Level 2: Foundations Unit

Welcome to a new year of homeschool! Whether this is your first time with us or you’re a returning subscriber, we’re so excited to be part of your homeschool journey. This week, we’ll ease into the new year with simple routines your child can repeat throughout the year. We’ll also establish foundations and activities you will see throughout our lessons in other units. 📅 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.

We’ve also created this first day of school printable if you’d like to take photos of your first day! If you share online, don’t forget to tag us @learnandliveletter!

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 start homeschooling with success.

Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) 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!

Phonics Guide:

New to our phonics guide? Start here. The Phonics Guide this week will highlight the CK phonogram. Students will learn the different spellings of the /k/ sound.

Lesson 1:

Today is the first day to introduce homeschool habits that will last your child all year. Start by reading A Second, A Minute, A Week With Days In It: A Book About Time. Then, introduce our classroom calendar.

***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. You may also want to review this Days of the Week Song if they are unfamiliar with it.

Activity 2: Months of the Year Song. Sing this song with your child every morning this week to help them memorize the months on the calendar. You can also review it at the start of each new month throughout the year.

Activity 3: Create a “me” collage, using this photo as inspiration. Print a black-and-white picture of your child, and then let them use scraps of fabric, trim, or paper to “dress” themselves in an outfit of their creation.

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:

Today, we’ll take a closer look at time, beginning by reading The Grouchy Ladybug. As you read, point out the clock in the corner of each page and notice how it changes or use this clock you can create at home.

Activity 1: Unleash their inner engineer with challenge #2 of this post. Show your little architect how they can build their own clock tower using small plastic cups and craft sticks. Print an image from here to tape onto your clock tower, or you can use the clock above if you printed it.
(+) Is your child feeling inspired? Try one of the other building challenges from that post.

Activity 2: Another important task your child can work on this week? Tying their own shoes. This shoe craft can help them practice throughout the week. (Note: This is a big skill that requires a lot of coordination! Don’t stress if your child doesn’t get it in the first week. Just keep practicing until they are confidently tying.)

Tip: Our OT contributor, Kristin Palen from Coastal Connections Pediatric Therapy, suggests using two different color laces on one shoe when teaching this skill.

Lesson 3:

Today, you’ll introduce one of our favorite learning traditions, Tea + Poetry.

Activity 1: Make a tea cookie.

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!

Before you begin this lesson, read this article on our blog about how to do Tea + Poetry.

Activity 3: Cutting with scissors is an important skill for children to develop in order to strengthen fine motor skills that will help them become strong writers. Use this scissor cutting practice activity today and throughout the week.

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).

Activity 2: Does your child do chores around the house? Introduce this chore chart to help foster more independence in completing their responsibilities.(Need some ideas for age-appropriate chores? Get 20 suggestions here.)

Activity 3: Let’s tackle another independent cooking project with a big dose of science! Follow this tutorial to make a solar oven your child can use to bake their own s’mores. This page explains more about the science at play in this experiment.

Lesson 5:

Activity 1: Introduce Salvador Dali with this brief video about his life. Next, show your child one of Dali’s most famous works, The Persistence of Memory. If you purchased The Child’s Introduction to Art, turn to pages 84 and 85 to learn more about Surrealism and the background of this intriguing. painting. 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.

Next, let’s make our own surreal collage craft using the idea from our book! If you don’t have magazines, print a few pictures from the internet that your child might like. Let them initially cut out the objects, then you can trim if needed. Next cut (or print) out a landscape photo to use as your background. Choose images that work in juxtaposition (meaning they don’t normally go together) to put together in a surreal collage image of your child’s own creation!
(+) Turn it into a creative writing activity by encouraging your child to make up a story about their picture. If they are writing freely, they can also write it down, otherwise you can scribe for them.

***Click here for more tips on how to teach children about art!

Activity 2: Let’s meet a classical composer, Frédéric Chopin! Chopin was one of the most famous pianists of his time and a true prodigy—he started composing music at the age of six and played his first concert at eight! Click here for more information about him that you can share with your child, and then play Chopin’s song, Polonaise in A Major: No. 1, “Military.” As you listen to the music, ask your child the following questions to get them thinking about the music:

  • Does this sound like a happy song or a sad song?
  • Are the notes long and smooth or do they feel short and choppy?
  • How would you dance (or march) to this music?
  • What do you think Chopin was thinking about when he wrote this?

***For more tips on how to turn a song into a lesson, click here!

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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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