How To Start Homeschooling Kindergarten

Homeschooling kindergarten for the first time may be a little intimidating. Which subjects should you teach? How do you find the right homeschool curriculum? Can I really teach my child to read?

When my youngest was in kindergarten I did some homework of my own. I'll share what I learned so you can see how easy it is to get started.

But first...

The Dilemma

What's the best way to teach kindergarten?

Although my 2 older children had been homeschooling for over 5 years, they both attended kindergarten in public school.

They had already been learning at home with phonics flash cards, memory and word games, and CD-ROM learning games. I had also read to them since they were babies, accumulating a small library of children's books in the process.

But when it came time to choose a kindergarten program for my youngest I wanted one that would give her "the best" foundation for first grade reading, writing, and math.

So I asked experienced homeschool parents for their recommendations. Answers varied from A Beka curriculum to Hooked On Phonics to basic activity workbooks. Quite a difference in teaching styles and prices.

I learned that there are many options out there and what's "best" for one child is not necessarily a good choice for another, even within the same family.

You must decide if and when your child is ready to start reading and writing based on maturity level.

Some are happy to complete writing assignments, especially if they're trying to be like the older siblings, but most 4 and 5 year olds can't sit still for very long. If you have one of those (as I do), you may want to take a more relaxed, classical approach to homeschooling kindergarten.

The Classical Style

Just schedule 30 minutes or so of structured school time and cover the basics - reading, writing, and math.

Then take advantage of informal learning opportunities throughout the rest of the day.

For example, my 5 year old loves to hide plastic Easter eggs year round. (I hope she's not the only one!) So I turned a simple egg hunt into an addition and subtraction game.

"We've found 4 eggs but we started with 10. How many more do we need to find?" She loves to solve problems this way. Just remember to do an egg count before you begin!

For more information on the classical approach to homeschooling kindergarten, I recommend reading...

306708: The Well-Trained Mind: A 
Guide to Classical Education at Home, Revised and Updated Third Edition The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Revised and Updated Third Edition

In this book, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise give you step by step instructions to create a challenging, well-rounded education from preschool through high school. It's been a valuable tool in my homeschool library.

Traditional Curriculum

You may prefer a more traditional approach using a kindergarten curriculum set such as Weaver by Alpha Omega Publishers, Bob Jones, A Beka, and many others.

A complete set can include subjects such as reading, phonics, spelling, math, science, social studies, and Bible study.

If you're homeschooling kindergarten for the first time, this could be a way to get your feet wet.

Ask other homeschoolers for their recommendations.

What did they like or dislike about their kindergarten curriculum? Where did they purchase it?

Then, to compare the different programs, you can flip through curriculum catalogs and visit book distributors' web sites.

They have an assortment of textbooks and materials from many different publishers. A tremendous amount of information can be gathered from just a few web sites.

When I'm trying to make a decision on a new curriculum, I read the descriptions and reviews of those that look promising on the following sites:

Still not satisfied? Then...

Design Your Own Curriculum

Choose several different programs to create your own unique curriculum. For example: Put Saxon Math and Horizons Phonics and Reading with McRuffy Science.

You can even combine the classical style education with traditional.

I follow the guidelines for history, literature, and fine arts in The Well-Trained Mind, but I also use traditional textbooks and CD-ROMs for math, science, and electives.

To get started, check out Homeschool Curriculum Basics.

Whatever you decide...

Make Learning Fun!

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