Kindergarten is a child’s first introduction to formal learning. Usually they look forward to it with excitement. Our goal as we home school kindergarten kids should be to help them develop a love for learning, and maintain their excitement about “school.”
Here are three simple tips to help you as you plan for kindergarten:
1. Make sure your kids have the character that is needed.
Obedience is a pre-requisite for starting academics. If your child hasn’t shown good character in some basic areas as a preschooler, he isn’t ready for formal learning. For example, if they don’t come to breakfast when they are supposed to, they probably aren’t going to “come to the school table” when they are told to.
If they struggle with following their morning routine of getting dressed, cleaning up their room, brushing their teeth, etc. without complaining or being reminded, they aren’t ready to begin formal academics.
Obedience is the first and foremost character trait to teach your kids before starting academics with them.
Another character trait they need is attentiveness. If you haven’t taught them to be attentive, to be still and listen, you aren’t going to be able to teach them anything.
For the sake of enjoying school with your child, make sure that you have laid the foundation of character before you begin the academics. Without that character, frustration is going to set in very quickly, and you are going to be discouraged.
If that foundation isn’t laid, take the time to work on character training. When they have the character they need, they will do much better academically.
God says our priorities should be pointing our kids to Him and His Word, training them in character, and THEN adding the knowledge, or academics.
II Peter 1:6 ….add to your faith, virtue (character), and to virtue, knowledge…..
2. Keep it simple.
Beginning to teach your kids to read and do math is just a natural progression of your lifestyle of learning at home. You have taught them many things already, so don’t get all stressed and spend hours on school now that they are in kindergarten.
Whatever you do, keep lessons simple, and move as quickly or slowly as desired, according to your child’s level of readiness. Some children will be ready to write, some won’t. Some children will be ready to read, some won’t. Your child may not want to do anything other than play, and that’s okay.
Ideas for keeping it simple:
*Read lots of books to them.
Kids can learn so much from all the books you read to them. They can learn about science, geography, and people in other countries from the books you read to them. On top of that, it will build their vocabulary and give them a love for books.
*Don’t feel like you have to invest in a complete curriculum.
A good phonics program will help your child learn to read in 3 to 6 months, if they are ready. No need to drag it out through kindergarten and into first grade (unless the child needs the time, or isn’t quite ready).
If you want to do more, I would suggest avoiding textbooks and workbooks, and going with a fun kindergarten program like Five in a Row.
3. Make it fun.
- Do puzzles, play games, build with blocks, etc.
- Do hands-on teaching activities throughout the day. For example, count the plates as you set the table. Talk to them about the color and shape of the plates.
- Learn about things your child is interested in. If they are curious about something, get books about it, and let those interests guide your studies.
When your child has fun while learning, it will foster more of a love for books and learning. On the other hand, if we drag it out for hours, making them do pages of workbooks or boring busywork, we are likely to snuff out their interest in school, as well as their excitement about learning.
Keep in mind that the most important thing you can do as homeschooling parents is pray about your plans. Ask God to guide you, give you wisdom, and bless you as you make plans for your child’s first year of school.