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Kindergarten Homeschool: How to Start Right, Keep it Simple, and Have Fun!
We’ve seen the Facebook questions and heard the fear about homeschooling kindergarten. Yes, you’ve been teaching your children since the day they were born, but now it seems so “official”. We want to encourage you! Your kindergarten homeschool doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming or intimidating.
That’s why we’ve put together our best tips for starting right, keeping it simple, and above all else, making it fun!
Start Off Right
Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. One thing marathoners do is set themselves up for success from the very start. They know the truth of the old saying, “slow and steady wins the race.” Let’s take a few lessons from them!
- Know your why. Marathon runners need to have a “big why” if they are going to persevere. As you get started, knowing your homeschooling why will help you stay motivated when things get tough. It will guide you as you make decisions and recalculate along the way. Your children’s kindergarten year is the perfect time to really be thinking about what you want your homeschool to look like in the coming years.
- Get your “Teacher Training”. Running a marathon isn’t as simple as just going outside and running. Instead athletes train both their physical bodies and their minds. You need to put some training time in as well. We’ve put together some of our favorite resources to help.
- Work on habit forming. We often hear this in relation to our kids, and that’s definitely important. Let’s not stop there though… work on your own habits as well! For example, do you struggle to get going in the morning? Work on a morning routine that helps you start the day right. Are you frustrated at the end of the day because you have no idea what everyone will eat? Use a meal plan consistently. Choose one habit to start that will make your homeschool journey easier.
- Build focus muscles. Marathon runners don’t begin their first day running 26.2 miles, so don’t expect your kindergartener to sit for an hour doing math either. Start with short, focused lessons to build those learning muscles.
Keep it Simple
You probably grew up hearing about the “3Rs” (although all three don’t actually start with the letter R!): Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. We think these subjects make a great foundation. You’ll probably want to use a routine instead of a strict schedule for your young learners, but remember these basics. And be sure to keep each of these times short—ten to fifteen minutes a day is plenty!
Remember that reading isn’t just about teaching your little ones to read themselves, but to help them develop a love of reading. That’s why we recommend reading aloud to your kids each day. They’ll hear and develop vocabulary, enjoy stories with more complicated and interesting plots, and they’ll associate reading with warm feelings of security as they cuddle on the couch with you.
When it comes to teaching the actual skill of reading, you’ll find a variety of resources—even online apps. But don’t worry if your child is reluctant. Keep reading aloud no matter what, relax, and be patient.
Some kindergarteners are ready to start a handwriting curriculum, while others need more work on their fine motor skills. Be sensitive to your children’s needs and don’t force it too soon. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to mold with clay, color, paint, and cut things out with scissors. Trace letters in the sand, use playdough to form letters, and give them sidewalk chalk to practice what they are learning.
You don’t need a formal curriculum to give your kindergarteners a strong start in math. Play games, count things as you go, do puzzles, and use concrete objects to introduce simple addition and subtraction problems. You can do this as you go about your day, saying things like “I have three apples. If you eat one for a snack, how many apples will I have left?” You’ll also find some excellent math picture books at your local library or check out some of our favorites.
Kindergarten Homeschool Delight Directed Studies
Besides these foundational skills, we are big fans of delight directed study for little ones. Make it a habit to go to the library each week and explore fun picture books about all kinds of topics from dinosaurs to historical events. Incorporate poetry teatime and nature study often. And don’t forget to leave plenty of time for your kids to learn through play because kids learn best when they…
Have Fun Homeschooling Kindergarten
Provide plenty of time for building with blocks, running outside, going to the park, and pretending. Listen to the wisdom of Fred Rogers,
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”