Homeschooling Kindergarten, pt. 1

My littlest girl is starting kindergarten this fall.

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Kindergarten! Maybe you’re thinking that since we homeschool this isn’t that big of a deal. Oh but it is! Not only does it mean some structure to her carefree days (more about that later), but it also means that she will be enrolled in our local homeschool enrichment program. She will join her sisters on Fridays for a few hours for classes and fun with her little friends.

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So how do we do kindergarten? Maybe you’re just getting started with homeschooling your first student and you’re looking for some ideas on how to get all this done. Or maybe you just need some fresh ideas for your young students. I’m going to do a short series on Homeschooling Kindergarten. Some of the topics I’ll cover will include:

– What do I teach for kindergarten?

– How to break the public school mentality

– Scheduling around toddlers and babies

– How to structure (or unstructure) your day

So let’s talk about what to teach. I’ve been doing this homeschooling thing for a few years now. My oldest will be starting high school this fall {pause.breathe.resume} and I have two in the middle. While there are many boxed curricula and tons of great books geared towards kindergarten, I’ve realized one very important thing.

I don’t need all that stuff. You probably don’t either.

Let’s all think back for a moment to when we were in kindergarten. What did you learn? What do you remember from kindergarten?Me? I remember using scissors and glue a lot. I remember getting in trouble for talking during nap time. I remember nothing about schoolwork. I think that’s pretty important and that’s exactly what kindergarten is for. Yes, I’m sure I learned something and a solid foundation was laid for future academics. But more importantly, I learned how to function in a classroom environment, how to sit still (well, sort of. I still have a hard time with that one!), how to follow instructions…you’re probably all wondering why this matters. This is why – we’ve bought the lie that our children have to be reading chapter books and doing 2 digit addition by first grade. They don’t. The pressures that have been put on the public school system do not have to apply to your homeschool. Don’t get bogged down with lots of curriculum for kindergarten. Trust me, there is plenty of time for that later!

Kindergarten has three main goals in our house:

To learn letter names and sounds. The most important thing (in my opinion) is to find a phonics workbook or program that you love. My favorite is the BJU Press Phonics. I like something thorough but interesting enough to keep my little one’s interest. Because they are so little in kindergarten! I aim to have my girls sounding out words and reading short phonics reading books by the end of kindergarten.

To learn numbers and counting. This can actually be lots of fun! Most children are counting already by the time they get to kindergarten. For a formal book, I use the BJU K5 Math. It’s the same good blend of what I like them to learn and colorful fun. We count everything. We make sure colors and shapes are reviewed. We count some more. Beginning addition and subtraction, charts, time and money are topics we also touch on.

To learn that school is fun. This is very, very easy when you are teaching your oldest child at home. They love the extra attention, the new activities and feeling like a big kid. When you have older children that express their dislike of school when the alarm goes off or their assignments aren’t finished by the time friends come calling? A bit more challenging. I’m trying to do this by focusing on topics that my kindergartener finds interesting. Bugs? Let’s get a bunch of library books about bugs and learn everything! Princesses? Let’s learn about castles and etiquette and following the king’s orders (oh the places that could go!). Cars? Visit a mechanic and learn how to change a tire! Pioneers? Read the Little House series and pretend to be Ma Ingalls for a day! While there are less restrictions on what you have to cover, learn about what they love.

In Pt. 2, I’ll discuss breaking the public school mentality right from the beginning. Are there any other questions about starting on your homeschool journey that you’d like me to tackle?

 


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