Explore. Imagine. Love.

Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.


Homeschooling My Kindergartner

One reason that I love homeschooling so much is that it can look so different for everyone.  We can all do what best fits our family…depending on our personalities, how our kids learn, our schedules, and what’s important to us.  Today I’m going to share with you how I’m homeschooling my kindergartner. It might give you some fun ideas, encourage you if you feel like you’re not doing enough, or do absolutely nothing for you.  haha!  But I love reading posts like this and I hope it can help or encourage most of you in some way 🙂

homeschooling my kindergartener

A Flow for the Day/Week

Following a tight schedule does not work well for us.  I would love to be disciplined enough for a schedule, but it hasn’t happened so far.  And even if I were disciplined, having three children five and under can make it really difficult!  But having a FLOW is really helpful.  I have less arguments with my children when they know what to expect. They know that after breakfast they need to take care of their dishes, brush their teeth and get dressed.  They know that before lunch they need to clean up what they were playing with.  They know that they don’t need to ask for screen time any other time of the day because it’s not going to happen until quiet time if they get their lists for the day done…then I have a schedule for what is allowed each day…educational shows, fun shows, movies or educational apps on the ipad.  There is less complaining because, “hey, it’s what the schedule says!”

Circle Time

I don’t remember to do this as often as I’d like to, but when I do remember to do it my kids LOVE it.  They love singing songs, reading stories, doing yoga, having dance parties, etc.  Really, circle time is just a time in the morning that I’m purposeful about doing these things with them.  We get out the calendar and talk about the week- it’s a time to learn about days of the week, months, years, seasons, etc.  It starts conversations and leads to some fun learning. It also just inspires us to think about the day differently and leads us to creative choices- arts and crafts, treasure hunts, etc. I am working on making it a regular part of our flow.

Read, Read, Read!

Story books.  All kinds of stories.  Stories about friendship.  Stories about compassion.  Stories that rhyme.  Stories that are nothing but silly.  I try to read throughout the day and not just at bedtime, which is easy to do when my kids (especially my one year old) are always asking.  (And by asking I mean literally throwing a book in my face and then climbing onto my lap!  haha)

Nonfiction books. I LOVE nonfiction books that draw in my children, engage them, and excite their curiosity.  The majority of my homeschooling happens simply from reading nonfiction books with my daughter, answering her questions as we read (often we stop reading completely to demonstrate what we are talking about so that she has a deeper understanding), and then sometimes doing fun activities based on subjects she is particularly interested in.  I just wrote this post recently about this and plan to write more in the future so stay tuned!  You can also follow me on instagram if you like…it’s not for Explore Imagine Love…it’s more specifically related to children’s books and homeschooling and I post a lot of Usborne books.

Life of Fred.  Have you heard of Life of Fred? My husbalife of frednd heard about it when he was in college getting ready to become a math teacher. Ever since then I knew
I wanted to use it but had to wait until my daughter was ready. We just started the first of the elementary set recently and Big Sis thinks it’s fun. They are silly stories about a kid named Fred, who wonders and thinks about things. For example, the first chapter talks about arranging pencils in a different way and they still add up to seven. Five and two, six and one, four and three…all make seven. It introduces vocabulary like the word “equals” and it brings up things like telling time, seasons, etc so that we learn about more than just math. I love learning through stories and am excited that she is enjoying it.

Magic Tree House. It is probably obvious by now that I like to learn with stories. One thing we are doing is reading the Magic Tree House books and then doing fun activities along with them based on that subject (castles, dinosaurs, etc.)

*Side note- along with Magic Tree House themes, I’ve purchased a Quest Club homeschooling membership for next year.  My kids are so excited to earn badges as they learn!

ancient egypt

Start to Read books.  My daughter is an amazing reader now.  Check out my upcoming post on how she learned to read.  Honestly, I feel like it just sort of happened…like she taught herself and was just reading one day.  But I have been asked what I did to teach her and, thinking back, there were a lot of things we did to lead up to it.  So I will share about those things in another post!


My daughter loves to write but she still needs a lot of practice. She’s been asking about cursive and I read that it’s actually a little easier to learn so we’ve just started working on some cursive.  I don’t know that one way is better than the other, but the article makes some interesting points.  My daughter likes to spell a lot of things as he draws them and she likes to make our grocery lists.  She also has shown an interest in writing her own stories- but it’s a little challenging and she gets frustrated on her own so I help a lot.  In order to practice writing, I have gotten her a bunch of wipe clean books and she really enjoys them. I also bought some big lined paper that I actually found at the dollar store, which was awesome. I stocked up and am having her write her answers out for Life of Fred and am encouraging her to use it for when she writes other things too.educational apps


Games and Apps

I am definitely careful about the amount of screen time I allow my kids to have. But I also really love technology and even as a kid, really loved staying after school to make silly “newsletters” or use the story maker game. I think it’s awesome how much kids can learn from apps these days. Again, I am pretty picky. If you’d like to see my favorite apps, stay tuned.  I plan to do a post on that soonish. We also really love board games.  We play a lot of them and I think that most games are not only fun, but provide some educational value!  Here’s a list of some of my favorite board games.

Being active

In the summer it is easy to stay active and we are constantly out walking, riding bikes, etc. When it’s snowy outside and I have a baby to lug around, being active does not always come naturally to me, so I am purposeful about making this a thing. We go to gymnastics..it’s a drop in class for homeschoolers of all ages, which fits us perfectly! There is a homeschool PE program at our local YMCA.  And there are fun places to go like an indoor swimming pool, a bouncy house play place, etc and of course we do things at home. We do yoga together and have dance parties and go sledding.  We even have at home gymnastics days sometimes because we can’t always afford to go to the classes.  We do summersaults off the couch onto mattresses, we play follow the leader, and we have a homemade balance beam to play on.

Free Time

Free time is so important and something that they don’t have enough of in public school, in my opinion.  My one year old explores the world and watches his sisters. My three (just turned four) year old is so imaginative…she mostly likes to play with her sister but she’s getting better at solo play.  Her favorite thing is playing “mommy and sweetie.”  And my five year old (just turned six) plays with her siblings, draws, dances, crafts and is teaching herself to play the piano. After she goes to bed she stays up late with a flashlight reading. It works out because she sleeps in until eight. A benefit of homeschooling!


In my town we have a few different options for co-ops. I just signed up for one for next year, but for Kindergarten and preschool we just found some friends with young kids and met to do crafts, play, go on walks, go to the park, etc.  Especially at this age, your group doesn’t have to do a lot of structured, complicated, educational activities.  It can be more about relationships for the parents and fun for the kids.  They can learn things like how to listen to other adults, how to cooperate with other children, how to take turns and share and handle conflicts…also co-ops are great for doing things together that you can’t really do alone- like have a big Valentine’s party!  Our group was awesome and accomplished just that.  But I’m looking forward to trying something new next year!

If you have young children and liked this post, check out my post for how I homeschool pre-school!



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Studying Winter Animals

I have shared before how I have a bit of an obsession with themes.

My love of themes will someday turn into a lot of cool unit studies for homeschooling, but for now they are very mini unit studies since I just have young children.  As much as I’d like to go all out and come up with TONS of fun ideas for crafts, science, math….what I do instead is mostly follow their lead on what they are interested in…letting them come up with ideas, offering more activities that I’ve come up with only if their interest holds and they are asking questions. And I don’t really push academics at this age so I do not really incorporate math, etc.

It’s mostly for Big Sis at this point.  Little Sis enjoys some of the stories and activities, but she has a sort of sixth sense about when someone is trying to teach her something and loses interest.  Ha!  She’s going to be an interesting one!

I’ve been wanting to start posting about these mini unit studies for ages, but I’m finally purposefully taking time to write.  So hopefully these posts will start to happen more often!


My first one is on WINTER!  

Have you heard of shine-a-light books?*  I love them SO much!  I just love fun nonfiction books that are interesting to my kids anyway, but these books are extra special because you can shine a flashlight behind each page to find a hidden picture.  Once you turn the page you can learn more about it.  Like this:

shine a light frog

My favorite one is “Secrets of Winter”…maybe because it’s so applicable to our life where we live. Its beautiful and we get to learn all about what happens in the winter…frogs can freeze, some animals’ fur changes to white, some animals hibernate,  etc.

So at our homeschool co-op we read this book and then did some fun winter animal yoga.  You can get on pinterest and find some awesome examples of different yoga poses but I ended up just creating my own.  I told a story about wind coming in, snow coming down, and what different animals were doing to get ready.  Then we got into our cave and hibernated a bit as I sang a song about hibernation.  Then Spring came and we woke up and stretched some more.

Then we did this fun experiment to see how animals stay warm in the cold.

The kids thought it was neat how long they could keep their hands in the icy water without getting cold.

The last thing we did at our co-op was play (many) rounds of hibernate-and-seek.  One child was “Spring” while all the other kids pretended to be a different hibernating animal.  It was a hit.  (Of course…because what kid doesn’t like hide-and-seek!)

There are SO many other things you could do on this topic and Pinterest is great for that.  But my FAVORITE thing about homeschooling is letting the kids’ interest lead us.  So we did some other learning on this topic that I don’t have documented.  We asked questions and looked things up….”what other animals hibernate?”  “what do bees do?”  “what do ants do?”  “do frogs really freeze?”  (Another reason why I love homeschooling….because I learn so much too!!)  And of course we did a lot of playing outside and observing nature.

Any other ideas out there for activities or your favorite books for learning about winter?  I’d love to hear them!


*I am not going to turning this blog into one big advertisement for Usborne books, but I do want to mention that I am an Usborne Books and More Consultant (they are so awesome for homeschooling!)  I sell these children’s books so that I can build our homeschooling library and earn some extra income for my family.  If you’d like to check out the shine-a-light books you can click HERE to see them all on my site.

Feel free to message me if you’d like to learn more about the books or if you’re curious about getting involved somehow to build your own library!  Use the “contact” me link either on the top right of this page or on my Usborne site.  Cheers!