When Jude was born 6 years ago, I had no doubt in my mind that when the time came, I would homeschool. I was homeschooled until half-way through high school, and my experience was a beautiful one. I was the oldest of five equally adventurous souls who were eager to follow their big sister into the woods for adventuring. We waded in creeks and followed packs of (friendly) dogs through their carved out trails in the overgrown acre long hedge row. We built forts, climbed trees, hid in holes, made “stew” of berries and grasses, crafted rafts for our tiny toys to float down the river on, ran and swam and giggled and played. Oh, and we did school. My mom knew that for a child, the most important thing is to learn through play. So we played. We learned how to navigate conflict ourselves and learned to care for each other and love each other deeply. Our mom has the creative urge inside her and has passed that onto each of us – that driving need to create and express ourselves. She taught us to draw, to paint, to build, to imagine, to write. She taught us to read, and to love reading. My baby sister was grounded for the first time, FROM reading, FOR reading (when she was supposed to be finishing up her chores).
I wanted this for my sweet Jude. Wanted him to have siblings he could lead and love and learn alongside.
Once the kindergarten age finally came, I was slightly mortified. My passion filled decision to homeschool my kids suddenly became a daunting task I felt unprepared for. Like all homeschool mamas, I needed community, and I needed clear instructions to follow. I knew where to look around my home town, but was surprised when I found encouragement and community from the small shop world I had come to know and love.
One of my favorite resources is Kindergarten Toolkit. It is clear and simple. She gives you the goals and the tools to get there, and then leaves the creativity up to you. On her Instagram feed there are sweet pictures of lots of little learners using her kit in their own way – counting with pom poms and fruit, copying her flash cards on their little white board, color matching and letter matching.
The mama behind the brand is Carrie. She was formerly a kindergarten teacher, and created the toolkit for her first little guy to take the “guesswork” out of “are they ready for kindergarten or not?” She has since used the toolkit with all three of her little guys from age 2 until kindergarten! “I loved the idea of moms and dads spending one on one quality learning time with their little ones watching them grow and learn and being part of their educational journey. I wanted to take the guesswork out of the typical “will my child be ready?”.
She loves Vanilla Chai Latte, Mexican food and red wine, and is the sweetest.