If you’re new to homeschooling this year, you’ve probably got a million questions, from curriculum ideas to how to create a home learning schedule. In this post, we’ll explain our daily schedule, or daily routine for learning Kindergarten at home. There’s not a one-size fits all answer though, as every family will be different, but the basis will be similar.
As my guys are just 5, we tend to spend a fair bit of time doing hands-on activities and playing. At this age, play is natural and I believe the best way for them to learn. Now saying that, there are still lots of opportunities for you as the parent to guide their learning and provide rich learning environments. It’s not just mindless play – although there’s definitely benefits to letting kids create their own play as well!
But I’m getting sidetracked. Back to our daily routines.
Our day consists of reading, both independently and reading together, specific learning times where we look at a certain learning skill, outdoor time and lots of opportunities to play.
So let’s take a look at what our home learning schedule for Kindergarten looks like.
First thing is breakfast. We all know how important breakfast is, especially for growing kids! As an adult, I’m not too keen on breakfast first thing, but luckily I usually wake up well before the boys and have a coffee in me by the time they wake up.
After breakfast is reading time. The boys choose a book for me to read aloud to them. It can be a short book or a longer story; there’s no specific reason behind reading this story, other than to develop a love for reading and begin to learn print concepts. Oh, and some good cuddle up and read time! If you do this as part of your regular bedtime routine, take this time in the morning to read a specific book that targets something your child is learning about, whether it’s letters, numbers, phonemic skills or character traits.
Morning buckets are next on the schedule. You may have heard of morning buckets, or morning bins. There’s a few different names for them, but the idea is that you provide a few activities (usually in a basket or bin, hence the name) and the kids have a choice of which activity they want to do. These are activities they can do independently while I do whatever work I need to do. We usually spend anywhere from 30 minutes up to an hour, depending on how engaged they are (and what I’m working on). You can find all kinds of ideas on pinterest, but we mainly have small manipulatives that the boys can play and learn with. Snap cubes, magnet tiles, puzzles, colouring, 3D shapes, pattern blocks, magnetic letters and playdoh are some of our regular choices. I don’t usually give the boys a specific task to do, just allow them to explore and create their own learning here. You’ll be surprised with what your kids will come up with!
But if you’d prefer to add in some printables or specific learning activities, this is a great place for this too. Sometimes we’ll make one of the bucket choices an activity to practice a certain skill, such as letter matching, clip the beginning sound, count and clip the number, make a word, practice printing names or any activity to practice a certain skill. If you browse through this site or click on the following links, we’ve got some ideas for practicing letters, sounds, working with their name, practicing sight words, counting and other math concepts. You can also find some printable activities here.
Some families use this time as a morning invitation – they might put a basket of pinecones out, pieces of paper, a magnifying glass, pencil, etc and see what their child will do. For us, we tend to do this type of activity together later on in the day, as I prefer the morning buckets to be very independent. But to each their own! See what works best for you!
After morning buckets, we move on to a short, specific learning activity. I find kids still learn best when they think they’re playing or helping out, so most of our activities are not traditional paper and pencil worksheets. This is where we’ll work on letters, sounds, words, phonemic skills or any other literacy and math skills. You can check out the literacy section of our site for some ideas and the continuum, or order, in which these skills should be taught.
These learning activities can vary anywhere from fifteen minutes to almost an hour, depending what we are working on (like when we started making our alphabet book).
Depending on our time, we may head outside for a walk or some outdoor playtime before lunch. If it’s close to lunch time, then we’ll save this for a longer period in the afternoon.
After lunch we usually head out of the house, for a hike, a walk, shopping or other errands that we need to do. Although this isn’t time spent at home, there are still some great learning opportunities here! We’ve got a few posts on outdoor learning and embedding learning opportunities in daily activities, especially math and literacy.
Back home, this is our quiet reading time. My guys LOVE to read and will happily sit and “read” their books for awhile. Even though they’re just beginning to learn to read words, they still ‘read’ books by looking at pictures, retelling stories that we’ve read together or creating their own narration. This is also when I’ll read a fun book that I’ve picked out for a specific reason, whether it’s a book about letters, numbers, rhyming, a character trait or something else that I’d like to target. We’ll talk about the book after we read, then it’s on to play time!
Play time is sometimes independent, sometimes I join in, or sometimes I start them off and let them continue independently. Opportunities are endless here, from building blocks, magnet tiles, legos, cars, dolls, dinosaurs or dramatic activities like playing house and dress up. This is when you can let your child develop their imagination, creativity, cooperation, focus and self-regulation.
This is also a great time in the day to do crafts or art activities. Usually I try to plan for one or two days a week to be an arts and craft afternoon. (Fridays are NOT the best, in my experience though. We’re probably all a little tired by then…)
This is also the time that we’ll do a science or STEM activity. Some of our science learning comes from our outdoor time – my guys love being outside and we could probably do an entire nature curriculum – but we also need to do some things inside. My goal this year is to add in more science experiments, like the classic baking soda and vinegar and to try some STEM challenges.
By now it’s probably pretty close to dinner time. Let your kids help with dinner prep, measure ingredients or set the table. It’s a great way to add math in to daily activities. Or just let them continue playing! As my kids love to remind me, playing is their job!
And that’s our home learning schedule for Kindergarten! It’s definitely flexible and often changes depending on what else is going on at the time, but we try to stick to a fairly consistent schedule, as most kids thrive on a routine. Feel free to use it as a base to create your own home learning schedule for Kindergarten, or adapt it as needed.
Share this post or pin for later!