Kindergarten is the first stage of formal education – a transition from preschool to first grade, and an important chance to instill some of the most important study and learning habits in your children.
Unlike preschool, kindergarten homeschool is the first stage in your homeschool practice where you’ll start focusing on skills development in areas such as maths, reading, sciences, and socialization.
In this article, we’ll go over the main educational milestones a kindergartner needs to reach, and we’ll give you some ideas on how to get there.
Starting with the age of 3, children will begin to develop their language pretty fast, and they’ll also begin to work with basic numerical operations, such as adding and subtracting. Their motor development is also essential, with the basic skills such as running, climbing, dancing etc beginning to develop more thoroughly.
You’ll need to make sure your little ones will be able to do certain things before they finish kindergarten.
By the end of kindergarten, your children should be able to write and spell their first and last name, even though they may not be able to read and write fluently in general. They should also be familiar with the letters of the alphabet – just recognizing the upper and lower case forms should be enough.
Children should also be able to recognize the relationship between word and sound – things like identifying the first sound of cat, and relating that to the letter C. Writing short words such as bat, hat, car should also come easy to a kindergartner, as should recognizing basic words such as the and reading simple sentences.
Since kindergartners are pretty imaginative, retelling a story that they’ve just heard should be pretty easy – even more so if you guide them along the way.
When it comes to working with numbers, kindergartners should be familiar with the numbers up to 20 – not just counting by ones, but also identifying them, and being able to at least understand what addition and subtraction are.
Kindergartners should also be able to count to 100 by ones, fives, and tens, and to identify basic geometrical shapes such as a triangle, square, circle, and rectangle.
Your children should be pretty comfortable getting information from their environment using their five senses – that’s what they’ll naturally do, after all. They should be able to identify fruits and vegetables, as well as the most common animals.
Recognizing the eight basic colors (red, blue, yellow, orange, green, black, white, pink) is another kindergarten educational milestone.
Motor skills like using a scissor and holding a pencil correctly are also very important during this stage.
Homeschooling a kindergartener should also include plenty of opportunities for your child to be active and responsive in a social environment.
Things like taking turns, following rules, standing in line without making a fuss, sharing pencils and other materials, and understanding that each individual is important, are all important kindergarten educational achievements.
If you want to homeschool kindergarten children, the first thing you need to do is set up a routine based on the curricular area you want to target. You might want to do language and reading on certain days and at certain times, followed by exploring the environment the next day, and by mathematics and sciences.
Depending on your state regulations, you might also be required to include a minimum amount of school hours per year, but that’s generally pretty permissive.
What you need to understand is that the attention span of a kindergartner is pretty low – ranging from anywhere to 5 to 20 minutes, if you diversify the activities and keep them engaging. That’s why you’ll need to split a lesson into blocks of 15 minutes where you’ll do two or three activities, rather than just keeping your munchkin on a chair for a full 50 minutes.
When it comes to the activities you’ll be doing, make sure that they make full use of all five senses – that’s best for successful learning, and it’s also a great way to fully develop those senses. You can find plenty of interesting resources to pick ideas from in the Resources section below.
You’ll also want to focus on hands-on learning rather than just telling/explaining, and you’ll want to include plenty of opportunities for socialization – field trips with homeschooling friends, going to the park, joining different clubs etc.
All in all, homeschooling your kindergartner should be about stirring and satisfying their natural curiosity – don’t push it if you see they’re not interested, but rather stir their interest in a more discrete way. Your children may not be immediately interested in reading, but if they see you immersed in a book, they’ll likely want to know what captivated you so much, and they’ll want to be able to do that themselves.
A crucial educational stage before first grade, the kindergarten years are essential in getting the main skills that will be used throughout the rest of school.
It’s during these years that your children develop their basic abilities in areas such as mathematics and sciences, language and reading, and socialization, and you should make sure you’re being an effective guide.
For more on how to homeschool kindergarten children, check out the Resource section below.