Recap and Review of Kindergarten Homeschool Plans, 2019-2020

For the third time around, I got to enjoy spending meaningful time with my 5-year-old as I created a space for a quiet growing time before starting formal schooling. 

Although I didn't faithfully follow all of my plans, we read a lot of new-to-her books that she loved, learned MANY new songs and poems, and also completed more crafts than I would have done without planning it out ahead of time. On to the review . . . .  

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Morning Time

We've been doing morning time for years and years. And while we never really know how much toddlers are getting out of our morning time, it is very clear that the 3 and up crowd does absorb a lot of what goes on during this time.

The last time I had a kindergartner, I was doing our first full year of Charlotte Mason Method style lessons with my oldest son, then in 2nd grade. Here are the books we read at morning time during that year. On that list there were many, many titles about nature and science, as well as fairy tales, fables, shakespeare retellings, books about other cultures, and favorite picture books.

As the years have gone on and I have learned more about the Charlotte Mason Method, I have incorporated some of our formal lessons, like the bible, artist study, poetry, and sometimes literature and composer study, into our morning time. So, in addition to reading books about nature, science, fairy tales, and other cultures, Sylvia also participated as much as she chose to in the following subjects:

Bible lessons where we read narrative portions of the bible using the lists available on Ambleside Online and using a New Revised Standard Translation. Sylvia often volunteered to narrate some of these readings, especially toward the end of the year.

Our reading of The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan which she also frequently volunteered narrations.

Poetry where we focused on a different poet each term:

  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • John Keats
  • Eugene Field
Artist Study where we followed our plan to study 6 works from a different artist each term. Sylvia ALWAYS took part in our picture study and our picture talks about the different works:

Term 1: Monet [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]

Term 2: Van Gogh [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]

Term 3: Durer [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]

Living science and natural history books (not narrated) including:

My Puppy is Born by Joanna Cole

A Child's Book of Trees by Valerie Swenson

The Sun: Our Neighborhood Star by David J. Darling

I See Animals Hiding by Jim Arnosky

Simple Machines by D.J. Ward

Why Glasses? The Story of Vision by George Sands, M.D.

The Burgess Bird Book by Thornton W. Burgess

Mill by David Macaulay

The Burgess Seashore Book by Thronton W. Burgess (some)

History books about the1800s (not narrated) including:

Other Lessons

Sylvia also participated every time in our singing lessons where we learned the following songs:

The Star-Spangled Banner

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Will the Circle Be Unbroken


Ding Dong Merrily on High

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Battle Hymn of the Republic

The Jam on Jerry's Rock

Goober Peas

Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill

The Bonnie Banks of Loch Loman

She also took part in our German lessons with Talkbox at the beginning of the year, but even after her and 2nd-grader John dropped out of our language lessons, both of them continued to participate in learning German songs via YouTube.

Special Morning Time

In addition to our regular morning time, I spent time before the boys' lessons doing special work just with her. As planned, we

  • Worked through all the seasonal songs in Early Childhood from Legends of the Staff of Musique [free!] which I highly recommend. She loved learning old and new favorites like There's a Hole in the Bucket and Little Bunny Foo Foo
  • Read about one new book per week (sometimes more and sometimes we kept rereading a favorite). Booklist below!
  • Learned a poem/nursery rhyme - I printed off the selections from the Wee Folk Art Spring Bs, Harvest TimeWinter Wonderland, and Puddles and Ponds Curriculum and I just pick one to read a few times every day. Some of the poems didn't resonate with her and she didn't fully memorize them, but throughout the year she found many to enjoy and share at our family poetry tea that happens after every 6-week chunk of lessons.
  • Read from some other books--some new, some old, some reading just a chapter a day, some reading the entire thing in one sitting (book list farther down)

She spent much of the rest of her time in the morning drawing, painting, doing workbook pages, drifting in and out of lessons, doing puzzles, listening to audiobooks, and playing with her baby brother.

Other Read Alouds

During lunch, she also listened to our read alouds, which included:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

The Hundred Dresses by Elanor Estes 

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry 

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling 

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell 

The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer 

By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman 

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken 

The White Stag by Kate Seredy 

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford 

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber 

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill 

Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman 

The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck 

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Shadrach by Meindert DeJong

We always have 2 read alouds going at one time even though this means I only get to read a chapter or less at each session. This way, I can start our reading with a book I think will appeal more to my younger children and end with a book that may please my older children more. When the younger child is 3 or 4, they may have mentally checked out by the time we reach the second book and that is fine. 

This year, our list included lots of stories about horses and other animals, because Sylvia loves animals, but it also included books taking place all over the world (Japan, Korea, India, Alaska, England, and South Pacific) as well representing genres like historical fiction and fantasy. For all of the kids, these read alouds provide another worthwhile piece of their education.

At bedtime, her father read the following books to her this year:

The Chronicles of Narnia (entire series) by C.S. Lewis

Hitty: Her First 100 Years by Rachel Field 

Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

Afternoon Time for Crafting and Learning Together

In the afternoon, I sometimes tried to make another 10-20 minutes period of time immediately after 1-year-old Harry laid down for his nap to spend time with Sylvia. I had hoped to do this every day. Realistically, it happened at least once a week, but usually more. I still spent time with her, I just didn't always carve out special time JUST for her. During that time, we would

  • work on a craft or art project I had selected for the week usually related to our weekly book or the seasons (see booklist below) work through a letter book, or play with a moveable alphabet
  • make something in the kitchen 
  • work in the yard together
  • play a game

Kindergarten Booklist with Projects and Activities

Below are the books and projects I planned to share with Sylvia this school year. We ended up reading all of the books (and many more that didn't make the list) and we completed all but 4 of the projects. Sometimes a project sparked a special interest so we continued to work on the same type of crafting project on and off for several weeks (Plastic Canvas Rainbow Project and Constellation embroidery are two such examples). And some projects (like Make fairy peg dolls and Tin can lanterns) were big hits with everyone in the family.

Besides these projects, Sylvia also took a 4-week art class and made countless other projects including loop potholders and created with paint, clay, play-doh, and more. I really, really need to get better at taking pictures of Sylvia's (and her siblings') many delightful projects and handmade gifts!!!!

Listen to the Rain / Plastic Canvas Rainbow Project

Song of the Water Boatman / Water Boatman art project from Over and Under the Pond

Once Upon a Starry Night / Night sky drawing with white pencil on black paper

Cut-Out Fun with Matisse / Cut-out art project with bright card stock

Zoo in the Sky / Constellation embroidery

The Monarch Butterfly / Make caterpillar out of air-dry clay and paint

The Planet Gods / Paint rocks to represent each planet

One Day in the Woods / Nature loom

Squirrels in the Garden / Sun prints

Ox-cart Man / Make pom poms

A first look at spiders / Spin a spider web on sticks

Ketzel the Cat who Composed / Music at an art prompt

The tree on the road to Turntown / Leaf suncatchers

Gabriella's Song / Leaf wreath

Four Puppies / Leaf chalk pastels

Perrault's Fairy Tales / Thankful bunting

Perrault's Fairy Tales (continued) / Make fairy peg dolls

Stopping by the Woods / Tin can lantern and take them for a night walk from Winter Wonderland

Christmas books (week 1) / Lucet wreathes

Christmas books (week 2) / Make Christmas gifts

How Much is a Million? / Ghungroo project from Early Childhood from Legends of the Staff of Musique [free!]

The Year at Maple Hill Farm / Make ice wreath for birds with cranberries in a bundt pan from Winter Wonderland

The Mitten Tape resist snowflakes

Winter Trees / Pinecone birdfeeders

The Cookie Store Cat / Bake something together

Catwings / Heart Suncatchers

Catwings Returns / Heart love catchers

The Dutch Twins (finish over the course of several weeks)/ Go ice skating

Mole Music / Embroidery hoop instrument from Early Childhood from Legends of the Staff of Musique [free!]

The Goat Lady / Try goat milk (something Sylvia's been asking to do!)

One Day in the Desert / Paint a desert scene together

The Boy Who Drew Birds / Select and color some birds from free Cornell feeder bird coloring book

Who lives in this house? A story of animal families / Build a nest challenge

Geraldine the Music Mouse / Tissue paper flowers

Milk / Make butter


Physical Education / Nature Time

Sylvia played fall soccer and mainly enjoyed it, but spring was canceled due to our state's shutdown. She also took 8-weeks of ice skating lessons which she often found challenging, but she made a lot of progress. I'm sad there were no swimming lessons for her this year because I think her swimming would have really taken off with the lessons. We will look forward to them next year!

Sylvia became an excellent bike rider this year and she really wishes we would let her ride around town with her brothers, but I think 5 is a little too young for where we live. She also got to do indoor rock climbing, went roller skating, and visited an indoor trampoline place.

She also attended our weekly year-round nature meetup at a rural property through the summer, fall, winter, and into the spring, rarely missing a week until our state shut down due to the novel coronavirus. Fortunately, we were still able to get out to local nature spots regularly through the shutdown and we were able to go cabin camping at a state park. She enjoys spending time in nature and is great at noticing all the little things that I miss! 

Last Thoughts

I enjoyed our gentle, non-academic-focused kindergarten year and I can tell Sylvia did too. My goals for this year were to offer activities to Sylvia to prepare her for formal lessons in first grade. Our crafts built the focus and hand coordination for sloyd, sewing, and embroidery. Her Kumon workbooks and drawing built the hand strength for copywork. Our many read alouds and her contributions to narrations will make our history, geography, and nature lessons go more smoothly. And we enjoyed lots of beautiful language in our poetry, songs, and stories. 

She has always shown an interest in letters and the end of the year finds her knowing all of the letters by name and sound, or at least by sound. Some of this comes from our lessons with movable letters and alphabet books, but I also have leaned on using Reading Eggs to help solidify a lot of this knowledge, especially since our school year ended in April. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Reading Eggs. My kids enjoy doing it, but it is definitely twaddle and sometimes they get through a level without having really retained the knowledge and get stuck at the quiz. It provides lots of reinforcement with letter sounds and identification which they seem to prefer getting from a screen than from me. It saves me time and energy so I use it, but I don't think it is ideal . . . . but my time and energy is limited and I don't love teaching letters so . . . I will continue to use it for phonics reinforcement. 

Like her brothers, Sylvia has a summer schedule but hers is less academic. Most weekdays, I expect her to do Reading Eggs for 10-15 minutes, tidy up her room, play outside and check her garden, read a book with a parent, and create something (picture, writing, craft, building, anything!). I also try to get her excited to start 1st grade in August. She is a little skeptical, but I think she will thrive on the one-on-one attention from mom ;-) 

You can see past plans and recaps here.