Homeschool for FREE

FREE Homeschool DEALS Your Wallet Will LOVE

Homeschool can get expensive but the great news is it can also cost close to nothing! When we began homeschooling five years ago, we utilized free resources to make our journey affordable. Some of those free resources are listed here.

Five years—and too much money spent on fancy curricula—later, we’re back to the basics. This year, I’ve researched more resources to add to our arsenal of homeschool freebies. These resources span across grade levels and subjects, so this post has something for everyone.

Why opt for freebies?

Taking advantage of free resources is a cost-effective way to test what types of subjects, lesson plans, and teaching styles help your child thrive best. It’s also a great way to save money for what really matters—lots of field-trips, adventures, and social opportunities!

Listed below are FREE resources to help you save some coins this upcoming school year. Of course, most of these resources require you to at least have access to a computer, printer, and some ink. Other than that, all you really need are basic school supplies—which you can snag for free at your local back-to-school teacher supply drive. However, please only participate in these drives if you’re truly in need.

*Note: This is an updated version of 30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

So, without further ado:

FREE Homeschool DEALS Your Wallet Will LOVE

 

1. Free Homeschool Deals

Free Homeschool Deals offers free unit studies, supplement materials, and much more. Free resources are available for most subjects and grade levels.

2. Easy Peasy Homeschool

Easy Peasy offers free curricula in all core subjects for levels pre-k through high school.  This is also a great site for elective courses like physical education, foreign language, and more. The reviews are mixed on this curriculum, but people like it for the most part. The common complaint is that it’s not challenging enough for advanced students.

3. How to Homeschool for Free

This site offers free unit studies, electives, and other resources for homeschool families. You can find materials in all core subjects for all grade levels.

4. K12 Education

K12 is an online public school, not a homeschool. Therefore, you will be subject to public school laws. However, this program is great for families on the go. Some people love it, others hate it. The common complaint is the program includes too much busywork and not enough flexibility. A great benefit, though, is that you’ll receive free school supplies, books, and other materials needed for your child’s courses.

5. Homeschool Math.net

Homeschool Math.net is a great lesson-plan resource for mathematics. The site only serves students up to the seventh grade so you won’t find much for high school students, here. The great thing about these lesson plans is they come with video instructions and lectures as well as follow-up worksheets. You can find any math subject from simple addition to pre-algebra.

6.  Homeschool Buyers Co-op

This site offers a wonderful database full of free homeschool curricula and resources. You can even find promos, coupons, and great homeschool deals on just about anything you need to plan your curriculum.

7.  The Pioneer Woman

The Pioneer Woman offers another great database for free homeschool resources, awesome tidbits on motherhood, and more!

8.  Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free virtual academy for pre-k through high school students. You may select a course in any core area of your choice, or create a course of your own. What’s unique about this academy is you’ll find free courses in engineering, computing, economics, and finance, among others. They even have SAT prep and other standardized test prep courses to prepare your high schooler for college.

9.  Teachers pay Teachers

Not only can you find MY free resources here, but a plethora of other free resources and curricula for grades pre-k through high school.  What’s great about TpT is all materials are made for teachers by teachers. Check out my growing shop to find some free goodies!

10.  Weather Unit Freebie

Encouraging Moms at Home shares an awesome weather unit freebie for preschoolers. Take advantage! You can also find other great deals and homeschool tips on this site.

11.  United States Unit Study

Midwest Modern Momma shares a free United States unit study that can be adjusted for any age. The study comes with a load of free printables. Check it out!

12. The Magic School Bus

If you’re looking for a free science curriculum for pre-k through second grade, look no further. Cornerstone Confessions shares a Magic School Bus science unit for the entire school year! This unit is full of awesome experiments and activities. If you already have a Netflix subscription (or other subscription that offers The Magic School Bus series) this course is completely free.

13. Ambleside Online

If you’re a fan of the Charlotte Mason method, you’ll love this free resource. Ambleside Online offers free courses from pre-k- through high school in all core subjects. This site also offers free Bible courses for those looking for a religious curriculum.

14.  Budget Homeschool

Budget Homeschool offers free study guides, lesson plans, books, and more!

15.  An Old Fashioned Education

Are you old school? Well, An Old Fashioned Education is the site for you! It’s important to note that this site is Christian inspired. The site offers core subjects as well as elective subjects like etiquette, speaking, and art appreciation, among many others.

16.  Classroom Freebies, Too

This site is a great resource for all things “freebies!”

17. NASA Image and Video Library

NASA launched a new resource that offers free searchable audio, video, and imagery library for the public. Popular images include that of the Earth, unique observations of the Milky Way, and vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Check it out!

18.  Free Kids Books

This site has a book for every age from 0-100. And, yes, the books are free to download! Or, you can simply read them online. What I really like about this site is most of the books have ratings. The site also offers a user-friendly category search so you can search for anything from coloring books to early reader books in a jiffy.

19.  Lesson Pathways

Lesson Pathways is a curriculum-building site that offers free resources for curriculum customization.  The resources offered covers grades K-5. Registration is free and gives you access to some awesome goodies.

20.  Guest Hollow

Guest Hollow offers a free science of the seasons curriculum, geography curriculum, and many others.  There are some great resources for all ages, including high school students. Go take a look!

21. Scholastic

Scholastic has a teacher’s corner that serves teachers of all grade levels. This site is full of lesson plans, unit plans, teacher guides, activities, and more. Not to mention, they offer recommendations on awesome books to accompany your lessons!

22. Crayola

Believe it or not, Crayola offers free lesson plans for language arts, math, STEM, social studies, and, of course—art!

23. School Zone

School Zone has a program called Anywhere Teacher. If you sign up for a free subscription, you have access to 28 educational activities that rotate monthly. The program connects children ages 2-8 to online learning and resources.

24. Hoffman Academy

It doesn’t get any better than free online piano lessons at Hoffman Academy. We’ve personally taken advantage of this resource, so I can truly say that my kids enjoy these fun, quirky lessons. The lessons are step by step and offer units for beginner and intermediate levels.

25. STEMfinity

STEMfinity offers a database for all things STEM. Check out their resources for activities and lesson plans for science, technology, engineering, and math.

26. Code.org

Code.org offers free videos, games, and lesson plans for all things coding. This site serves parents and teachers of grades pre-k through high school. It’s also user-friendly for independent learners. My fourth-grader utilizes this site frequently to improve his coding skills.

27. Scratch

Scratch allows students to program their own stories, games, and animations. The site also includes guides and tutorials for parents and teachers. This is another site my kids frequent. It’s very kid-user friendly. My boys coded several games and animations using this resource and have been doing so since their kindergarten days.

28. Kidzone

Looking for worksheets for your children? Kidzone has got you covered. All worksheets are printable for grades pre-K—5. You can find worksheets on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. The site also offers worksheets for phonics, math, science, and geography. Lesson plans and thematic units are also available. This was my go-to source for kindergarten worksheets our first homeschool year.

29. Education.com

Education.com offers worksheets, lesson plans, games, and more for grades pre-k through high school. They offer resources for math, reading, writing, science, social studies, foreign language, and more. Be sure to check out their Teaching Tools section because you can read the ratings and comments on the lesson plans they offer.

30. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a great virtual dictionary for fun facts about animals, geography, the solar system, and more. The site also offers educational games, quizzes, and videos for kids of all ages. We loved it as a supplement to our curriculum on life science and habitats. We also used this resource to supplement our geography curriculum.

31. Nike Anderson’s Classroom

Of course, I’m including my growing online shop, Nike Anderson’s Classroom. I offer free resources for pre-k through second grade. Check out my free geography resources, reading comprehension worksheets, memory verse activities, handwriting practice printables, and more! Be sure to follow me on TpT to be the first to know when I upload a new free resource.

32. National Treasures Workbooks

National Treasures Workbooks is a McGraw Hill company. Right now, NTW is offering free workbooks for reading, spelling, and grammar practice for grades K-6. All you need is software that supports PDF files and a printer, of course.

33. California Science Workbooks

California Science is another McGraw Hill company that’s offering free downloads for their science workbooks. These workbooks are offered for grades 1-6. Among the free downloads are interactive textbooks, reading and writing in science workbooks, and activity lap books. 

34. The Math Learning Center

The Math Learning Center is offering free downloads for its Bridges in Mathematics practice workbooks. Downloads are currently available for grades K-5 and provide practice in key skill areas. They even offer the workbooks in Spanish!

35. Duolingo

Duolingo offers free foreign language courses for any age. The site offers a variety of languages from Spanish and French to Chinese and Hebrew—and more! If you’re a parent or teacher, you can sign up and customize lessons for your students to keep track of their progress.

36. EWorksheet.Org

E-worksheet offers educational resources for all grade levels. Subjects included are English, math, and science for grades 1-8, and economics, political science, and civics for high school levels. There are also other electives available so go and check them out for yourself!

37. Math Drills

Math Drills includes over 50, 000 free math worksheets. The worksheets cover a wide range of topics, including—but not limited to—geometry, pre-algebra, money concepts, and more. The site also offers holiday-themed and interactive math worksheets.

38. Lynda.com

Get a free one month trial with Lynda online courses. Try a course on business, web design, photography, and more for up to one month free of charge. Not only is this a great way to try a course for free, but also to decipher if the program is worth the investment. While these courses are geared toward higher education, children as young as 9-years-old can participate. My fourth-grader enjoyed some of their coding courses.

39. XtraMath

XtraMath is a free web program that offers supplemental math activities. The site also offers a service to parents and teachers that allows them to sign up for a free account and track students’ progress. This program covers the basics; addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It’s aimed at helping children develop the fluency they need to prepare them for advanced math.

40. Typing.com

Typing.com has a comprehensive typing curriculum for all skill levels and it’s FREE! Students, parents, and teachers can create custom lessons and monitor progress with timed tests. The lessons are also available in Spanish.

41. Vocabulary.com

You can create classes, assign lessons, and track your students’ progress with Vocabulary.com. This site offers featured vocabulary lists on topics like test prep, literature, speeches, and more. You can also customize your own list. This summer, my kids learned Minecraft terms.

42. Kiddle

Kiddle is a safe visual search engine just for kids. Your child can research and receive results on safe sites and pages written specifically for children. However, as with most filter systems, it’s not entireley foolproof.

43. Starfall

Starfall is a great resource for early elementary students that offers free reading resources. This site provides tips on teaching beginning and emerging readers, as well as free downloadable practice worksheets.

44. Fun Brain

Fun Brain offers hundreds of games, books, and videos for grades K-8. Subjects covered are math, literacy, reading, and problem-solving.

45. Storyline Online

Storyline Online is an award-winning website that “streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.” You can find popular titles like The Rainbow Fish, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and more.

46. ABCya

ABCya offers over 400 educational games for grades K-6. You can find games that offer fluency practice on a variety of skillsets from reading to math. There are even fun holdiay-themed games for extra practice during holiday breaks that won’t feel like learning at all!

47. Math Game Time

Math Game Time is a great resource for games, worksheets, and instructional videos for grades pre-K through 7. This resource covers basic math concepts like problem-solving, probability, physics, fractions, percentages, and decimals, among others.

48. Sheppard Software 

Sheppard Software is an educational website that offers hundreds of free online learning games. Kids can enjoy fun games on geography, chemistry, health, nutrition, and history, just to name a few. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this website, as Sheppard Software also offers educational games for high schoolers, college students, and even adults.

49. Into the Book

Into the Book offers interactive reading comprehension activities for students, teacher tools for educators, and resources for professional development. Strategies students will learn are visualizing, summarizing, inferring, making connections, synthesizing, prior knowledge, evaluating, and questioning.

50. Cool Math 4 Kids

Enjoy games and lessons in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions. Cool Math 4 Kids also offers virtual manipulatives that allow students to work with ten frames, base ten blocks, number lines, and pattern blocks. Students may take a quiz and earn a certificate for a job well done. Games are designed for children under the age of twelve.

51. Dance Mat Typing

Dance Mat Typing is an interactive system that helps students learn to type with ease. There are four levels and three stages for each level. The site includes typing games, tests, and keyboard tricks.

52. Sum Dog

Sum Dog is an online learning service that helps students excel in math, English, and spelling using game-based learning. The service helps parents and teachers keep track of their student’s progress, allowing them to identify and recify potential learning gaps.

53. Scholastic StudyJams!

StudyJams is a Scholastic resource for teachers and parents that offers interactive math and science activities. The resource introduces and reinforces more than 200 important topics ranging from volcanoes to photosynthesis. Key vocabulary terms and quizzes are also available.

54. Math Blaster

Math Blaster is a virtual hub for outer space-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming.

55. Fun 4 the Brain

Fun 4 the Brain offers games for math, science, English, and more.

56. A Plus Math

A Plus Math is a resource offered by Varsity Tutors to help improve math fluency in basic math concepts. The site offers worksheets, flashcards, games, and homework helper services. Subjects covered are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and geometry. 

57.  Science Kids

Science Kids is a resource for all things science and technology for kids. The free site offers experiment ideas, games, facts, quizzes, projects, lesson plans, videos, and more. Lesson plans include subjects like earth, animals, chemistry, space, biology, and technology, among others. Images are also available to aid instruction.

58. PBS Kids

PBS Kids offers educational videos and games for preschool and early elementary students.

59. Arcademics 

Arcademics combines the excitement of arcade games and education. Teachers and parents can enroll students, assign games, and track scores. Subjects covered include—but is not limited to—spelling, geography, typing, language arts, integers, money, time and more. You can find games for grades 1-6.

60. Turtle Diary

Turtle Diary offers games, videos, quizzes, worksheets, lessons, contests, assessments, and apps for students, teachers, and parents. The site serves grades K4 through 5. There is also a teaching tools service that allows you to generate your own worksheets, create assignments, and more.

61. Cool Math

Cool Math is an educational game site that serves users ages 13 and up. The site covers topics like geometry, algebra, trigonometry and more. Some interesting features are their math dictionary, math survival guide, and geometry and trig reference.

62. The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum 

The Good and the Beautiful offers free downloads for their level 1-5 language arts curriculum. This curriculum encompasses geography, art, reading, spelling, phonics, and grammar. There are lots of gorgeous illustrations, so I highly recommend using a color inkjet printer. The company also currently offers a free download on their Marine Biology Science unit.

63. Epic! Books for Kids

Epic Books for Kids is the leading digital library for children ages 12 and under. The site features award-winning books on fiction, non-fiction, STEM, biographies, and more. There’s a low-cost monthly subscription but you can sign up and receive a FREE one month trial. The site will track your child’s reading progress and log the amount of time they’ve spent reading.

64. Physics Crash Course

There are a ton of awesome educational YouTube channels out there, I list some, here. However, this Physics Crash Course channel deserves the spotlight on this post. This channel features over 40 videos on topics ranging from Newton’s laws, kinetic theory, and Maxwell’s equations, to name a few.


That concludes my list. I do hope at least one of these free resources is new to you.

Your Turn!

If you have other resources you’d like to mention, let us know down below! Sharing is caring!!!!

How We Pulled Off an Entire Year of Homeschool for FREE

How We Pulled Off an Entire Year of FREE Curriculum

Hi there! Join me this month for the My Journey to Homeschool series. In this series, I’ll be sharing the why behind our homeschool and the process it took to get there.

If you missed last week’s post Why We REALLY Homeschool |The Honest Truth, read it here.

This week, I’ll be sharing how we pulled off an entire year of free curriculum during our first penny-pinching homeschool years.

If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Nike and I’m entering my fourth homeschool year with a new kindergartner and third grader.

Nike Anderson

 

Can you believe I’ve never written a proper curriculum review? Well, you’re in for a treat because I’ll be reviewing our entire year of free curriculum for devotional, language arts, reading, math, science, and geography!

Basically, the first two years of our homeschool journey was a free curriculum frenzy. Before I invested money in a box curriculum, I first wanted to see what resources were available for FREE. I was shocked to find awesome quality resources for kindergarten through second-grade—and beyond! I’ve even made a few resources myself. Visit my FREEBIES page to check some of them out!

I was in resource heaven putting together a comprehensive curriculum for my then first-grader, but I admit it was so much work! Maybe I can help alleviate some of the workload for you by giving you the links to everything we used in one blog post? Of course, this is only helpful if you have a first or second-grader (or an advanced kindergartner). However, some of these resources have curricula available for grades up through high-school.

To make things even better, I’ll give you a brief description of each resource, as well as the pros and cons of each. Are you ready?

Here’s What We Used:

 

1. Devotional—180 Days of Memory Verses

About:

This resource is my collective 180-day Bible series for kids that covers 36 scriptures or one memory verse each week! I created this resource because we needed fun activities to accompany our memory verses. It includes 180 fun activities that are designed to improve cognitive skills by helping children to think, reason, and write for themselves. The activities also encourage children to strengthen fine motor skills, encourage creativity, and strengthen handwriting skills. The following topics are covered:

Obviously, this resource was free for me because I created it. However, I do offer the series “God Thinks I’m Awesome” for FREE, here!

Pros:

First, the activities for this resource are great for helping children learn edifying scripture. There’s an activity for each weekday, Monday thru Friday, that requires children to do the following for each memory verse:

  • Activity 1—Draw what the verse means to you.
  • Activity 2—Write a sentence about the verse.
  • Activity 3—Arrange the verse (cut-and-paste activity).
  • Activity 4—Trace the verse.
  • Activity 5—Color the picture.
180 Days of Memory Verse Activities for Kids
180 Days of Memory Verse Activities for Kids | Drawing what the verse means to them was one of their favorite activities!

Second, my boys loved learning their verses while doing these activities! The memory verses were a terrific addition to our family devotional time. They inspired my boys to ask questions and encouraged great conversation. The memory verses are also designed to be palatable for young children, as my youngest son was three-years-old when we utilized this resource. Therefore, the verses are kept short and sweet, and the activities provide lots of repetition for mastery.

Third, this is a top-selling resource at Nike Anderson’s Classroom. By the looks of the reviews, other teachers, parents, and students have been loving this resource, too! All the scriptures included in this resource are available for patrons to view before downloading the product, so it’s clear exactly what verses are covered and how they are worded in each series.

Cons:

The activities are designed for younger children from pre-k through third-grade, which means some of the verses in the activities have been re-phrased for palatability and understanding. You’ll mainly find this to be true for the “Our God the Creator” series, which summarizes some of the Genesis verses to “God created light on the first day,” “God created the sky on the second day,” and so forth. This hasn’t been a problem for us since we always read and review the verses straight from the Bible before completing the activities.

 

2. Language Arts—All-In-One Homeschool (Level 1)

About:

If you’re not familiar with the All-In-One Homeschool, it’s an online comprehensive Christian-based curriculum that is free to use!  While I’m going to talk about their level one language arts curriculum, this resource offers curricula for all core subjects for grades pre-k through high school. It even offers electives like Bible, Art, Computer, Foreign Languages, and more! As I mentioned, it’s free, but you’ll need access to the internet, computer, and basic school supplies to take advantage of this resource.

My first-grader enjoyed the Language Arts 1 curriculum. This curriculum offers a basic review of phonics before delving into the following concepts for first and/or second graders:

  • Nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Synonyms
  • Plurals
  • Punctuation
  • Digraphs
  • Literature (Poetry from Abroad, Crane)
  • Story sequencing
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • And more!
All-In-One Homeschool Language Arts 1 | Cut & paste story sequencing was a huge hit!
All-In-One Homeschool Language Arts 1 | Cut & paste story sequencing was a huge hit!

Pros:

First, let me say that this curriculum was well organized and easy to follow. The author did a phenomenal job arranging virtual worksheets, games, quizzes, and activity ideas for each subject. It is no-prep and no-nonsense!

Second, I loved that this curriculum was comprehensive and covered all the key concepts for first and second grade. I felt pretty confident that my child was getting a solid foundation in literature.

Third, I loved that this curriculum sets students up to work independently. Provided your child has great fluency in reading, they can totally work independently on this curriculum.

Lastly, incorporating levels rather than grades is another great concept. If a level is too easy or difficult for a child, they can be moved up or down to fit their academic need. Since all the levels are available at your fingertips, you can actually skim through them and extract from each one. For instance, your child may be ready to move up to level two for grammar but may have to stay on level one for spelling. The flexibility is awesome!

Cons:

I had to supplement this curriculum to incorporate more repetition and practice for mastery with certain concepts. I also ended up using another curriculum for spelling, as I did not like AIO’s setup for learning spelling words. I want to stress that every curriculum has different standards and will cover different concepts and topics. It’s up to you to decipher which topics outside the curriculum you’d like to cover. For me, using extra worksheets and free printables wasn’t much of a problem. But it does mean you have to search them out, making it an extra thing to add to your to-do list.

 

3. Reading—All-In-One Homeschool (Level 1)

About:

This online Christian-based reading curriculum by All-In-One Homeschool is designed to introduce readers to full-length novels, practice narration and summarizing, and improve vocabulary and comprehension. The curriculum uses the following literature:

  • The Tale of Jolly Robin by Bailey
  • The Tale of Solomon Owl by Bailey
  • The Tale of Reddy Woodpecker by Bailey
  • The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse by Burgess
  • Buster Bear by Burgess
  • McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader
  • Beatrix Potter stories
  • A variety of other short stories and poems

This resource can be used primarily online or you can purchase the materials in book form for just $15.

Pros:

First, the curriculum had a great choice of literature with advanced vocabulary. The vocabulary is challenging, yet appropriate, and not too overwhelming.

Second, I loved the fact that the curriculum introduced my first-grader to chapter books. He really enjoyed reading the novels authored by Bailey.

Lastly, this curriculum was no fuss and easy-to-follow. There’s also an audio option available, which is great because children can listen and follow along with the hardcopy at the same time—giving them an ear for what proper reading fluency sounds like.

All-In-One Homeschool Reading 1
All-In-One Homeschool Reading 1 | Inference practice on the whiteboard to accompany our reading lesson!

Cons:

The major con was that this curriculum is online. If you do not want your child to read entire chapters on the computer, you must print out the chapters, which can cost you ink and paper. Otherwise, purchasing the materials in book form is the better bet, but that defeats the whole purpose of the curriculum being free. Still, I think it’s a wise investment if you want your child to hold a physical book while reading.

Another con was that there were very few follow-up questions for each chapter, which means if you’re keeping a reading journal you’ll have to think of clever entry questions yourself. Children are just encouraged to “tell someone about the chapter,” which is fine, but not very thought-provoking.

My son was also disinterred in most of the literature selections and struggled to relate to the reading material. All-in-all, this was not our favorite curriculum.

 

4. Math—All-In-One Homeschool (Level 2)

About:

This is another curriculum from the free online Christian-based resource All-In-One Homeschool. This comprehensive math curriculum covers the following concepts for first and second graders:

  • Grids
  • Number lines
  • Graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Place value
  • Word problems
  • Money
  • Time
  • Measurement
  • Fractions
  • Fact families
  • Regrouping
  • Memorizing addition and subtraction facts

This curriculum comprises levels rather than grades, so it’s advisable to ensure the material is appropriate for your child’s mastery level before you begin. This curriculum is also set up for independent learning, so strong reading skills are required unless the child is accompanied by an adult.

Pros:

First, I loved the access to other free resources. There were a ton of free awesome math games for fluency practice! My son enjoyed playing most of the games and they really did help him understand and master the material.

Second, I loved that the first half of the curriculum focused on practicing mental math for sums up to 20, which is essential for advancing to a third-grade math level.

Lastly, I loved that this curriculum encouraged hands-on learning with manipulatives you can find in your home. Hands-on learning is so important at this age!

All-In-One Homeschool Math 2 | Hands-on practice with our lesson on money!
All-In-One Homeschool Math 2 | Hands-on practice with our lesson on money!

Cons:

This math curriculum did not cover multiplication. At least not to the degree that it should, considering it’s recommended that second-graders know how to multiply fluently by 2’s, 3’s and 5’s by the end of the school year. There’s some coverage on skip counting but not necessarily multiplication factors and products, so if this is important to you be sure to give your child more practice using supplementary materials.  There is not much material on adding or regrouping three-digit numbers, either. Again, I recommend supplementary materials if you wish to learn and practice advanced regrouping.

 

5. Science—The Magic School Bus (K-2)

About:

This is a comprehensive science curriculum that includes videos, lesson plans, experiments, and activity pages for pre-K thru second-grade. There are twelve units and topics covered:

  • Space
  • Forces
  • Weather
  • Energy
  • In the home
  • The human body
  • Animals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Dinosaurs
  • Fossils
  • Archaeology
  • Bugs
  • Water
  • Sealife
  • Rocks
  • Volcanoes
  • Habitats

All twelve units encompass a 180-day curriculum with corresponding episodes from The Magic School Bus. That means there’s something to do for every weekday of the school year!

Pros:

First, the experiments were easy to do and most of the materials needed could be found right in my home. I recommend printing out all the experiments for the week and making a checklist to ensure you have everything you need.

Second, I loved that the curriculum was no-prep. The lessons provided notations for the instructor explaining what students should learn, key terms, and what questions to ask the students, among other things. There was no additional research required unless my boys wished to advance in a topic.

The third thing I loved about this free curriculum was that it was pretty adaptable and I did not have to cover all the topics in sequence. There were many weeks where we jumped to other topics that were more relevant to my children’s current interests.

Lastly, I loved that this curriculum included a list of recommended books for each unit. That made reserving library books and planning ahead much easier. It also meant I didn’t have to struggle to find supplementary materials!

The Magic School Bus Science Curriculum
The Magic School Bus Science Curriculum | A fun lesson on constellations included making telescopes that looked like we were looking at the Big Dipper!

Cons:

While the Magic School Bus curriculum is great, especially for those moms who aren’t well versed in science, I do forewarn that older children (closer to second grade) may become bored or unimpressed by some of the experiments. This is definitely a curriculum for the younger ones who are new to science. My then seven-year-old, who took STEM classes at the time, started to lose interest in the curriculum by the second semester. However, he loved watching the corresponding episodes!

 

6. Geography—50 States of the USA

About:

I created this 50 States of the USA resource as a gentle introduction to geography for anyone looking to go through the US map state-by-state.  Each activity covers all 50 states, including the state capital, and aims to build and strengthen the following skills for grades pre-k thru first-grade:

  • Trace it—Penmanship.
  • Find it—Critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • Color it—Creativity and fine motor skills.

These activities not only help familiarize children with the US map, but helps children learn how to recognize and spell state names and recognize state flags.

Pros:

First, this product is wallet friendly. This product was only free for me because I created it, but I do have a freebie available, here, for those interested in trying it out. The freebie includes three states, Alaska, Rhode Island, and DC. If you’re interested in the full set, it is available at Nike Anderson’s Classroom and is extremely affordable. It is also currently my Best Seller.

Second, the activities in this resource not only helped familiarize my children with the US map, but also helped them learn how to recognize and spell state names and recognize state flags. It also covered state abbreviations and regions. My boys learned so much and enjoyed coloring the flags for each state.

Third, this resource is very buildable. I maximized this resource by supplementing it with other free resources. I checked-out books from the local library, I utilized the political maps in our classroom, and we watched National Geographic Kids’ YouTube channel that has awesome educational videos for almost every US state.

Lastly, this resource is no-nonsense and easy to use. It doesn’t bombard children with a bunch of facts and is a very gentle introduction to US geography.

See what other teachers and parents had to say about this best-selling resource at Nike Anderson’s Classroom!

 

50 States of the USA Geography | A fun activity to accompany our lesson on Illinois!
50 States of the USA Geography | A fun activity to accompany our lesson on Illinois!

Cons:

This resource is not a comprehensive curriculum, so you will need to supplement it. For a more comprehensive curriculum that covers regions, capitals, fun facts, and more, I created the All About the 50 States of the USA mega bundle.


Would I recommend these resources to a friend? I have actually recommended all of them to any friend that asks for curriculum advice. You’ll hear me mention often that it’s not the curriculum itself, but what you put into the curriculum that makes it effective. Where I felt a curriculum lacked, I simply supplemented. However, I’ve even had to supplement some of the boxed curriculum I purchased. Which goes to show that every curriculum will have “holes.” There’s no such thing as a perfect curriculum. If you don’t believe me, read the forums for some of the most recommended award-winning curricula and you’ll see not everyone is impressed by them.

I want to hear from you: Have you ever tried any of these freebies? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!  


DOWNLOAD YOUR 50 States of the USA FREEBIE!

Geography 50 States of the USA FREE Download Activity

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR 180 Days of Memory Verses FREEBIE!

180 Days of Memory Verses for KIDS Free Download

 

GET FULL COPY of 50 States of the USA!

50 States of the USA Geography Activities for Kids

 

GET FULL COPY of 180 Days of Memory Verses

180 Days of Memory Verses for Kids

Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

12 Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

Hi! I’m Nike. If you’re new to this blog, my family is entering our fourth year of homeschool this year. I can hardly believe it!

My husband and I live in Middle Georgia where we homeschool our two boys, ages 5 and 8. They are entering kindergarten and third grade this upcoming school year.

I love blog posts where homeschool moms keep it real. I know that, for most of us, we enjoy homeschooling our children and want to highlight the many positives of being a homeschool family. However, not sharing the unglamorous side can be crippling for new families who may think they’re the only ones experiencing tough moments.

So, to all the moms (and dads) experiencing any of the following, you’re not alone. Here are my twelve confessions.

1. It’s challenging.

Contrary to what people, who haven’t a clue about homeschool, think, homeschooling is not an easy job. When done properly, it takes a great deal of time, research, knowledge, preparation, discipline, patience, coordination, and proficiency. Whether purchasing a curriculum or making your own, the work that goes into ensuring your children are well educated is extensive. Some bad eggs may give homeschool a bad name, but for the rest of us, we put in that work!

2. It’s uncertain.

Truthfully, I believe there’s a season for everything. I don’t know when our homeschool season will end. Whether it ends after high school or next year, only the good Lord knows. Anything can happen. My kids may want to try out traditional school. Homeschool may be outlawed (Lord forbid!). Or, it may just stop working for us. All I know for certain is, at the moment, we’re enjoying this time and hope it lasts as long as God allows it to.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. It’s lonely.

I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend other homeschool moms who invite our family out for parties and playdates, but at its core, homeschool is lonely. That’s because at the end of the day, it’s just me, my kids, and their curriculum. Being the primary teacher in my children’s life means that sometimes I’ll feel isolated and overwhelmed. And while the truth is I’m not alone and this is the plight of every homeschool parent, it sure doesn’t feel that way during those tough moments.

4. I get unmotivated.

I don’t jump out of bed every morning and greet the day like Mary Poppins. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I dread the monotony that homeschool routines can often fall into. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I haven’t slept well. Sometimes I doubt myself. There are many motivation killers that can throw me off course at times. But I’ve learned that perseverance is what you do long after your motivation has left you.


5. I don’t know everything.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn. In fact, my boys are becoming smarter than me by the day. They’ve become experts on topics they’re passionate about and the beautiful thing is they’ve also become my teacher in that regard. As a homeschool mom, I’ve realized one of the best things I can do for my children is not to teach them everything, but to connect them to the resources they need to teach themselves.

6. We have tough days.

Most days are great, but some days my boys just won’t cooperate. Sometimes there are tantrums. Sometimes there’s defiance. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Yes, crying, yelling, and everything in between can be heard on any given day. We aren’t perfect homeschoolers.

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you we're not the perfect homeschool.

7. Unschooling myself is hard.

Since I was trained by the good ol’ public school system, I constantly have to unschool myself so that I can open up more to the reality that we don’t have to sit in a classroom doing schoolwork every morning. There are other ways to learn. In fact, children are learning even when we’re not actively teaching them. Still, it takes time to accept that my children can learn even when I’m not standing at the whiteboard lecturing.

8. I don’t hate public school.

I am a product of public school. So is my husband. So are my friends. We all turned out just fine. I went to an excellent college, earned a degree, and even earned a professional degree. I’ve had some of the most amazing teachers and some not so good ones. I don’t hate the public school system. I thank it, because it was an option when my family couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I didn’t take my education for granted. I used it to my advantage, making sure I excelled so that I’d be a great candidate for college. Whether my boys are homeschooled, go to public or private school, I’d make sure that they excel, too.

9. The house gets messy.

You can imagine the mess that accumulates when a family spends most of their time at home. Hey, we live here! In fact, the only time our home is spotless is when we have guests, and everyone panics to “get the house together.” Yes, we have chores and cleaning schedules, but somehow at the end of the day, it seems like every single item we own is covering the tables and floors.

I cleaned my house today... memes, inspiration, quotes

10. I’m glad I didn’t buy a curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling three years ago, I used every free resource I could find for my then kindergartner. He learned to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic without a boxed curriculum. You can find the list of resources I used, here. Holding off on purchasing a curriculum offered more time to study how my son learns, which helped me choose a curriculum that best fit his learning style. Even better? The money we saved that year was put toward extracurricular activities and family trips!

11. My schedules are for show.

I have what I like to call my “ideal schedule” and then there’s reality. That reality becomes our routine. The difference? When I schedule things, it puts our family on a timeclock and makes everyone stressed. When I establish a routine, it invites spontaneity and allows the day to flow organically. Believe it or not, we used to have an alarm that sounded when it was time to move on to the next lesson, eat, have recess, etc. It wasn’t fun for any of us.

12. It’s rewarding.

This is such a cliché, but it’s true. I love learning more about my children, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferred method of learning, how they tend to deal with frustration. I love seeing and being a part of their progression. I love spending the day with them. They are my little buddies!


 

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s worth mentioning that even though some negative moments are highlighted here, the positive moments definitely hold more weight.

I want to hear from you: What are your homeschool confessions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

10 Homeschool Mistakes

10 Mistakes That Almost Ruined Our Homeschool

 

The title of this post is a bit dramatic, but let’s roll with it, shall we?

If you’re just joining me, I’m Nike (nee-kay), a third-year homeschool mom of two energetic boys, ages 4 and 8. Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I share my passion for faith, family, and homeschool!

I love when moms share their homeschool “hiccups,” so I’ll go ahead and share mine today. Here are ten things that proved to be unhealthy for our homeschool. I’ll spare you the long intro and get right to it!

1. Doubt.

For me, doubt can stem from the insecurity that we may have made the wrong decision for our family. This insecurity is at its peak during the trying moments of homeschool. You know, when my boys refuse to complete assignments, complain about not seeing their friends, or are just completely uncooperative. I have to remind myself during these moments that all callings in life have their fair share of trials, and just because things are tough doesn’t mean we made the wrong decision. In fact, tough moments are an opportunity to gain perseverance and grow in faith.

2. Unclear expectations.

I found out very quickly that it’s impossible to successfully manage our homeschool without effectively communicating to my family what’s expected of them. This was especially true when it came to delegating roles to my husband. When we were just starting out as a homeschooling family, I carried the bulk of the burden until I realized I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed my husband to know how to assist me, and I needed my children to know exactly what I expected out of them to make this homeschool journey successful.

3. Lack of routine.

Routines are important in our homeschool because my children thrive better when they know what to expect. Although I’ve always been adamant about routines, there were moments when we fell off and those moments were tough on everyone.

4. Being unrealistic.

Everyone has their own struggle in this area. Mine was expecting that my boys will catch on quickly to learning new concepts ALL the time. When they didn’t catch on quickly enough, I most certainly struggled in the patience department. I had to learn how to slow down. After all, one of the perks to homeschool IS being able to slow down when needed. And, even as intelligent as they are, I had to learn that they, like most kids, have areas of weakness that need extra attention.

5. Too much socialization.

I never in my wildest dreams thought my boys would get too much socialization as homeschool kids, but they most certainly did. Between extracurricular classes, playdates, fieldtrips, parties, taekwondo, and family road-trips, I had to scale back tremendously to ensure there was enough time for formal learning. While I value providing my children with social opportunities, I had to realize that it couldn’t be at the cost of their education.

6. Too little socialization.

And, of course, there were the days when we didn’t belong to any homeschool groups or co-ops and struggled to get any social interaction with children my boys’ age. Not having that community made homeschool feel lonelier—mostly for me, though. My kids were 5 and 2, so they were at the age where they didn’t really notice much. But too little socialization for momma was no Bueno.

7. Peer pressure.

Peer pressure in adulthood DOES exist. It looks a little something like this: ALL the moms in your group use a certain type of curriculum and uphold it as the holy-grail to which no other curriculum can compare. Or, those lovely mom chats where moms try and one-up each other on how early their child learned to do this or that. Yep, it got to me. I admit it. And I did feel the pressure to use the curriculum everyone else was using and to teach my kids what everyone else was teaching theirs. Thankfully, that ship has sailed and I’m wiser now. Putting pressure on my family to be like another family certainly caused unnecessary stress on our homeschool.

8. Trying to prove myself.

Anyone ever take a million pictures of your kids with other kids to prove to your disapproving family members that your homeschool kids have a social life? Or, pop-quiz your kids in front of family members to prove they’re learning just as well as any other kid? I’ll raise my hand on that one. It took two years to build the confidence to realize that I didn’t have to prove anything or answer to anyone when it came to our family life.

9. Zero me-time.

I’m home with my kids all day every day so I’m going to need some me-time. And, no, I don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, it was my decision to stay home and homeschool my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to feel tired, annoyed, overwhelmed, or in need of some time alone. Doesn’t mean I hate homeschool. Doesn’t mean I hate my kids. It just means I need to recharge—ALONE! It’s called self-care. When I don’t get me-time everyone and everything in the house suffers—especially our homeschool.

10. Too many curricula.

For our family, it can’t be all about learning from textbooks. There’s a whole world out there that my boys need to explore and learn from—something that textbooks can never teach. The world is our classroom! We can learn about plants and animals, U.S. states, and some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but experiencing them for ourselves will always hold more weight than memorizing facts.


 

That concludes my list of homeschool “hiccups.” Do you have any? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Homeschool of Shame

Homeschool of Shame | 8 Things I No Longer Do

There are many wonderful things we do at our homeschool that I’m always eager to share. Now, it’s time to share what we don’t do that many moms think we probably should. Up until very recently, I used to do ALL these things as religiously as possible. These days, I’m becoming more aware of what works best for my family. That means doing away with some practices I’ve forced on our family for so long.

I’m not suggesting you stop doing the things I’m about to mention. My hope for this post is to inspire homeschool parents to get rid of what’s not working and do what suits their family instead. Here are eight things I no longer do now that I’m in my third year of homeschool.

 

1. Wake up before my kids:

That’s right. I no longer make it a priority to wake up before my kids. That’s not to say some days (like today) I don’t, but these days I refuse to punish myself for not living up to the unsaid expectations of stay-at-home moms. I’m a night owl by nature and often forced myself to turn-in early to awaken before sunrise. Not only is it extremely difficult to fall asleep before midnight, but late nights are often when I’m most productive. My body would rather work until 2am and awaken at eight in the morning than go to sleep at 11pm and awaken at five in the morning to get work done. I’m learning to accept it.

 

2. Morning devotionals:

Nope. I typically do my devotionals at night and my declarations in the morning. It just feels right. I like to do my declarations as soon as I open my eyes. This includes thanking God and declaring some truth over my life according to scripture. Declarations are not just a morning thing, they are something I speak whenever I start to fall into negative thinking. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s becoming more of a habit with each day. Here are some examples:

I. Negative thought: Replaying failures in your mind.

Declarations: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). I will focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

II. Negative thought: Comparing yourself to others.

Declarations: I will examine only myself and be proud of my own accomplishments without comparing myself to others (Gal. 6:4-5). I refuse to let envy destroy me, but I choose to have a peaceful heart that gives me life (1 Cor. 3:3).

III. Negative thought: Feeling angry or frustrated.

Declarations: Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

IV. Negative thought: Worry and fear.

Declarations: I refuse to worry about my life. I know that God will provide everything I need (Mat. 6:25-34). God did not give me the spirit of fear but His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

 

3. Read about homeschool:

I noticed the more I read about homeschool, the more I compared myself to those seemingly perfect veterans. I stopped making a habit of this. I guard myself by limiting my exposure to any triggers. When I find myself falling back into the negative thought-pattern of comparison, I arm myself with some of the declarations I mentioned in my second point. I’d like to remind you that your homeschool is unique to your family. You don’t have to do it like everyone else!

 

4. Mimic the traditional classroom:

My teaching method once very much mirrored that of the traditional classroom because that’s all I knew. These days, we learn side-by-side wherever we are comfortable. That can be the couch, dining room table, the library, or outdoors. We LOVE our classroom setup, but we aren’t bound by it. Truthfully, we get tired of being in there by the third quarter.

 

5. Plan enrichment activities:

I’m sorry for those of you who followed me for the awesome enrichment activities. I simply don’t plan them much because I don’t have to. These days, most enrichment activities we do are those our curriculum suggests. If I happen to think of something extra fun, I’ll execute that idea. Other than that, I simply can’t be bothered. I now have several side projects that consume the bulk of the free time I once administered to being crafty. In the end, I realized I was only creating more unnecessary work for myself.

 

6. Follow the curriculum verbatim:

I’m more interested in staying true to our homeschool vision than applying ineffective aspects of a curriculum. I’ve seen some moms suffer through a curriculum for the sake of completion. Not at our house. If it doesn’t work, I don’t force it. I recently had to do away with the entire third quarter of my son’s reading curriculum because they assigned reading he simply couldn’t relate to. Forcing him to understand medieval language became counter-productive. Instead, I assigned reading he could enjoy and required him to write summaries of the assigned chapters. Yes, there’ll be some things in his curriculum he MUST do, but I decided the originally assigned reading was not one of them.

 

7. Get dressed every day:

If we don’t have plans for the day, we don’t accumulate laundry. That’s that. I figured it was more important to be resourceful than picture-perfect. So yea, you may have noticed on Instagram that my kids are sometimes wearing pajamas or “house clothes” in the afternoon. I know there are tons of articles that make compelling cases for getting dressed even if you don’t go anywhere. However, I’m at a place in my life where, if I want to be super productive, my pajamas sure aren’t going to stop me. More importantly, my boys don’t seem any less productive than before. This is not to be confused with self-care, which they are most certainly required to do every day.

 

8. Uphold the perfect homeschool image:

I was trapped by expectations. Not so much on this blog (where I share my not-so-perfect moments), but in my daily life where other homeschool moms gave me a smug look if I mentioned using a free curriculum, not participating in expensive extra-curricular classes, or not vigorously training my then toddler how to read Shakespeare or multiply fractions (slight exaggeration, here). This blog felt like the ONLY place where I could speak freely about homeschooling on a narrow budget and in a way that works for ME. These days, I endure smug looks for the sake of releasing another homeschool parent from the bondage of other people’s expectations.


 

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Kudos to all the homeschool parents that do all of the things I mentioned and it works for YOU. This post is no way saying that these practices aren’t valuable. They just no longer serve our family. Let us know in the comments some things you’ve done away with in your homeschool. See you next week!

5 Chapter Book Series My Son Loves

5 Chapter Book Series My Son Loves

A while ago, I noticed the effort my second-grader once put into his reading curriculum faded. In fact, his spark for reading somehow disappeared altogether. While he’s had a love/hate relationship with reading this year, I can say for the most part that once my son started reading the required text, he’d actually end up enjoying it. But this outcome started becoming few and far between.

 

One day, instead of telling my son to rewrite his summaries, I simply read through some of the required literature for his curriculum. All I can say is, BORING! We had just read through a wonderful series by Thornton Burgess, which I mention below. Now, the curriculum was full of short stories about medieval history that my son struggled to connect with.

 

I finally asked, “Do you enjoy reading this?” To which my son replied with a defeated, “no.” It was then I decided to forgo the latter half of the reading curriculum and implement one of my own. Not because I believe everything my son learns should be “fun,” but because the curriculum no longer aligned with our vision for homeschool.

 

And what is our vision? Part of it is to foster a healthy relationship with learning that teaches and encourages our children to be lifestyle learners. In my opinion, there’s nothing healthy about forcing a child to read something they simply can’t connect with. Instead, I decided to find literature that would put that spark back into his eye.

 

Here are the ones that made the cut… and they all can be found at your local library!

 

5 Chapter Book Series My Son Loves

 

 1. Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants

This superhero series by Dav Pilkey includes 12 chapter books. Captain Underpants is the nice alter ego of a mean principle named Mr. Krupp. The superhero was accidentally created by two fourth graders, George and Harold, who somehow managed to hypnotize the mean principal and turn him into a superhero that mirrors that of their homemade comic books. At the sound of finger snapping, Mr. Krupp becomes the notorious Captain Underpants. He returns to an ill-tempered principle when soaked with water. The recommended reading age for this series is seven and up.

 

What does my son like about this book? If it’s not obvious yet, it’s names like “Captain Underpants,” “Turbo Toilet 2000,” “Doctor Diaper,” “Sir Stinks-A-Lot,” and the list goes on. The silly names and storylines are what make this series a winner for my second-grader. Not to mention, the comical blacklined illustrations that make the novels even more engaging.

 

2. Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia

This chapter book series by Peggy and Herman Parish chronicles the mishaps of a fun-loving maid named Amelia Bedelia. Employed by a wealthy couple called the Rogers, Amelia Bedelia never gets anything right due to her literal take on simple commands. For this protagonist, a request like “dust the furniture” may result in tons of dust being poured onto the Rogers’ expensive furniture. Since Amelia Bedelia never got the memo on figures of speech, asking her to “undust” the furniture would be better received.

 

What does my son like about this book? The comical effect of Amelia Bedelia’s incorrect actions. It’s just a fun way to explore figures of speech and to think of more precise ways to communicate with others. My son laughs out loud often while reading any book from this series. Again, this is another silly chapter book series perfect for ages seven and older.

 

3. The Cul-de-Sac Kids

 

Cul de Sac Kids Chapter Books

This fun series chronicles the shenanigans of neighborhood friends who call themselves The Cul-de-Sac-Kids. Each series shares a compelling narrative by introducing a new mystery for The Cul-de-Sac-Kids to solve. Written by Beverly Lewis, this chapter book series also incorporates invaluable life lessons like the importance of faith, friendship, and family.

 

What does my son like about this book? The presence of diverse characters, which is embarrassingly lacking in children’s literature these days. The diverse characters also mirror my son’s real-life friendships, making them super relatable. This chapter book series is marketed for ages seven and up.

 

4. The Stories Julian Tells

The Stories Julian Tells

This series is new to us, but I wanted to include it because it was one of the first books my son gravitated to when it came home from the library. The story is about a boy named Julian who uses his big imagination to tell amazing stories, causing some mischief along the way with his little brother, Huey. The book is written by Ann Cameron, who also wrote another series of books about Julian’s best friend, Gloria. If you’re looking for chapter books with black protagonists, check out these series!

 

What does my son like about this book? Right off the bat, my son likes that the male protagonist looks like him. I imagine it was one of the first books he gravitated to because of the colorful illustration of the smiling brown boy on the cover. There are also some great blacklined illustrations inside this book. We’re very interested in reading other books from the Julian series. The recommended reading level for this series is seven and up.

 

5. The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk

Adventures of Jimmy Skunk Chapter Books for Kids

I was not expecting my son to like these series of chapter books by Thornton Burgess. They are a bit old-fashioned, originally published in 1918 I believe. This chapter book series, along with Adventures of Old Mr. Toad, and Peter Rabbit, accompanied my son’s second-grade reading curriculum and he loved reading all of them. The stories take readers on an adventure of what life is like in the meadow for creatures likes toads, foxes, rabbits, skunks, possums, and so forth. The furry characters are funny, mischievous, and likable.

 

What does my son like about this book? My son really connected with the humor in this series as the characters were so set on pranking each other. He also learned about some of his favorite animals and what life is like in the meadow. I loved the awesome vocabulary used throughout this series. Very challenging, yet easy for children to use in everyday conversation. This series is suitable for ages seven and up.


 

That concludes our list of five fun chapter book series worth reading. Another great one is Chronicles of Narnia, but we’re using that for our read-aloud. I know. I know. It’s a shame we’re just now letting this series grace our learning experience. But my boys are mostly into comical books right now so that’s the genre we primarily read. They love to laugh, and I don’t blame them. Learning mixed with laughter is a great recipe for developing lifestyle learners.

 

Let us know your favorite chapter book series below!  

Day in the Life of homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten

A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old | Teaching Preschool

One of the common challenges in homeschool families is finding the time to teach younger children when so much time is dedicated to helping their older siblings with assignments.

I have a four-year-old and a second-grader and, let me tell you, it’s tough! Even tougher for my friends with four children or more. Preschoolers often like to fight for your attention when they see you giving so much of it to their siblings. I’m here to tell you, that’s not such a bad thing and you can use this attention-seeking to your advantage.

When your preschooler sees that learning seems to get and keep your attention, they’re more likely to want to be included in whatever learning their older siblings have going on. At least this was the case for me. I know it’s tempting to let younger children go off and do their own thing, but try adding small assignments to their routine that help them feel like a “big kid.” You may find you have a little more peace during your homeschool hours.

So, here is my day in the life of my four-year-old on any given homeschool day. This glimpse into our world illustrates how I manage to balance time between my two boys. As a side note, you may notice on my blog that I refer to my four-year-old as a preschooler and kindergartner interchangeably. That’s because according to his age he is technically in preschool, but he’s acquiring many skills that meet kindergarten requirements in our state.


A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old


8:30 am: Devotional

Let’s start with devotional. We’re currently using Our Daily Bread for kids, which we love. The daily devotionals are short, sweet, and to the point. They also are a great inspiration to delve into the Word of God. Both kids enjoy me reading aloud and will sit quietly and attentively while I do so. In previous years, I made activities for my boys to do while I read the Bible aloud. Some days, my preschooler is just not into sitting still so he goes off and plays with his toys, which is totally allowed.  That leads us to…

Tip One: Let your little ones have off days. We all have days when we’re just not feeling something. Allowing them to choose something else to do instead shows that you understand and respect their feelings. It also reduces the likelihood of your little one making a scene which can cause disruption and set the tone for the rest of the day, making it difficult for you to maintain the patience needed to work with your older children.

Our Daily Bread Devotional for Children
My children love Our Daily Bread Devotional for Kids.

9:00 am: Basic Skills Fluency Practice

This is my second-grader’s designated reading time. Since I have him read aloud to me, I need this time to be pretty quiet. This is when I break out my preschooler’s favorite activities. We use the Hooked-on Phonics Fundamentals workbook, which is full of educational cut and paste activities that keep my preschooler busy and happy. During this time, my little one practices fluency with basic skills like letters, phonics, numbers, counting, shapes, and more. He is also engaging those fine motor skills necessary for handwriting. So…

Tip Two: Have independent activities on hand. Give your little ones activities you know they can do on their own to help build confidence, independence, and fluency while you take time to work with older children.

Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.
Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.

9:30 am: Reading Fluency Practice

My preschooler and I practice reading fluency while my second-grader works independently on to his spelling curriculum. We are using the Hooked-on Phonics curriculum and are supplementing with Bob Books. Hooked on Phonics has its own set of starter books, but he seems to like the Bob Books more. We borrowed our Bob Books from the local library and are allowed to have them for 6 weeks at a time. We spend no more than 15 minutes practicing reading. Another 15 minutes is dedicated to storybook read-alouds.

Tip Three: Schedule one-on-one learning time with your little one when older kids have independent work. 

Hooked on Phonics Reading Curriculum for Preschool
Hooked on Phonics is our curriculum of choice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:00 am: Handwriting Practice 

My preschooler practices handwriting while my second-grader and I delve into his language arts lesson.  I love dry-erase books for handwriting practice because children can practice as much as they’d like without accumulating paper waste. The books we love for handwriting practice are the Kindergarten dry-erase workbook and the Sight Word workbook. I taught my preschooler how to follow the arrows, and to always write from left to right to ensure he’s writing letters, numbers, and words properly. Now, he can pretty much work on his own. Therefore…

Tip Four: Train your little one to work independently during homeschool off-hours. On weekends or when all your older children have completed their homeschool assignments, take just a little time to train your younger children to work more independently on key skills. This may take time and patience but is well worth the investment when you find yourself running from kid to kid during busy homeschool hours.

Handwriting Practice for preschool and kindergarten.
Independent handwriting practice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:30 am:  Everyone takes a snack break at this point.

11:00 am: Geography

My boys do geography together. We use a curriculum base called Beginning Geography and supplement with YouTube videos, library books, hands-on-learning, and kinesthetic activities. This is a great time of day because my preschooler really looks forward to it. He may not understand everything we learn about, but he enjoys doing the corresponding activities.

If you’re wondering how I teach two grade-levels one subject, here’s an example:

This week we’re learning about reading directions on a map using a compass rose. My main objective is for my preschooler to understand that north is up, south is down, east is to his right and west is to his left. Aside from looking at real maps I had on hand, we watched a Youtube video that explained what compasses were used for and how to use them.  To challenge my oldest son, he watched a documentary on the history of the compass rose. Later, we made our own compasses using supplies I had on hand. Then we played a kinesthetic activity where the boys had to jump toward the direction I shouted out. It was so much fun and something both grade-levels could enjoy.

Tip Five: Don’t be afraid to include your little ones in on the lessons. This is especially true if the age gap isn’t that wide between older siblings. In my case, I can use a curriculum base designed for grades k-2 and it’ll work for both of my boys. Last year, we used a science curriculum designed for first and second graders and my preschooler was able to do all of the lessons and experiments with us. Children are sponges at this age. You’ll be surprised by what they pick up on.

Geography for preschool and early elementary
A kinesthetic game for learning directions: Jump to your North, South, East, and West.

12:00 pm: Science

Both my boys also learn science together. This year, we are really loving interactive science notebooks. This is actually my preschooler’s favorite part of the day because he loves cut-and-paste activities. Whenever we finish a lesson, he often asks if we can do another one. I use the same supplemental method for science that I do for geography. We read books, do fun activities, and include hands-on learning and experiments whenever possible. That points us to…

Tip Six: Interactive notebooks are a win for everybody. You can find free or low-cost interactive notebook lessons just about anywhere, for any grade, and any subject! This works especially if you have children with larger age gaps. Everyone can sit around the table with all their supplies and work on their interactive notebooks. Works for us!

Interactive science notebooks for preschool and kindergarten.
Interactive science notebooks are great for preschool and kindergarten.

1:00 pm: Lunch and Recess

2:00 pm: Math

I save math for the end of the day because it’s my boys’ strongest subject. Plus, it’s also a subject that my second-grader can do on his own unless he’s learning a new concept. I like to work one-on-one with my preschooler on the days when my second-grader isn’t learning a new concept. We use math link cubes to practice addition and subtraction. We also practice number sequencing and counting to 20, 30, and beyond. Every now and then we’ll go over basic and 3-dimensional shapes, but he pretty much has that information stored in his brain.

Additionally, I try a variety of hands-on activities that I just make up myself. Matching number quantity to the numerical value is one of the activities we do often, and we can use just about anything we have on hand to do it. I also make use of our addition and subtraction flashcards and have my preschooler use cubes to determine the sum or difference. So…

Tip Seven: Save your little one’s strongest subject for the end of the school day to cut down on frustration. If you happen to need to sneak away to teach your older children new concepts, you can start the younger ones off and they can hold their own until you return.

Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.
Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.

 

Our school day typically ends around three in the afternoon. This is not an everyday schedule as we have fieldtrip days, co-op days, and playdate days pretty regularly. This is, however, the schedule we fall back on to keep us on track.

I’d like to end this post by saying there will be a day when none of this advice works. Take heart, it happens to the best of us. I will say that each semester gets easier. Before our winter break, it was much harder to keep my preschooler engaged and occupied. After winter break, things seemed more manageable. Your family will live if you do away with curricula for a moment to meet the physical, educational, emotional and social needs of your younger children. A break from monotony is always a great idea!

Now it’s your turn: How do you balance homeschool with your children? Give us some ideas that have worked for your family in the comments below!


Need more ideas for preschool? Check out these posts:

Toddler Genius | YouTube Channels That Made My Toddler Smarter

Tot-School Tuesdays | Preschool Addition Facts

Tot-School Tuesdays | Number Matching & Sequencing

Tot-School Tuesdays | “I Can Count” Busy Box

Free Resources for Preschool