Our First Week Homeschooling: Pre-K!
Hi, everyone! We finally did it! We started homeschooling! Wow! This has been something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t think would ever happen! There were so many what-ifs involved. For example, what if my husband wasn’t on board with the idea of homeschooling? What if I needed to go back to work?
Thankfully, none of those situations or others arose and we were able to begin this new journey! So what has homeschooling been like thus far? We were supposed to begin the day after Labor Day, but we actually went away that week, so we began the following week. We are currently in our fifth week of homeschooling pre-k.
How We Got Ready
So how did we go about the process? First, I did my research. The state of Connecticut, where I reside, is very open to homeschooling. Since my child has never entered the public school system, there’s nothing I need to do to inform anyone that he will not be attending a traditional school. If he had ever attended, then it would be a different scenario. The first thing I did in my research was become a member of the CT Homeschool Network, Inc. They have a ton of research on their website and I even got to print out my official member card! Per their website, “On the CHN Legal Requirements page, you can read about the legal aspect of homeschooling in CT. For your convenience, here it can be stated that if your child has never been enrolled in public school, you simply proceed to homeschool. You do not opt out of a system that you’ve never opted in to.” This is great news for us! CHN has many links with resources and places where parents can get worksheets and such for their kids. And with our membership card, we get to enjoy discounts for teaching supplies at certain stores like Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics! Score!
Another organization I would like to join, but haven’t yet, is the National Home Education Legal Defense or NHELD for short. This organization is based in CT and the owner is a former homeschooler herself. Her name is Deborah Stevenson and she is an attorney and advocate for homeschooling families. If there is ever any issue with my child and the Board of Ed or Education Department, Attorney Stevenson with work with us and for us. Here is some text straight from her website, “NHELD, LLC is an acronym for National Home Education Legal Defense, a national organization open to all who wish to join, that seeks to protect and defend the rights of families who wish to educate in freedom.” Once I round up the $50/ per year fee, I will join. I’ve heard only great things about this organization and the attorney.
The next thing I did to get ready was research my son’s curriculum. This was not hard since he is starting his first year of preschool. I went to Pinterest for this and found a wealth of info on themes, goals, printables, sensory activities, and games. I also downloaded planners for little Henry and myself. You can go to my Homeschooling board on my Baby Henry Likes Pinterest page (here) and see all that I’ve pinned 🙂 I found a great template for monthly themes and goals and using that, I go about finding the appropriate printables and activities each week.
We also signed up for library cards for little Henry and myself. This allows us to have different books in the house on a bi-weekly basis. Little Henry also loves going to the library so we usually spend about an hour or so there looking at books, playing with toys, and on the computer.
Our Daily Grind
So how do we go about our day? We have a schedule that we follow daily. However, sometimes things get in the way or someone has an appointment, so we either do only a half day or don’t do homeschooling that day. Here’s our schedule below:
Circle Time consists of the Pledge of Allegiance, going over the days of the week, months of the year, the date, seasons, temperature outside, then we go to the window and see what the weather is like for that day. After that, we go to the next wall in the classroom and go over numbers 1-10, colors, shapes, and finally, feelings. After this is done, we do story time, where we read between 2-5 books depending on what little Henry wants to read. He picks out the books. Some are our books and some are from the library. We go every two weeks and pick out 8-10 books for reading. After story time it’s song time! We have a playlist of songs we all sing and dance to, mainly: “The Wheels on the Bus”, “The Hokey Pokey”, and “Five Little Monkeys”. This is one of Little Henry’s and Evangeline’s favorite parts.
Learning Time consists of printouts and activities for the day. We’ll talk about what we’re working on, use different live examples, i.e. “A is for Apple, here’s an apple!” Or “B is for Ball (balloon, baby, bottle, book…). Here’s a…” We’ll do about 3-4 learning printables during each session which we color as well. Then we’ll do an activity. For example, gluing images of apples on a tree then counting how many we have in total, or using a bingo blotter to blot a letter.
As a crafter you know I just love Crafting Time! And little Henry loves it too! Crafting Time is where we really let loose. This usually consists of painting something onto something else, haha! I usually tape kraft paper onto little Henry’s desk and we use our tempera paints to create something wonderful. Or we’ll use glue to glue something onto something else. Recently, we glued cat parts onto a letter C. It wounds weird, but came out oh so cute!
Little Henry also loves Exercise Time! For this we have three songs we always play. We stretch, lunge, dance, hop, stomp, walk on our tippy toes or walk like a robot! This is a fun routine for inside the classroom.
Finally, we have Outside Time and this is a much-needed breath of fresh air for the kids. Little Henry loves it. We usually stay outside for about 30 minutes or so, depending on the weather and the mosquitoes. Right now there are a ton of them outside so we only last about 10 minutes. After Outside Time we go inside and eat and then go about our day. I don’t have nap time listed on the schedule because Little Henry doesn’t nap at home. If we’re in the car, he’ll fall asleep but not at home. And he’s always been like that. When he was around Evangeline’s age I had the hardest time getting him to nap. She, on the other hand, is super easy. Around 2pm I’ll just put her in her crib and she’ll fall asleep in a hot second.
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I’m so proud of our classroom. It took me weeks to prepare it for little Henry’s studies. It used to be our small living room/dining room area, but I decided to take everything out and make it strictly into his classroom. I worked on it slowly but excitedly! I would come up with new ideas at night while trying to fall asleep. After many weeks of waiting for Hubby Henry to finish painting some shelving, it’s finally DONE! Yay! However, I’ll just briefly touch on what the classroom consists of in this post. I’m conjuring up a new post with all my classroom deets so stay tuned for that!
I decorated the whole room myself as well as installed the whiteboard, mirror, and wall shelves although after awhile I needed Henry to help me because using a drill bit to make holes in sheetrock gets really tiring! The furniture was either free leftovers from tag sales or items we bought really cheap. The most we spent was the mint-colored Sterilite drawers from Walmart which cost about $12. The other furniture like the easel, desk with chairs, and sofa were either Christmas gifts or items we bought years ago.
I have two binders for homeschooling. One binder is my planner and it has several things such as themes for each month, an attendance log, reading log, monthly schedule, weekly schedule, and daily schedule. These pages all consist of several free planners that I’ve picked and chosen pages that work for us and our needs.
The second binder is Little Henry’s and it has all the work he’s done so far. What I do is, I first display his work on our walls, (My children have written all over some of our walls so I’ve tried to cover most of this up!) then using a three-hole punch, I insert everything into his binder as a record of what we’ve worked on. I plan on doing this every year. I think it would be something wonderful that they can look back on. Also, it will help when we finally start grading and for any college purposes. Below are the binders and on top you can see our membership cards!
What I’ve Learned So Far…
I thought Little Henry would be so thrilled with coloring ‘cuz I love to color! But guess what, after handing him the third or fourth page to color he dropped his head on the table and said, “Ugh!” Yep. So I started to think about what I was giving him each day to work on. In the beginning, he was doing about 5-6 pages per day, but he would lose fuel by page four. So now I do two coloring pages, 1-2 writing pages, and then a fun activity or two! For example, this past week, we had C-words (cat, castle, cactus) cut up into puzzle pieces that he had to put together and glue on construction paper. Before that, we searched for C-words in his play room. I had read recently that preschool should be tons of fun and I felt like I wasn’t making it tons of fun for him. So I changed it up. And I think he likes the new change!
I’m so happy with our progress so far. I say this a lot to a lot of people, but he’s like a sponge right now. He’s soaking everything up. Everyday he amazes me with something he’s learned that I haven’t taught him, lol!
Alright friends, that’s all for now. If you’re thinking of going into homeschooling I’d advise that you do your research first. I first started my research when Little Henry was still a baby and then I did my intense research over a year prior to his first day of school. Find out the laws in your state and any requirements or if you’re lucky like me, you might live in a state that allows complete freedom to teach what you want, when you want, and at your child’s pace.
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