It’s the first day of school for many children, but not in our house. Our first day of school was earlier this August, because mama couldn’t wait to get started! We’re finishing up our 3rd week of Kindergarten. Now that I’m a veteran homeschooler (HA!), I thought I’d share our school rhythm with you.
My kindergartner, Aria, is almost 5. Because of her birthdate, she’ll do 2 years of Kindergarten before starting first grade, in order to stay on tract with her public school counterparts. I also have a 2 1/2 year old, Liam, in the mix. For us, Kindergarten means adding a focus story to our week, and allowing that story to play out as it may in our weekly painting and coloring times. It also means a new weekly beeswax modeling session and a weekly poem or memory verse, usually pulled from the story itself. Lastly, we added a handicraft day to Aria’s week, which creates a time for learning to tie, braid, sew, etc.
It wasn’t to hard to work these elements into our lives, since we already had a solid rhythm that’s been supporting us for over half a year. Since I work part-time, I had a meeting with my other caregivers (2 grandmas) to share my plans for Aria’s Kindergarten year and ask for their participation. One grandma took over the weekly beeswax modeling session, while the other does the handiwork project. Coloring and painting fall on my days at home. At the beginning of the month, I gave each grandmother a one-page summary showing the weekly story and memory verse for each week, plus ideas for handiwork and modeling. As each week arrives, I pass along a copy of the focus story in advance, so Grandma can read ahead and have it on hand during the week.
Here’s our weekly rhythm:
- Monday: New Story – No expansion
- Tuesday: Beeswax Modeling
- Wednesday: Repeat Story, Give Memory Verse & Coloring
- Thursday: Handicraft
- Friday: Repeat Story, Say Memory Verse & Painting
And our daily rhythm, at least on my days at home:
- 7:00 – Wake & Dress
- 7:30 – Breakfast
- 8:00 – Complete dressing routines & Early Morning Bible Study w/Memory Verse Time
- 9:00 – Get moving via Outdoor Play (with a Playdate on Fridays)
- 10:00 – Snack
- 11:00 – Free Play
- 12:00 – Lunch
- 12:30 – Rest Time
- 1:30 – Aria’s Storytime, then free play or right into Art Time, if it feels right
- 3:00 – Snack
- 3:30 – Art Time: Coloring/Painting if not done earlier
- 4:30 – Dinner Prep
- 5:30 – Dinner
- 6:00 – Family Time/Baths
- 6:45 – Bed Prep and Bedtime Stories
- 7:00 – To Bed
As far as “school” time goes (and I use that term loosely, since we’re learning all the time), it works well for us to have split our day into two mini sessions. Right after we’ve finished getting ready for the day, we have a little Bible time at the table, prayer to set the tone for our day, and then we practice our memory verse. If I can, I teach Aria how to act out the poem or Bible verse to help her remember, and then she’s off to play. This session takes about 10 minutes!
The next session is placed after her rest time, when she’s eager to reconnect with me. I read her the focus story of the week, and sometimes go on to read some stories of Liam’s choosing afterwards. More often they’re ready to play. This week, our story was a Russian fairytale “Masha and the Bear”. Aria just LOVED it! So, after storytime she enlisted Liam and I to help her reenact the storyline for as long as we were willing. This kind of play with the story is really the most ideal way for her to work through its meaning and value. While she played, I set up our coloring supplies so we could move into coloring session whenever the time was right. This school session takes more like 30 minutes, including the art time. Afterwards, I change my focus to housework and dinner.