How to Homeschool Kindergarten

by Kimberley McGee
Homeschool kindergarten kids doesn't have to be hard or expensive.

Friends who are still in the public school or who are just starting out have asked what we used each year by age and grade, depending on how you style your homeschool. You can homeschool kindergarten kiddos easily, affordably and with confidence.I’ve put together a good list of the curriculum we’ve tried and loved when the twins were little for each grade so far (we’re going into 5th but we’ve used curriculum through 7th grade and high school).

I’ll add 1st grade – 5th grade this week. I have discounts on curriculum and local play places for all ages in the weekly newsletter!

The best thing about homeschool is that it’s about the child, their learning style and what works best for the family. What works for us may not work for you. We found that cherry-picking from different reviews helped us when we were first starting out. Find what works best for your kinder kiddo and use this as a guide to keep you focused on most of the basics they need. Have a busy basket available for child-led learning. We also started our subscription boxes around this time. For around $10-$15 a month, we get new education-based boxes that cover all the major skills and subjects they need to be learning, and keeps them highly entertained. 

Requirements to Homeschool Kindergarten

Each state is different in its requirements to homeschool kindergarten. In Nevada, the education requirements are:

  • English (reading, writing, and composition)
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies (history, geography, economics, and government)

You don’t have to send in a Notice of Intent to homeschool until your child is aged 7 or has previously been enrolled in a Nevada public school.

How to Homeschool Kindergarten

What We Found Helpful

If your little one is getting ready to go to kinder, you may feel overwhelmed with all there is to teach them. Remember you don’t have to do it all at once. Kids only have an attention span of about 15 minutes at this age, so don’t overwhelm them in your homeschool kindergarten. They will get it on their own. Don’t push them or rush them. Have fun and they will, too.

This is a magical time for both of you and your family. Enjoy it and take this opportunity to form a bond that will last through the difficult years when they will need you more than ever.

Since they were old enough to grab books off the table at Barnes and Noble or Costco, we’ve had them involved in their homeschool. They play a big part in choosing curriculum each year. When the kids can choose something that sparks their interest, you are making your homeschool easier and a joy for all involved.

The library is a great place to start. Read books about the months of the year, days of the week, state birds or whatever floats your boat. Get the basics in, and go with whatever new idea has grabbed their attention. We did a lot of weather and building books, which tend to include math and critical thinking.

Skills Needed to Learn in Kindergarten

Here’s the long, boring, dry list of things kids should learn in Kindergarten. Every child is different, every learning style requires a different kind of approach and not every concept will be checked off the list for most kids. They’ll get it eventually with patience and tailoring the curriculum you use to the way that they best learn information.

  • Listening
  • Taking turns
  • Alphabet
  • Basic features of letters and words
  • Recognize and provide rhyming words
  • Read simple books
  • Write letters and simple words
  • Communicate via drawing, writing, listening and responding out loud appropriately
  • Write and recognize upper- and lowercase letters
  • Match letters to sounds
  • Create rhymes with words like cat/bat
  • Recognize sight words
  • Name the nouns or ideas in a picture
  • Connect numbers with appropriate amount in a picture
  • Simple addition, such as 2 apples + 2 apples = 4
  • Add and subtract numbers 1 through 10

Books, Boxes and Best Practices

Here’s what you’ve been really looking for. Forget that big list above and just concentrate on what you and your child enjoy doing, in my opinion. I have a twin who hates reading, but loves being read to snuggled in and sleepy. Her twin brother prefers to do the reading and has to look at the book as it’s being read to make sure you don’t miss any juicy parts. Bend to your kid’s preference, not a checklist of what they should be learning and how.

You can buy a full years’ worth of curriculum, which we did when we first started homeschooling in 3rd grade. It’s definitely less work and has all you and your child need to succeed in that age or grade. However, for our learners, I found that pulling together a curriculum based on each child’s learning style and interests made the school day go by without tears or nudges from mom or dad to get it done.

Also, look around for free worksheets you can download and print. They are great in a pinch. We used treats and coins to add and subtract, group numbers or show less and greater than. This helped them to visualize the concept.

WriteShop For the Win

WriteShop Primary

Writing has not been easy for either kids. They didn’t take to it easily or willingly. I loved handwriting since I can remember and found myself creating beautiful letters basically by myself at the table while they toddled away, bored. I turned to help with online color pages and prodded them into writing a few words about what they were coloring until I finally found Write Shop.

I was frustrated because it seemed like such an easy thing for me to teach. The full curriculum for writing got the kids writing and talking about the prompts, games, crafts and other info in the step-by-step process WriteShop provides. We are continued to use this through age 10. I liked that I knew what our writing curriculum would be and didn’t have to worry about finding new workbooks each year.

Evan-Moor is Easy, Affordable and Worthwhile

I reached out to a fellow twin mama and homeschool veteran about where we should start when we first started homeschooling. I thought she’d have a list of expensive curricula, just to start. When she said go to Evan-Moor, I was surprised.

We’d been using Evan-Moor for fun in our house since the kiddos were Pre-K. The puzzles, games, easily understood directions and large areas to write or work out math problems made it a favorite of the kids. I liked it because I could rip out the pages easily, copy a set and only had to buy one book for both kids.

The teacher’s guide is helpful and provided more ways to introduce key math and reading concepts to kids when they were struggling with the work inside the book. We also used these extras for areas where the kids wanted to know more about a subject or concept. It’s affordable and covers everything from science to geography and grammar for little ones. They go on sale quite often.

My Teaching Library

A teacher friend turned me onto this when the kids were about 2. It continues to be a great resource through elementary school. We turn to My Teaching Library when we need specific subjects to supplement our homeschool, such as Earth and Life sciences, growth mindset activities, grammar, art, social studies and all the other areas, including math, reading and language arts. My Teaching Library has worksheets and activities for all holidays, seasons and family events, like birthdays, that are affordable and fun for kids and parents. I get bored easily so I need something that is going to keep me excited as we go through our day, particularly when the kids were little. Arts and crafts is my jam! So I thought I’d be all over all the fun science and art projects. Nope. Be patient, don’t expect it to go fast and let the kids take their time if they get off track and find something interesting within the detailed projects My Teaching Library offers.

 

Build Math Skills

It only takes about 10 minutes a day. Play games with dice or a deck of cards. I have free math games for kindergarten you can download when you subscribe.

ABCya has oodles of worthwhile math games that will build their skills and keep them interested. My kids started playing ABCya around age 3 and kept with it through 2nd grade.

Hand2Mind has STEM skills kits that come with all you need to teach math to kinder. The foam manipulatives help with adding and subtracting, a concept that many kids struggle with at that age. The Build Math Fluency in 10 minutes a day is packed with all you need to teach kids more than the answer to 2+2. The supplemental program helps kiddos to detect and correct, which strengthens that math muscle. The Math Talks lets you understand where and why they may be struggling with certain math concepts and the Number Strings create a new way to think about numbers flexibly and accurately in other ways as they learn to take away and add.

Homeschooling only takes an hour or two, depending on the age of your child.

Getting kids started early if they show signs of being ahead of grade can save you some trouble. My kids were easily bored and it could be tough to find curriculum that was challenging for them at any age. We started reaching for gifted curriculum around Pre-K and found it was much easier to teach and no tears. That said, don’t push your kids. If they are fighting you and tearing up, it’s not worth it. Find what they like and take time to just play. They learn the most through play! 

Amazon is having a sale on books, textbooks, flashcards and test prep for gifted children. I love a good deal and only share what we have tried or has come highly recommended by vetted sources. I may get a few cents back on your purchase, but it doesn’t affect your price. 

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