Starting kindergarten homeschool (whether you planned on it or not)? Read on to hear about our process, resources to get started, and our chosen curricula for this year.
What do you think of when you hear the word “homeschool”?
For me, I can think of the many steady, patient, gentle-and-quiet-spirit moms I know who currently teach, or have taught at home.
But also – I never considered myself joining them. Not part of the plan. I grew up going to public school. I didn’t see any reason why my kids wouldn’t do the same.
And along came 2020. After thinking through the uncertainty of this upcoming year, the flexibility, and the reassurance that kindergarten homeschool is fairly tame – we decided to go for it.
So, kindergarten homeschool it is. But where to begin?
Homeschooling is a rabbit hole for people like me. I dove deep into all the opinions and research and resources out there. Suddenly learning philosophies, learning styles, teaching styles, and curriculum choices became VERY VERY IMPORTANT.
Are you in that boat? Take a deep breath, and relax, Mama.
Here are some resources that were so helpful for me.
This list from TheHomeSchoolMom shares the different homeschool learning philosophies, so you can start figuring out which curriculum to go for.
Cathy Duffy provides the most thorough Homeschool curriculum reviews on her site, and she covers any curriculum you can think of – all the ones I looked up, anyway.
Teachers Pay Teachers are lesson plans and worksheets by (you guessed it) real teachers. Some are provided free of charge. You can also find colorful free worksheets for any age level on Canva (under “worksheets”).
Pinterest all the things. There are SO MANY resources on there, including free lesson plans, worksheets, activity ideas, and more. Check out my Smart Mom Tips & Ideas Board for some of the fun ideas I’ve found.
And finally, find homeschool supplies, workbooks, and more at your local dollar store or warehouse store. Find lightly used curriculum, classroom furniture and decor at local secondhand stores.
How do I choose a kindergarten homeschool curriculum?
First, be sure to look up the homeschool laws and standards in your state. Make sure you know what the requirements are for you to teach, records you need to keep, etc.
Next, consider what you want. We all have different styles of teaching and learning. I know for me, I am not Type A. I would much rather have lessons planned for me than put together my own. My kids and I love to read together, so I was drawn to curricula with a literature focus. Hands-on activities sounded fun to me, and I knew my kids would enjoy that.
What are your preferences? Do you want a spiritual or secular-based curriculum? What is important to you for your kids to learn? Would you like more freedom in studies, or a more rigorous schedule? Try the quizzes above to give you some initial direction.
Once you have your preferences in place, start looking through some reviews. Again, Cathy Duffy is a great resource; also look through YouTube – there are many review videos there.
You can choose an all-inclusive set (we found Our Father’s World and SonLight for spiritually-focused, Book Shark for secular), or put together multiple curricula.
For our curriculum, we chose:
Teaching Language Arts Through Literature from Common Sense Media
Blossom and Root for Art, History/Geography, and Science
Do you have to have a curriculum?
Not necessarily. Check your state guidelines. It seems fairly flexible when it comes to kindergarten. You can opt to do educational activities, like reading or baking together. Grab a workbook and go through it together. Spend a lot of time outdoors in nature. Work on the basics – reading, writing, numbers, and simple math. Just a few ideas.
Why are we following a curriculum? Because I lack discipline, and I probably would drop it all after a few weeks. Real talk.
Making a laidback schedule.
I felt a little overwhelmed as I thought about how we would fill a school day like a public school day – all 6 hours of it. Luckily a friend set me straight – homeschooling for kindergarten takes between 1 to 2 hours. And since it’s your schedule, you can arrange it your way, and change as needed.
I shared our preschool at-home schedule in the spring, and while that worked for the time, we’re changing things up a bit for kindergarten. We’re currently aiming for a 4-day week.
Morning Routine (talk about the day, date, and weather)
Bible time and prayer
Reading and Language Arts
Monday: Arts and Science
Tuesday: History and Geography
Wednesday: Arts and Science
Thursday: Art Project
We’ll break it up with exercise, outdoor time, indoor play, creative time, and more.
Here’s what our daily routine will (mostly) look like:
The best part? Adjust as needed. Playing more in the morning and want to start school later? Simple. Take the whole afternoon and go on a hike? Done.
If you want to build your own schedule, download a blank version here.
How about you?
Are you starting kindergarten homeschool this year? Or trying homeschool this year, in any grade? What helped you get started?