homeschool: curriculum + schedule + all the ideas

Wow!! What a Summer it has been. Pretty sure a day hasn't gone by since June that we haven't talked about whether to send our girls back to their private school or homeschool this Fall. After prayer, some tears (on my end), many conversations and lots & lots of considerations, we are so excited to have finally landed on homeschooling. Excited to share our journey on instagram and my blog in the hopes of inspiring and encouraging those of you who are also Homeschooling!!

I've been sharing peeks of what we are doing on instagram but wanted to answer a few questions here that I've been getting a lot!! Prepare yourselves for the longest post ever.


I'll be focusing on PreK for Della (3.5), PreK/Kinder for Poppy (almost 5) and Olivia (7) will be a 2nd Grader (which I still can't believe!!). Poppy did 2-day PreK last year and her teacher said she was fully ready for Kindergarten, but because she is a mid-September birthday, we decided we'd wait until Fall 2021 to officially send her to Kinder. However, now that I am homeschooling, I have the flexibility to do a dual approach. We will continue working on sharpening PreK skills (handwriting, phonics, colors/numbers and basic math) and then I'll also add in some Kinder curriculum (beginning reading) as she is ready.

The core of our curriculum is The Good and the Beautiful, which will include Language Arts & Handwriting for Olivia, Poppy and Della at Grade Levels (Level 2, Level K Primer + Level K and PreK). I love that TGATB is an Open & Go curriculum, which means that you can simply open it and start teaching + learning, versus having to do extensive lesson planning ahead of time. 

For Math, I am using the curriculum that Olivia used last year at her private school, Math in Focus (Singapore Math); we had a great experience with it. I experienced teaching it during Distance Learning and it was easy to understand for both myself and Olivia. Compared to traditional US math, Singapore Math focuses on fewer topics but covers them in greater detail, with each semester textbook building upon prior knowledge & skills and requiring a student to master them before moving on. Math in Focus has problem solving as the center of math learning and concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real world, hands on experiences. For Poppy, I plan to use Level K Math from TGATB and then assorted worksheets + workbooks for Della. 


Probably what I am MOST excited about is our Morning Basket. I shared lots of links in stories today, as we officially began school this morning. As I began researching homeschool earlier in the Summer, the Morning Basket concept was something that kept coming up and as I read more about it, I knew we had to incorporate one in to our routine. Every family approaches it a little differently, but in ours we have:

    -Bible & Kids Devotion Books

    -Chapter Book Series to read out loud

    -Poetry Books

    -Journal/planner for a daily gratitude exercise

    -Character cards (these + these)

    -Coloring book (picked this one up last week and can't wait to start using it with the girls)

    -Daily Calendar pages / activities or a calendar board (to teach months, dates, weather)

    -Books and materials related to the Morning Basket Unit Study that we will rotate every 2 weeks

After breakfast, I envision us spending about an hour doing our Morning Basket. I want to open with scripture, prayer and a kids devotion as well as share what we're grateful for. Reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for has been so life-giving to me and I want to pass that habit down to my girls. I picked out this beautiful planner to use to record gratitude notes (love the amount of space each day has), which I know will be such a treasure to look back on. 

We'll also focus on different character traits using the character cards I linked above, do a calendar page (Olivia did this every day as a 1st Grader and it was great practice) and then a few mornings a week I would like to spend 15-20 minutes reading from a chapter book series while they color. I envision our Morning Basket time as just super relaxed, on the couch cozied up...a special way to start the day together. 


Afterward, we'll focus on our Morning Basket Unit Study which will be the bulk of our Science Unit. I have set a curriculum to rotate every 2 weeks based on what the girls wanted to study. We are starting with Butterflies, Weather, The Solar System & The Night Sky and then a National Parks Nature Unit. After that, we will begin our Autumn Unit. We will also have a built in Bible Unit Study within our Morning Basket. We are beginning with Creation and then doing Fruit of the Spirit followed by The Names & Characteristics of God and The Armor of God. Still in the early planning stages of those.

Each "unit" will include activities that strengthen Language, Grammar, Writing, Math and Art skills that I am tailoring to their age. For example, Olivia will have more in-depth writing and more difficult math, whereas Della and Poppy will have tracing, cutting, simple math, matching and coloring. This is just a fun way to learn about subjects they enjoy and cover a wide range of skills in a short period of time. Because each unit will span over 2 weeks, I am structuring it so that we spend about 15 minutes each morning learning and then 15 minutes working on a few related worksheets. I am sure I will adjust as we actually start doing it...these are just all the ideas in my head!!

From there, we'll have blocks of Math, LA and Writing throughout the morning with lots of breaks in between, a morning snack and plenty of worship music. Our plan is to get outside after lunch and then have a "Creative Free Hour" (CFree for short) where they can select from sticker books, handwriting, perler beads, jewelry making, paper crafts (included this book in Olivia's Back to School Basket), art, reading or puzzles. This would be a time when I can work one on one with Olivia for anything we want to dive deeper in to or to review things from the morning. After that, definitely an hour of quiet time, most likely while I sip a cold press in silence :)

I'll share more about our daily schedule as we develop a routine and I'm sure we will make changes, but hopefully this gives you a high level overview of our plan and structure. 


Can you tell I have so many ideas I can hardly keep them all in?! Here are a few other things I am hoping to add in to our routine:

LETTER OF THE DAY: This is more for Poppy and Della but hopefully something Olivia will enjoy also. I found some mini rolls of kraft paper in the Target Dollar Spot that I will use to roll onto the table in the mornings. We'll go through the alphabet with a new letter each day (or every few days) and the girls can brainstorm things that start with that letter. They can practice writing the letter and words on the kraft paper. As part of this, the younger two will also be creating a simple Alphabet Book throughout the year, which I am creating with free printables. 

STATE OF THE WEEK: If you do the math, obviously if we do one state per week, it will take us nearly a full year to get through all 50. So we will probably do 2 per week, but this is a way I envision integrating Geography in to our curriculum in a really natural way without dedicating a full block of time to it each day. For the activities, we'll read about each state using books (we love this book), flashcards and workbooks (this one + this one) and then I found some awesome printables that will give them the opportunity to create a state book throughout the school year. I also picked up a few sets of State Art placemats that we can pull out during snack or lunch time for them to draw and write on. Olivia will be able to read/study each state more in depth whereas for Poppy and Olivia it will be more basic, but no doubt we will listen to Fifty Nifty United States about 100 times. It's a fun way to teach the states in alphabetical order. 

CURSIVE: Another totally free Pinterest find, I stumbled across beautiful cursive worksheets that Olivia happened to see as I was printing one and she got so excited, asking if she can practice cursive. She was introduced to it as a 1st Grader so I am excited to continue teaching it to her. Because her sisters won't be doing cursive (yet), this skill would be something she can work on during a Handwriting block in the morning or during Creative Hour in the afternoon. I created a binder with all the cursive worksheets by letter that she can easily access whenever she wants. 

FILLING MY CUP: This has been a phrase continually on my mind and heart as we approach the school year. I realized the other day that because Distance Learning began in March, the girls had officially been out of school over 5 months, which just blew my mind. Especially now with homeschool, I want to continually find ways to fill my own cup so I have what it takes to pour out to my girls every day. I don't know exactly what this will look like each week, but things that come to mind: resting during the girls' daily quiet time, reading new books, earlier bedtimes for the girls to create more space in the evening to unwind, orangetheory on the weekends, gardening, bubble baths once everyone is asleep, trying new recipes and of course lots of iced coffee. I'd love to hear what you do to fill your cup in the busy seasons. 

So there you have it! Can you tell I am excited?! Honestly, I think making the decision to homeschool was way more overwhelming to me than actually homeschooling. One of the hardest parts (deciding WHAT we would do this Fall) is done -- and although it will take time and intentional effort, I am excited for the year ahead, hard work & all. I'm sure I'll continue adding more, but you can shop all our current resources for the year ahead HERE.

As Mamas, at the end of our lives, we will never wish we had spent less time with our children. And when I get overwhelmed, I just remind myself of that truth. It is a gift and joy to have my girls home, growing and learning with me. About two weeks ago, after we had sent our official withdrawal notice to their school (which we loved so much), at dinner Olivia prayed: "Thank you God that we get to have Mama as our homeschool teacher and learn about butterflies and flowers and the stars." I will hold that sweet prayer in my heart and remind myself of it in those moments of doubt. I hope you can do the same in your home...cling to what is good, focus on each moment and just enjoy the journey ahead. Here's to new adventures, one day at a time!!

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