If I were to pick my favorite grade to homeschool, I would definitely pick kindergarten. I love watching my kindergartener learn—she gets so excited about every new skill and tidbit of information and craves knowledge. I never have to coax her into doing schoolwork. She would do more if I let her! And a lot of her excitement came from having a good K5 homeschool curriculum to rely on.
I didn’t always feel this way about kindergarten. The first time I taught kindergarten to one of my daughters, I was terrified. I was convinced that I was going to ruin her academic career before it even got started! But a good kindergarten curriculum gave me the confidence that I needed to homeschool successfully. If you are looking for a kindergarten homeschool curriculum, here are a few things that you will want to consider before you make a purchase.
Do you need a K5 homeschool curriculum?
You may not need a K5 homeschool curriculum at all. You will want to research your state’s specific homeschooling requirements through the HSLDA website. Most states don’t actually require homeschoolers to submit any kind of records or documentation for kindergarten. Many don’t require kindergarten at all. The concepts your child will learn in kindergarten are pretty basic. So, it’s possible to teach your child these skills and concepts without a formal curriculum.
However, there are a lot of benefits to purchasing a curriculum for kindergarten.
- First, a curriculum will help you know how to break up concepts into manageable units. Your child will gradually build a base of knowledge needed for future learning—an educational process known as scaffolding.
- Second, a curriculum will help give you ideas for how to teach those concepts to your child in ways that are easy to understand.
- Third, a curriculum can help you determine if your child is truly understanding what is being taught.
For these reasons and more, a kindergarten homeschool curriculum is usually worth the investment.
Kindergarten Homeschool Program Options
There are many K5 homeschool programs available. The best homeschool curriculum for your family will often be based on your homeschooling style, your unique family’s makeup, and the needs of your kindergartener. Kindergarten programs vary in cost and in format. Some programs consist of nothing more than a worktext while others offer a full online course experience.
What to Look for in a Kindergarten Curriculum
1. A Biblical Worldview
Some parents might wonder if a biblical worldview is necessary in kindergarten. As I wrote in the post “Teaching Preschoolers with a Biblical Worldview,” it absolutely is. We only get our children in our home for a short time, and we want to take advantage of every moment to teach them about God. We want a kindergarten curriculum that is going to help us in our quest to teach our children a biblical worldview.
2. Hands-On, Engaging Activities
This is just the start of your child’s educational journey. The last thing that you want is for your child to hate school from the very beginning. Instead, look for a K5 homeschool curriculum that will help your child fall in love with learning.
An engaging curriculum will include lots of hands-on activities. Children need time to play. They learn through play. An engaging kindergarten math curriculum will use manipulatives to teach math concepts. And a K5 language arts curriculum should encourage students to physically engage with words (such as sorting word cards, adding prefixes and suffixes, swapping out letters to make new words, etc.) and should include plenty of games and other fun activities to make learning to read fun.
3. Phonics-Based Reading Instruction
There are two major approaches to teaching reading—the whole language approach in which the individual sounds of letters are de-emphasized in favor of reading whole words and the traditional phonetic approach in which students learn individual letter sounds and blend them to read words. Long-term research seems to suggest that phonics-based instruction leads to higher literacy rates. But since the goal of reading is comprehension, you will want to look for a curriculum that offers graduated readers so your child can experience the joy of reading even before learning all the letter sounds, blends, and other phonics rules.
4. Teaching for Understanding
Your child will learn foundational math concepts in kindergarten, so it is important to develop a deep understanding of those concepts. I can drill math facts into any child by repeating them often enough, but it’s important that the child truly understands what numbers mean and what it means to add and subtract them. A good K5 math curriculum will use manipulatives and stories to illustrate math concepts so your child can truly understand what you and the books are teaching.
Different homeschool parents need different amounts of support. You may feel completely comfortable teaching your kindergartener yourself, or maybe you don’t feel as if you have the time or the ability to teach because you are busy with other children and responsibilities. Maybe you need a robust teacher’s edition that will walk you through every lesson. Or maybe you need video options or planning and reporting tools. Find a curriculum that will give you the support you need for you and your child to be successful.
Can you find a free K5 curriculum?
You will probably be able to find free kindergarten resources on the internet. But finding those resources and figuring out how to sequence your teaching is going to cost you a lot of time. A homeschool curriculum package will be worth the investment.
Highlights of the BJU Press K5 Homeschool Curriculum
My kindergartener is currently using two pieces of the BJU Press kindergarten curriculum—Focus on Fives and K5 Math. Here’s why we love both of these courses.
Focus on Fives
Focus on Fives integrates phonics, handwriting, social studies, and science instruction into one curriculum package. Almost every lesson has a science or social studies theme such as community helpers, Native Americans, animals, or the four seasons. In addition to covering the science or social studies theme, each lesson includes phonics instruction, reading practice, and handwriting practice. Additionally, lessons include simple worktext pages that reinforce the lesson and build phonemic awareness. Most lessons also include suggestions for optional enrichment activities that you could do with your child if time allows.
Most importantly, all lessons in Focus on Fives are designed to teach your child a biblical worldview. Lessons teach that God created the world and everything in it, that people are special because God made them in His image, and that learning helps us serve God and others better.
Focus on Fives includes 34 graduated readers that your child will have the opportunity to read throughout the year. My daughter looks forward to these “big books” every week and it is a delight to see her read with confidence and excitement!
If you are ready to teach your kindergartener, the Focus on Fives curriculum subject kit comes with plenty of support material—six teacher’s editions, two worktexts, flash cards, reading books, and charts. Focus on Fives is also available as an online course. The teacher, Mrs. Rulapaugh, is fabulous, and the course is packed with a lot of fun visuals, songs, and activities to make learning fun.
You can read my full review of the Focus on Fives curriculum in my post “A Mom’s Experience with Focus on Fives.”
Math can be fun—at least it is with BJU Press’s Math K5. Farmer Brown, Mrs. Brown, and their adorable pet mouse Cheddar help introduce foundational math concepts to kindergarteners and help them understand how to apply math concepts to real-life situations. Students use manipulatives and stories as they learn the meaning of numbers, how to add and subtract, how to identify and count coins, how to measure, and more. Each lesson includes a review time as well as an opportunity to practice new skills on a simple, corresponding worktext page.
The Math K5 subject kitcomes with everything you need to teach your child successfully—a robust teacher’s edition, a worktext, and a manipulatives packet. If you are wanting extra help, Mrs. Rulapaugh teaches the Math K5 online course that is full of fun extras.
With a great K5 homeschool curriculum, homeschooling your kindergartener should be a stress-free, fun experience for both you and your child. There are few if any legal requirements. Concepts don’t have to be mastered. You don’t even have to finish the curriculum! Kindergarten is a year for you to enjoy watching your child grow and for your child to experience the wonder of learning. It will be a great year!