What a year this has been! We made it through our first year homeschooling in the midst of running a home daycare and publishing a book. Sounds crazy, I know. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I was busy with, you know, homeschooling and running a daycare. 😉
The number one question we get is “How do you homeschool while running a daycare?” I think usually people are asking for the practical response but I think there’s also a philosophical piece that is important. It stems back to our approach on learning. One of the reasons we chose to homeschool is the opportunity for more relaxed learning through play and life. Looking back, I think one thing I did really well was having a laid-back attitude. If we were able to fit in some structured learning, great! If the kids were playing especially well for the day, let them keep playing! If the kids were curious about something, we’d explore that more. I would say we fit more into the “Relaxed Homeschool” approach.
On a more practical side, this is how we made homeschooling work for us while running a home daycare:
- We did a lot of learning together. For instance, we’ve been learning about each state. Because of a trip to Florida, we learned about the ocean. If the daycare kids were interested, we did it all together. Reading aloud can be done with everyone.
- We do “Rest Time” every day and most of the kids take a 1-2 hour nap during this time. This has been utilized as a more personal learning time in which we worked on math and writing.
- We homeschool year round. This allows for flexibility in how often we sit down for structured learning.
- Technology was a great tool in having to balance homeschool and daycare. Utilizing an online math program, and now a DVD program, removed lesson planning off my plate. All of my curriculum choices (aside from Science) were pretty much open and go. Very little prep required.
Here is the curriculum we used for Rilyn’s kindergarten year:
- Math: MathSeeds.com and Math-U-See
Rilyn had no interest in the beginning of sitting down and learning from me. We first tried Kahn Academy which she really liked but it doesn’t read the questions to you, so it required me to sit and do it with her. MathSeeds.com allowed her to be introduced to math in a fun way while giving her the independence she desired. This summer, we started using Math-U-See (Alpha for Rilyn age 6 and Primer for Landon age 4). We really like it so far. It uses a block system and is mastery based. This allows Rilyn, who is a visual learner, to see how the math works but also master the concept before moving on. It also comes with a DVD that teaches each lesson.
- Writing: Writeshop Primary Book – Teacher Guide
Rilyn has always loved making books and this was a great tool for helping her understand how to write about an idea. Most of the year, she would dictate her stories but she has started writing them on her own. We found no need to purchase the worksheet pack that they also sell. We did all of her writing in a storytelling journal like this.
- Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting
This provided a more focused opportunity to work on her handwriting.
- Science: Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
We took a road trip to Florida in May and so we wanted to learn about the ocean before we took this trip. Zoology 2 proved to be too advanced for my kids and so we eventually shelved it to be used sometime in the future. From what I’ve learned, it seems like Exploring Creation With Astronomy is more age appropriate.
It’s hard to summarize a year of homeschooling into one blog post, but it truly has been a great year. Hard? Yes. But well worth it!