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Kindergarten at Home: You’re Probably Already Doing It

How to survive a first grade field trip.

If you have a child ready for kindergarten this year, I urge you to at least consider doing kindergarten at home this year instead of signing up for some sort of remote learning. The evidence is clear that screen time can have a negative effect on growing brains (yes, even when it’s educational). I can almost guarantee that if you are staying home with your child, you can easily work kindergarten into your day. And most importantly of all, you are probably doing kindergarten already at home without realizing it.

Why Kindergarten at home just makes sense.

Common Core Proves Kindergarten at Home is a Breeze

I initially wasn’t going to break down the common core standards for kindergarten, but I keep driving by signs that say, “Kindergarten Registration Open”. And I wonder why in the world anyone would be registering a child for kindergarten right now. In our own community, it is highly unlikely that schools will be open in the fall which means kindergarten will be a mix of remote learning and parents teaching.

Kindergarten at home is an easy choice.

According to The Kindergarten Connection a typical full-day kindergarten has 155 minutes (or approximately 2.5 hours) of dedicated learning time. Check out the link to see the full schedule, but this is how learning times are broken down.

9-9:15 number corner/calendar

9:30-11 literacy with science and social studies intergration

1-1:50 math

And keep in mind, at home it will likely take less time to teach. The rest of the time in school? Is spent with recess, lunch, rest, classroom play, transitions, etc.

One of the questions at the end of the Kindergarten Connection post is this:

Don’t you have standards to meet?

Yes, we are actually a Common Core state so we definitely do! I find that my kids are succeeding because this play is intentional and supporting the whole child. 

A sample of the Common Core kindergaten standards from my Teachers Pay Teachers store

How much easier do you think it is to succeed with kindergarten at home?

Let’s sit down and make a simple homeschool kindergarten schedule.

9-9:30 calendar time, discuss the weather/seasons, reading aloud to all kids.

9:30-10 reading lesson (if your child is ready…otherwise, it’s totally fine to wait)

10-10:30 math (use books, manipulatives, or games)

Penguins Love Colors is a delightfully colorful book that shows a mama's love for her babies. Free printables included!

Boom.

Kindergarten at home in an hour and a half. And guess what? You don’t need a fancy curriculum. In fact, all I would recommend for curriculum is a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and a couple of math workbooks if your child seems interested and ready, some games, colored pencils, and plenty of paper.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of delaying formal learning and without the social skills gained from a classroom (we sent our youngest to kindergarten to work on his separation anxiety and to get much-needed speech therapy) I’m not sure there is any benefit.

Don’t let the idea of “teaching” kindergarten intimidate you. Start by downloading my free Kindergarten Common Core guide. Below are some ideas on working kindergarten into your day naturally.

Kindergarten Literacy Activities

Fun books to read this winter. Penguin Young Readers

Read to your kids everyday. I know, you probably already do this, right?

Have them practice writing their name.

Color pictures and draw together.

If your child is ready to learn to read, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is my all-time favorite resource. Check out this post to see how I taught two four-year-olds to read with the book.

Go old school with some magnetic letters. Even if your child already knows how to read, these can be great for spelling and literacy games.

Highlight Sight Words

Get a newspaper or ad and have your child highlight high-frequency sight words such as the, of, you, etc. My kids loved doing this as pre-readers and new readers.

Kindergarten Math Activities

Get a jar of spare change and have your child sort it. This was a huge favorite in our house when my kids were younger.

Talk about the different values in money.

Building a quality math library can help your kids love math.

Start Building a Quality Math Library

When I began homeschooling my kids (a million years ago) I was determined that my kids wouldn’t hate math. Because of that, I am always on the lookout for books to teach kids math in a way that they will understand and enjoy.

Use Pattern Blocks

Since the designs can get infinitely more complicated, these can last for years. Kindergarten geometry has kids learning the names of shapes, the difference between two and three-dimensional shapes, and combining shapes. All of this can be done naturally by playing with pattern blocks.

The best monster cookie recipe on the planet.

Let Your Kids in the Kitchen

Bake cookies, make pancakes, or muffins. All of these include numbers and counting.

Use Toys or Snacks to Create Groups of Objects

Grab toys or pretzels or blocks and make patterns with them. Line up the objects from largest to smallest. Make groups of three. Make groups of five. Lay them out in three rows of three, etc.

Use Counting in Daily Activities

Count the plates as you set the table. Count the cookies you pass out for a snack. Count how many red cars you see on the way to the grocery store. Ask your child to pick out six apples while shopping.

Make Playdough Together.

Roll out shapes and letters. Make three playdough balls. Now divide those in half. How many do you have now? The possibilities are endless and fun!

Measure Everything!

Give your child a tape measure or ruler and show them how to use it. When my kids were little tape measures were some of their favorite toys. Nevermind the fact that they called them “news measures” somehow mixing up newspaper and tape measure.

We took a road trip to the Lynnwood Rec Center in the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Point out shapes in daily life.

Get some geometric shape cards (or make your own out of cardboard) and teach them to trace. Talk about the shapes.

Pizza is shaped like a circle but when you cut it you have triangles. A graham cracker is a rectangle that you can break into two squares. And then, by the way, you have two halves which make a whole!

I hope you are starting to see how simple this can be. There is literally nothing taught in kindergarten that you can’t do easily at home yourself.

For More Inspiration Check Out the Following Posts

Geometry for Preschool and Kindergarten

21 Activities to Engage Your Preschooler

Mom, I’m Bored

8 Reasons to Use a Nature Journal with Kids

Simple Homeschool Guide

Homeschooling Multiple Grades

2 Comments

  1. Jess

    Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I have the time to devote to homeschooling. Homeschool doesn’t work with my husband or my schedule at all. If you have a flexible schedule then that’s great, otherwise I’m going to be homeschooling at 4 in the afternoon while my kid is entertaining herself all day.

    • Renee

      I totally understand. Not everyone can or should homeschool which is why I have never been one to push it on others. This post was directed at parents considering homeschooling vs. distance learning, particularly those who are worried about finding the “right” curriculum or falling behind. My heart goes all to all of those families who can’t homeschool, or don’t have a parent home, and are trying to make impossible decisions right now.

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