that homeschool are part of co-ops, which is a group of homeschoolers. They share some of the teaching then in subjects like gym, geography etc. which gives them a chance to interact with other kids and with things like gym, you can do many more things with 10 kids then you can with 2. Anyway, glad you are enjoying your homeschool experience so far!

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      Courtney, good to hear your positive experience. We’ll probably find ourselves on similar paths. I believe there are some co-ops in our area as well, but we’re really loving the study that we’re in.

  8. Jen
    February 28, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Can’t imagine doing 100 Easy Lesson with four boys all in the same year!! Great job! As a mother of 5 I am kinda envious that you only have one curriculum a year. I think God really stretches us in homeschooling. Sometimes I think God called us to homeschool just to mold and shape me. Enjoy the ride.

    • QuatroMama
      February 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      I do think it’s to our advantage at times to have them all in one “class”…logistically at least. Thanks for the encouragement – it’s definitely been a stretch, but I’m grateful for these days.

  9. Josephine
    February 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Nice job guys keep it up!! So far so good here other than the my son asking daily to move up to 1st grade!! My son is enrolled in full day public kindergarten. I did homeschool (our own way!) for preschool (I started at 2-1/2!) my son is a very independent learner and the top of his kindergarten class due to his motivation to learn! We do math science and reading while walking to school daily, we investigate our surroundings, we study, take mental notes, etc. I’ve noticed that we are ALWAYS teaching/learning something in our home and we have a goal of reading 1000 books this school year (we will do it too!!). Our home is VERY different than many of his peers, education/learning/exploring are our areas of focus rather than video games or popular tv shows!
    I have 2 little girls at home yet, sadly they are not nearly as motivated as their brother was on anything related to academia ;) it will all come in due time ;)

    • QuatroMama
      March 1, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      He sounds amazing! Great job making his environment so open to learning! Love when they are ripe and motivated… {Is it just me or does it get exhausting at times? All of the questions, conversations, observations, etc} ;)

      • Josephine
        March 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        Oh totally exhausting ;) the balancing act of learning how much info is enough to share to answer the question never seems to get easier! A few days ago he informed a friend of his that farms have animals to butcher so we have meat to eat-let’s just say that conversation didn’t end well as the kid went home refusing meat at dinner :/ oops! Oh well, I’m all about being real! ;)

        • QuatroMama
          March 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

          HA! Us too – about being honest and real. Easier now, then explaining the fibs later…

  10. amanda
    March 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    from one newbie to another: we tried 100 easy lessons and I got frustrated with “funny words.” I kept thinking, “no they’re not! there is an explanation!” Look into the Logic of English. It’s intensive phonics, eliminates ‘exceptions’ and gives your child the tools to read any word!

    http://www.logicofenglish.com/

    I don’t work for them or receive anything for ‘promoting’ them, I (and my son) just LOVE this curriculum!

    • QuatroMama
      March 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      Looking up this too! Appreciate your “been there” advice!

  11. Heidi (Dearly Loved Mist)
    March 5, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    We also send our kids to a one day a week school (this is our first year doing that and we will continue next year). It’s great! I really like homeschooling, but I also think it’s great that they get the traditional classroom experience that both my hubby and I enjoyed so much. Glad things are still going well! :)
    Heidi (Dearly Loved Mist) recently posted.. Some Mornings I Need a Little…

  12. Caitlin
    July 10, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I can’t say how much reading this helped me. I’ve been so totally overwhelmed with homeschooling we haven’t been keeping up like we should. Thank you for breaking down your own simpler experience.

  13. Heather
    November 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    This has given me hope! It is our first year homeschooling and I’ve also been tempted by the yellow bus. I realize that simplicity in every area of life keeps my sanity! God bless you!

  14. Lisa
    July 7, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    This is going to sound very silly probably, and you’re going to think, wow, you’re homeschooling a human? lol BUT, I have been very anxious because we got a late start on even fully deciding to home school our kindergartener and I am overwhelmed to say the least. I was even having serious doubts but would think, Its Kindergarten! I’ve done bible study for 15 years (which is not the same as teaching a full day, but at least I’ve had some type of experience and will only have one child to deal with) and did it well. I admit I have been all over bloggy land tonight, instead of sleeping, trying to pray and find answers to…. .something. This blog post.. it is so simple yet SO informative, truthful, no frills of “We do 15 hours of superness a day, don’t you?” and just gave me a real boost I needed right now so close to school starting. By golly, I’m really going to do this! I seriously needed this specific post because I have read many ‘you can do it’s’ tonight that was just as sincere, but this one spoke to my inner peace. Thank you, oh, thank you.

  15. Tara Leurs
    July 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Thank you so much. This is so encouraging to a new homeschool mom. We start Kindergarten on Monday and I am trying not to be overwhelmed. This makes me feel like I can do this! :)

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