Re: Kindergarten questions
I do not grade any work, at all, ever, not even for my 13 year old (when he was homeschooled, he is in public school for now). I honestly do not feel that grading is needed in a homeschool setting. We are right there, we know when they get something and we move on then, we know when they are not grasping something and we can sit put where we are until they get it. There in no pass or fail in a homeschool, at least not one that makes any sense to me.
The amount of time? I am a firm believer that MAX time should be 30 minutes per "grade" starting with 30m for K. You can very easily cover the typical K necessities in 30 minutes, and I would break them up over the day. Now, I'm not saying if your kid is into spiders and wants to spend 5 hours today looking up spiders on the internet and reading books about them that you shouldn't do that. I'm also not saying that I never go over my "max time", but for the core subjects and the basics in the content subjects (core is LA and Math and content would be like social studies, science, art, music, pe, health). If we get involved in something or we watch videos on a topic, of course we can go all day on whatever it is, but I don't go that far unless my kids are interested after I make sure that we have covered the basics. I let them lead our "bunny trails".
Workboxes, We have tried various variations of them over the years, they are ok, but we don't use them any more. Each kid has a dish pan tub thinggy that has their own work in it (the only thing on their own is LA and Math), then I have a bin that is our together work (which is the content subjects).
My best advice to give you is to relax. Homeschooling does not have to be school at home. For my family I have learned the less it looks like school, the more they thrive and learn.