Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

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Kindergarten is usually a child’s first introduction to formal learning – it’s so important to make it fun and enjoyable! We want to capture and nurture that love of learning, right!?

I take a very child-centered approach to kindergarten. I focus on math and reading (if my child is ready) and let them choose what else we study throughout the year.

My oldest daughter was not ready to read in kindergarten, so we just didn’t do it. She wanted to say some of the words while I read a book to her, but other than that she didn’t read until the middle of first grade. However, my middle daughter is begging to learn to read, so we’ve started learning!

Today I’ll be sharing the resources that I do use in kindergarten. I try to keep the budget pretty low for kindergarten because I believe you can find resources and cover so many skills and subjects for free at this age!

Three Girls sitting together relaxing Kindergarten Curriculum Choices Image

I do not buy a boxed curriculum for kindergarten. They are so expensive and my five-year-old’s attention span is not long enough to cover all the material, so I feel like it would be a waste of money. I know some families love their all-in-one curriculum and that’s great. It’s just not for us.

I will be sharing what we use for reading/phonics, math, science, and then general interest study (which is where we spend a lot of our time!).

If you are looking for great kindergarten resources on a shoestring budget, then let’s get started!

Kindergarten Homeschool Math

I use several different resources for homeschool math – some paid and some free. Horizons Math K serves as our spine. I use it kind of as a guide to make sure we are covering everything we should be covering, but we certainly don’t do every single workbook page or even complete every section on the pages we do!

I use a lot of hands-on activities in kindergarten and math is no exception. My children’s attention spans are so short when it comes to sitting and filling out worksheets. Writing can also be a challenge at this age, so I try to limit traditional worksheets to cut down on the frustration that comes with too much writing. I try to make as much of our homeschool kindergarten learning happen along with activities and movement. According to Education Week and Phi Delta Kappan, students are more engaged, more focused, and better able to process new information when movement is incorporated into the lesson.

I create a lot of my own resources for kindergarten – like these skip counting cards and sums to ten mazes. I love that homeschooling kindergarten allows me to tailor the activities to my child. Our kindergarten lesson plans have a lot of movement, dancing, and playing. We spend a lot of time on our living room floor!

Skip Counting cards with title

I compiled a huge list of free kindergarten resources for homeschooling in another post, so be sure to check that out, too!

When it comes to teaching geometry, I love to use popsicle sticks and/or toothpicks and marshmallows. It is so much more fun to build the shapes than it is to just see them on a piece of paper! If you are looking for something that is less sticky than marshmallows and reusable, then I highly suggest this geometry shapes kit.

We also use unifix cubes to help with math problems. They are great for visualizing addition and subtraction during math time! My daughter loves to pick her favorite colors, too, so that makes it fun for her. Unifix cubes are a great way to make activities hands-on while still sitting at a table or doing “worksheet stuff.”

Kindergarten Homeschool Reading Curriculum

My oldest daughter had no interest in learning to read in kindergarten. She asked to say some words during our read-aloud time, but when it came to sounding out words or practicing sight words – definite no go. I had read Better Late Than Early by Raymond Moore, so I wasn’t worried about it. She just picked up reading in first grade and is now a little bookworm.

My second daughter is now in kindergarten and she definitely wants to learn to read. I’m not surprised since her older sister always has her nose in a book, she probably wants to know what she is missing out on!

This year for learning to read in kindergarten, I started out with The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. This comes from the folks who wrote A Well-Trained Mind and it is wonderful for learning the letter sounds and beginning reading!

The first section focuses on letter names and sounds. Your child learns the vowels first. What I love about this book is that it teaches everything verbally. The vowels are learned through memorizing a poem and singing songs. My daughter loved it!

The consonants are learned in a similar way – verbally through memorizing a poem. I have to say, my daughter’s grasp of letter sounds is really good and I credit this book!

We finished the letter sound section and started on the beginning words and that’s when we had problems. I thought my daughter would love having me teach her to read because she’s a pretty happy go lucky kind of kid. Turns out no.

She would get frustrated if she didn’t know a word right away and not want to do anything else. I tried a few times and then realized I needed to try a different approach to reading with her.

Hooked on Phonics did the trick!

My mom had bought Hooked on Phonics a few years ago for my oldest daughter because she thought she was ready for it. God bless grandparents and their over enthusiasm!

We had the Levels 3 and 4 set, which is beginning helper words (sight words) and word families. It starts with the -at, -an, -ap, -am, etc. word families.

I thought, “well, let’s try it.”

T loves watching the short videos. They’re silly and short enough to hold her attention. Each lesson goes over one word family and has a couple of pages to read in a workbook. We do one lesson a week I would say. In between I make her a word family twister for that lesson and she can practice whenever she wants.

We kind of got off track for a few weeks due to, well, life, and I thought she would have forgotten some of the words, but she didn’t! And I have found that even if she struggles with one word family she gets it after another lesson or two.

Hooked on Phonics is a great addition to our homeschool kindergarten curriculum this year! It definitely proved to me that just because something doesn’t work for one child doesn’t mean it won’t work for the next one.

I also bought the Horizons Phonics K workbook, but we haven’t been doing it consistently. It’s a lot of writing for her sometimes and she isn’t much into worksheets at this point. We do it occasionally and it is good, so if your child is more of a worksheet kid or needs a little extra reinforcement of the phonics, then I do think it is a great value.

Everything Else

While I do try to have a fair amount of structure in our homeschool schedule when it comes to math and reading, that is not the case with all other subjects for kindergarten.

I basically let my daughter tell me what she’s interested in and we study that for a while. Child-led learning can do wonders to foster a love of learning and excitement about school! Let the kiddos make the decisions while they are still young enough to do it.

I do keep a few kid-friendly reference books around the house to use as spines for science, history, geography, etc. I’ll just start by saying I am a big fan of Usborne and Smithsonian DK books!

Homeschool Kindergarten Science Resources

Most kindergartners love to learn about animals and my daughter is no exception!

Sometimes we will just peruse the Usborne World of Animals or The Animal Book from DK. And sometimes we will be looking up specific animals that we have been studying. Then, I check out some library books on whatever animal she is interested in at the moment and we read about it some more.

YouTube and Netflix have great documentaries and short movies when it comes to animals, so we’ll watch a few videos, too. Depending on what my daughter asks for we’ll do a lapbook, activity, or a craft. Right now we have been studying owls, so I ordered some owl pellets to dissect! I remember doing this as a kid and it was super cool!!

Big sister, N, has been studying meteorology with The Good and The Beautiful science units, so T has been following along during those lessons and experiments, too.

If you are looking for well thought out, quick, and fun science lessons for your elementary kiddo, then I highly recommend checking out The Good and The Beautiful. The lessons are short, the experiments generally use things I already have on hand, and they actually work!

Homeschool Kindergarten Art, Geography, History, and Read Alouds

T listened to The Story of the World in the car because N was learning about the Middle Ages, but other than that, I don’t do any formal history in our kindergarten. She picks up bits and pieces from listening to her big sister, asking questions, etc.

For art, we do a lot of crafts – painting, Mad Mattr, cut and paste, coloring, etc. Both of my older girls have recently gotten into making potholders and it has been great. They are working on hand-eye coordination, making patterns, and more. And they had wonderful gifts to give away for Christmas!

Again with geography, I don’t follow any sort of set schedule. We are (slowly) working our way through the continents. She loves to sing the continent song! And we talk about geography when we talk about animals and where they live. Curiosity Stream and Netflix have great documentaries about different locations around the world, too.

For read alouds, we are currently reading Misty of Chincoteague because T is obsessed with horses. Otherwise, we just pick up some good library books and read a little bit each day.

Relax and Have fun!

As you can see, I am mostly focusing on math and reading this year in our homeschool kindergarten curriculum. I think kindergarten should be a time of fun learning and excitement. By only focusing on one or two set subjects, that leaves lots of time for play and child-led learning.

I hope you found this post helpful I always like to see what other people are using in their homeschools as it gives me ideas for mine that I might not have otherwise thought of.

Be sure to save this post for later, so you can come back and refer to the resources!

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