Teaching kindergarten (or preschool) during homeschooling is easier than you think. We have surprising strategies for teaching kindergarten and activities for kindergarten that are fun AND educational!
What kindergarten homeschool curriculum should I use?
What does a kindergarten homeschool schedule look like?
Are there are basic skills and essentials that every kindergartener should master.
Activities of kindergarten in homeschool may surprise you because they has less to do with comprehensive lessons and more to do with a natural progression of learning.
If you are considering homeschooling your kindergarten child (and you’re here, so I assume you are!), read through this entire post because it is FULL of homeschool help best practices for teaching kindergarten.
If you’re new to the thought of homeschooling (especially if you went to a traditional school like public school–you may need a period of deschooling for yourself!), what I’m going to tell you about teaching kindergarten in home school may seem wrong . . . at least at first.
BUT, I want you to keep an open mind and hear me out because . . .
I have great news for you!
A decision to homeschool kindergarten (or even homeschool preschool) is SO MUCH FUN! (But, teaching kindergarten is exhausting, too!)
And, I have a secret:
You don’t even need to search for the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum or kindergarten homeschool curriculum packages or even free printable kindergarten worksheets.
(FOR REAL! Stay with me here. I promise I’ll explain and give you a guide on how to learn AND have fun with your kindergartener.)
So, let’s start at the beginning:
Is kindergarten required?
In the United States, kindergarten requirements vary by state.
You can check U.S. kindergarten requirements by state at the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Some states require kindergarten registration (even for homeschooling) and others do not.
Even if you are teaching kindergarten in a state that doesn’t require the program, you will still want to check the state’s laws for homeschooling.
What age do kids go to kindergarten?
Again, the kindergarten age requirements will vary by state.
Generally, kindergarten age ranges from 5-7 years.
However, kindergarten readiness will vary by child. If you are homeschooling kindergarten, spend some time considering if your child is really ready before starting.
How do you determine kindergarten readiness?
Basic Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
- Shows an increased interest in learning
- Knows alphabet
- Some letter recognition
- Follows simple directions
- Understands basic self-care (independent restroom habits, dressing self, etc.)
- Knows alphabet
- Can count to 20
- Recognizes basic shapes
- Knows basic colors
- Is working on holding a pen and scissors (motor skills)
Again, kindergarten readiness will vary based on child. You may find some kids are ready with everything on this lists. Others may be ready and still working on some of the list. Use your own judgment because you know your child the best!
How do I start homeschooling for kindergarten?
How can I teach kindergarten at home?
The best way for homeschoolers to teach kindergarten and preschool is to focus more on play-based learning and life skills and less on worksheets, kindergarten spelling lists, formal reading skills. Instead, read books together, explore nature, and do fun gross motor skills and fine motor skills play.
For homeschooling kindergarten, ditch the homeschool preschool printables, Hooked on Phonics, kindergarten spelling words, and preschool curriculum for homeschool / homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten, and don’t worry about reading skills just yet!
Instead, get your preschooler or kindergartner out and about exploring and exposing them to different things like nature, museums, zoos, playdates (and more!) and working on life skills at home like assisting with cooking, picking up toys, cleaning, taking care of pets and other things that encourage independence.
This alone will help them learn basic skills (yes, including math and reading!).
Ideas for Teaching Kindergarten
Teaching kindergarten tips for at home learning:
- Focus more on play-based learning and less on worksheets
- Don’t try to recreate the tradition kindergarten classroom at home
- Pick up kindergarten read alouds and regularly read together
- Use outdoor play for gross motor skills
- Use crafts for fine motor skills
- Introduce music and art
- Generously use kindergarten coloring pages
- Work on teaching kindergarten patterns with fun games and shapes
- Make sensory bins and free play areas easily accessible
- Cook with kids to practice math, reading and teamwork
- Incorporate life skills
- Use hikes and park trips for nature learning (grab our free nature scavenger hunt!)
- Plan learning trips like field trips to local museums
- Add in teaching kindergarten games that focus on shapes, numbers, colors, kindergarten letters, syllables, site words and more
- Don’t give kindergarten homework
- Let your child lead to help develop a natural love of learning
NEW TO HOMESCHOOLING (OR JUST THINKING ABOUT HOME SCHOOL)? YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO CHECK OUT OUR “DON’T DO THE UGLY SNOTTY HOMESCHOOL CRY” POST!
Before we get to tips on teaching kindergarten at home, I want you to remember something:
The first rule of Homeschool Kindergarten Club is
that we don’t talk about what happens in Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten Club that you DO NOT want to crush your child’s creativity and natural love of learning!
Let’s take a closer look at this:
How Do Kindergarteners Learn Best?
DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used on this site and may be used in this post.
Please refer to our DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.
A big focus of preschool and kindergarten homeschool is learning through play and doing, which is a natural way for children to learn.
At this age, worry less about finding a free kindergarten homeschool curriculum, completing kindergarten homeschool worksheets, and how to teach reading skills and more about working on things like fine motor skills and gross motor skills through play and fun activities.
But, won’t my kindergarten kid be behind if I do this?
You’re rolling your eyes.
I get it.
You want your kid to be the best he or she can be.
You want your kindergartner to excel.
And, you want your kindergarten kid to be super duper prepared for life.
…forcing them to start reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic early is probably NOT the answer.
Check this out from education experts:
According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, talking about the What are the benefits of play based learning?:
One contributing factor that has moved early education in the U.S. away from play and toward cognitive instruction is the prevalent belief that children should learn to read at age 5. The assumption is that they will be better readers than if they wait until age 6 or 7.
But there is essentially no evidence that this is true…Many other countries do not begin formal reading until age 6 or 7.
Play-based learning is a term that embraces two approaches simultaneously. One is that children are given ample time to carry their own ideas into play—with assistance from teachers as needed.
The other is that their knowledge of the world has been enriched through appropriate content offered in interesting and experiential ways by their teachers. This can include reading books, storytelling, puppetry, music, and the arts, as well as encouraging hands-on activities and exploration of nature.
If principals of traditional schools are telling you the importance of play in child development over early reading, then we may be onto something, huh?
This may help with questions like:
• What subjects do you need to teach homeschool kindergarten?
ANSWER: Any ones you want, unless specific subjects are required by your state!
(We’ll cover more of that in a bit, so keep scrolling!)
• How long does it take to homeschool kindergarten?
It can take as much or as little time as you want/need each day!
That’s one of the awesome things about homeschooling!
Play based learning kindergarten is the best route you can take for your kindergartner (and preschooler)!
(Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through play-based learning success next! I know it may be making you a little nervous and worried that your child will be behind, but we’re going to cover why it won’t!)
What is Play-Based Learning?
Play-based learning focuses on a child’s natural inclination to play and provides opportunities to support that motivation.
During play, you can encourage the child to use the resources they are playing with to bring awareness to learning subjects and topics through hands-on learning.
Play-based learning allows kids to:
- Be imaginative
- Solve problems
- Work on emotional skills
- Practice communication and interaction
- Be autonomous
- Work on fine motor skills and large motor skills
- Practice self-regulation
BOOKS ON PLAY BASED LEARNING LEARNING
These books are a great teaching kindergarten resources and a good starting place for the importance of learning through play and how to incorporate it into you kindergarten homeschooling.
What subjects are required for kindergarten homeschool?
As we mentioned before, state regulations for kindergarten will vary.
Most kindergarten programs cover topics like:
- Phonics and Reading
- Writing name (and other basic words)
- Art / Music
- Motor skills
However, this does not mean you need to teach kindergarten the same way at home as the public school system and cover all of these topics.
Check the kindergarten homeschool laws for your state to ensure you are meeting the minimum requirements (there may be none for your state!) and then incorporate a lot of play-based learning that covers these topics!
For example, cooking with your kindergarten child will cover reading, math, science, teamwork, communication skills, and life skills. So many things covered in just one project (and it didn’t even involve a worksheet!).
What your child should know entering kindergarten:
If your child is entering a public school kindergarten program, the minimum requirements are usually:
- Ability to count to 20
- Recognize and write numbers to 10
- Recognize basic shapes and colors
- Knows the alphabet
- Can write first name
But remember, if you are homeschooling and don’t have state homeschool requirements you need to meet, you can use these as a loose guideline.
Your kindergartener may be more advanced or not up to these standards yet, which is perfectly normal for kids of this age who are maturing at different rates and stages.
The important thing is to work with your child and what he or she needs (slowing down or speeding up), and not go solely on (often outdated) academic standards set by states.
What will my child learn in kindergarten?
In kindergarten, you child will focus on skills like:
- Reading site words
- Writing numbers and letters
- Healthy habits
- Working with others
- Gross motor skills like jumping, running, and climbing
- Fine motor skills like painting, blowing bubbles, and transferring small objects from one container to another
- Communication skills
- Life skills
How do I teach my kindergartener to read?
What age do children learn to read?
Many children in kindergarten are just starting to read.
Some may start between 6-7 ages (or older), while others may pick up the skill early, around ages 4-5.
The most important thing to remember is that every child is different and learns differently in their own time, including the age they start reading.
As a homeschooling parent, you have the ability to nurture your child’s learning, including reading.
14 Fun Ways on How to Teach Kids to Read at Home
- Grab read alouds for kindergarten and read to your kids, following the words along with your finger so they start to recognize them.
- Let your child see you reading (and enjoying it!) to encourage them.
- Sing alphabet songs for kindergarten and nursery rhymes to help build phonemic awareness, or the ability to understand different sounds and words.
- Play letter (or word) search and find while you’re out or driving. (I see something that starts with an A, do you?)
- Make a kindergarten site word list on sticky notes and then post them on the objects around the house. (For example, the window would have “window” sticky note.) This can be used in place of spelling words for kindergarten!
- Listen to audio books. (Yes, audio books help with reading!)
- Play site words bingo. (My daughter LOVED this!)
- Use letter magnets to play letter and word games.
- Head outside and write your names in dirt with a stick or on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk.
- Use fun technology that helps your child hear, see, and play words. (This learning tool really helped my daughter. Years later she still talks about how much fun she had with it.)
- Look into Osmo for spelling (and many other learning tools!).
- Listen/watch authors reading their books online while your child follows along in their own copy.
- Check out virtual field trips for kindergarten and then read books about the locations or topics you visited online.
- ALLOW your child to read instead of PUSHING them to read. (Learn how here.)
About Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
What is the best preschool or kindergarten curriculum for homeschool?
What if I told you that there is no best preschool curriculum, or best curriculum for kindergarteners or even lessons for kindergarten that you need?
REMEMBER: Kids learn naturally.
And, kids at preschool and kindergarten age learn a lot naturally through play and doing.
Teaching kindergarten doesn’t have to be about a stack of homeschooling kindergarten worksheets or lists of spelling words for kindergarten!
If you start sitting a young child at a desk completing worksheets for hours on end, you WILL make them hate learning.
(And, I don’t think that’s your goal, right?)
So, go rogue and ditch the kindergarten curriculum, kindergarten math worksheets, and workbooks! (Are you brave enough?)
(We’ll explain more in a bit, so don’t miss it! KEEP SCROLLING!)
Don’t Miss the Kindergarten Daily Schedule Example at the End of This Blog Post!
Can I homeschool my child for kindergarten only?
Homeschooling For Kindergarten Only (or Preschool Only)?
Many parents want to try homeschooling preschool or homeschooling kindergarten before they make a bigger commitment to home education. And, that’s OK! Some families homeschool for kindergarten only and then move to a public school or other program, while others continue home school throughout the years. No matter if you are embarking on a homeschool journey for your entire child’s education or you are just here for homeschooling for kindergarten or preschool only and then plan to move your child to a public school, we’ve put together some great tips on how to homeschool kindergarten and where to start so that you foster creativity and lifelong love of learning!
These tips work equally as well for homeschooling preschool!
REMEMBER: PLAY IS YOUR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN KEY WORD!
(Psssssst: Don’t forget to ditch those homeschool kindergarten worksheets and kindergarten curriculum kits!)
If you’ve been wondering how to homeschool kindergarten for free, we have some great ideas on that, too!
HOW TO TEACH KINDERGARTEN IN HOME SCHOOL
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7 FUN & EASY Ways to Homeschool Kindergarten and Preschool (Without Crushing Creativity)
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #1: First, check your state homeschooling laws.
I know, I know.
If you’ve been reading anything else on this site for new homeschoolers, you’ll know that this is almost always my number one on a list like this.
Because it’s the most important thing to learn in how to start homeschooling!
YOU MUST understand the homeschool laws for your area BEFORE you start homeschooling kindergarten (or any other grade/age).
AND, GUESS WHAT ELSE?
Every state has different homeschooling laws and requirements.
You need to understand any mandatory state (or country) requirements for kindergarten and homeschooling before you start to homeschool kindergarten.
How to Check Kindergarten Homeschool Laws:
You can check out the National Center for Education Statistics to see the age requirements for schooling.
You can also check the HSLDA for homeschool laws specific to your state.
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #2: Ditch the homeschool kindergarten lesson plans and kindergarten homeschool curriculum kits.
If you’ve read to this point in the homeschool blog post, you knew this one was coming as one of the tips.
Again, children learn naturally and it doesn’t have to take place sitting at a desk for X hours each day following a specific kindergarten curriculum lesson plan.
At this age, there are so many other fun ways to learn the basics like counting, writing, rhyming, colors and more.
And, many of those learning opportunities present through free play and also when playing games with kids!
How to Homeschool Kindergarten EXTRA Tip:
Use fun learning games instead of tedious worksheets!
Kindergarten and Preschool Learning Games
Try these preschool and kindergarten learning games and teaching for kindergarten resources instead of a curriculum or worksheets.
They have the same outcome, but are more interactive and support play-based learning!
If just learning with games and free play leaves you feeling uneasy (and it probably will if you are new to homeschooling), throw in A LIMITED AMOUNT of FUN kindergarten worksheets and workbooks here and there to help ease your conscience (but just remember, kindergarten kids really don’t need them)!
Just be sure to use workbooks and worksheets sparingly.
(Trust us when we tell you that your kindergartner will learn just fine without workbooks!)
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #3. Let your child lead for homeschool learning.
At this age, there is so much curiosity and marveling at what we take for granted.
(It’s a joy to witness!)
A great way to homeschool this age is to ask your child what he or she would like to learn and then build learning experiences around it!
If your child likes pandas, check out library books on pandas. Draw panda scenes. Visit the zoo. Watch documentaries on pandas. Sing songs about pandas. Pretend play that you are pandas when at the park. Create some panda art.
Also, start your days with questions like, “Today would you like to visit the library or take a nature hike?”
Start early giving your child a say in what they learn. It will help them build confidence, practice their decision making skills, and help them develop a love of learning.
There are many ways to integrate what your child wants to learn about, just allow them to take the lead, and see your role to provide the resources to make it happen.
Also, spend some time and learn more about unschooling.
It’s a great (FUN) option for all ages, but especially for preschool and homeschool!
What is Unschooling? [VIDEO]
Here’s another good unschooling video from someone who was unschooled!
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #4. Get your homeschool kindergarten kid outside and get physical!
Little kids have a lot of energy.
(We don’t have to tell you…)
The more you can get them out and about, the better for all of you.
And, getting physical not only helps you all stay healthy, but it also helps your young homeschooler with both gross motor skills (whole body movement) and fine motor skills (coordination of small muscle movements).
(Which are things that you should be focusing on at this age!)
Play time like kicking a ball, balancing on a piece of playground climbing equipment, and skipping or playing hopscotch will all help your child with gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills that you can work on while outdoors include gathering sticks or rocks and then forming letters and shapes with them, drawing and writing with sidewalk chalk, popping bubbles, playing with sand or dirt, and even clipping clothes onto the clothesline.
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #5. Go heavy on kindergarten creation, crafts, and creativity like art and music.
Crafts, art, and music are great ways to learn (plus, they’re SUPER FUN).
Like we mentioned previously, art helps with motor skills, but did you know that it also helps with visual learning, language development and decision making skills?
One of my favorite things is to pair up a book with a cooking project or craft to reinforce what they learned in the book.
How to Homeschool Kindergarten and Preschool EXTRA Tip:
Try out THEME LESSONS that pair up books and movies with crafts and projects.
Music is another way to add creative learning.
It also helps with brain development, language development, and has actually been linked to increases in IQ!
Check out this video on how music benefits the brain in learning:
Here are some of our favorites from homeschooling kindergarten music.
My daughter is 11 now and refuses to get rid of these. She still plays with them!
Have fun with homeschool kindergarten music games:
How to Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten EXTRA Tip:
When reading a book, give your little one musical instruments (like the ones shown here). Ask him or her to make sound effects of what is happening as you read the book!
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #6. Get social with fun activities for kindergarten!
Kindergarten is a great age to get some socialization skills in and have your kid practice interacting with others.
Being with other kids helps your kindergartner learn about sharing, empathy, patience, respect, communication, and so many other important skills that help you get through life.
It can simply mean taking your child to the park on a regular basis and letting them interact with kids of all ages.
How to Homeschool Kindergarten and Preschool EXTRA Tip:
Try not to micromanage your child’s play time with other children. Allowing your child to work out issues with other kids is an important life skill!
How to Teach Kindergarten At Home Tip #7. Practice life skills with your homeschooler.
It’s never too early to start practicing life skills with your homeschooler, which happens to be one of the areas that our public school system is falling short.
One Ivy League college counselor reported that college students are showing up with the academic credentials, but are failing miserably on simple life skills like laundry and cooking.
(So, here’s your chance to give your kid a leg up! Remember earlier when you were worried about that?)
What are basic life skills for kindergarten age?
According to WebMD.com, kids as young as 4 or 5 years old can perform tasks like:
- Making their bed
- Emptying wastebaskets
- Bringing in mail or newspaper
- Clearing table
- Pulling weeds, if you have a garden
- Using hand-held vacuum to pick up crumbs
- Watering flowers
- Unloading utensils from dishwasher
- Washing plastic dishes at sink
- Fixing bowl of cereal
And many more!
Have your kindergarten kid help with any of the chores that you can think of around your house!
How to Homeschool Kindergarten and Preschool EXTRA Tip:
Give your child a chore chart that teaches them to be responsible for different tasks each day. They’ll have fun putting stickers or magnets on the chart when they’ve completed the task!
Cooking naturally teaches math, reading, following directions, and is an important life skill!
Homeschooling Kindergarten Daily Schedule Example
Now that you’ve read through the tips for teaching kindergarten, you may be wondering what a basic kindergarten daily schedule at home looks like?
Honestly, it works better with kindergarten age if you just go with the flow—you know, kind of like a toddler schedule.
(And, you don’t have to worry about how many hours do you homeschool kindergarten, unless you have specific requirements from your state.)
But, we completely understand that some people like a more scheduled day.
So, we’ll give you a sample kindergarten daily schedule.
Just trade out some activities that match your child’s interests.
In each of our examples in the schedule, your child is learning something—a responsibility, a task, a skill, communication and more!
Again, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE what your child learns through normal (sometimes mundane) activities and play that we often take for granted.
Sample Kindergarten Daily Schedule
7:00 a.m. Wake up
7:15 Make breakfast together
7:30 Eat breakfast together while discussing the schedule for the day
8:30 Get dressed and do the chores and chore chart for the day
9:30 Read a book (with the child providing musical sound effects!)
10:00 Pack a snack together for your outing
10:30 Play at the park or nature hike or library or playdate meetup
12:00 p.m. Make lunch together at home and eat lunch together
2:00 Quiet play time (child’s choice)
3:00 Arts and crafts time/snack time
4:00 Outdoor sidewalk chalk and bubble time/play in the backyard/take a walk
5:00 Prepare dinner (have the child help if you can or give them free play time)
6:00 Eat dinner together and discuss your day (“What was your favorite thing today?” “What was one thing you didn’t like today?”)
7:00 Bath time
7:45 Reading and snuggle time
Don’t forget: your kindergarten day doesn’t have to be scheduled hour-by-hour like this.
Homeschool kindergarten and preschool actually work better if you don’t schedule it like this.
Honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would just wing each day of our preschool and kindergarten homeschool life.
How to Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten
I hope we’ve helped you understand a little more about teaching kindergarten and preschool without crushing creativity!
How To Teach Kindergarten Homeschool
- FIRST, check your state homeschooling and kindergarten laws.
- Remember that it’s less about kindergarten homeschool curriculum (pre-k homeschool curriculum free) and worksheets and more about play and exposing your child to new, interactive, and interesting things!
- Let your child lead in their learning, ask for their input, and let them make some decisions.
- Get your homeschool kindergartener outside and physical!
- Focus more on developing gross motor skills and fine motor skills with FUN activities (instead of kindergarten worksheets).
- Go heavy on the arts, crafts, and music.
- Let them use musical instruments to create sound effects during reading time.
- Pair up books and/or movies with fun theme crafts or cooking projects.
- Get social by taking your kid to the park to interact with kids of all ages and stages and regularly schedule playdates or participate in library story time.
- Practice life skills and use a fun chore chart.
- Ditch the stringent hour-by-hour schedule and just let the learning flow through play and activities.
Most of all, find new and different ways to have fun with your kindergartener and preschooler!
When you are teaching kindergarten or preschool at home you will learn a lot just by exposing them to new things…
…and it doesn’t have to be just about completing a kindergarten homeschool curriculum or kindergarten worksheets!
READ THESE HOW TO HOMESCHOOL BLOG POSTS NEXT:
LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT TEACHING KINDERGARTEN AT HOME!