How to homeschool kindergarten so your children make the progress they need to succeed.
How to Homeschool Kindergarten
Many people choose to homeschool kindergarten for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps you would like to ensure your child is ready for first grade in traditional school.
Maybe you feel your child needs some additional learning time at home first.
Perhaps you won’t be using traditional school at all.
For us, it was because I wasn’t comfortable sending the kids to our local school. We had anticipated that we would move before the kids started school, but by the time kindergarten rolled around, moving wasn’t in the cards.
No matter your reason, it’s the right reason for your family. No judgment here, friends. As long as it’s good for you and your family, we have your back.
To help you get started, here are some great tips on how to homeschool kindergarten students.
Are There Advantages to Homeschooling Kindergarten?
Some kids are going to be ahead, and some are going to be behind when kindergarten rolls around. Either way, there are advantages to doing kindergarten homeschool.
One reason that some families choose to homeschool kindergarten year is to give their kids a competitive edge come first grade.
Since many agree that kindergarten is the new first grade, there are a lot more skills children are expected to enter and end the year with than there used to be. That’s a lot of pressure to put on five and six-year-olds!
Another advantage of homeschooling in kindergarten may be to work with your child longer on anything they may be struggling with.
While kindergarten can be a tricky age at which to get a diagnosis for anything, if you suspect something like dyslexia, it’s not too early to have an independent screening done.
Is Homeschooling Good for Kindergarten?
Homeschooling is an excellent choice for Kindergarten. The word Kindergarten is German for “garden of children” because the man who invented the concept (Friedrich Frobel in 1838) believed that young children should be nourished “like plants in a garden.” What better nourishment for the child than spending the first school year at home with a loving, supportive parent?
Young children learn by exploring and experiencing the world through their senses. They may not be ready to sit at desks for hours a day. When you homeschool your Kindergartener, you have the freedom and flexibility to adapt the learning environment to your child’s needs.
What’s more, your connection with your child will deepen. When you learn and discover together, you strengthen your bond with your child.
What About Socialization for Kindergarten Homeschool?
Homeschooling has changed rapidly from what it was 20 years ago. It has substantially increased in popularity, and so there are many homeschooling groups–from co-ops to art classes to sports teams–in which you can take part.
You may even find other homeschoolers in your church or neighborhood or social media group who would love to meet up for playdates or field trips. Opportunities to socialize are all around.
If your child craves the company of friends, you can provide that, but if your child just wants to spend time with the family, that is just fine too. No doubt your child will learn to interact with others as you both go about your day–visiting neighbors, shopping at the grocery store, and going to the park.
What Do I Need To Do Legally to Homeschool Kindergarten?
Every state has its own set of requirements, but it is legal to homeschool in every state. Most states require you to write a letter of intent to your county where you formally declare your intention to homeschool your child. In addition, you may be required to submit your lesson plans or complete some form of an annual evaluation of your child’s progress.
The good news? In most states, a child is not required to attend school until age 6 or 7. You may not need to do a thing until your child turns the minimum age for compulsory schooling.
To see what the laws are like in your state, visit the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association website.
What Basic Skills Should My Child Know After Completing Kindergarten?
The exact skills needed are going to change each school year, as well as vary depending on your district.
You can find the most updated list of requirements by checking with your state’s department of education at the beginning of the school year. Here’s the link to the PA Department of Education if you’re in Pennsylvania like we are.
Some of these skills may include:
- reading specific sight words
- counting to ten forward and backward
- recognizing all of the letters and sounds
- starting to do some very basic math (like counting to 120 and simple addition)
Is It Hard to Homeschool a Kindergartener?
Kindergarten is a wonderful time to begin homeschooling. I guarantee you have mastered the content! The biggest learning curve is not learning the subjects yourself, but rather learning how to present them to your child.
The good news is that there are a host of curricula and materials to help you teach your child. Whether you prefer a free-form approach or actual scripted lessons, there are many options from which to choose.
The most important thing to remember is that this is the year to nurture your child and make learning fun. Short lessons, frequent breaks, and plenty of time to play are the ways to make this year a success!
How Many Hours a Day Do You Need to Homeschool a Kindergartner?
You don’t need hours and hours to homeschool kindergarten. The reason it goes by so much faster than traditional school is that you eliminate all the time allotted for taking attendance, waiting in line, going to specials, etc.
Remember, the core subjects of kindergarten are very few: math, reading, and handwriting. Those are your formal lessons. Everything else looks more like play (although I guarantee your child is learning!).
Homeschool Kindergarten Schedule
Here is a sample daily schedule for kindergarten:
8:00 Breakfast and get ready for the day
8:30 Morning circle time (read a book or poem to start the day; do some movement like dance or stretching)
9:30 Math lesson or math activities
9:50-10:20 Snack break and read aloud or audiobook
10:20-10:30 Movement break
10:30 Handwriting practice (or fine motor activities like tracing or mazes)
11:00 Walk or outside time (or indoor craft time)
11:45-12:30 Lunch and free play
12:30 Choose one each day: library trip, grocery store run, playground, science experiment, read aloud or independent reading time, field trip, playdate, craft time, building toys, riding bikes or scooters, swimming, or learning apps
Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum – Free and Paid
There are so many curriculum options for homeschooling kindergarten. Here are some to consider:
This free curriculum is based on computer lessons. Your kindergartener will likely need support from you to navigate the lessons.
This free Charlotte Mason curriculum may suit your style. The kindergarten year is referred to as Year 0, since it is the precursor to formal school. It doesn’t have a schedule as such, but it does have a booklist and suggestions as to how to spend your time.
Abeka is a Christian homeschooling publishing company that has been around for ages. If you like the idea of a faith-based, all-in-one curriculum, check them out. You can purchase kits where every book you’ll ever need for kindergarten comes in a box (both student and parent materials). They also have video lessons if you’d prefer an online option. Or do a hybrid of both!
Timberdoodle is a secular company that provides an all-in-one kindergarten in a box. Timberdoodle specializes in hands-on and STEM activities, so this program is a great choice for an active, curious child.
Choose Your Own
You can also compile your own kindergarten curriculum by choosing individual options for reading, writing, and math. Then supplement with activities you and your child would both enjoy. Check out this article on the Ultimate Homeschool Curriculum Directory.
Before you deep dive into curriculum options, know this: choosing your curriculum is the most difficult part of homeschooling. This is because there are so many options! The good news is that it is hard to go wrong with so many great programs. So relax! Choose one that appeals to you and then enjoy the learning process.
How Do You Keep Kindergarten Homeschool Records?
Some states require that you keep lesson plans, records, or portfolios of your student’s work. Just keep this in mind: the state can set its requirements, but you decide how to meet them. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to record-keeping.
Some teaching parents like the online approach. They love to whip up a spreadsheet and a lesson plan that way. Others prefer the simple, pen-to-paper method. Jot your lesson plans on a calendar. Just check first with the requirements of your state.
It is always a good idea to keep records of your child’s progress. I like to keep samples of my children’s work from the beginning, middle, and end of the year in each subject. I put it all in a three-ring binder marked with the year. I also keep a booklist of the books we read together for school.
Most states do not require that you keep grades for kindergarten. If you would like a kindergarten transcript, just keep a list of the skills and topics you covered. With homeschooling, you teach until your child learns. There is no pass or fail.
Play is the Work of Children
When you begin homeschooling kindergarten, start with the basics – letters recognition and sounds, numbers, simple addition, and subtraction.
Have your kindergartener practice writing his or her name, address, and phone number.
Go on field trips and walks around the neighborhood.
Investigate the world around you and make connections between the experiences and basic skills.
Above all else, have fun. Kindergarten should be a time of exploration and learning that’s done primarily through hands-on experiences.
Remember, as Mr. Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Make kindergarten a year of seriously fun learning.
Questions about homeschooling? Feel free to leave a comment below to start a conversation! I’ll be happy to help you!