Are you looking for insight on where to start with homeschooling? Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices and options? Wanting your Kindergarten homeschool to look simple and fun but not exactly sure how to do that?
Kindergarten is a big deal, of course. Registering your little one for school is a big step, and it’s exciting to help them set sail on their formal education journey. However, sometimes we forget that their journey has already been in process since the day they were born. And just because they have hit that magical “school age,” doesn’t mean that the way they learn suddenly needs to change.
Setting up your Kindergarten homeschool should be easy, simple, and enjoyable. Just because your child is now 4, 5, 6, 7, or whatever age old, don’t let teaching them suddenly become confusing or overwhelming.
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My Kindergarten homeschool experience
Before we continue, let me share a bit of my background and personal experience. I’m a mom of 4 smart, fun boys. I currently have a 3rd grader, 1st grader, Kindergartener, and a crayon-eating toddler. I was actually homeschooled myself (from Kindergarten to high school graduation), and have been homeschooling my own children since my oldest started Kindergarten. This is our 4th year home schooling! I can’t believe it.
Over these last few years, I’ve learned some things–especially when it comes to what really matters when teaching littles.
When my first born started Kindergarten a little over three years ago, I was very much overthinking everything that I did. Now, this is normal, and do think it’s a good idea to go into your homeschooling journey with a healthy awareness of the responsibility that’s on your shoulders. But looking back, I can see that I put a bit too much of an unnecessary weight on myself when homeschooling Kindergarten.
This year, it’s my my third born that is entering Kindergarten. And at this point, I’ve learned that it’s not really necessary to pull out all the stops. What I mean by that is, just because your child is “starting school,” you don’t have to have a room filled with colorful posters, boutique-style math manipulatives, worksheets, and detailed curriculums.
Every Kindergarten homeschool looks DIFFERENT
If you are a first time homeschool mom, please know that you do not need to stress about whether your child is learning enough in Kindergarten. And you can can absolutely ease into it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed by curriculum at the moment, guess what? You have permission to not use it.
If pulling out the stops is what you want to do and it brings you and your child joy, then by all means, do it! But don’t get caught up in what others are posting to social media and think that your home school has to be a particular way.
The reality is, a 5-6 year old starting Kindergarten is not going to gain a long-term benefit more from a set, specific curriculum than they would with simply a consistent amount of time with you each day. The time you spend focusing on learning the basics (more on what that is in a minute) can be as short as 15-20 minutes a day.
Yes, it really can be that simple. And they will be just fine. They will be learning, more than you may even realize! What you’re doing is going to be enough, as long as you are being consistent with something.
Simple ideas for Kindergarten homeschool
Again, you can be consistent and learn without a curriculum. Do I like curriculum? Yes. It makes my life easier in a lot of ways, especially now that I’m schooling 3 kids. But when I was first starting our homeschool journey, I wish I had known that I could simply enjoy my Kindergartener and let him lead a little more in his learning. I was in too much of a mindset that school for us had to look like your typical public school classroom. And it doesn’t!
Your “school” can be as basic as a weekly nature hike, 10 minutes a day learning and reviewing basic phonics, and 10 minutes a day on simple math skills like addition, shapes, and place value.
It isn’t necessary to cover subjects like science, history, etc. every single day in Kindergarten. I have always felt that in these early years, it’s important to focus on the three R’s — reading, writing, and arithmetic. Remember, these three things are the basics that your child needs right now.
As a quick interlude–you definitely should know your state requirements. These can vary, but for us in Tennessee (and I believe in many other states), we simply need to document that our children were learning for 180 days, along with what “courses” our kids took. For us, that can look like just about anything, as long as we loosely write down what book or method we used.
Focus on the basics
Okay, back to the basics. My biggest tip is to focus on reading. There is a reason that I recommend focusing on that (along with writing and math). Think about it: if your child doesn’t get the base knowledge they need, it will be that more difficult for them to really dive deep into the other subjects later on in their education.
Being able to read is key in getting to the point of independent learning. Also, if you will be homeschooling multiple children down the road, think about how much easier it’s going to make your life! Having a second grader fully reading when it comes time to start your next child in Kindergarten is a game changer. It also makes them much more confident in what they are capable of.
Your child could be at any point on the spectrum as far as what reading skills they have when you start. It really doesn’t matter! Just pick up where they are and work consistently, little by little, every day.
I am NOT saying that your child needs to be fully reading by the end of Kindergarten. My 1st grader (second born) isn’t fully reading by a long shot. Every child learns at a different pace, and that’s okay. Just keep at it.
Kindergarten curriculum suggestions (if you want them)
I do have a few curriculums I have used and can personally recommend. Just remember, as you’re looking over curriculum and trying to figure out what to do with your Kindergartener, if you start feeling overwhelmed, stop. Even if all you do is choose a way to teach reading, you can figure all the other details out later. Just spend 10 minutes every day focusing on phonics flashcards if you want.
The good news is, all of these curriculums are pretty simple to use and love! Here are a few that I have personally tried and recommend:
Mama, Kindergarten doesn’t have to be a lot. Just consistent, and FUN!
Read more homeschool from Growing Dawn:
What does Kindergarten homeschool look like?
Watch me talk about it as a homeschooling mama of 4 in this YouTube video!