Giving you practical advice on homeschooling kindergarten, what subjects to teach and for how long, now that all of my boys have moved well past kindergarten gives me a different perspective than giving advice in the moment, which may or may not have been helpful.
What I am trying to say is I take giving advice seriously and I always prefer giving you specifics, which were way more helpful to me than just generalities.
In helping a lot of homeschool moms plan their kindergarten day, one thing a lot of them had in common was over planning academic subjects.
Let me back up first and tell you how I felt when I started homeschooling kindergarten with my first son, Mr. Senior 2013.
I wished that I could say that I was reasonable, balanced and unafraid when I started with my kindergartner. I was not.
I was terrified that if I didn’t start the formal learning part of kindergarten on time or earlier that my son was simply going to be behind and evermore I would ruin his chances for success as an adult.
Focusing on more scare tactics that I read than practical advice, I made the mistake a lot of parents do, which is to rush the part of learning that comes with kindergarten, which is to play.
It’s ugly to admit but I wasn’t the mom interested in if he was delighting in learning, I was only interested if he could prove what he was learning. Ouch.
Going one step further to reveal my twisted attitude, I thought that moms, who spent their day doing crafts with their kids didn’t have the same goals I had, which were rigorous standards. There I said it.
In my defense, though those feelings were coming out of a heart of love and wanting to be a conscientious homeschool mom because like you, I wanted the best for my son.
This is the very opposite of the way I feel today.
It is a privilege to learn and I will take a child any day with an almost unquenchable resolve to learn over one who only cares about getting finished.
Would you believe me if I told you it starts in kindergarten?
That is how important your beginnings are because you can nurture a scholar who basks in learning and then rigorous learning comes or you can raise a learner who resents academics because you feed a “show me the results” attitude only.
Part of the hard time I had in kindergarten was that my son, though I didn’t fully understand it at the time until he got around other kindergartners, was advanced for his age.
Did you know that this is common for some homeschoolers to have high achieving children?
Many times I hear moms say: “Oh you don’t understand, my son or daughter wants to sit and do schoolwork for hours and hours.” I will talk about that in just a minute.
Whatever label the public school wants to give advanced learners, which I never worried about much, I knew the subjects I did and did not do in kindergarten had a positive affect on his development.
Like I mentioned before, some of my experience was based on failures or what did not work because it was unbalanced.
However, many things and subjects I covered did work.
I have divided homeschooling kindergarten subjects or activities into two groups.
Essential Subjects to Cover When Homeschooling Kindergarten
One group, which is vital and the other group, which if you can find the energy to possibly do, adds enrichment to your kindergartner’s path and what is more creates the life long learner we all want.
Too, I have given an estimated amount of time to spend on that subject.
|20 minutes direct instructions which means 1:1 time each day. Then an unlimited amount of time exploring the sounds through hands-on crafts and movements.|
|10 minutes with direct instruction which means 1:1 time each day and showing them how to form letters. Then an unlimited amount of time enforcing the shape of the letter and strengthening fine motor skills through play and movement.|
|30 minutes with direct instruction which means having them read to you mixed with a combination of you reading to them. Then an unlimited amount of time each day as they want to read to you, listen to audio books and yet still more reading aloud by you.
|30 minutes with direct instruction which means working with them 1:1 teaching them about the basic operations. Then an unlimited amount of time reading living math books, playing games about numbers and using interactive content like iPads along with hands-on manipulatives to learn math.|
This next group of subjects is inextricably linked to a kindergartner’s development and I feel they played a valuable part in stimulating the intellectual growth of my sons.
- Art, music and gymnastics.
Art stimulated imagination and fed their creativity.
Music played an important in stimulating math and science thinking skills and gymnastics helped to strengthen their motor skills for both large gross skills and fine motor skills.
My reason for dividing out the groups in this manner is because when you are overwhelmed taking care of so many littles, you need the assurance that if you just do the vital subjects that your kindergartner will still have a huge head start.
I am sure you noticed by now that the actual direct part of teaching kindergarten only takes about 1 1/2 hours. Yes, that is it!
This is the only formal part of teaching that is needed. However, because children this age are learning with every breath they take, the rest of the day is made up of crafts, dance, movement, songs and more read aloud time to feed the spark you started for the day.
Learning at this age is intertwined with playing as it such be.
I almost made the mistake of allowing Mr. Senior 2013 to do workbook after workbooks for hours because he wanted to until I realized that by second grade I almost had a homeschool burnout.
When children are high achievers, gifted or just enjoy learning, think of long term hands-on projects or activities that can be expanded to feed their almost tireless need to learn.
Guide them to expand that learning not only takes place with seat work, but that is it more hands-on than seat down.
I have never heard an older child reflecting back say that he or she did too many crafts or interactive activities during their kindergarten years, but I have heard many who wish their moms had done more fun things and crafts.
They only have ONE year to be a kindergartner, make it memorable for the right reasons and they will remember and better yet grow up to be well-rounded out high achieving homeschoolers.
How many subjects are you covering in kindergarten? Do you need some help? Post them here and I don’t mind a bit looking them over.
Hugs and love ya,
Also check out:
Teaching Homeschooled Boys How to Read – When to Panic!
Do you want to see some of what I used in kindergarten?
I look fondly at these products like Dr. Maggie’s Phonics readers because this set was my very first set and Alpha Omega Horizons phonics challenged us.