Have you ever considered homeschooling kindergarten? Maybe you’ve never considered homeschooling before, but you’re not quite ready to send your five- or six-year-old away to school. Or maybe you have homeschooled older children but never a kindergartener. Be encouraged. It’s not as scary as it sounds. In fact, homeschooling a kindergartener is easy and incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to get you started.
How to homeschool kindergarten
Homeschooling kindergarten is a special privilege. During the kindergarten years, your child will learn a lot of concepts for the very first time, and you’ll be there to witness those special moments—when they succeed in writing their names for the first time, when they read their first words, and when they realize they can count to a hundred. You want these years to be years of wonder and joy, not years of frustration.
Here are 5 tips for homeschooling your kindergartener:
1. Stay organized.
Steps to start your kindergarten homeschool experience well:
- Research your state’s legal homeschooling requirements.
- Consider your homeschooling goals.
- Budget money for homeschool curricula and other materials.
- Research homeschooling curriculums to find options that will help you achieve your homeschooling goals.
- Create a homeschool schedule.
- Regularly keep track of your child’s progress.
2. Set a kindergarten homeschool schedule.
Homeschooling kindergarten doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Typically, you should expect to spend 2–3 hours teaching your kindergartener, and most of that time should be focused on math and reading.
Example kindergarten schedule
- 8:00 a.m. Breakfast / family devotions
- 8:30 m. Personal hygiene / chores
- 9:30 m. Math
- 10:00 m. Break
- 10:30 a.m. Focus on Fives homeschool curriculum for kindergarteners (integrates science, social studies, phonics, and reading)
- 11:30 m. Handwriting
- 11:45 a.m. Lunch
3. Divide up the learning.
A lot of kindergarteners won’t be able to sit for long periods of time, so divide up your lessons into fifteen- to twenty-minute segments. These frequent breaks will help keep your kindergartener’s mind fresh and focused.
4. Make time for play.
Remember that play is a big part of learning for four- and five-year-olds, so make time for it in your daily schedule. When the weather is nice, allow your child to play outside and work on improving his or her strength and coordination by running, throwing balls, or playing on playground equipment. Indoor activities such as role-playing or building with blocks are also helpful because they help build social and problem-solving skills.
5. Engage the senses.
Lessons that engage multiple senses not only help concepts “stick,” but they also help make learning more fun. The teacher editions that correspond to the BJU Press kindergarten curricula include a lot of ideas for multisensory learning activities (such as divvying up snacks in Math K5 to illustrate parts of a whole). Additional ideas can be found on homeschooling blogs and Pinterest boards.
When to start homeschooling
There are a lot of different opinions about when a child should start school. Some educators seem to think “as early as possible.” Other educators think it is best to wait as long as possible. There are homeschoolers at every point along that spectrum. You will need to research your state’s specific age requirements. Some states require children to start kindergarten by the time they are five. Some states don’t require kindergarten until age 6. You should also take into consideration the abilities of your child and your own family situation.
What should your child know before starting school?
Your child should be able to listen and follow directions.
A good early childhood curriculum includes a lot of active learning, but your child does need to have the ability to sit and focus for short periods of time (ten to fifteen minutes is a good goal). Your child also needs to be able to listen carefully, respond to questions, and follow directions so that he or she can get the most out of learning activities.
Your child needs fine-motor skills.
Can he or she use a child-sized pair of scissors? Does your child attempt to color within the lines when coloring? Is your child able to hold a pencil correctly and do simple tracking and tracing activities? (These skills should be refined before attempts are made at writing letters and numbers.) Your child needs to have strong fine motor skills to learn how to write.
Your child should be enthusiastic about learning.
Most experts agree that a child’s individual enthusiasm for learning is the strongest indicator of future success in school. Does your child ask to “do school”? Does he or she pretend to read or write while playing?
What should your child learn in kindergarten?
Your child should be able to recognize and name all the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and know the sounds they make. They should also be able to recognize several high-frequency words. Even if your child is not reading by the end of kindergarten, he or she should be able to sequence a story using pictures, predict outcomes of stories, and answer questions about texts that are read aloud.
Your child should be able to print all the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet as well as numbers 0–9.
Your child should be able to identify and write numbers 1–100, solve simple addition and subtraction problems, extend a pattern, identify shapes, identify pennies and their value, tell time to the hour, read a calendar, and do basic measurements.
Your child should be able to identify the five senses, the four seasons, and the features of the day and the night sky.
Your child should learn about families, community helpers, and national celebrations.
How to find the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum
1. Consider your teaching style.
Ask yourself—how comfortable are you with teaching? If you are new to teaching, you will want to choose a homeschool kindergarten curriculum that has a lot of teacher support materials that will help guide you through each lesson. On the other hand, if you are very comfortable with teaching, you will want to choose a customizable curriculum that gives you a lot of room to incorporate your own teaching ideas.
2. Consider your child.
Since your child is just starting school, you probably don’t know what his or her preferred learning style is. But you do know a lot about your child—how long his or her attention span is, how well he or she can listen or follow directions, and what interests he or she has. Make sure that the homeschool kindergarten curriculum you choose will meet the individual needs of your child.
3. Consider your time constraints.
Do you have two or three hours to devote to teaching kindergarten? If you don’t, you may want to consider an online streaming option.
4. Talk to other homeschool parents.
Talk to other homeschool parents about the curricula that they use and their experiences with them.
Choosing a kindergarten homeschool curriculum can feel overwhelming. There are a lot of good choices. So pray for wisdom—the Lord will abundantly supply!
Kindergarten homeschool curriculum kits from BJU Press
If you are a Christian homeschooler who wants to give your kindergartener a solid academic foundation with a biblical worldview, consider BJU Press’s kindergarten curriculum. Whether you choose a textbook kit or an online program, you can be confident that your child will fall in love with learning and be well prepared for future academic success.
BJU Press K5 Math Homeschool Curriculum Kit
BJU Press’s kindergarten math curriculum will teach your kindergartener basic math concepts such as number sense, addition, subtraction, time, and money. Most lessons use manipulatives to help build your child’s understanding of math concepts.
BJU Press Focus on Fives Kindergarten Curriculum Kit
BJU Press’s Focus on Fives curriculum invites kindergarten students to get excited about learning. It introduces students to phonics and reading as well as themes for further learning in heritage studies and science. Interested? Read about my experience with the Focus on Fives curriculum.
If you still have questions about homeschooling your kindergartener, I encourage you to reach out to your local HomeWorks consultant. HomeWorks consultants are veteran homeschool moms who have experience homeschooling kindergarten and other grades. They can help you navigate your state’s homeschool requirements, choose a kindergarten curriculum to meet your homeschooling goals, and answer any other questions that you might have as you get started on your homeschool journey.