I recently spent many hours poring over homeschool curriculum catalogs, searching for the perfect kindergarten curriculum for my son. I was really impressed with much of the available kindergarten curriculum… however, I was not impressed with homeschool company prices! The curriculum I loved the most was $800! There is no way I have that kind of money for kindergarten homeschool books, so I knew I didn’t have long to come up with a better alternative.
I have several odds and ends kindergarten homeschool workbooks that I’ve been picking up at thrift stores over the past couple of years, so I decided to take inventory. Using some kindergarten homeschool curriculum that my sister-in-law sent me, I compiled a list of subjects that would be appropriate for kindergarten: Bible, Phonics, Math, Literature, History, Penmanship, Science, Art, and P.E. I made a page in my homeschool notebook for each of these subjects and, using the resources I had compiled, listed what activities, books, or worksheets I already had in each category. I was able to see that in some subjects, I already own more than enough resources to effectively homeschool in kindergarten. Some of the pages were a little bare, so I did some creative brainstorming to fill in the blanks. I thought of household activities that could be done to promote kindergarten learning, and I also listed those under the appropriate subject headings (things like counting money and measuring sand). Then I headed to WalMart, where I spent a nominal amount to complete the perfect kindergarten homeschool curriculum for my son. I make copies on my scanner of a few of the workbook pages so that my preschooler can learn, too!
1. Bible — Almost any family who makes it priority to teach their children the Bible has plenty of resources already in their home which would be excellent for kindergarten homeschool. My children have several Bible story books; and my husband and I are over our children’s church ministry, so we have many resources as well. Even if you don’t have access to these things, you can simply read the Bible to your children and teach them a weekly memory verse and perhaps a character trait. Bible study can easily be incorporated into kindergarten homeschool.
2. Phonics — As I mentioned earlier, I already had several kindergarten homeschool books that I got cheaply at thrift stores. Many of these were kindergarten phonics books from A Beka and other homeschool curriculum publishers. One of the best thrift store resources I have is an old book published by Carson & Delosa in 1979! I filled in the blanks from WalMart by purchasing a standing pocket chart with letters, pictures, and word cards (cost: about $7), an ABC Bingo game ($3), and a workbook called 101 Things to Know About Reading. I also got two giant (over 320 pages plus stickers) workbooks for $3 each, one each for my sons in preschool and kindergarten, that have worksheets for every subject. I have several puzzles and packs of flashcards purchased at thrift stores and on eBay that are great for drilling in several subjects, especially math and phonics. These are perfect for kindergarten homeschool.
3. Math — Again, I had a couple of kindergarten homeschool workbooks that had math skills; but my children actually learn best by other means than worksheets. I listed some activities such as counting money, using a tape measure and ruler, telling time (with a normal household clock), measuring sand and water with measuring cups, listing and memorizing important phone number, and learning to count by 5’s/10’s/20’s, etc. We are also continually counting things in our family: cars, traffic signs, steps, buttons on clothes, etc.; so my children learned to count at a very early age. This makes for a great kindergarten homeschool foundation. I did splurge and order a Mathtacular DVD from Sonlight which uses manipulatives and everyday items to teach kindergarten math. It was $30 and I believe well worth it. I also picked up write-on/wipe-off addition and subtraction cards at WalMart, and I already owned many puzzles and flashcard sets. I believe I have a better homeschool kindergarten curriculum than many pricey companies.
4. Literature — This is very easy for kindergarten homeschool; just read to your kids! We have tons of books in our home, which we select from daily; and of course, we often utilize our local library. I made a list of the recommended Sonlight books, and we plan to borrow many of those from the library as well. I also bid on some large lots of kindergarten-appropriate books on eBay and was able to get many for well under a dollar. You don’t need kindergarten homeschool curriculum at all to cause your child to love reading; just go to the library!
5. History — This is one area where I did not already own a lot of resources for kindergarten homeschool, but so much information can be found on the internet and at the library. We are gearing up to study the history of Labor Day and do a few activities along those lines. I also purchased a magnetic map of the United States so that my sons in preschool and kindergarten can begin to master geography in homeschool at an early age. Sing n Learn has some awesome audio resources that I plan to order, as soon as I can afford to, that make great supplements to your kindergarten homeschool curriculum.
6. Penmanship — One of the first things to master in kindergarten homeschool is how to properly hold a pencil and how to color in the lines. Proper practice will improve your kindergartener’s motor skills, and then you can get down to business. I purchased some lined paper appropriate for kindergarten writing as well as a similar write-on/wipe-off board and cards. My kindergarten child has already mastered writing his name, his brother’s name, his phone number, the entire alphabet, and several words prior to starting kindergarten. During church services I encourage him to write the words “God” or “Jesus” every time the pastor says those words. It’s so great being a homeschool family; you can learn and teach absolutely anywhere!
7. Science — There are so many phenomenal things all around us that we should take advantage of teaching in our homeschool kindergarten. My in-laws recently had a milkweed bush covered in caterpillars. They put three of them in a jar, and we were able to observe their entire transformation into beautiful monarch butterflies! My mother-in-law took some awesome pictures, and we will never forget that fascinating homeschool science project. Usborne has some tremendous books such as one we love, Everyday Things, that teach many science topics appropriate for kindergarten homeschool. I also purchased the DVD Science Discover & Do for about $16.95 that has about 100 awesome science experiments for kindergarten.
8. Art — There are tons of cheap ideas that we’ve brainstormed for kindergarten homeschool art projects: paper bag puppets, sock puppets (got to use those stray socks!), stamping, handprints and fingerprint critters, paper plates animals, shaving cream writing, sidewalk chalk, colors & shapes bingo, painting plaster of paris figurines, and so much more. One thing we like to do is lay the boys down on a huge piece of newsprint, trace their bodies, and let them draw in and color their eyes, nose, clothes, etc. You can probably think of many more homeschool kindergarten art projects; please share them with me in the comments below!
9. P.E. — We have an exercise time that consists of jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, etc. My three boys are very active; and we daily participate in activities such as yard work, soccer, basketball, catch, dodge ball, riding bikes, volleyball, and playing with a huge ball. I also bought a tremendous book on eBay called Homeschool Family Fitness. It is great for any homeschool family, from kindergarten on up.
Every evening I simply have to spend about 10 minutes filling out the next days lesson plans for each subject in my notebook and gathering the needed supplies. I believe that at the end of this year, my kindergarten son as well as my preschooler will have a tremendous homeschool education… without me having to spend $800 on curriculum!