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.
I always prefer giving you specifics, which were way more helpful to me than 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 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 I 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. I wanted 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.
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. I was told at public school that he was gifted as the term was used then.
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.
Essential Subjects to Cover When Homeschooling Kindergarten
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.
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.
Before I give you estimates for the formal part of learning, one important point to remember is that kids this age are learning with every breath.
That is why playing outside, nature, and plenty of time for arts and crafts is part of a learning. They are just as important IF not more so depending on your child’s development for learning.
|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 like I mentioned play 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.
Learning Through Play – Vital to Kindergarten.
It’s called Developmentally Appropriate
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.
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.
Look at some wonderful, detailed tips for teaching young kids:
- Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3
- Teaching Homeschooled Boys How to Read – When to Panic!
- What You’ve Got To Know About Teaching Reading Comprehension
- Awesome Reading Aloud Tracking Time Homeschool Form
- 5 Easy Steps to Putting Together Your Own Homeschool Phonics Program
- Homeschool Organization – Preschool/Kindergarten Free Morning Routine Flip Cards
- How To Get Your First Homeschooled Child Reading
- How Early Should I Begin Homeschooling My First Child? (and checklist)
- How to Know What A Homeschooled Child Should Learn Yearly?
- Help! I Can’t Teach My Homeschooled Child How to Read – 5 Step Checklist
- 35 Simple But Powerful American History Homeschool Resources K to 12
- The BEST Resources for Teaching Art at Home (K to Gray)
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 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.
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.
Also, be sure to look at my Amazon Store where I have subjects organized for you on things I’ve used through the years.
Hugs and love ya,