I was terrified.
Excited, sure, but mostly terrified. Because the question of how to homeschool Kindergarten was consuming my every thought.
After months of consideration, weighing the pros and cons, consulting with friends, doing hours of research, and making list after list, my husband and I had made our decision.
We were going to homeschool Kindergarten.
So considering my fear and insecurities, what in the world led us to this unconventional decision?
Honestly, it wasn’t any ONE specific thing, but a handful of values, ideals, and gut feelings that all ended up pointing to homeschooling as the best choice for our family.
First, we weren’t pleased with our local public schooling options and private school wasn’t realistically within our budget.
Second, the more we learned about homeschooling, the more appealing the freedom, flexibility, and creativity sounded.
Third, we valued our family time and felt reluctant to surrender this time in order to fit within a predetermined school schedule.
And fourth, we simply didn’t feel ready to send our daughter to Kindergarten. The timing just didn’t feel right. It felt premature and forced.
Our gut feeling nudged us to reconsider the traditional brick and mortar options and intuition whispered to give the unconventional homeschooling path a try.
So armed with research, countless lists, intuition, and a fair share of terror, we made our final decision.
We were going to homeschool Kindergarten.
After making this decision, I reminded myself that we were allowed to change our minds and that we didn’t need to commit to homeschooling forever. We would make a plan for the year, give it our all, make adjustments as needed, and ultimately opt for attending a brick and mortar school if we ended up deciding that homeschooling wasn’t for us.
Are you curious about homeschooling kindergarten?
If you’re considering this path for your family, but feeling overwhelmed, fearful, and are eager for guidance, please look over the following steps. This post is for you!
Here are the steps I followed while deciding whether or not to homeschool Kindergarten. These are the same steps I recommend to anyone who asks me about how they should get started.
Step #1 – Check the legal homeschooling requirements for where you live
It’s important to know that the mandatory age for beginning school varies depending on where you live. In the United States, for example, the compulsory school age is between ages five to eight, depending on the state where you reside.
For this reason, please be sure to check the compulsory school age for the state you live in!
Then you will want to check the comprehensive legal requirements for where you live.
If you live in the United States, some states do not require ANY notice of intention to homeschool, while other states have low to moderate to high regulation. It all depends on where you reside.
Please note that homeschooling is NOT legal in all countries! So again, be sure to check the legal requirements for where you live.
And if you happen to live in California, (like me!) you’re in luck because I’ve written a post, How to Homeschool in California.
Step #2 – Check the Language Arts and Math standards for where you live
Once you’ve checked the compulsory school age and legal homeschooling requirements for where you live, you’ll also want to check the Language Arts and Math standards specific to your location. If you live in the U.S., check the standards for your state.
Again, these standards vary depending on where you live so it’s a good idea to be familiar with what the standards are in your place of residence.
I like to print out a copy every year for the grades my children are currently in. This way I’m able to easily reference my state’s standards whenever I need to.
Much of the homeschooling curriculum available will specify which standards they comply with. This is handy when considering which curriculum and materials you’ll want to use.
Step #3 – Consider different homeschooling methods
There are SO many different homeschooling methods and philosophies that it can feel really overwhelming trying to understand them all!
Here’s a little reassurance if you start to feel overwhelmed: You DON’T have to follow ANY of these methods!
Honestly, you don’t!
But you may also find it helpful to look over the main types of homeschooling methods in order to see if any specific philosophies really resonate with you. This can be a great starting point for determining where you want to look for materials and curriculum.
Step #4 – Keep it Simple!
Before we go any further, I want you to take this mantra to heart: ‘Keep it Simple’!
This is an essential step to take at this point because things can start to feel overwhelming.
It’s so easy to get swept up with questions that seem all-consuming and essential, like “What is the BEST curriculum to use?!” and “How do I know if I’m meeting all of the requirements?!”
But honestly, Kindergarten is an age and stage in a child’s life when being nurtured, playing, using imagination, and creativity are of the greatest importance.
Truly, regardless of what curriculum you (do or do not!) choose to use and no matter which method or philosophy you (do or do not!) choose to follow, you are going to be just fine. Truly. As long as you approach this new homeschooling path with a sense of curiosity, adventure, and love, you will be setting your family up for success.
So take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’ve already researched the legal requirements and the Language Arts and Math standards for where you live, and you’ve also explored some of the main types of homeschooling methods.
You’re already over halfway there!
As we move forward to the next (and final) step, I want you to remember to KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE!
Step #5 – Consider your routine
First, let’s remember that we’re talking about Kindergarten.
I’m not sure about you but my Kindergarten years included a lot of coloring, painting, stories, and playing outside. In other words, there was a lot of time spent just being a little kid.
Somewhere along the way, however, a lot of formal schooling has become more academically rigorous MUCH sooner. In many places, school days have been lengthened and requirements in subjects like math and language arts are emphasized very early on.
And while this might not be a problem for some children entering Kindergarten, many kiddos simply aren’t ready for such a serious academic environment.
One of the aspects of homeschooling Kindergarten that I have treasured the most has been the ability to focus on family, friendships, nature, free time, and creative play.
What do YOU want your days to look like?
What type of rhythm and routine do you think would work well for your family, considering all of the different personalities in your home?
For example, throughout my years of homeschooling my two children, I’ve developed a rhythm that incorporates homeschooling with the seasons. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide that focuses on organization, self-care, and relationships, you may want to consider purchasing my Homeschooling with the Seasons ebook and printable Guidebook. This is the system I use each and every year for my planning purposes and it serves as my foundation, allowing me to streamline all areas of our family’s life.
Please know that your homeschooling routine and approach may look VERY different from other homeschooling families you encounter.
And this is OK! In fact, it’s completely normal.
It doesn’t mean that they’re right and our wrong, or vice versa. It simply means that you’re going about your homeschooling adventure differently. But I also know it can be helpful to have examples of possible rhythms and routines, especially while you’re dreaming and considering what you want your days to look like.
so here’s an example of what homeschooling Kindergarten looked like in our family:
When it came to reading, we had books EVERYWHERE!
Picture books, early readers, chapter books, board books from their baby years… every type of book was on our shelves.
We also visited our local public library almost weekly, attending storytime and special events, and always bringing a big bag of books home with us.
I read aloud to my kids, we took books along to have picnics in the park, we had poetry tea times, and we listened to audiobooks.
I wanted to see what resonated. What did my children gravitate towards? What environment was the most enjoyable and conducive to reading?
My top goal was to establish a creative and cozy environment at home where reading was enjoyable and fun.
That was it. That was my ultimate goal.
We spent 20-30 minutes a few days a week using Hooked on Phonics. We took our time working through the program with no set agenda. My ultimate goal was to instill a love of reading and confidence in learning.
When my youngest was around seven or eight, I learned about the program All About Reading. While I haven’t used it with my children, I have friends who have used it with great success and based on the research I’ve done, it looks like a wonderful program.
As far as writing, we kept things super simple.
During the early school years, fine motor skills are still a long way from being fully developed. So don’t panic if your child’s writing leaves a lot to be desired!
Taking time to paint, draw, do puzzles, build with Legos, and play with blocks are fantastic (and fun!) ways to develop fine motor skills and spatial awareness.
For formal writing instruction, we used Handwriting Without Tears. But just like Hooked on Phonics, we kept periods of instruction short and sweet. Usually, we would do a page or two together a few times a week.
In terms of math, I chose a curriculum called Right Start Math because it emphasized games and hands-on manipulatives. It didn’t require lots of worksheets in the early years which allowed for plenty of movement and exploration. We would generally spend less than an hour a day on math instruction.
In addition to Right Start Math, we played games and read books related to different math concepts.
Other than reading, writing, and math, what in the world did we do with our time!?!
We focused on fun, imagination, and creativity!
I outsourced a bit by enrolling my kids in a weekly nature class, seasonal swimming lessons, horseback riding lessons, and my daughter took a dance class.
We got together with a few other homeschooling families on a regular basis, had picnics at the park, beach play dates, and watched movies at home.
Basically, we prioritized natural learning by following our curiosity.
Did I make mistakes while teaching Kindergarten?
Sometimes I tried cramming in way too much which resulted in exhaustion. Other times I worried about things beyond my control. I had moments when I lost my patience. Felt overwhelmed. Doubted my abilities.
But you know what they say about hindsight…
And looking back I am SO glad that I prioritized books, art, nature, games, friends, and family. It is without a doubt, THE best decision I made when homeschooling Kindergarten.
Here’s a Review of the five steps:
- Check the legal homeschooling requirements for where you live
- Check the Language Arts and Math standards for your state
- Consider different homeschooling methods
- Keep it simple!
- Consider your routine
Do you have any other questions about how to homeschool Kindergarten? If so, let me know in the comments below!