For the parent just starting out, the first step is to learn local laws for homeschooling kindergarten-age children. The regulations vary widely between American states and Canadian provinces. The age at which schooling must start ranges from five to eight depending on the region. Some areas require strict reporting and a set amount of time of homeschool per day while others do not even require parents to indicate that they are homeschooling their child.
Homeschool Curriculum for the Kindergarten Year
With local laws in mind, parents can decide on a homeschooling style. If a parent wishes to follow a basic kindergarten curriculum, the lists below show averages between most American states and Canadian provinces.
- Show basic understanding of numbers up to ten
- Correctly use comparative words such as more, most, fewer, fewest, longer, shorter, same as, etc.
- Measure and compare length, volume, area and temperature
- Sort and name two- and three-dimensional shapes
- Recognize and create patterns
- Sort and classify concrete objects
- Tell time to the hour using both analog and digital clocks
- Demonstrate basic conversation skills (listening and speaking)
- Retell and paraphrase a story
- Recognize and print letters of alphabet
- Identify the sounds each letter makes
- Recognize initial sounds of one-syllable words
- Identify rhyming words
- Use the five senses to investigate and describe the natural and human-made environment
- Investigate and describe characteristics of common materials using descriptors such as hard, soft, rough, smooth, bright, dull, etc.
- Conduct simple investigations including communicating findings
- Investigate and understand how materials can be reused, recycled and conserved
Kindergarten Home School Ideas – Curriculum in Action
Now for the fun part: How can a parent introduce these concepts while keeping the love of learning alive? Below are simple suggestions for each of the above curriculum categories. Remember to keep it fun and play-based whenever possible.
Keep in mind that all children develop at different rates and at no time is there more of a spread between children’s abilities than in these early years. Reading readiness can vary from age three to nine. However, the age that learning a skill is started is often no indication of the age that it will be mastered nor future ability. Sometimes backing off an activity and then trying again in a few months helps.
Home Schooling Kindergarten Math Activities
- Play games. For learning numbers, card games are terrific. Start with just the numbers 1-3, removing all other cards from the deck, then slowly add a new number each week or as the child seems ready. Try fish, Uno, Skip-Bo or any favorite simple card games which use the numbers 1-10. It’s amazing how quickly kindergarten age children will recognize all the numbers with this fun approach.
- Have a variety of small objects on hand (buttons, coins, etc.). Sort and classify in many ways, by size, color, shape, etc. Make patterns and shapes with the objects. Try repeating patterns such as blue, blue, red, blue, blue, red, etc.
- While playing with coins, use the name of coins as in “five cent nickel”, “ten cent dime” or occasionally just “nickel” or “five cents” to help the child learn the denominations and their common names.
- Make or purchase a simple clock on which the hour hand can be moved (initially fix the minute hand pointing to the 12). Play various games which involve “what time is it?” This game can involve the child’s stuffies or dolls going about their day and activities. Several picture cards can be made to illustrate what the stuffies must do and the time (written numerically) for the activity. Set the clock to the time of one of the picture cards and help the child figure out what the dolls or stuffies must do.
Homeschool Reading for Kindergarten
In language skills, homeschoolers usually shine since they have a very high adult to child ratio compared to conventionally schooled children.
- Read stories and poems to child and then discuss the story.
- Create and put on plays together.
- Let children explore letters of the alphabet in many ways, by tracing in sand, finger painting, molding with playdough, before expecting them to accurately create them with a pencil.
- Cut out pictures of objects from magazines and catalogs and together try to sort them into letter piles for the initial sound they make. Start with just a few letters. For instance t, a, c, and f. Slowly introduce different letters.
- Play nonsense rhyming games, speaking or singing. (The fat cat sat on a mat eating rat.) Let silliness reign.
Kindergarten Science Activities
- Use nature as much as possible. Go on nature walks and bring collection bags. Gather samples such as leaves, cones, rocks, flowers and take photos or sketch the things that can’t (or shouldn’t) be gathered. Once home, use nature guides or the Internet to look up finds. Have the child sort the found objects into categories (alive, dead, smooth, rough, plant, mineral).
- While on walks, discuss whether various objects are human-made or natural. Discuss where the human-made materials come from.
- Gather a large number of outdoor and household objects and together classify them into types such as wood, metal, glass and liquid.
- Sprout seeds in a glass jar so the child can watch the plant sprout.
- Plant an indoor or outdoor garden.
- Keep a weather calendar keeping track of the changes in the wind, clouds, precipitation and temperature.
- Make a circular seasonal calendar that illustrates the cycle of the four seasons.
Keeping Learning for the Kindergarten Year Fun
By keeping learning for the kindergarten year play-based and catering to the young child’s natural curiosity, the kindergarten year can help plant the seeds for a love of life-long learning. All that is required on the parent’s part is patience, enthusiasm and a love of being his or her child’s guide.
Homeschool Preschool: Creating a Love of Learning Through Fun Preschool Activities
Life Skills for Kids how to help children develop the capabilities to be successful adults
Griffith, Mary. The Homeschooling Handbook. Three Rivers Press. 1999.
Holt, John. How Children Learn. Da Capo Press. 1967.