Tag: homeschool

5 Winter Learning Activities for Kids {FREE Printable}

5 Winter Learning Activities for Kids {FREE Printable}

Hooray, it’s winter!

I know it’s not common, but I LOVE winter. (I actually really love celebrating all the seasons, after living in Texas most of my life.) Winter is such a fun time to observe nature with our kids: watching squirrels and bunnies frolic in the snow, tracking footprints, and watching the days get shorter and then longer again. Whether you are doing preschool at home or just looking for awesome ideas to beat boredom with your toddlers, you’ll love these winter learning activities!

Scroll down for our freebie!

In case you missed the introduction to our invitation to play series (click here), here’s how we structure these fun, simple activities at our house.  

It’s the middle of the afternoon. Mom is trying to help the older child finish up her school work/homework before making dinner. Younger child is spinning around nearby or doing something quietly destructive in the next room. Mom pulls out an invitation to play to keep everyone calm and connected.

An invitation to play is an easy, open-ended activity. It uses just a few materials found around the house, like measuring cups, straws, old magazines, etc. Keeping these activities set aside for special times keeps them interesting and intentionally engaging for when you need 10-15 minutes to get something else done! Best of all, these simple materials can be mixed and matched for countless other activities throughout the year.

This week, I have a freebie for you: a printable with FIVE winter-themed invitations to play!

You also get:

  • a materials list
  • winter book recommendations for snowy days
  • and a coupon code for our winter Family Activity Guides, full of hands-on learning fun for kids ages 2-6!

5 Winter Learning Activities | FREE Download

Click here for your Winter Learning Activities download.

Access this and all our other freebies immediately!

How do YOU feel about winter? Leave a comment below and let me know!

How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for a New School Year

How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for a New School Year

Are you a new homeschooling mom? Maybe you are considering preschool at home or you have decided to homeschool your Kindergarten or 1st grade student. It can be overwhelming: from curriculum to to socialization, everyone has an opinion.  Creating a flexible, effective homeschool schedule doesn’t have to be hard, though. Read on for a step-by-step plan to create a weekly homeschool schedule, and be sure to scroll down for our free printable template download.

4 Steps to Creating a Homeschool Schedule

Image of a child's hand holding a pencil with a text overlay: How to Create a Flexible Homeschool Schedule for the New School Year

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

Every one of our children learn differently, and discovering how our children learn best can definitely impact our daily homeschool schedule. My own two daughters are both auditory learners which means we can “double-dip” — listening to memory work in the car or during play time. If you have kinesthetic learners, you can take some of your lessons outside for gym + math facts or spelling practice.

Click here for more about learning styles.

Determine Your Family Culture

Some families love to be on the go! In homeschool learning, that may look like co-ops, park days, sports and music classes, plus additional playdates and extracurriculars. While children can certainly learn outside of their home “school,” be sure to take everyone’s personality styles into consideration when setting up your weekly schedule. Since we have two introverts in the family, we try to alternate between “at-home” days and “activity” days.

Click here to learn more about personality styles. 

Choose Your Subjects

A major benefit of homeschooling is combining multiple skills and subjects into one lesson. If you choose to use unit studies or interest-based learning, you’ll be amazed by how much content you can cover in a shorter period of time.

We also don’t have to teach every subject every day. We do math and spelling five days a week, but many other subjects can be covered with just one lesson a week! Since our girls are major readers, I don’t “teach” reading every day. We cover phonics during spelling and comprehension during read-aloud and history lessons.

Map Out Your Weekly Homeschool Schedule Visually

When we were first getting started with homeschooling (seven years ago!), I struggled with the idea that our schedule varied from week to week. Using a homeschool planner didn’t work for us, so I created a template that I could reuse week after week.

It really simple!

  1. Print off the schedule template.
  2. Fill in all “out of the house” commitments: classes, events, appointments first.
  3. Add in family “cornerstones,” like naps/rest time, meals, read-aloud time, etc.
  4. Look the available pockets of time that are left, and see what lessons you can fit in. Remember that young children learn best through play, and the goal is not to finish every lesson in the book, but to master one new skill at a time.
Image of computer on desk with text: "How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for the New School Year

Download our printable weekly template!

Example Homeschool Schedule

All summer long, we have done read-aloud time first in our day. For our fall semester, we decided to move read-aloud time (and other fun topics!) to after lunch. Since both girls will have a heavier workload this year, we’ve decided to do our core subjects immediately after breakfast, when we’re all feeling our best.

Here’s a peek at our fall homeschooling schedule:

  • Morning chores & breakfast
  • Classes will start at 9:00 a.m. (I’ll start with Katie’s lessons while Addie completes her independent work. Once Katie has finished, Addie and I will do math and grammar together.)
  • The girls will have lunch and outside time from noon until 1:30. I’ll use most of that time for lesson-planning and blog-writing.
  • At 1:30, we’ll come together for read-aloud time, music, art projects, and AWANA memory work.
  • From 2:30-3:30, the girls will have independent reading time, finish up any school work, and play quietly.
  • At 3:30, they’ll be officially “dismissed” until dinner time.

We have gym class on Wednesday mornings, so our schedule will be a little different one day a week.

Colorful pictures of toys with a text overlay: Preschool at Home | FREE Parent Mini-ClassMaking a homeschool schedule for your family may require some trial and error for a few weeks until you find something that feels comfortable for both you and your kids. If you would like some support getting started, click here to join our free parent mini-class.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to click here to save it for later!

Two school-related images (container of markers, child writing) with words: How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for a New School Year

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway

Are you ready for the winter break? The colder temperatures have arrived in Iowa, and we are making a long list of activities that will keep us busy inside over the next few months. We have our favorite educational toys for open-ended play, winter books, and list of 30 boredom busters. We’ve even signed up for online music classes! The winter months are an excellent time to try new learning activities, like a fun unit study.

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Homeschool Complete reached out to us with a free downloadable unit study to try. We love spending time outside at our local nature trails, so the park unit study was a perfect choice! We have not received any additional compensation for this review, and all opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links to items that we love and recommend. Thank you for supporting our growing book collection.   

I downloaded and printed off the entire 46-page unit one Sunday afternoon. Each of the four lessons came with a full-color worksheet and reusable resources (BINGO board, hundreds chart, blank calendar, and more), along with a supply list and lesson plan. After looking over the week’s lessons, we made a list of books to get at the library, including one of our favorites: The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks

One of my favorite things about this unit study was how easy it was to print and go. The girls loved it, too! Each day, they asked me which fun things we’d be doing together. And even though we have a full math and grammar curriculum, both my first grader and fourth grader loved each day’s’ language and math activities. It was fun for them to do lessons together!

Each of the four days, we read a library book about one of the U.S. National Parks: Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. We had a blank map to identify where each park is located so we could talk about the weather and landmarks. We also supplemented with regional music from The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Day 1:

Our favorite activity on Monday was learning about open syllables. Even though we love our spelling curriculum, we hadn’t yet learned about this fun rule. We spent the rest of the week looking for words with open syllables.

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Day 2:

Our favorite activity on Tuesday was writing acrostic poems. The girls also built a fort and enjoyed “camping out” while we talked about the Grand Canyon.

Day 3:

Our favorite activity on Wednesday was definitely the geyser investigation. The girls LOVED the activity, even though it was beyond simple to set up and do! They have been talking about Old Faithful ever since.

(Honorable mention on Day 3: learning about onomatopoeia. Our library didn’t have the recommended book, so we checked out a football-themed book instead. My little Packer fans loved it!)

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Day 4:

Our favorite activity on Thursday was the math lesson on area. It’s actually a topic my 4th grader has been working on in her Saxon lessons, and her math-minded little sister was happy to get to measure and multiply, too. After doing the previous day’s lesson, they immediately understood why area is measured in “square” inches, and they loved getting out their rulers and racing each other to solve the problems.

Day 5+:

Even though this product is a four-day unit, we have more than enough ideas to keep the learning going throughout the rest of the month. Our girls want to check out more books about other National Parks and plan a spring break trip to go visit one.  There are additional activities we can do when spring comes around too, like leaf rubbings and kite-building!


We absolutely adored this unit from Homeschool Complete. My girls are already asking when we can do another one! It was easy to print and find materials, but most of all, the activities were engaging for my six-year-old AND my nine-year-old. I would encourage all of my U.S. readers, whether full-time homeschooling or not, to enter this giveaway!

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Homeschool Complete – Parks Unit Study Giveaway (Valued at around $57)

This giveaway includes a printed copy of the unit study (student & teacher pages) plus all the manipulatives and games included in the lessons for the Homeschool Complete “Parks” Unit Study.

• Parks Unit Study
• Sight Word Flashcards
• Sight Word Bingo Game
• Compound Word Memory
• Student Journal
• Square Tiles
• Spelling Squares
• 100 chart
• Multiplication & Division Flashcards
• Calendar

Click here to enter:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Even if you don’t win the free unit study, you can get 20% off anything at the Homeschool Complete store through December 24th!

Use code: ROLLPR20


Before you go, tell me:
How would you use this unit in your family?