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There is a lot of anxiety about how to homeschool kindergarten for the first time. I get it. In public school families, starting kindergarten can be a huge lifestyle change, so we assume that it should be a big change in our homeschools too.
I get emails all the time from concerned kindergarten parents that worry:
- Is it okay if my kindergartner wants to play all day?
- What do I really need to teach for kindergarten?
- Is it okay if our kindergarten schedule doesn’t take up much time?
- How can I figure out what my child needs to learn this year?
I wish I could reach through the computer and give those mamas a hug. They usually know that they can make their homeschool look different than public school, but are not sure how different is okay.
I will break down exactly what to teach in your homeschool kindergarten.
Homeschool kindergarten requirements vary by state. Be sure to check into your state laws to see if there are any specific requirements. Some states require certain topics be taught every year. It will save frustration and ease nerves to be clear on your homeschool laws before beginning to homeschool.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that can be taught in kindergarten. It is just meant as a resource for parents who would like a bit of guidance and structure on how to homeschool kindergarten.
Is it okay to do more than is on this list?
Is it okay to do less than is on this list?
Teach kindergarten (and everything, really) at your child’s pace.
What Do I Really Need to Teach in My Homeschool Kindergarten?
Kindergarten Social Skills
- Taking turns
- Sharing (Sharing is really a form of taking turns.)
- Being a good friend
- Identifying feelings (their own and those of others)
- Using whatever manners you feel are important in your family
Kindergarten Language Arts
- Listen to a variety of stories and poems
- Retell a story (beginning, middle, and end)
- Identify characters, setting, and main event of a story
- Differentiate between letters, words, and sentences
- Understand the role of the author and illustrator
- Compare and contrast characters and stories
- Recognize and name all uppercase and lowercase letters
- Print uppercase and lowercase letters
- Know all letter sounds
- Master sight words
- Read CVC words (consonant – vowel – consonant)
- Identify the parts of a book (front cover, back cover, and title page)
- Follow the words on a page (left to right and top to bottom)
- Identify rhyming words
- Count the number of syllables in words
- Identify the beginning, middle, and final letters in words
- Compose fiction and nonfiction through drawings, dictation, and writing
- Understand end of sentence punctuation marks
- Capitalize beginning of sentences and names
- Count to 100
- Count backwards from 10 to 1
- Read and write numerals 1 – 20
- Add sums up to 10
- Subtract differences less than 10
- Sort objects by attributes (big, small. red, blue, etc.)
- Identify shapes
- Recognize coins
- Days of the week
- Months of the year
- Create and read picture graphs
- Classify objects based on observable characteristics
- Identify types of weather
- Seasons of the year
- Five senses
- Basic needs of plants and animals
Kindergarten Social Studies
- Use a map to identify your city, state, and country
- Differentiate land and water on globes and maps
- Understand needs versus wants
That is it!
I compiled this list of kindergarten objectives by consulting several state standards and measuring them against my own experience as a classroom and homeschool kindergarten teacher.
How to Homeschool Kindergarten
Now that you have a list of educational goals for the year, let’s look at how to teach them.
Many of the kindergarten objectives will be taught through daily life experiences. Kids learn how to identify the parts of a book by sitting on their parents laps and reading books together. Counting is taught every time we count crackers or grapes at snack time. They learn to identify types of weather by going outside year round.
Play-Based Unit Studies
Play-Based unit studies are a fantastic way to homeschool kindergarten. The activities are fun, so kids actually want to do them. Play-based learning has even been shown to improve attitudes about learning at later ages.
The beauty of a play-based unit study is that it teaches multiple academic areas centered around one interesting theme.
Choose a topic and then add in plenty of books and activities. Pinterest is full of awesome themed activities.
As an example, let’s plan a unit study on farms:
- Check out fiction and nonfiction books about farms and farm animals from the library
- Retell our favorite farm stories using pictures or finger puppets
- Compare and contrast different farm stories
- Find alphabet tiles in a dried corn sensory bin. Use those letters to build sight words
- Count out syllables of farm words by clapping each syllable
- Write a sentence or story about a favorite farm animal using proper capitalization and punctuation
- Sort farm animals (toy or paper) according to various characteristics
- Count the farm animals
- Count out dried corn kernels to pretend to feed chickens (or go visit a farm and count out animal feed)
- Create a pretend farm with toys. Make block fence around the farm. Measure the block fence.
- Identify shapes in pictures or illustrations of farms
- Make farm animal art using paper shape cut outs
- Visit a farm and identify the needs of the animals
- Put animal life cycle cards in order
- Grow a vegetable garden
- Draw a farm in different seasons
- Locate farms on a map
A ton of learning objectives were met while having fun and playing!
A homeschool kindergarten curriculum is certainly a valid way to teach, especially if you are nervous about leaving missing something important. Many homeschool parents worry about teaching their kids to read.
Learning to read is made up of lots of little steps, and while it certainly possible to teach without a curriculum, sometimes it is helpful to have all of the steps laid out for you.
The All About Reading curriculum contains everything you need to teach reading. Depending on your child, you will start with either pre-reading or level 1. Try the placement test to help you decide which one is right.
I hope this reassures you that teaching kindergarten is not as difficult as it sometimes seems. Homeschooling kindergarten does not mean your child needs to sit at the kitchen table doing worksheets for hours a day. Giving your child a developmentally correct kindergarten experience is an amazing gift.