So here you are, a mom with a preschooler or kindergartener and you are venturing into the world of homeschooling, trying to figure out what the best way is to go about teaching your children at these ages. Or perhaps you are wondering what your littlest one should do while the olders are “doing school.” Invariably, moms getting ready to figure out how to homeschool kindergarten and preschool all deal with the same questions at some point:
- What curriculum should I use?
- What method is best?
- How do I give them the best start?
- Are we doing too little?
- Are we doing too much?
How to Homeschool Kindergarten and Preschool
If you’ve spent any amount of time looking into how to homeschool kindergarten and preschool, you’ve likely discovered there are a lot of different opinions out there. It looks a little something like this:
Q: How do I teach preschool and kindergarten?
A: Don’t stress it. They’ll learn what they need to. Don’t bog them down with “school” too early.
A: Focus on Christ and the Word of God. Scripture memory and character are all they need at this stage!
A: Read, read, read! Have frequent read-aloud times, use audio books, build your library, and expand your own reading!
A: Teach them life skills and basic reading and math.
A: Focus on exposing them to great learning experiences and helping them love to learn.
A: They love to “do school!” And, be honest. So do you. Pick a curriculum and use it!
A: Pick a curriculum and use this phase as a time to develop routines and your own self-discipline while exploring things like homeschool methods, learning styles, etc.
A: Well, this is the best time for kids to learn a foreign language, you know…
Sigh. Make it stop!
So What Should You Do?
Homeschooling opinions are a lot like parenting opinions. Everyone has one, and no matter what you decide about how to homeschool kindergarten and preschool, someone out there will think it’s the best thing ever and someone out there will think it’s the worst thing ever. So don’t let yourself be sidelined by it when it happens!
Bottom line: do what you want. While it can be inspiring and useful to find out what others are doing and glean what is helpful, don’t let it stress you out! Don’t allow yourself to dwell in worry about all the opinions or articles that say you should be doing this or doing that, or doing nothing at all.
Comparison steals joy. Worry steals peace.
Three Steps to Getting Started
Here are the three things I suggest you focus on above all else when it comes to how to homeschool kindergarten and pre-k. From experience, they’re the essentials.
1) Pray for Wisdom. There’s no homeschooling tool more effective, more reliable, or more accessible than PRAYER. Learn now to go first to the Lord in prayer and He will guide you. Ask for help in finding the approach that is right for you, your kids, and your current situation.
2) Don’t Get Stuck. It’s a good thing to seek advice, do research, and find out what more experienced homeschool moms recommend. Weird homeschoolers like me actually consider that a good time. 😉 However, don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis! Glean the useful tidbits and be sure to move on to #3.
3) You Do You. Only you as the parent are the best one to determine what your child needs at each stage. Trust that processes and God’s leading in your homeschool. Choose an approach that seems reasonable and just try it out, adjusting as needed based on what you observe about your child’s developmental readiness, needs, and family dynamic.
My Changing Approach to Homeschooling the Early Years
I have tried a lot of different things in these years of homeschooling, and I still have 3 out of 6 kids in what I’d consider the early education stages. I am always learning more about how they learn and how to best teach them.
Here’s what our homeschool years have looked like for preschool and kindergarten. Note that I don’t regret ANY of them.
- Formal Pre-K / Kinder Curriculum: I spent time and money on our firstborn doing formal preschool. I don’t regret it! We both had fun! He is not in therapy because of it and still loves learning.
- Delayed Academics: Over time I have done less and less in the first few years, delaying formal academics until about 1st or 2nd grade (and for some subjects even longer) focusing instead on character, play-based learning, and habits. I don’t regret this either! It is a fruitful use of our time and they aren’t behind at all.
- One Room Schoolhouse: As a large family mom, we do a one-room schoolhouse style for subjects like history, Bible, science, art, music, read alouds, etc. so that they all benefit at their own level. We LOVE this approach and they learn so much by tagging along. The olders take some opportunities to teach the youngers basic things, too, which is a blessing all around.
- Fun “School” Activities: My pre-k and kinder kids still enjoy “doing school” sometimes so we use fun workbooks, worksheets, activities, and apps.
- Introducing the 3 R’s: When our kids start “reading” books and show readiness, we begin teaching reading. When they begin “writing notes” and leaving them all over the house (with their various scribbles), we begin teaching handwriting. Somewhere around the same time we start living math activities (games, counting, etc.) Sometimes we use apps. It’s not based on their age, but their readiness based on our observations, and usually starts around 4-7 depending on the kid. In the end, the all catch up to each other so we don’t stress too much about when they start.
What is the Best Pre-K and Kindergarten Curriculum?
Well… I hate to say it but there is no “best” preschool or kindergarten curriculum. It is a blessing that we have so many options to choose from these days, but it can also be overwhelming. There are several great ones to choose from and a lot of times it comes down to things like preference (for you and your child), learning style, and budget.
You already have a peek into what we do for our own kids at that stage, so as you can imagine, we don’t rely much on curriculum. Sometime I’ll write about the various resources we have used (it’s a short list), but for now I wanted to share one in particular because it’s become the first place I go to for fun “I want to do school” activities as well as lessons for when our kids are beginning to show readiness.
The Crafty Classroom – Educational Resources for the Early Years
We have been using The Crafty Classroom more and more in our homeschool. The materials are very well done, teach the subjects effectively, my kids always enjoy them, and I find them easy to use. That’s pretty much a rockstar curriculum description in my book!
Here are a few of the offerings that I love from The Crafty Classroom, some of them we’ve already been using, and some from our wish list!
- Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook – Such a sweet letter-of-the-week style curriculum with over 600 pages with activities, games, worksheets, charts, coloring pages, math explorations and more for each letter!
- Maze Writer (My 5 year old LOVES this one) – Over 200 pages with mazes of various levels of difficulty for each letter of the alphabet.
- St. Patrick’s Day Experiments – We used this for our homeschool science fair last year and it was a blast!
- R.E.A.D. Kindergarten Reading and Language Arts curriculum that so many families have loved and enjoyed for teaching reading.
- Interactive Math – Comprehensive kindergarten math curriculum provides you with a full year of hands-on math lessons, games and activities.
- U.S.A Geography – Activity packs, mazes, bird cards and more to teach U.S. geography!
- Writing Curriculum – Various options for Kindergarten to 3rd grade, everything from simple sequencing to writing a research paper!
- Much more!
NEW Sight Word Curriculum
The latest offering from The Crafty Classroom is the new Sight Word of the Week curriculum! This covers 40 sight words for preschool and kindergarten. Each week goes through one sight word with engaging worksheets, activities, games, and hands-on resources. I have plans to use it with my kinder/1st grader next month, but my friend Jamie from The Coffee Filled Mom has already been using it, so I asked her to share a review with you all today so you can get a peek inside the curriculum! Click here to check out that detailed review.