“What have I done??”
That was the question I asked myself as I desperately googled ‘tips for homeschooling Kindergarten’ a few days after deciding to homeschool my daughter.
I was equal parts panic and excited. I knew this was a good idea, but I was also a little terrified I would totally mess it up and her entire academic career would be ruined.
Homeschooling that first year can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. After 8 years of homeschooling, I’ve learned a few things through trial and error.
In this post, I’m sharing 15 tips for homeschooling Kindergarten to help you have a relaxed, but successful school year.
Ready to get started?
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15 Tips for Homeschooling Kindergarten
I’ve homeschooled 2 kids through Kindergarten and I’m getting ready to start with my 3rd child in a few months. Each of my children has pretty different learning styles, so Kindergarten has looked different for them.
However, there are common tips for homeschooling Kindergarten that apply no matter where your child is starting or their particular learning style.
1. Don’t Reproduce Public School
My first tip for homeschooling Kindergarten is to make sure you don’t try to reproduce public school at home. This is a trap that many new homeschoolers fall into.
When the only schooling experience you have is public school, it can be easy to think that particular system is the only way to do it.
Here is something you need to understand though, the public school system is all about crowd control. The teachers spend as much time, if not more, just trying to keep all the kids organized and not running around acting crazy.
At home, that’s not something you need to worry about.
What might take a teacher 30-40 minutes to teach a class of 25 students, you can probably teach your own child in about 5-10 minutes.
Here are some things you don’t need to worry about doing:
- Having a strict 8 hour school day.
- Busy work that you’re child has already mastered.
- Teaching every single Kingergarten subject you come across.
- Making your child sit still until all their work is done.
2. Make Lots of Time for Free Play
Another important tip for homeschooling kindergarten is to make lots of time for free play. Lots and lots of time.
Play is how children learn. It’s how they test and explore new concepts that their little, growing brains are trying to understand.
At this age, children focus so much better when they have lots of time to freely explore and experience their environment.
Get Outside a Lot
Kindergarteners also benefit a lot of time spent outside. Not only is it the best way to explore and learn about nature, but it also has been shown to reduce stress and increase attention spans.
Being out in nature allows children to refresh their brains as well as explore the world with all their senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight.
3. Follow Your Child’s Interests
Next in the list of tips for homeschooling kindergarten is to follow your child’s interests whenever you can. This is one of my favorite benefits of homeschooling.
By following your child’s interests, you get to make learning a fun and exciting experience, instead of a chore that everyone has to suffer through.
Let them practice counting dinosaurs and read dinosaur alphabet books. (Or whatever they’re into. We have some big dino fans at my house.)
Following your child’s interests helps them become more engaged and a part of the learning process. Plus, it helps them develop a love of learning that can last a lifetime.
4. Keep an Eye Open for Learning Opportunities
Another good tip for homeschooling Kindergarten is to make sure that you keep an eye out for learning opportunities. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you can learn everywhere.
When you’re child lines up his toy cars, you can have them count them and that’s math. When you sit down for lunch, you can talk about the apples on his plate and how they’re plants.
I have frequent conversations with my son about whether something is a plant or meat and whether a carnivore or herbivore would eat it. (He’s one of the big dino fans.)
It’s a simple conversation as we sit down to eat lunch, but it’s a great learning opportunity as well.
By using these little moments to share a new concept or idea, you help make learning a more natural process. It takes a lot of the fight and struggles out of trying to force them to memorize or master concepts.
When it’s taught in a more relaxed context of playing or just talking, it also helps them better understand the information you’re trying to teach.
Answer Their Questions
One of the perfect learning opportunities to take advantage of is all the questions then ask. And believe me, kids ask a LOT of questions.
Sometimes they will even ask the same questions over and over again. This seems tedious and can sometimes be frustrating, but try to hang in there. So much learning is going on in those moments.
Children often ask questions to help them better understand new ideas or concepts they come across. Even if it’s just something they saw in a TV show or heard another kid say at the playground.
And when they ask the same questions over and over again, that is how they reinforce concepts that they’ve already learned. They’re checking to see if the information you told them one day is the same today.
This is a natural part of the learning process, especially at this age. And it’s a great opportunity to expand and nurture their growing curiosity.
5. Read Lots of Books
Another great tip for homeschooling Kindergarten is to make sure you’re reading lots of books. As many as your child is willing to listen to.
Here are some great benefits of reading books:
- Expands their vocabulary.
- Builds important pre-reading skills.
- Increases their attention span.
- Improves their listening and speaking skills.
A huge part of learning to read is being read to often. I have definitely seen a correlation with my own kids: the more I read to them as a child, the easier time they had when it came to learning to read.
Feel free to read whatever books spark their interest. Keep reading a fun and enjoyable experience for them and they’re much more likely to turn into life-long readers.
6. Hands-On Activities
Next on our list of tips for homeschooling Kindergarten is to include lots of hands-on activities. At this age, kids learn best by being active participants.
When they can involve their bodies in an activity, they focus better, learn faster, and better retain the information. It’s also a really good way to help keep them engaged in the learning process.
Build Those Motor Skills
Hands-on activities also help really develop their fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are necessary for handwriting, cutting with scissors, typing, using the computer, and skills like that.
These are all things that children need to develop as they learn to communicate out in the bigger world.
Gross motor skills are used for activities like running, jumping, playing, and sports. Hands-on activities help your child continue to build and develop those important motor skills.
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7. Introduce Handwriting
Another great tip for homeschooling Kindergarten is to introduce handwriting. You aren’t looking for mastery quite yet, but the sooner they at least begin to understand how to properly write letters, the better.
This is something I wish I had focused on earlier when I first started homeschooling. I kind of assumed that if my daughter saw letters often enough she could just copy them and her handwriting would come naturally.
Instead, she developed some weird pencil grips, wrote her letters very awkwardly, and her handwriting was pretty rough. We had to spend a lot of time doing extra worksheets to help it improve.
I definitely think that had I worked to introduce how to write letters correctly early on, handwriting would have come much easier to her.
8. Create a Schedule, But Keep it Flexible
One of the best things you can do to have a successful year of homeschooling Kindergarten is to create a flexible schedule. Children thrive on routine.
When your homeschool days follow a similar pattern, your children will better understand what’s expected of them. They’ll know what’s coming next and when.
This allows their brain to free up space and energy to focus on learning, rather than worrying or wondering what’s going to happen next.
But definitely keep your schedule flexible. You want to be able to follow rabbit trails of interest when they come along.
Take a day off when someone isn’t feeling well or go on a spur of the moment field trip with friends. All of these things are some of the benefits of homeschooling that public school kids don’t get.
9. Combine Subjects
Next on the list of tips for homeschooling Kindergarten is to combine your Kindergarten subjects where you can. In the real world, life isn’t sectioned off into different categories.
When you go to the grocery store to buy food for your family, you aren’t just using one skill. You’re using science to sort through the different types of food at the store.
You use reading and writing to make your list and find the items on the shelf. You use math to figure out how much everything costs and what you need to pay the cashier.
Our world is designed to use so many different subjects at once and so are our brains. So where possible, combine subjects together.
Count leaves you find outside for science and math. Read interesting books about different time periods for history and reading.
Not only will this save you time during your homeschool day, but it also plays into how children naturally learn.
10. Create a Homeschool Space
Another great idea for homeschooling Kindergarten is to create a homeschool learning space. This is a really good idea for children who struggle to focus when sitting down to work.
Having a dedicated space helps set the routine and expectation that when you guys sit down in that area, this is the type of work that will be done. Even if you just sit there for 5-10 minutes a day, it will help reinforce those focus and study skills they will need later.
It also helps to have somewhere to stash all your homeschool books and supplies so they don’t take over your entire house lol.
11. Embrace Your Child’s Learning Style
One of the very best things you can do when homeschooling Kindergarten is to make sure that you embrace your child’s learning style. It’s so much easier to teach a child in the way that they’re geared to learn.
Three common learning styles are auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Auditory learners learn best through listening and being spoken to.
Visual learners learn best through reading or seeing something demonstrated. Kinesthetic learners learn best through doing.
By choosing activities and lessons that reflect your child’s learning style, they are going to better understand and enjoy the information you’re trying to teach and your entire homeschool experience will be a lot more enjoyable.
If you don’t know you’re child’s learning style yet, you can take this quiz to help figure it out.
12. Don’t Push Too Hard
Another of my top tips for homeschooling Kindergarten is to make sure that you aren’t pushing your child too hard. At this age, learning should be fun and full of wonder and excitement.
It’s far more important to encourage their curiosity and a love of learning than it is to make sure that they’re memorizing vowel sounds and sight words. Pushing too hard can not only frustrate you and your child, but it can also develop negative perceptions about their ability to learn.
If your child sees your frustration or irritation that they aren’t getting a certain concept, they might think something is wrong with them or that they’re stupid. They might resist sitting down to do schoolwork because it’s a frustrating experience for you and for them.
Instead, challenge your children and work to expand their knowledge, but recognize that sometimes they will need a little more time and practice to learn certain skills and that’s ok. The beauty of homeschooling is that now you have the time to let them learn at a pace that works for them.
13. Make It Fun
One of the best parts of homeschooling is that you and your child don’t have to be stuck doing boring workbooks. You’re free to make your lessons as fun as you want.
Break out the crafts and the toys for your lessons. Have your child write their letters in shaving cream or sand. Let them use a whiteboard instead of paper.
Let them go do cartwheels for every question they answer correctly on their math. (My oldest daughter loved this one.)
Make learning fun and your children will happily be coming back for more.
Plus, kindergarteners have the attention span of a goldfish. The more fun the lessons are, the more they will focus and engage with them.
14. Use Your Curriculum as a Guide, Not a Rule
My next tip for homeschooling Kindergarten is to be a little relaxed with your curriculum. Use it as more of a guide rather than a strict rulebook.
Using a curriculum is a great way to figure out what subjects to teach for Kindergarten and make sure you know exactly what to cover to make sure your child is ready for 1st grade.
However, even the best curriculum isn’t going to be designed for your child’s exact learning needs. It might move too slow or it might move too quickly.
If you notice this, feel free to adjust as needed. Skip sections if you know your child doesn’t need to practice it or spend extra time on sections they do.
I’ve seen other homeschool parents struggle to get their kids to complete sections of a workbook that their child had already mastered. Just because they felt like they “had to” finish it.
When it comes to homeschooling, you make the rules. Go at the pace that best fits your child’s needs, and remember the curriculum is just a suggestion.
15. Focus on Math, Reading, and Writing
Last on my list of tips for homeschooling Kindergarten is to focus on the 3 core subjects first and then fit in the rest where you can. The most important subjects for all of elementary school are math, reading, and writing.
If your child learns these subjects well, they will be able to easily progress through all of their academic career all the way through college. Every other subject that is taught in school is based on one of these subjects.
Science uses reading, writing, and math. History uses reading and writing. It’s the same with social studies.
It’s wonderful to expose your child to other subjects (science, history, social studies, art, music, etc.) in Kindergarten, but you don’t need to focus on teaching them to mastery. Spend more time making sure they are solid in their reading, writing, and math skills, and they will be more than prepared for 1st grade.
Final Thoughts on 15 Tips for Homeschooling Kindergarten
Those are my best 15 tips for homeschooling Kindergarten. I know sometimes it can be a little overwhelming knowing that your child’s academic success rests on your shoulders.
Don’t worry, you can do this! Follow the tips I’ve listed and you should have a fun and successful year of homeschooling.
Did this list of tips for homeschooling kindergarten help? If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reach out. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Candice is a mom of 3 who has been homeschooling since 2013. She has an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Studies and cares deeply about helping other parents get the information and resources they need to help them homeschool their children with confidence.