Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Am I the only one that spent MONTHS watching youtube videos and reading blog articles and STILL felt confused on how to get started with homeschool? I knew all the different school types and saved all the Instagram craft projects I could. The deeper I searched, the more overwhelmed I felt.
How do I do child-led and lesson plan at the same time?
How do I go with the flow but also make sure I introduce all the academia he would get exposed to in a regular school year?
What if I invest in tons of curriculum workbooks and my son refuses all of them?
How do I do cool craft and science projects yet not spend tons of money?
How the heck do I now organize all the random school crap that has accumulated in my house?! (so much for being minimal).
My head felt jumbled. Everything I read seamed MUCH. I was looking for something simple and minimal. Finally, with the help of a mentor, my own mommy intuition, and experience as a teacher in the dance world, things took off and I'm started to feel pretty good.
The first thing I did was sign up with Inspire charter school. It is an online program that gives you funds towards supplies or enrichment classes. Yes, you get PAID to homeschool! They also provide a teacher/mentor that you check in monthly with (if you are in the Santa Barbara area, I HIGHLY recommend Jen Walsh). There is also a Lending Library where you can borrow supplies and curriculum for a few months at a time. It's really an amazing program to be a part of, especially if your new.
After a few conversations with Jen, I felt motivated enough to just START. So here has been my No Judgment, Just Start! path I have taken so far. Keep in mind I don't have a good printer right now, funds are low, time to prepare is short and my child is not a big fan of workbooks. This should be interesting:
I have three free Kindergarten Curriculums up in my computer window consistently. They are:
*Please comment below if you have other recommendations!
I go through each of these daily lesson plans and pick what is best based off of a few thoughts:
What does he already know?
What can I teach via integration in our daily life instead?
What will likely keep his interest?
What can I do with minimal effort (i.e. no printing, etc)?
Each site offers different stuff and I don't think following one would work for us. Sometimes the links to videos or games don't work anymore and that's totally fine because I use this as a guideline to what a typical Kindergarten student might be doing. So if the link to the pattern game doesn't work anymore, I can easily search for "games to teach kids about patterns" on my own.
If I didn't have time to plan, I have an app on my phone for him to work on until I am ready. I am utilizing a lot of these free trials for different educational programs. Right now he is working on Reading Eggs/Math Seeds. If the apps get glitchy on me and he is loosing patience, he can watch Wild Kratts off the PBS video app. I also like most of Blippi's videos (best for preschool age) and the old school Magic School Bus off Netflix.
I have two notebooks. One to write down what we worked, what he liked or disliked and notes on my learning experience. My son also has one workbook for his writing and drawing practice.
You might be thinking about how heavily I rely on the computers. SO MUCH SCREEN TIME ...I know. But remember what I said about the No Judgment, Just Start? This has been my gateway and within a weeks time, I have introduced writing and drawing. My son is into "going to school" now when before, I would shove a random workbook in his face. You can imagine how successful that was!
Now that we are onto writing, I have sort of ignored some of the recommended words to practice and plan to stick with words that either interest him (like POOP) or that relate to something we are working on such as name of the month, day of the week, his name and the spelling of numbers to complement the mathseeds app. I have also used an old school address book and wrote down the numbers and addresses to all his old classmates so that he can start to write them letters (with my help) when he desires.
Some days he works for over an hour and other days it's 15 minutes. I don't pressure him. I want school to be stress free and I know that we are all in a time of adjustment right now.
My next step is to be a little more cohesive. Instead of a random videos to watch, I would like to try out themed days or pick a project that utilizes multiple skills. Jen had also recommended I try Gameschooling which is definitely on my list!
I am also looking into creating my own Lifeschooling curriculum. There are so many blogs out there but nothing in the form of an actual curriculum. I am more interested in him learning how to navigate the world than how to do addition. I want him to learn self care, responsibilities, finances, mindfulness, etc.
If you think this is a cool idea, I would love to know your thoughts. Comment below with the kind of LIFESCHOOLING curriculum you would want to see. And if this already exists, please let me know!