Homeschooling can seem intimidating if you’re new to the idea, and that’s why I created the Ultimate Guide to Kindergarten Homeschool! Learn everything you need to know about getting started!
Kindergarten is such an exciting time for both parents and students!
But maybe the idea of homeschooling is completely new to you, or maybe you’ve been researching the topic for a while and have finally decided to pull the trigger.
Either way, this guide is designed to make kindergarten homeschooling a breeze!
Getting Started with Homeschooling Kindergarteners
State Requirements and Regulations
The first step in the homeschool process is to find and understand your state’s requirements. This will help you decide which curriculum and schedule will work best for you and your family.
Some states have many regulations while others are more lenient. Below you can find some of the elements your state may require.
- Standardized testing
- Designated subjects and hours of instruction
- Educational requirements including who can lead a homeschool
- Recordkeeping such as attendance, immunization, portfolios, instruction plans, etc.
To find more legal information and state specific homeschooling resources, you can visit your state’s website or their department of education website.
Choosing a Method
While homeschooling (and choosing your own curriculum) is legal in every state, you will want to see if you are required to conduct “instruction equivalent to the public schools.” This will be a huge factor in deciding which homeschool style you will want to embrace.
Generally speaking, there are several main types of homeschooling methods, with the most common approach being the Traditional homeschooling style.
Since your homeschooling style will depend on the goals you have for your child, there is not really a one size fits all approach. Some families only complete kindergarten homeschool, and then decide to send their child to regular school.
If that is your plan, the traditional method would be the best choice as it’s most like the “regular” school setting.
Types of Homeschooling Styles
Because there are so many different homeschool styles, I want to break down each one to give you a better sense of what each means and which is going to be right for your family.
Traditional Homeschooling (School at Home)
This style, as mentioned, is what most kids are already familiar with if they’ve attended school because it looks very similar to the traditional classroom. This was the approach I took the first few years my boys were at home.
Your home classroom resembles a regular classroom, and oftentimes you use some of the same resources as public and private school teachers have. The schedule is pretty structured (and sometimes even rigid), and testing and assessments align with those that are being given in the classroom.
Parents who are just starting out really lean towards this option because it seems familiar and there are a ton of places to get “all-in-one” curriculum packages. These packages include all of the materials you need without you having to come up with lesson plans on your own.
The Montessori method is less focused on academics and more child-centric. What makes the Montessori approach different from others is that as the parent, you are more of a facilitator in the learning process. You set up the environment so that the child leads his/her own learning.
Since this style of homeschooling is more of a philosophical approach, there is no “right” curriculum, basically just recommendations. However, this homeschooling style calls play “work” because children are learning real life skills daily.
Most Montessori curricula are hands-on, and since no students learn the same things at the same time students have more freedom in their learning style. If creating a Montessori homeschool is something you’d like to learn more about, I highly recommend Montessori in Real Life.
In this particular homeschooling method, there is a high emphasis on age-appropriate learning, art, music, gardening, and foreign language (especially during the elementary age group).
Exploration, learning through play, and simply experiencing the natural world are highly valued. This style of homeschooling is relatively inexpensive and there are tons of free resources across the Internet that can be used.
If you like this approach, but need it to be just a little more formal, their style recommends teaching children in blocks of 3-6 weeks per subject. So rather than changing subjects on a daily basis, they would learn one subject (in-depth) for several weeks, and then switch.
Using this approach, students learn through three different phases: the grammar stage, the logic stage, and the rhetoric stage often referred to as the Trivium model. This homeschooling style is based on cycles of information that is often learned in chronological order.
The grammar stage (grades K-4) is the foundation of learning where methods are based on memorization (usually through songs) and repetition in the 4 major subjects. And although it seems as though they are learning a lot of random information, this memorization will be the foundation for the next stage.
Typically around 5th grade, students move to the logical phase where learning the “why” is the primary goal. This is where they start to dive deeper into and build on the content they learned in the grammar stage.
At the rhetoric stage (grades 9-12), students will take what they have learned previously in order to validate their reasoning and opinions and focus highly on communication.
In this homeschooling approach there is also a heavy focus on the Latin language, reading, and training their minds to be able to adequately analyze and make conclusions.
If you’re interested in this type of approach, consider becoming part of your local Classical Conversations homeschool group. It isn’t cheap, but it is an excellent program!
Unschooling is actually pretty unique and if you’re new to the homeschooling world you probably aren’t familiar with it. This style of education is driven by the student’s interests rather than by a defined curriculum.
Students stay more engaged because they are exploring and experimenting with things that they take interest in rather than just showing up for school.
You can be as formal or as informal as you want in this specific method. Some parents choose to pick out some subjects that they want their students to really have a grasp on,and then let their child’s interests define the rest.
The Charlotte Mason Method
This homeschooling style is taken from the Classical style of homeschooling and is often Christian-based. It falls somewhere in the middle of the homeschool style spectrum. It is more structured than Waldorf or Unschooling, but not as structured as the Traditional or Classical approaches.
Some find this method less contemporary because it’s highly book-based with a strong emphasis on biographies and literature. Many parents incorporate outside resources to cover other topics like math.
This style is typically fairly inexpensive, and is based on journaling and portfolios as opposed to testing.
This homeschooling method combines multiple subjects into a time-specific overview.
The idea behind this is to learn in-depth and master each topic as opposed to covering a little bit of information in a lot of different subjects. In most cases,students are engaged to the point of mastery since the content is deeply focused on topics they enjoy.
There are many low-cost and free resources for this homeschooling style and parents often determine the student’s goal or expected outcome before presenting the content. That way, the topics are specific to the child’s individual interests.
This is a more relaxed method that is often incorporated into other homeschooling styles. Instead of choosing an “all in one” boxed curriculum, many parents like to use a few resources from here and some from there.
The schedule is usually more formal in the mornings with the afternoon open for more interest-based activities.
This particular approach is a good way to start your kindergarten homeschool journey since you are trying to determine what schedule works best, what your student’s strengths and weaknesses are, and how to adapt to a plan that makes sense for your whole family.
What Subjects are Taught in Kindergarten?
While the subjects taught in Kindergarten are largely dependent upon the legal requirements of your state, these are the subjects required in some form or fashion in almost every state.
- Reading and Writing
You can also add any additional content that you want your child to pursue including Bible, foreign languages, Social Studies, or interest-based subjects. But the most important thing children need at this age is time to play.
Because you are choosing to homeschool, you can create a learning environment that works best for your child’s needs.
Is There a Schedule That Works Best for Kindergarteners?
The best kindergarten homeschool schedule is going to be unique to each child.
While in a traditional school setting there is only one schedule, this is where homeschool is a major benefit. You have the flexibility to work around your personal and business schedules and also determine when your child works best.
This could be short bursts of learning followed by free time or one solid schedule that you work through each day. Just remember that no schedule has to be set in stone. You can always try out one schedule at a time and build off of that.
Kindergarten Learning Objectives
When it comes to homeschooling kindergarteners, your personal goals for your child may be different from these common learning objectives.
The important thing to remember is that these are guidelines and objectives that will help your child be ready for first grade…especially if he/she goes back to a traditional school setting next year.
No matter what method of learning you choose, your child should have mastered these skills by the end of the year. Your child should be able to…
- Recognize and understand all letters and their sounds
- Being able to distinguish between upper and lower case letters
- Solve simple addition and subtraction problems
- Recognize sight words
- Comprehend a story while listening
- Understand the basic parts of a story
- Put events into a basic sequence
- Count to 20 and recognize written numbers
Additional Tips for Homeschooling Kindergarten
- Read to your child for 20-30 minutes a day. This is such an important part of their learning because it helps them build a solid foundation and teaches them that reading is fun. Learn more about the benefits of reading aloud.
- Be flexible. A huge benefit of homeschooling is the ability to adapt your homeschool to the needs of your child. And remember, learning doesn’t always have to be formal.
- Incorporate field trips. Not only are they fun for your children, they help them to see things from different perspectives. (And let’s be honest, the change of scenery is always appreciated!)
- Take breaks as needed. When you see that your kindergartener is becoming antsy, less engaged, or frustrated, it’s okay to take a break and re-group.
More Homeschooling Resources You’ll Love:
- 65 Free Printables for Preschool – 3rd Grade
- Beginner’s Guide to Year-Round Homeschooling
- Why I Homeschool? The Unlikely Story from a Former Teacher
The scariest part of the whole process for most parents is worrying that they aren’t doing it right. But the good news is that there is no PERFECT was to do kindergarten homeschool. You know your child and you will be your child’s very best teacher!