Sunday, March 10, 2013

Beginning to Set Things Up for Homeschooling!

Since I work from home, I needed a curriculum that is mostly self guided for my son. And because I work from home, I need to give him some guidelines about what to expect in his day so that he doesn't keep running to me asking what to do next :)

So the first three things that I set up were:

1. A general schedule for Brandon to follow throughout his day (most days, as we will have some field trip and meetup days)

2. A supplemental activities notebook for the rest of March.

3. A P.E. book

This is the general schedule I set up for him. When he attended his charter school, his wake up time was 5:30 am so that he could finish his morning chores, get dressed and ready for school and be ready to be out the door by about 6:45 am to meet his carpool buddies. Now, he can sleep in until 7:00 am! (He has never really been one to sleep in much so 7:00 am really is sleeping in to him!) He will begin his morning chores, eat his breakfast, then begin his schoolwork. His schoolwork should take about 4 hours a day. His curriculum is almost entirely online.We set up a password protected account for him on our computer, therefore he can only access it if Mom or Dad types in the password. Because of this, he needs one of us to be awake by 8 am. Since there are occasional days where we don't wake up until closer to 9am, I gave him the option of beginning his pleasurable reading assignment at 8 am if we are not awake to sign him onto the computer. He should be wrapping up his classwork by about noon, just in time for lunch. I gave him an hour for lunch even though it really should not take him but maybe half of that. But I accounted an hour for it in case I am late preparing lunch. This way, if his schoolwork is completed before lunch is prepared, he has some free time. He also has free time after lunch until 1pm when he begins in afternoon chores. His afternoon chores should take him between 30 and 45 minutes. But because we are working on time management skills, sometimes his afternoon chores take him two hours...really? How long does it take to unload a dishwasher? :) This is the way my son is though. To better encourage him to move along with his time AND because by then, any children I am watching will be getting ready to nap, I scheduled his pleasurable reading time for 2pm. That gives him a minimum of 15 minutes beyond what his chores SHOULD take him to finish them. But, if it takes him longer, it then cuts into his reading time. He then has an hour to read. At 3pm, he has Fun Facts/Drawing for an hour. This is where he will essentially report back to me something about what he read that day. He has to write 10 facts that he learned or draw a picture related to the book. At 4pm, he has PE (which I will discuss more in a little bit). At 4:30, he has a supplemental activity to do (which I will discuss after PE).

This is Brandon's P.E. book. Inside, it is filled with more than 30 pages of activities for him to do for P.E. He will work from page one and go in order to the back of the book and then he will begin again. Most of the activities can be done inside in case of poor or cold weather but can easily be done outdoors as well for some fresh air. Each page consists of 30 minutes worth of moving activities. This book is just a wallet size photo album filled with index cards that were cut in half. We hooked it to a magnet and hung it on our door that leads to the garage.

These two pages show:
1. 15 sit ups, 30 jumping jacks, and 45 windmills. Repeat for 30 minutes.
2. Jump rope for 15 minutes then shoot hoops for 15 minutes.

1.Crab walk from the front door to the back door and back again for 5 minutes. Dribble a ball with each hand for 5 minutes (10 minutes total). Then March across the backyard for 15 minutes.
 2. Flap your arms like a bird for 5 minutes. 15 minutes of jump roping, Use the elliptical for 15 minutes.

1. Flap your arms like a bird for 5 minutes. Spin in a circle for 5 minutes (obviously, rest when feeling dizzy!).  Jump up and down for 5 minutes. Then Use the elliptical for 15 minutes.

2. Go for a Nature Walk for 30 minutes. Bring back 5 interesting things you find.

1. 20 side leg lifts, 30 windmills, 10 push ups. Repeat for 30 minutes.

2. Go for a 30 minute Bike Ride.

1. Do Hacky Sack for 10 minutes, Jump rope for 10 minutes, shoot hoops for 10 minutes

2. Go for a Nature Walk for 30 minutes. Bring back 5 interesting things you find.

1. Go for a 30 minute Bike Ride.

2. 30 twists, 40 side leg lifts, 20 sit ups. Repeat for 30 minutes.

1. Hacky sack for 10 minutes, elliptical for 10 minutes and run laps around the back yard for 10 minutes.

We plan to purchase him a cheap stopwatch like a coach uses with a cord to hang around his neck. This way, he can hold himself accountable (more time management skill practice) for moving onto another activity as needed and/or to know when his time is up.

The supplemental activities notebook I did not get a picture of. But it is like a daily agenda calendar and on each day I scheduled him something specific to do. I went through his curriculum for the rest of the month and tried to find YouTube videos, Pinterest ideas, etc that correlate with what he is learning about. I also added some things of my own. His charter school had been teaching him Spanish and I want him to keep up with that so I created a Spanish vocabulary list for March, April and May of about 8-12 words per month. Some days during this time, he will simply practice his Spanish words or write two sentences using his Spanish vocab words. Other days, he has a writing prompt related to his History lesson or a card game to teach him a math skill. Still other days, he will work on things of interest to him such as learning to draw, learning American Sign Language or playing a board game with me. This was something that he wanted to do because a "selling point" to homeschooling him was that he could pursue interests of his own. Luckily, the curriculum I am using is currently working on ancient Egypt which he is fascinated with right now so it was good timing. A lot of the YouTube and Pinterest stuff went along with that. 

This week, we also have a field trip scheduled to go to the library with another homeschooling family for family Story Time and to pick up some books of interest. I plan to heavily utilize our library system and have told Brandon that we will go at least every two weeks. Each time we go, he is to select 3 books for pleasurable reading that are at or above his current reading level. He is also to select 2 non-fiction science books of his choosing and 2 non-fiction history books that interest him. Each week, he will work with one science and one history book of his choice and by the end of the week be able to tell me some facts or draw a related picture. 

So that is where we are so far. It isn't much but considering how short of a time ago that we made the decision to homeschool, I am doing the best I can with the time frame that I have! Tomorrow begins Day 1 of homeschooling! Wish me luck!


  1. You are so organized!! I love the schedule. I think that is so important when starting something new. I look forward to reading more about your adventure in homeschooling

  2. Excellent post… was just what I was looking for! Thanks again. kindergarten in victoria