Trust me, I’ve been there.
You’re getting excited about the idea of homeschooling. All the extra family time. Not having to send your baby off to school for 8 hours by themself.
But then it hits you… homeschooling means you have to decide what your child is going to learn. Including picking what subjects to homeschool for kindergarten.
With all the curriculum choices out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
In this article, I’m going to cover which subjects you need to teach for kindergarten and my favorite curriculum choices for each. Plus, I’ll answer some common questions about homeschooling kindergarten so you can feel confident and excited about the upcoming school year.
Ready to get started?
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Table of Contents
Choosing an Approach to Homeschooling Kindergarten
Before I dive into which subjects to homeschool for Kindergarten, it’s important to talk about your approach to homeschooling. Which topics you cover will depend a lot on your overall goals for homeschooling.
If you intend to only homeschool for a year or two, then you’re going to want to make sure you cover the same subjects as your local schools. That way your child will more easily transition back to public school.
However, some families who plan to homeschool long-term, might take a more relaxed approach and pick subjects based on their child’s interests. Others choose based on specific curriculums that they know they will want to teach when their child gets older.
My Approach to Homeschooling Kindergarten
We choose to follow a more relaxed and eclectic style of homeschooling. I pick and choose different curriculums based on each child’s learning styles.
I like to loosely follow the state standards where I live, but I don’t stress whether we “stay on pace” with each grade level. We make sure we fully cover each subject and I’m ok if that happens a little faster or slower than the traditional 9 month school period.
I care more that my kids have lots of opportunities to play and explore. I focus more on creating a love of learning than whether or not they master all of their Kindergarten sight words by the end of May.
Once you get clear on your homeschooling goals and which approach you want to take, it’s time to pick what subjects to homeschool for kindergarten.
What Subjects to Homeschool for Kindergarten
I’ve broken the subjects into two different categories: core subjects and additional subjects. The core subjects are what I consider to be the bare minimum to cover if you want to keep up with any state or national learning standards.
The additional subjects are topics like science, history, art, etc. that make up the rest of what is often taught in school.
Core Kindergarten Subjects
For Kindergarten, and most of elementary school for that matter, the core subjects are going to make up the bulk of your homeschooling. The information taught at each grade of a core subject is usually necessary to continue progressing through the next grade.
These are the subjects, that if you don’t cover them well, you’ll have a hard time moving on to 1st grade.
For kindergarten, math typical covers:
- Counting to 20
- Skip counting
In kindergarten, children get their first introduction to learning to read. You will typically cover:
- The alphabet
- Short and long vowel sounds
- Sight words
- Setting, characters, story sequence
In kindergarten, teaching handwriting often consists of learning to print as well as basic grammar. You will typically cover:
- Printing uppercase letters
- Printing lowercase letters
- Parts of a sentence
Additional Kindergarten Subjects
These are some of the additional subjects that many families choose to teach. These topics are often more fun and engaging for kindergarteners.
At the kindergarten level, science is all about exploration. Kids learn to explore their environment and the world around them.
If it has anything to do with observation, classification, plants, animals, or nature it counts as science.
In Kindergarten, most of the focus is put on social studies. Children learn about jobs, communities, and where they live.
They also get introduced to other cultures around the world. If you’re not sure where to start with social studies, here’s a list of the best social studies homeschool curriculum.
For Kindergarten, children are introduced to different types of music and instruments. They explore the different types of sounds and what different instruments look and feel like.
At this age, art is all about exploration. Kindergarteners get to explore different types of arts and crafts (paint, markers, crayons, colored pencils, playdough, watercolors, etc.)
Being able to include their religion or some sort of character development into their learning is one of the reasons many families choose to homeschool. What that will look like will depend on your own family’s traditions and values.
Some families like to spend some time specifically covering this subject, or choose a curriculum that teaches it throughout all of the subjects.
- Simple Homeschool Kindergarten Schedule + Easy Tips on How to Create Your Own
- 15 Tips for Homeschooling Kindergarten: How to Have a Successful Year
- Pros and Cons of Homeschooling Kindergarten: How to Decide If It’s Right for You
Our Curriculum Picks for Kindergarten
So now that we’ve covered what subjects to homeschool for kindergarten, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite curriculums for each subject.
I like to cover early kindergarten math skills like counting and shapes with books and simple observations while playing. I’ll ask questions like “How many dinosaurs are riding the wagon?” or “What shape are you putting on your block tower next?” and things like that.
Once we start moving on to addition, I like to move on to worksheets or more traditional curriculums. Here are some of the kindergarten math curriculums we’ve used and loved.
Reading is a subject that many parents get intimidated by when homeschooling. Learning to read is so important and it unlocks the ability to work independently in a lot of other subjects.
Some kids are ready to hit the ground running with reading by Kindergarten and some are not. My oldest was an early reader, but my middle child needed a little more time before she was ready.
With that in mind, I typically like to start with a basic knowledge of the alphabet and letter sounds. Then we move on to reading games and activities like Starfall or Kahn Academy.
If they’re moving along well, I like to use All About Reading Level 1. It’s fun and engaging and progresses well.
If they’re still having trouble with the games, we just stay there for a while until things start to click. Here are some of the kindergarten reading curriculums we’ve used and loved.
Handwriting is another one of those subjects that young kids often struggle with. To write well, they need good fine motor skills and lots and lots of practice.
By far our favorite handwriting curriculum is Handwriting Without Tears. It’s simple, fun, and lots of other homeschool moms have had lots of success with it too. I’ve also used some simple copy workbooks like this one.
Towards the end of the year, you might try adding in some fun writing activities for kids or journal prompts.
Science is one of those subjects where the topics are the same for the first few years of elementary school, they just learn the information more in-depth with each grade. So we keep it pretty relaxed for science.
We like to read lots of science books and watch science-related TV shows. Between PBS Kids and the library, my kids have learned more about dinosaurs, animals, and the ocean than I ever did in school.
We also go on hikes, explore our neighborhood, and just spend time outside in nature.
Here are a few of our favorite learning TV shows:
- Wild Kratts
- Dinosaur Train
- Dino Dana & Dino Dan
- The Magic School Bus & The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Here are some of our favorite science books:
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Science
- National Geographic Little Kids Magazine
- All The Magic School Bus Books
In my experience, not all kindergarteners understand the concept of time and the past very well, so we focus more on social studies at this age. We learn about our community, our town, and throw in a little geography.
As a family, we’ll read aloud good living books that allow peeks into different times in the past. We also read books that focus on community and the world around us.
And of course, as homeschoolers, one of the benefits is being able to learn about our community by getting out into it. We get out and explore places like musuems, the post office, the fire station, etc.
For music, I like to keep on hand a bunch of toy instruments for the kids to play with and explore. We will also periodically put music on and dance around the house.
I don’t focus heavily on music in Kindergarten. As the kids get older and we explore other cultures more in-depth, we listen to different types of music and instruments from around the world.
However, if you want something a little more structured, here is some homeschool music curriculum to check out.
For art, we like to keep it pretty relaxed. At this age, it’s more important that they practice the process of art rather than creating a specific result.
As they explore different types of art, they will build fine motor skills and learn the process of creating. I want them to have an opportunity to try different art techniques and materials without worrying about having to create a specific product.
Art crafts that require you to follow specific steps to create an end product are cute for adults, but they don’t let children freely use their imaginations to create and experiment.
I have lots of art supplies in a big closet in our craft room and the kids tend to help themselves when the mood strikes.
They make pictures for each other, scavenger hunts, cards and posters for birthdays, cupcake liner flowers, and things like that. Not a day goes by that they don’t go into the craft room, pull something out, and start creating.
Here are some basic art supplies we like to keep on hand:
- Colored Pencils
Character development is an ongoing subject. It begins long before Kindergarten, and at this age, I like to just keep moving along with it.
This is one of those subjects that is best learned through examples and by doing. Any opportunity that comes up to teach them how to be honest, kind, and fair I try to take advantage of.
I also like to read books to the kids that share the importance of having good values and give lots of examples of what they look like.
So much of learning in Kindergarten is done through play. At that age, children have a short attention span and tons of energy.
Instead of fighting that, I like to work with it. I make sure our environment is full of toys that help them practice important Kindergarten skills.
Here are some of our favorites:
Common Questions About Homeschooling Kindergarten
Still got a few questions? So did I when I first started homeschooling.
Here are some common questions and answers about what subjects to homeschool for kindergarten.
How do I choose a Kindergarten homeschool curriculum?
There are lots of Kindergarten curriculums out there and the list can be overwhelming. As your searching through them, keep these things in mind.
- Your teaching style.
- Your child’s learning style.
- How much time you have in a day.
Your Teaching Style
How you like to teach is going to make a big difference in what type of curriculum you use. If you’re feeling unsure about homeschooling, then a curriculum that lays out exactly what to do and say for each subject will help you feel a lot more comfortable and confident.
If you’re more relaxed, you might prefer something that just gives some general guidance, but lets you pick and choose how you teach it.
With my first child, I felt more comfortable with a curriculum that told me exactly what to teach and say. After that, I felt more confident and just pieced together a few curriculums that fit our needs for Kindergarten.
Your Child’s Learning Style
How your child learns is going to make a big impact on what curriculum you choose. No matter how good it is, if your child hates doing it, they aren’t going to learn very well.
Some kids tend to be more visual learners, auditory learners, or kinesthetic learners.
Visual learners learn well with pictures, videos, and seeing everything laid out for them. Auditory learners learn well by listening, reading, or being instructed out loud.
Kinesthetic learners learn best by physically doing. This could be things like projects, hands-on activities, or physical movement.
At this age, most kids do well with curriculums that incorporate at least some sort of hands-on activities and physical movement. They have tons of energy and short attention spans.
A curriculum that isn’t too long and allows them to get up and move periodically will typically work better than something that’s full of worksheets and forces them to sit down and focus for long periods of time.
How Much Time You Have in a Day
The last thing you want to consider when picking a homeschool curriculum is how much time you have to devote to homeschooling each day. This is going to impact which curriculum you choose.
Some curriculums require more time and work to complete each day than others. Be sure to check the sample lessons, the curriculum outlines, and the reviews of any curriculum you are thinking about trying.
Most of the time you will get a good idea of how many hours each day it should take you to work through it.
Since I have 3 kids and work from home, I prefer to use curriculums that either allow me to be somewhat hands-off or they can be completed in a short amount of time each day.
These work best for our family.
How many hours a day do you homeschool kindergarten?
At this age, you shouldn’t spend more than 60-90 minutes of 1-on-1 teaching. As I mentioned before, kindergarteners have short attention spans and aren’t developmentally capable of focusing for long periods of time.
I have found short 10-15 minutes of instruction with breaks for movement and activity work best.
This can seem like a really short period of time considering in public school, kids go off to school for 8 hours a day. Here’s the thing, Kindergarten used to only last for half a day – about 4 hours.
Most schools switched to full-day Kindergarten, not because the children needed it, but to keep up with the demands of more working parents.
Also, public school needs 8 hours to teach the same amount of information you could teach in about 90 minutes because so much of their day is spent on crowd control.
They need the extra time to try to get 20-30 students to focus and pay attention to the same information you could teach your own child 1-on-1 in about 10 minutes.
Can You Homeschool Kindergarten for Free?
Yes! You can absolutely homeschool Kindergarten for free. You can use the list of subjects I’ve provided and put together your own Lesson Plans.
Hit the library to find some books on the subject, use free learning games online, and head to Pinterest for lots of free activities.
I purchased a curriculum for my first daughter to teach Kindergarten because I needed the initial guidance, but with my second daughter, I just put together our own activities and lesson plans.
She was just as prepared to start 1st-grade work as my first daughter. With my son, I’ll be doing the same thing.
Explore this ultimate list of FREE homeschool curriculum to find one to try out.
What Do You Need to Do Legally to Homeschool Kindergarten?
The legal requirements to homeschool vary from state to state. Here are a couple of resources you can use to look up the homeschooling requirements for your state:
- HSLDA – Homeschool Laws by State
- Homeschool.com – State Homeschool Regulations
- A2Z Homeschooling – Homeschool Laws and Requirements
What About Socialization?
Socialization is something many parents worry about with homeschooling because it seems built-in with public school. With homeschooling, you do have to make more of an effort, but it’s not nearly as hard as people fear.
Homeschoolers as a group are typically aware that their kids need and want friends. So they actively create opportunities for other homeschoolers to get together.
Here is a list of activities we have been a part of that my kids have found friends:
- Weekly park days
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- American Girl Book Club
- Field trips
- Art classes
- Nature Hikes
I’m almost certain, there are homeschool groups in your community that would be happy to welcome you and your kids with open arms. If you don’t know any currently, hop on Facebook and start looking for groups.
Just type in “Homeschool” and the name of your city in the search and you’ll probably find a list of groups you can check out.
You can also check with your local schools. A lot of schools allow homeschool children to participate in extracurricular activities alongside the other kids.
Where to Buy Curriculum
My favorite place to buy homeschool curriculum is Amazon. You can usually get a great price, it’s delivered right to your door, and they often have used copies you can get for much cheaper than you would buy from the publishers.
Another great place to find homeschool curriculum is from other homeschoolers. Once their kids have outgrown the curriculum, many other homeschool moms are happy to sell them for cheap or even give them away for free.
I’ve gotten several good homeschool books for free because other moms were trying to make space on their shelves.
Lastly, you can always go to the original publisher of whatever curriculum you are interested in and buy from there. This is often the most expensive option, but it does ensure you get everything included and you’ll get the most updated version of the curriculum.
Now that you know what subjects to homeschool for Kindergarten…
Now that we’ve covered what subjects to homeschool for Kindergarten, I hope you feel confident and ready to get started.
Remember, it’s not about picking the “perfect” curriculum or even trying to replicate public school; it’s about finding what works well with your family and fits into your lifestyle!
Now you should have a good idea of what you need to get started.
Did this list of what subjects to homeschool for 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.