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The worst part of homeschool for us isn't school...


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We just started 2.5 weeks ago with our only child, who is in kindergarten. While it hasn't been painless, we are finding our rhythm with the school work. 

 

The biggest issue we have found so far isn't with the the school part, but the home part. What do you do all day after finishing school? Today we were done at 10 am. Even with a little house work and some 'rest time' in his room, that is a long time to kill before dinner and our evening activity. He is incredibly bored and lonely which equals him being a pain in the neck. Most of his friends are at school now and the moms went to work or have new babies so playdates are hard to schedule during the day.

 

Any tips or advice?

 

Thanks.

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The days are SO long sometimes!  Your DS is older than our kids, so it may be harder to find organized/group activities during the day for him, but, FWIW,  I take my DD (almost 3) and the twins to the library for storytime (or sometimes just to hang out - they have GREAT activites like blocks, puzzles, etc.), to the Family Resource Center and the play area in the mall, to the park (weather permitting).  We go visit their grandparents (the ones that are retired), go on walks in our neighborhood, and play hopscotch or just draw with chalk in the driveway.  Sometimes we go to the Children's Museum.  She is in gymnastics and dance, which helps too.  

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Reading is good. So is reading. Also, reading. I like the book lists from Ambleside Online and Sonlight.

 

The Magic School Bus is on YouTube, as is Berenstain Bears.

 

If you do Spanish we like Salsa from Georgia Public Broadcasting, Whistlefrits from the library and Little Pim from Prime.

 

Wooden train tracks, Magnatiles, Lincoln Logs, Geopuzzles, Cuisenaire Rods.

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Can he play outside? Does he have materials for projects?

 

Reading is always good.

 

Set up a weekly plan for activities. Have a library day, a park day, a movie day, museum day, hiking day. Go to places during typical school hours and you will meet other homeschoolers. Hopefully you cam meet some who may be able to do some lay dates.

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Is this the first time he is home all day?

 

What were his days filled with before?

 

You may need to work on the skill of independent play. You find something you enjoy doing (knitting, reading, etc) and you do that. There will be a time of many interuptions but it gets better. And direct him to his toys.

 

Also some ideas are- baking, crafts, sensory activities, reading, board games, music, dancing, puzzles etc. Rotate through each week.

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Story time once a week.

 

We used to do gymnastics, but with the shift to all-day kindergarten I don't think many afternoon classes exist anymore. I wonder if you could find someone to do swim lessons, often formed clubs have that and you don't have to be a member.

 

Is there a zoo nearby? Art museum? Other museum? If not, then you are probably in a place where you could get some chickens or a couple of goats. 😀

 

Monthly art kit or Tinker Crate might work if he can do it mostly on his own (or if you are interested also.)

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I'm sorry I can't give much advice, we really haven't had this problem except when my first three kids were under school age. Now I'm struggling to keep school down to only five hours and have enough energy to clean and cook.

 

I second park days and regular field trips though. Another method you can also try is timing the toys - he can have a box or activity for half an hour and then rotate to something else, like paint or Legos. When my kids were. It doing school that helped us use up a lot more time with less issues. I also scheduled in outside time, a daily movie, etc. By structuring the day I could alleviate spending too long at one thing which lead to boredom and attitudes, and make sure there was no wasted time where the children were at loose ends.

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I am not being condensending. But we never had that problem. We went to 1-2 storytimes a week at the library. We did a morning walk to the park almost daily. We watched Sesame Street daily. We went to community events. I read about events in newspapers, library calendars, etc. Then there was some school, lunch, reading and rest time, then cooking dinner together, playing outside, daily evening walks around the neighborhood, arts and crafts in the afternoons before dinner. We did more reading at night after bath before bed.  We were in a scout troop, a field trip group, dance classes or gymnastics depending on the year, soccer in the fall, swim lessons in the summer, 2 library storytimes at different libraries that we attended regulary just off the top of my head for things that met regularly. Then we added park days and playdates.

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Have more kids!! :) Your days will become blurs that fly by! 

 

Seriously though, I would second the museums- see what the family memberships cost for a year. When they're that young going in small chunks makes more sense anyway. Then maybe have library day once a week, things like that. You can always look on yahoo groups (or FaceBook I guess) for a local homeschool group and see if they have park days/field trips you can join as well. Some athletics/dance places have daytime classes. Since he's in K he still might be able to be in the Pk5 classes. A couple of the gymnastics and ballet places around here do offer daytime classes for older kids- I think they are enough homeschoolers in the county that they found it worth making a couple of classes. 

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We just started 2.5 weeks ago with our only child, who is in kindergarten. While it hasn't been painless, we are finding our rhythm with the school work. 

 

The biggest issue we have found so far isn't with the the school part, but the home part. What do you do all day after finishing school? Today we were done at 10 am. Even with a little house work and some 'rest time' in his room, that is a long time to kill before dinner and our evening activity. He is incredibly bored and lonely which equals him being a pain in the neck. Most of his friends are at school now and the moms went to work or have new babies so playdates are hard to schedule during the day.

 

Any tips or advice?

 

Thanks.

 

Go the the library. Leave the house once a week for a field trip. Join the local zoo/aquarium/whatnot and visit regularly. Do Cub Scouts and work on badges as part of your curriculum. Join a homeschool support group (not a co-op, but a support group) that has a park day and/or field trips and do those.

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When my oldest was that age, we spent late morning/early afternoons with other homeschool families with young children.  Have you been able to connect with other homeschooling families? The time I spend nurturing friendships paid off later on for sure.

 

If the other families you know have older children and can't get together, consider having their youngest over for a science club or craft time and playdate.  Do a messy project with the kids (one that takes about 30 minutes) and then they play or just grab someones younger and go to the park.  You will SO bless that Mama who probably has a tough time finding time/space for doing this type of thing.  Oh, another thing I did, was take a "younger" to library story time.  Trust me, my youngest was 6 before she went to her first library storytime. I would have SO loved it if someone had offered to bring her earlier b/c I had massive mother guilt over that. Even today, at 7, I'd love it if someone would grab her and take her to the park.

 

Often homeschooling groups have ice skating times, swimming, gymnastics during the school day. That's a great way to get him out of the house and get both of you meeting new people.

 

Also, give it time.  More home things--books on tape have been wonderful for my 4 years the youngest extrovert.  She loves them and spends hours listening to them, while doing art projects and other mysterious things.

 

Peg plus Cat and Cat in the Hat were wonderful PBS shows she enjoyed at 5 and learned so much from.

 

Once a week, hire a homeschool teen to babysit for a couple of hours so you can get a break and he can get a change of pace.

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We just started 2.5 weeks ago with our only child, who is in kindergarten. While it hasn't been painless, we are finding our rhythm with the school work. 

 

The biggest issue we have found so far isn't with the the school part, but the home part. What do you do all day after finishing school? Today we were done at 10 am. Even with a little house work and some 'rest time' in his room, that is a long time to kill before dinner and our evening activity. He is incredibly bored and lonely which equals him being a pain in the neck. Most of his friends are at school now and the moms went to work or have new babies so playdates are hard to schedule during the day.

 

Any tips or advice?

 

Thanks.

 

I don't have this issue, because it is an absolute circus in here with 5 kids...   :zombiechase:   But, my neighbor went through this last year.  She was homeschooling a 1st grader and they were basically finished after a couple of hours in the morning.  The kid was really bored and begged to go back to school.  She ended up putting her back in school.

 

My advice is maybe a co-op...or some outside classes during the day.  I would just really invest in some outside activities that follow the school calendar...and you feel ok stopping when school work becomes more time-consuming (because it WILL become much more time-consuming as he gets older).  

 

I have a baby who will be the only one schooling for about 7-8 years (he's 13 years younger than my oldest and there's a huge gap with the other ones) and I've already started thinking about that, too.  I'm just going to have to spend a ton of time with him - field trips, outside classes, doing projects together.  I'm actually thinking about doing something with him that looks like unschooling with a lot of parental involvement - so we aren't barreling through curriculum/workbooks and then just staring at each other the rest of the day.

 

Good luck!

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I don't have this issue, because it is an absolute circus in here with 5 kids...   :zombiechase:   But, my neighbor went through this last year.  She was homeschooling a 1st grader and they were basically finished after a couple of hours in the morning.  The kid was really bored and begged to go back to school.  She ended up putting her back in school.

 

My advice is maybe a co-op...or some outside classes during the day.  I would just really invest in some outside activities that follow the school calendar...and you feel ok stopping when school work becomes more time-consuming (because it WILL become much more time-consuming as he gets older).  

 

I have a baby who will be the only one schooling for about 7-8 years (he's 13 years younger than my oldest and there's a huge gap with the other ones) and I've already started thinking about that, too.  I'm just going to have to spend a ton of time with him - field trips, outside classes, doing projects together.  I'm actually thinking about doing something with him that looks like unschooling with a lot of parental involvement - so we aren't barreling through curriculum/workbooks and then just staring at each other the rest of the day.

 

Good luck!

I am a little concerned because my youngest has a huge gap in there too and will be like an only for a lot of her hsing years too. We have 9.5 yrs between her and the olders.

 

I know I will just have to be diligent with staying active and engaged with her. I also know the olders will be in college and having families of their own. We will stay involved and helping them. She will have more time for volunteering and doing her activities and groups. I don't foresee it as a problem really. I see it as some rest time for us compared to the busyness of now. Of course at that time I will probably want to work part time out of the house to help with college and our days will be just as crazy as now balancing it all.

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This is the time of life to invest in building friendships. Because look how much time you have for it! And then, in fifth grade, when school takes forever and activities aren't just half an hour of picking dandelions...ahem, playing soccer... then you'll be glad you put in the time investment back in the day.

 

So get out there, go to every park day, every library storytime, sign up for the dopeyest co-op class, etc. Make friends.

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My dd was an only for 10 years, and yes you'll need to join things and get him out there.  Have you gone to all your state parks?  Museums?  We took up a sport (ice skating) that could be done at noon year round, so we always had something to work toward.  My ds' school work takes a lot longer, because he needs an unusual amount of breaks, etc., (autism).  He has activities for several hours every evening.  

 

Does your ds read?  Listen to audiobooks?  My kids both at that age listened to audiobooks AVIDLY, like 2-3 hours a day.  And they both had hobbies they would pursue in their free time.  And you can teach him to cook and do household chores.  Do you do handicrafts?  Themed things for holidays?  You can go to Enchanted Learning and print off all kinds of cute options.  When I babysit littles, that's what I do. 

 

Give yourself permission to buy awesome toys and play!  He's at a great age for K'nex, Super Structs, Wedgits, anything from Timberdoodle.  Timberdoodle has marvelous art kits, doodling books, etc.  The logic games they sell are all wonderful.  I PLAYED a lot with my ds at that age.  I still do.  I'm lunching and then I'm going down to play wii some more, hehe.  Reality is, I'm his companion, so I INVEST in games interesting enough that I want to play them.  I just got Qbitz, Roboturtles, and something else on clearance.  We enjoyed the Curious George games, Richard Scarry games, and Catan Jr at age 5.  Playmobil is AMAZING for this age.

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This is the time of life to invest in building friendships. Because look how much time you have for it! And then, in fifth grade, when school takes forever and activities aren't just half an hour of picking dandelions...ahem, playing soccer... then you'll be glad you put in the time investment back in the day.

 

So get out there, go to every park day, every library storytime, sign up for the dopeyest co-op class, etc. Make friends.

 

 

I second this.  

 

 

And I'll also chime in and agree with everyone else: find things to do outside the home.  Make a schedule of things to do each day.  Like, Monday is "bake a new kind of cookie day" and Tuesday is "museum day", etc.

 

And along with that, have a home schedule.  Teach lots of cleaning and stuff around the house like preparing his own sandwich at lunch. At 8:00 we wash breakfast dishes.  At 11:00 we prepare lunch.  At 2:00 we ...etc.

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Yep.  I remember that with my oldest.  It was a difficult time.  All his friends went off to public school and we had...crickets.  The first thing I did was find a way to make some contacts in the homeschooling community. He made some good friends. However, for me that was also sometimes difficult because the vast majority of secular homeschoolers in my area are unschoolers and we still had daily lessons.  But, we made it work.

 

Parks and libraries can feel a bit empty when the school year starts. The only kids there are pre-schoolers. And library story time is for much younger kids...you start to feel like you've got this giant kid among the babies, lol. But if you can hold off until 2pm or so then the elementary schools will be out and there will be kids to play with.

 

Frankly, my oldest just learned to entertain himself. He's a pretty outgoing kid, but he developed some pretty strong skills just playing by himself.

 

It might also help if you connect here with some other homeschoolers of only children. Things got a lot easier for us when my second got old enough to be a built in playmate..but they are 5 years apart so that felt like it took forever, lol. But I bet other homeschooers of onlies have some good insight into this

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This is part of the reason my DD is in school. My older child's school work stretches out absurdly, all the way to 9pm or later.

 

DD has tons of activities and plays in the park for over an hour (while DS is in a brick and mortar class each evening) but they all happen after her very long day at school. I can't imagine finding families to hang out at 11 am because most kids would be in school, no? But I was never very good at the socializing.

 

If I were you I would go to all the story hours in all the libraries with a certain radius, get all my cooking and house stuff and academics done and then at 330 we would leave the house for the various activities (chess at the library, karate, dance, whatever). That's also when our parks are busiest.

 

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We had this problem last year and the year before with my child, who is an only. I had switched from working full time to part time, and then to being home full time, and I was not used to filling so much time. This year, we're very full up at age 6. School only takes up 2.5 hours, but we spread that out a bit. Local gymnastics places have reasonably priced open gyms, an hour of free play on all the equipment. A local place offers something like a few hours of a "forest school". She and I both started piano lessons, so practice takes a little time.

 

In addition to those more organized things, I've invested in a huge variety of art supplies and good toys. She can spend hours creating. (She currently has an entire small town built out of Keva blocks in her bedroom. Walking through her room is an exercise in preventing natural disasters from befalling the town.) She loves books and spends a lot of time reading. We have good board games and card games. She helps me prep lunch some days, or we bake together. We have poetry teas. She has some educational apps she enjoys. We watch videos from The Kid Should See This.

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Schedule the day for him and get him helping with chores!

 

So, finish school at 10, pack everything up, go for a walk - it doesn't matter if you don't go anywhere fabulous, come home, get him to help you fix lunch. Get him to help you clean up after lunch. Then have half an hour to read stories together. Then it's quiet time - audiobook and lego. Then pack up together. Run around outside. Set up a craft activity, pack up. Chores together - teach him to fold laundry, sweep floors etc. Teach him to make a favourite drink/snack for dad.

 

Or get him a pet

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I read once from a NZ homeschooled to go to the supermarket and park mid morning. Anyone there with school age kids is a possible homeschooled so start up a conversation. It is one of the problems I would have if I homeschooled though I have 2. I think I would get ready and aim to leave the house from 9 to 12.30 each day like the child minder I used did. Come home, lunch, rest, school and then a TV show while you cook tea. If you have a husband (or similar) working regular hours that provides a nice start/stop to the day. If you do after school stuff come home at 11 and do a bit before and a bit after lunch. That is how I would do it anyway.

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What have you tried so far?

Look into all the homeschooling group options within an hour drive. If there aren't any, look into homeschooling groups within a 2 hour drive.  Be prepared to drive an hour or more each way if nothing else is available.

 

Be prepared to create a homeschooling option.  You can simply open your home to other homeschooling families where the kids can play and moms can chat. 

Go to the local library.

Go to local museums.

Go to your local park in the afternoons and evenings.

Go to your local zoo and invite other homeschoolers along.

Invite a homeschooling family or two over for a meal at your house twice a month-even if you have nothing other than homeschooling in common. Rotate through all the local homeschoolers you know.

Write a short feel good piece about homeschooling for your local newspaper (if you're in a smaller town or city) and leave a way for people to contact you if they'd like to start a group.

Find activity books at the library and online and make things.

Look for tours in your area and take them.

Do daily chores and assign a weekly chore for each day.  Do them together if your child needs training.

Make cute seasonal crafts and take them to nursing home residents.

Get copies of books with booklists in them and read aloud every good book that's developmentally appropriate for your child that you can get your hands on.  Break up the day with several reading times and slowly increase the reading sessions to help increase your child's attention span.

Take a bunch of day trips that get your child out of doors and into nature. Take a notebooks and colored pencils and have your child draw something they're seeing or keep some naturey printouts/coloring books/stickers/stamps for your child to make a collage of what they saw.

Start an exercise routine of riding bikes or walking.

Bake something seasonal together. 

Make some of those really cute snacks on pintrest-you have the time.

Get enough scrapbook supplies together so you guys can do a few pages a week.  Print out lots of photos and have some decorations. 

Build a long term construction project together.  Find something that interests the kid and has decent step by step instructions and do a step or two together each day where you explain and demonstrate the step and the kid does the step on his own with you.

Get a flower press and some display cases and go collect, assemble and display nature together.

Put up local and state maps on the wall and mark everywhere you went.  Use star stickers, flag pins, markers, whatever.  You can color code things like green=nature (walks, state parks, places you collect nature items, gathering wildflowers...)  blue=business tour (the candy factory, the olive mill, Crispy Cream, the police station, the fire station, the museum) red=our regular route (home, grocery store, library, park..) If you make a photo or written journal/scrapbook you can color code those to correspond. 


Make regular alone/entertain yourself time and don't rescue a child upset about it. They can be unhappy about it-that's OK.  Set as much structure as necessary.  "You're going to entertain yourself in your room/the playroom/the living room  for the next hour.  You can do whatever you want in there or nothing at all.  I don't care either way.  You're going to the bathroom now and here's a snack and a drink of water.  Don't come out and talk to me unless you're bleeding enough for it to drip onto the carpet, if you can't breathe, or if you're vomiting." Obviously this applies to a neuotypical child.

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We have park days and library days every week.  We have theater, choir, piano and ballet that together take up about 15 hours per week.  And then there are additional play dates.  When they are home, they love to read, build, invent, pretend, and play video games.  If I were well, I would also be planning regular field trips. 

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There's a lot of good advice in here, and I agree wholeheartedly with many of them like story time, hiking, swimming, music lessons, etc.

 

Another thing I did when my kids were little was take some time for ME during the day to go to the gym and workout. Many places (Yoga, CrossFit, traditional gyms) offer childcare as an included cost. Being able to bring my kids and get that 1 hour sweat during the day was so nice and worth it!

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Things changed drastically for me the first time I heard the oldschool saying:

 

Other children are like candy. Your children love them, but too much of a good thing will make them rotten.

 

I really started paying attention to radical families that took their kids along on adventuresome lives where their kids were around adults and not other kids. I started relating to my boys differently. Socialization was with PEOPLE not same-age peers.

 

What if you did not work and didn't have children and were self-educating and just living? Maybe do more of that and just take your child along for the ride. YOU have an adventure. And let him come.

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I love that we seem to have time twice a week for kitchen adventures lately, baking banana bread for Daddy usually :) but so far that hasn't gotten old.

 

My DD , only child, is almost 8 now and is finally better able to entertain herself better without screens. She can play independently now and if I don't play at all in a day she definitely notices, but its not like before.

 

Previous years we had times where she would literally not seem to do hardly anything (except screen time) unless I directly did it with her. Maybe PS helped for k & 1, to develop awareness of independence. Or maybe she just needed time and maturity or consistency of our work & play habits to sink in and to help her finally change her expectations of me. My DH thinks it's partly being coddled or spoiled that had her thinking she required entertaining all the day long. Lol.

 

I had some guilt around the pressure of the idea that she wouldn't do anything except screens or play unless I would. That was a phase, and by now we seem to be well over it - thank God -

 

She seems to "get it" finally that nothing good can come of the day if I just start off playing Barbies with her in the morning without doing dishes, laundry, tidying etc before playing. Our family motto is work first then play. For awhile I was setting aside a dedicated play time with her so she knew she could look forward to that time and I'd play with her for about half an hour even on a busy day. I think being firm in habits showed her she couldn't get me to play more by begging / bothering me. She also saw that I carried less guilt about not spending more time with her. Now, any time we hear her complaining about any boredom she gets to go play outside on her own or do the vacuuming, not gripe and whine anymore and punish the rest of us.

 

I couldn't be more pleased with her choices now. She plays on her own most of the time and after school is done she does what she wants - around the house, right now that's usually practicing dribbling, singing, "being a wolf," playing on her keyboard, playing dolls, reading out loud to her stuffed animals, listening to audiobooks, taking walks with DH, just following me around the house everywhere for fun, etc. Hardly any screen time anymore. Sometimes she likes me to "get her going on a game" and I do and it works well. so I guess my point is maybe it's personality and maturity related and don't let the guilt train take you to crazy town... You gotta keep things in a healthy perspective. If you feel guilty, it means they ARE getting short changed somehow, kwim?

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You could also incorporate some volunteer activities. I'm guessing most places won't officially allow a 5 year old to volunteer, but together you could go visit at a nursing home, pet the dogs & cats at the humane society, see if the library or your church would let you help with something.

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Oh, such wonderful advice here, to which I would only add after a rough morning: I consider Child Behaving Like a Pain in the Neck to be a strong and key component of our homeschool curriculum, one I'm convinced my children have devised to teach me important life lessons like patience, grace, unconditional love, patience, and patience.

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I had this problem, but I had 4 kids.  I don't think it's just a problem with an only child or when there is a huge spacing.

 

Our homeschool was always finished before lunch, then we ate and had a quiet hour, but afternoons quickly became a time for fighting and aimlessness. Free play is good for kids, but not 4 hours each afternoon!  

 

I ended up signing us up for all sorts of homeschool activities to get us out more, but then I wore myself out.  I never did find a good balance.

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Thanks so much everyone. There are some really good ideas here. Before this year, we would usually do something in the morning (preschool, MOPS, playdate, story time, etc.) followed by lunch, book time and nap. Now he does have one homeschool class once a week during the day and something a couple of evenings. But I guess part of it is just the transition to evening activities and a shorter or no nap.    

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If you want to locate a certain species, visit their natural habitat. For numerous varieties of homeschoolers, this is going to be Barnes and Nobles, specifically the cafe and the children's section. 

 

As noted, they can also be found in museums, aquariums, and zoos during typical school hours. 

 

Be prepared for any change encounters: It's great to meet you! We go to Cricket Park every Tuesday at one o'clock, if you would like to join us. That's less awkward to me than trying to set up a play date or follow-up phone calls with someone I just randomly met. 

 

Places like BN are also usually open to hosting things that bring people into the store, such as a grade school story time during the week. 

 

Also, I must say that I am insanely jealous of you for not transitioning from naps until kinder! My kids were good about quiet time, but it's still not quite as relaxing as having them actually asleep, lol. 

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Oh, such wonderful advice here, to which I would only add after a rough morning: I consider Child Behaving Like a Pain in the Neck to be a strong and key component of our homeschool curriculum, one I'm convinced my children have devised to teach me important life lessons like patience, grace, unconditional love, patience, and patience.

this is great - attitude is everything :)
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There's no rule that you have to homeschool first thing after breakfast. Go for a walk or a bike ride after breakfast and then take a break and do school from 10-12. Instead of finishing at 10, you will have had a full morning and less hours to fill between lunch and dinner.

 

Scheduling an activity every afternoon is a good idea too and helps us break up the week. Monday is market day. Tuesday is library and library park day. Wednesday is at home and we do science and art in the afternoon. Thursday we try and visit my parents. Friday we clean the house and get ready for pizza and movie night with the whole family! The weeks flow better if we don't have wide open afternoons all week long!

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Mine played outside a lot during Kindergarten, which is completely appropriate IMHO. Sometimes we were out for several hours! Once a week we'd go to a different park or simple field trip, even if it meant a little drive.

 

We also did the library programs, they helped me clean, and they went with me for errands.

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