So you’ve been wondering, “How do you homeschool kindergarten?” and “What do I need to homeschool my child?”
Or, you may even be wondering where you can get some good kindergarten lesson plans and homeschool kindergarten curriculum for free?
Well, we have great news for you because a decision to homeschool kindergarten is super fun!
(And, it doesn’t even need a kindergarten lesson plan or curriculum!)
But, before we get to how to homeschool kindergarten, I want you to remember something:
The first rule of Kindergarten Club is
that we don’t talk about what happens in Kindergarten Club that you DO NOT want to crush your child’s creativity and natural love of learning!
Kids learn naturally. And, kids at kindergarten age learn a lot naturally through play and doing.
How do you homeschool kindergarten?
A big focus of homeschool kindergarten should be learning through play and doing, which is a natural way for children to learn. At this age, worry less about finding a homeschool curriculum and completing worksheets and more about working on fine motor skills and gross motor skills through play and fun activities.
We know. We get it.
You want your kid to be the best he or she can be.
You want your kid to excel.
And, you want your kindergartner to be super, duper prepared for life.
But, forcing them to start reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic early may not be the answer.
According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals:
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.
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NEED MORE ON PLAY LEARNING? CHECK OUT THESE BOOKS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
No matter if you are embarking on a homeschool journey for your entire child’s educational journey or you are just here to homeschool kindergarten only and then plan to move your child to a traditional 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!
REMEMBER: PLAY IS YOUR KINDERGARTEN KEY WORD!
(Psssssst: Don’t forget to ditch those homeschool kindergarten worksheets!)
If you’ve been wondering how to homeschool kindergarten for free, here’s how…
Homeschooling Kindergarten: Where To Start?
7 Ways to Homeschool Kindergarten (Without Crushing Creativity)
Homeschool Kindergarten Tip #1: First, check your state homeschooling laws.
I know, I know.
If you’ve been reading anything else on this site, you’ll know that this is almost always my number one on a list like this.
Because it’s the most important thing.
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.
Homeschool Kindergarten Tip #2: Ditch the homeschool kindergarten lesson plans and curriculum.
You knew this one was coming as one of the tips, right?
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!
Homeschool Kindergarten Tip: Use fun learning games instead of worksheets!
If just learning with games and free play leaves you feeling uneasy (and it probably will if you are new to homeschooling), throw in some kindergarten worksheets and workbooks here and there to help ease your conscience. Just be sure to use them sparingly.
(Trust us when we tell you that your kindergartner will learn just fine without workbooks!)
Homeschool Kindergarten 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 they like 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 so many ways to integrate what your child wants to learn about, just allow them to take the lead, with 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 this age!
What is Unschooling? [VIDEO]
Here’s a good unschooling video from someone who was unschooled!
Homeschool Kindergarten Tip #4. Get your homeschooler 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.
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Homeschool Kindergarten 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 craft to reinforce what they learned in the book. Try this Dragon Craft with Dragons Love Tacos books!
Kindergarten Tip: Try out THEME LESSONS that pair up books and movies with crafts and projects.
Music 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:
Here are some of our favorites from homeschooling kindergarten music. My daughter is 10 now and refuses to get rid of these and still plays with them!
Have fun with homeschool kindergarten music tools:
Kindergarten Tip: When reading a book, give your kindergartner musical instruments. Ask him or her to make sound effects of what is happening as you read the book!
Homeschool Kindergarten Tip #6. Get social!
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, and so many other things that help you get through life.
Getting social doesn’t have to mean scheduled playdates, either. It can simply mean taking your child to the park on a regular basis and letting them interact with kids of all ages.
Kindergarten 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!
Homeschool Kindergarten 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 may be 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!)
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!
Kindergarten 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!
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of cooking together. 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 homeschooling your kindergartener, you may be wondering what a daily schedule looks?
Honestly, it works really well if you just go with the flow.
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 that your child learns through normal (sometimes mundane) activities that we take for granted.
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 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
7:30 Reading and snuggle time
Don’t forget: your day doesn’t have to be scheduled hour-by-hour like this. Homeschool kindergarten actually works 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.
• CONCLUSION •
I hope we’ve helped you understand a little more about how to homeschool kindergarten without crushing creativity!
When homeschooling kindergarten you should:
- FIRST, check your state homeschooling and kindergarten laws.
- Remember that it’s less about kindergarten homeschool curriculum 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 kindergartner 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.
- Practice life skills and use a 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 kindergartner!
(Ask them what they want to do on some days by giving them choices: “Today would you like to go to the museum or go to the apple orchard?”)
Your homeschool kindergartner will learn a lot just by exposing them to new things . . . and it doesn’t have to be about completing a kindergarten homeschool curriculum or worksheets!
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