How Do You Teach Kindergarten?
I was recently asked by a friend what we used for curriculum. This seemed like an appropriate topic to cover here on the blog. So if you don’t like this post, you can thank…well, I won’t out her here in case you really DON’T like the post. Either way, this post does include affiliate links that bring no harm or cost to you. This post is not a physical list of our curriculum, you’ll understand why as you read. I will be sharing our curriculum choices for the next school year as I finalize them.
For our family, we have a very laid back approach to the first few years of elementary school. There is a point where we start stepping up the expectations (so far it has been 4th grade), but that will vary with each child. I firmly believe in respecting the way God created each child to learn so when a child is taught a subject hasn’t always been the same as his or her siblings. Children are individuals and will reach milestones and “readiness” indicators at different speeds. I also highly regard child’s play and letting them enjoy being a child.
So what DO I teach them?
I teach them how to read, handwriting, and math. That is what I intentionally teach whenever the child is ready.
Science, history, geography, etc. are all covered as life happens. Goats are born, we talk about all that entails. Storm sirens bring on conversations about radar maps, how tornadoes are formed, and safety procedures. My son’s curiosity has taken us into many subject areas, including, but not limited to: weapons, war, orcas, Legos, robotics, geology. My daughters are very into cats, goats, horses, babies, and cooking. We have approached all of these subjects on varying levels of breadth and depth.
My Advice on Planning Your First Homeschool Curriculum
1. Know WHY you are homeschooling.
You’re going to homeschool! Yay! If you’ve done your research, felt a calling, or otherwise know WHY you are embarking on this journey, GREAT. If you are not really sure or you just think it will be a fun thing to do because you know other people who are, you really need to stop and think this through. Homeschooling is an absolutely awesome thing. I feel very strongly about our reasons for homeschooling.
Why the heck does it matter? Because someday sooner or later, the excitement of homeschooling wears off. Whether it is the excitement of a new year, new curriculum, or starting the journey, excitement doesn’t last. There will come a subject that does not come naturally for your student to learn or for you to teach, and you will become frustrated. There will come a season in life that you didn’t expect; a difficult pregnancy, a long-term illness, a move, or simply a generally busy time of life; and you will feel stressed.
It is in these times that your convictions, your purpose, will keep you going. It will help keep you focused on your homeschooling and not on the bright, shiny yellow school bus that drives by each afternoon.
2. Pay attention to how your child lives and learns.
A very good resource on this is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. I own this book, which came recommended to me by my mother-in-law. Why does this matter? Because if you have a child that can’t sit still for five minutes, you are both going to be frazzled if you try to make them sit for a 30 minute read aloud time every morning. OR if you have a child who loves to read and can’t stand getting dirty, she is NOT going to appreciate the time you put into planning that fun scavenger hunt in the woods.
Now, there is a time and a place for stretching your child out of their box. No doubt about it. You just want to make sure that the bulk of your homeschooling does not make your child feel uncomfortable or worse, like they don’t learn the “right” way.
3. Pick what is most important to you.
You simply do not have time in the day to cover, do, or use every great subject, activity or idea that you will come across. Especially if you are on Pinterest. This is where priorities come in handy. For us, the priorities are Bible, reading/writing, and math. Those are what we deem necessary for kindergarten through about third grade. Now that we are moving into a new season of our homeschool journey, we are adding science, history, and spelling.
This is especially helpful in planning how to spend your homeschool budget. You buy or find the resources for your priority subjects FIRST. Then you use what is left, whether money or time, and supplement with other great curriculum, books, workbooks, and supplies.
Let me add this, Indiana is one of the best states for homeschooling. We have no required subjects or curriculum, nor does anything have to be approved by anyone other than me and my husband. I appreciate the freedom this brings to teach our children as they are ready, but I realize that not all states are this way. You need to know what the state requires of you BEFORE you get started. This will save you (and your fellow homeschoolers) a lot of headache in the future.
4. Have fun with your kids.
Learn to relax and have fun with your kids. You will find that homeschooling very often teaches the homeschooling mama just as much as it does her children.
Boy, I’m a wordy person. I will end there with my advice and ask you this,
What questions do you have about homeschooling?
Share them below or contact me by email. I will do my best to answer them or point you in the right direction.
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