You have decided you want to homeschool your kindergartener, but where do you start? My hope is that reading this blog post will feel like we are having a coffee date where I answer all of your questions and you walk away feeling encouraged and confident that you can do this. I hope to give you practical tools and curriculum ideas and set you on your way to an intentional year with your child.
If you are brand new to homeschooling, this blog post shares seven clear steps to getting started including educational philosophies, the legal side of things, and more.
Related: Homeschooling 101: 7 Tips to Get Started
These are the top questions I get about homeschooling kindergarten:
- How do I legally homeschool my child?
- What academic subjects should we be covering in kindergarten?
- How many hours a day does homeschool kindergarten take?
- What curriculum do you recommend/are you planning to use for your child’s kindergarten year?
I will answer all of these and more in this blog post!
Now, before I go much further, I need to be super clear about one thing. Kindergarten is such a big deal in public education. I know it can feel like this monumental occasion and that you need to have all of your ducks in a row, hit a bunch of benchmarks, and so on and so forth. Let me let you in on a little truth–homeschool kindergarten should be viewed as an invitation to learning and as a stepping stone into formal education. What does that actually mean? It means that formal lessons shouldn’t be forced at this age. It also means that everything you do with your child this kindergarten year should be an intentional step toward the following years of formal schooling.
"Homeschool kindergarten should be viewed as an invitation to learning and as a stepping stone into formal education."
Before getting caught up in curriculum choices and academics, I would suggest focusing on these five goals as top priority, and then adding some structured invitations to learning if your child is showing interest.
Five intentions/goals to focus on in your child’s preschool and kindergarten years.
- A deep love for living literature
- Unstructured, creative play
- Obedience and the ability to pay attention
- Practical life skills
- Exploration and experiences in the outdoors
Related: Homeschool Preschool: 5 Intentions for the Early Years
How do I legally homeschool my child?
Homeschool laws are regulated by each state, so you need to know what the local law requires of you and your child. Some states require a certain number of college credits from the parent who will be teaching them while others require a high school diploma. Most states will require that you officially declare your intent to homeschool and possibly name your school. Some states require attendance tracking, yearly testing, and/or a teacher’s evaluation. Some states have virtually no requirements at all. You can find out about your state’s requirements here.
What academic subjects should we be covering in kindergarten?
If you are ready to introduce some academics to your child, I recommend starting with these four subject areas for their kindergarten year:
- Handwriting/ Copywork
- Phonics/ Reading
- Literature that touches a variety of topics (Bible, history, science, nature)
Don’t try to fit in geography or history lessons, fret about grammar, or memorize facts at this age. This is a year for easing in. It’s a year to cover the basics, enjoy some reading, and spend most of the day in play!
What about beauty subjects & nature study?
While it could be optional at this age, I have found so much value in incorporating subjects like scripture, music, art study, poetry, and nature study into our home education, starting very young. Children are worthy of being exposed to truth, goodness, and beauty and it’s never too early to start. My children absolutely love the music, hand rhymes, poetry, projects, art, and more from Treehouse Nature Study.
Treehouse Nature Study can be used as the core curriculum for preschool or kindergarten. It’s so much more than nature study and includes copywork, living books, and opportunities for writing through notebooking.
Related: Using Treehouse Nature Study for Preschool to Kindergarten
How many hours a day does homeschool kindergarten take?
I recommend short “sit-times” at this age, and spread them out throughout the day. Find a curriculum that is enjoyable for both you and your child and that has short, manageable lessons. Math, handwriting, and phonics shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to an hour in total. Reading aloud varies depending on the interest and the attention span of the child. If you choose to add in art projects, nature study, and other hands-on activities like that you may spend another hour each day. To me, all of our day is learning, so it’s hard to put a timeframe on it. In an effort to give a straight answer though, I will say homeschool kindergarten should take 30 minutes to 2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week.
What curriculum do you recommend/ are you planning to use for your child’s kindergarten year?
Here are my recommendations for homeschool kindergarten curriculum, based on what I have used or researched personally. These are all good picks, but the ones with the asterisks are the ones we are personally choosing to use with our son who is turning 5 in August this year.
We are choosing to use Simply Good and Beautiful Math K because it is full of color and games, which is a perfect opportunity for connection and will make a fun transition into formal schooling. We plan to switch to Math-U-See next year for first grade.
- Handwriting without Tears - My First School Book or Kick Start Kindergarten*, depending on starting ability
- Copywork from any selection of scripture, poetry, or excerpts from books*
- Morning Time Calendar, weather, and name tracing*
We will begin each day with our Homeschool Morning Time where we use the Morning Time Bundle to trace the day's date and their name. We will work through Handwriting without Tears - Kick Start Kindergarten, as well as practice letter formation using these hands-on strategies. As time goes on, we will add in copywork from Treehouse Nature Study poetry or other selections.
Related: Letter Recognition and Formation Strategies
- Explode the Code* (read my review in this post: Curriculum Review: Explode the Code)
- ABC See Hear Do*
- Dash into Learning*
We will work through all of these resources over the course of the year as he grows in his interest and abilities.
Related: How My Children Learned to Read
Reading aloud often from good, quality living picture books and chapter books is enough, but if you want to tie in some fun learning activities with your reading, I recommend using a literature-based curriculum to help guide you.
- Beautiful Feet Books
- Before Five in a Row/ Five in a Row*
High quality book lists are essential for developing your child's love for reading. I put together this booklist 100 Living Books for the Early Years with 100 selections of board and picture books, storybook collections and treasuries, poetry books your children will love, and novels that make great read-alouds for the younger years. We will also incorporate titles from Ambleside Online Year 0 Book List.
Related: Browse all of our free book lists here curated by season and age.
I plan to incorporate books and activities from Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row. We will also read aloud many, many books from both book lists (and more) this year and give him opportunities for play-based narration as much as possible.
Related: Our Favorite Preschool and Early Elementary Book Lists
I hope this post was helpful in answering some of the common questions about homeschooling your kindergartener. Ask any additional questions in the comments below!
Hi Brittany, we suggest any curriculum with movement and hands-on activities. We strongly recommend Learning without Tears for autistic children. Our nature studies have a great blend of movement and hands-on activities. We have a few free weeks available to try!
In your line of work, have you ever come across recommendations for K curriculums for autistic children?
Hi Kristen, the My First School Book is the more basic one!
I’m curious about the levels of handwriting, you mentioned that it depends on starting ability. Which level is more basic?