Level 1: Foundations Unit

Welcome to homeschool! Whether this is your first rodeo or you’re looking for a simpler way to personalize your lesson plans, we’re so excited to be starting your at-home learning journey with you. This week, we’ll help you create routines and introduce basic foundations of our lessons into your homeschool. We will introduce the calendar and time in a fun, playful way, and we’ll even help your child create morning routines that stick. 📅 Your little one will learn how literature, hands-on creativity, poetry, art, and music will play an important part of their school year (and you’ll see just how much fun teaching your child can be). We encourage you to create your own daily and weekly routines in your homeschool that work for your family and bring enthusiasm and learning into your everyday. 🎉 Want to track your progress? Download this printable worksheet to track books read, skills learned, and how you’re progressing.

P.S. One more thing! Measuring “success” in homeschool can be one of the toughest challenges for grown-ups. We strongly recommend reading this post on how to tell if something isn’t working—and how to know when you’re actually right on the money.

Note: Occasionally we include project modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the minus (-) symbol.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

What to do:

We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Letter of the week: C

This week’s lessons talk a lot about clocks, making C the perfect letter to feature this week! Start by printing out this coloring sheet and letting your child color it in, then display it in your school space to reference throughout the week. Throughout Level 1, we will be focusing on single letter phonograms. So for the letter C, teach the hard C sound (like you hear in “clock”) and the soft C sound, or /s/ (like in “ice”).

For more about how to teach the letter of the week, click here. You can also watch this brief video for more ideas about how to practice the letter all week, as well as this video about a song that will help reinforce the letter’s sounds.

Lesson 1:

Today is the first day to introduce homeschool habits that will last your child all year. Start by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Then, introduce your calendar (either one you purchased or the one you printed).

***Click here for more tips on how to turn a book into a lesson.

Activity 1: Review today’s day, date, and season and show your child the date on the calendar. Explain, “Today is…yesterday was…and tomorrow will be…” to help them grasp the concept of how the week progresses.
Activity 2: Days of the Week Song. Sing this song with your child every morning this week to help them memorize the days of the week.

This simple routine of doing the calendar and singing a song can be repeated every day to reinforce the lesson and signal the start of your school day.

Lesson 2:

For this lesson, we’ll introduce the concept of time and introduce your child to some famous clocks. Start by reading Telling Time with Big Mama Cat.

Activity 1: Now, let’s build our own clock with this project.

Activity 2: Hickory Dickory Dock Project. Start by listening to the rhyme here, then follow these steps to build your own Hickory Dickory Dock clock. Once it’s built, explain what the big and little hands signify and use the clock to practice telling time.

Lesson 3:

Today, you’ll introduce one of our favorite learning traditions, Tea + Poetry. But first, let’s make a treat to enjoy later with our tea!

Activity 1: Make a tea cookie. (Or try this vegan version if your child has allergies.)

Activity 2: Tea + Poetry. With the help of your child, make some tea you can both enjoy. (Raspberry tea or other decaffeinated fruit teas tend to go over well with young children.) Bring out some snacks and your Sing a Song of Seasons book. (Note: We are recommending this poetry book because it provides so many options for children, but feel free to use any children’s poetry book you find at your library or in your home.) Pinkies up!

Lesson 4:

Today is all about teaching your child lessons and tasks that they can do themselves. It takes inspiration from the Montessori method, which encourages children to do many things on their own. (Want to learn more about Montessori? Check out our quick primer here!) These activities help your child learn independence by teaching them how to prepare a simple breakfast and establish a morning routine.

Activity 1: Making Eggs. Wouldn’t it be great if your child could make you breakfast? Get tips for simple egg recipes your little one can make on their own (with a bit of supervision). Don’t eat eggs? No problem! The point is to encourage independence and help your child feel confident in their abilities, so toast (with avocado, nut butter, etc.), cereal, and even smoothies can be great alternatives.
(-) Not ready to let them near the stove? This egg machine helps them get the job done safely. (It’s a favorite in our co-founder’s house!)

Activity 2: Introduce a Routine Chart. Routine Charts are a great way to keep kids on task by reminding them in a visual way what needs to be done and giving them a tactile way of checking each task off with the help of Velcro. Use the chart you purchased or printed and laminated, and then affix the Velcro dots to the chart and each task. Then, introduce the chart to your child to help get your mornings off to a good start. Be sure to explain and demonstrate any part of the routine you expect them to do on their own. (Depending on their age and abilities, they may need you to help them, especially in the first few days.) Having this chart will help them create healthy habits, stay on task, and be ready for lessons each day.

Lesson 5:

Virtually all of the week-long unit themes we recommend incorporate art and music. Here are two lesson activities that show how simple it is to begin building an appreciation for the arts into your child at a young age.

Activity 1: Introduce Salvador Dali. Start by showing your child one of Dali’s most famous works, The Persistence of Memory. Then, use these prompts to start a conversation about it:

  • What is weird about this picture?
  • Play I Spy and ask your child to find the clocks in the picture. (You’ll see three face clocks but don’t forget to point out the golden pocket watch.)
  • What is on the pocket watch? (Ants?!) Why would he do that?
  • Find the light in this picture. Find the darkness. 
  • Talk about the textures: the sand, the water, the mountain and the metal in the clocks. Ask your child how many textures do they see?
  • Does this picture look cold or hot?
  • Ask them what is happening to the clocks. Why would the artist paint them melting? Is time melting away? How could that happen?
  • The artist liked to paint things as if they were in a dream. Our clue is that there is a closed eye in the painting—can they find it? Ask your child if their dreams look like this picture.

Now it’s your child’s turn: Use construction paper and a black marker to create their own melting clocks, like this. There are no rules in this craft—let them use their imaginations and see what they come up with.

Activity 2: Music education. Classics For Kids is an excellent resource to bring classical music into your homeschool—and the best part is that you don’t need to know anything about it ahead of time! You can learn along with your child. Today, we’ll listen to and learn about Aaron Copland.

Start by reading aloud to your child about him from the bio in that link. After listening to the song, use the tips and prompts from this article to begin developing your child’s music appreciation.

(+) Want to learn a little bit more? This podcast will teach you both about one of Copland’s famous pieces, “The Fanfare.” Play it in the background while you and your child color, clean up or prepare a meal.

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Published by learnandliveletter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-11.

5 thoughts on “Level 1: Foundations Unit

  1. My daughter has egg & dairy allergies so for lesson 3 & 4 can we do foods she can eat? Like vegan cookies and some kind of breakfast item.. 😥

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