Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Homeschooling Kindergarten: 4 Helpful Resources for Planning

We will be starting our first year of homeschool this year with our oldest daughter, Kate. While Kate is only 4.5 -- she'll be 5 in October -- she's already finished Pre-K and has started reading, so I thought we'd get her going on Kindergarten work and see how that goes.

I looked and looked at curriculum. There are so many wonderful options, but the prices were just too high for me to justify for Kindergarten. 

So, I have designed my own curriculum this year, and I wanted to share with you (1) HOW I did this, (2) WHAT specific curricula, books, & resources we'll be using, and (3) HOW I plan to "do school" this year. 

My hope is that you will see that homeschooling can be done frugally and that it doesn't have to be overwhelming or scary. 

(1) The HOW:

So, my first step was to consult some educational resources just to get an idea for what a kindergartener needs to know. I had no idea where to start with my 4.5 year old, so I needed a sequence and scope. That's where these resources come in.

My primary sources include the following:

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool through High School by Rebecca Rupp

An excellent resource that I highly recommend for anyone who wants to get an idea for what kindergarteners or 4th or 12th graders might need to know or simply to answer that befuddling question: 

"WHERE should I start?!"

Rupp covers everything: 
  • Language Arts (reading, writing, listening & speaking skills, study skills)
  • Mathematics
  • History & Geography
  • Science
  • Foreign Language
  • Art
  • Music
  • Health & Physical Education
There are also excellent resources in the Appendix for finding curriculum, creating lesson plans, and putting together reading lists. I LOVE this book!

You're probably familiar with the What Your ______ Needs to Know book series. They're geared toward schooled children whereas Rupp's book is for homeschoolers. So, if you're anti-all things school, then you might not like this book. However, I simply overlook the language and consider the wealth of knowledge in these books, including great poetry, stories, and fables that are actually included in the book.

The Kindergarten book includes the following:
  • Reading, writing, & your kindergartener
  • Literature (poetry, fables, stories, & sayings)
  • History & Geography (world & American)
  • Visual Arts
  • Music (favorite songs)
  • Mathematics 
  • Science
Like Rupp's book, What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know assembles LOTS of information in one book; Hirsch's is solely on kindergarten though. Don't get overwhelmed by it all. Just focus on what matters most to you. 

Neither source is Christian-based, which is why I also picked up two books by Ruth Beechick:

A Biblical Home Education sets out to reconnect the academic subjects to the Bible--where they belong. She offers LOTS of helpful suggestions for creating a homeschool that teaches a Biblical worldview. 

Beechick also provides practical tips from teaching study skills and critical thinking to how to choose curriculum and teach your unique children. This is a book I will continually return to throughout the school year. 

Chapters include:
  • Bible for Homeschoolers
  • World History to Match the Bible
  • Science to Match the Bible
  • Worldviews to Match the Bible
  • Thinking Skills
  • Reading Skills
  • Study Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Grammar after Writing
  • Informal Beginnings (preschool/kindergarten)
  • Curriculum Materials

Teaching Kindergarteners gets into the hearts and minds of your 4 & 5-year olds so you can understand how best to teach them. 

The sections include:
  • Meeting the Kindergartener
  • Bible Learning
  • About Stories
  • More about Stories
  • Teaching with Art
  • Music & Rhymes
  • Movement & Games
  • Classroom & Lesson Materials

I especially appreciate Beechick's section on teaching salvation and right & wrong to your young children as well as the kindergartener's unique mental, physical, and emotional characteristics. I will be reading and re-reading this book I can already tell. 


Don't be terrified about planning your homeschool year! Find resources that can help you and take your concerns to the Father. I hope these resources may be helpful for you as you plan your homeschool year. 

Next, I will post on the WHAT--the specific resources, curricula, and materials we'll be using for the 2013-2014 school year. Stay tuned!

What are your favorite resources for planning your homeschool years? Any books you'd recommend for me--a newbie?

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  1. I wish I could homeschool my little girl for Kindergarten. There's so much I would love to do with her. She turns 5 in October too! :) (the 11th) But with a 7th, 6th, 4th, 3rd, and 1st grader, I just can't manage. :( Looking forward to your next post though! :)

    1. Wow, Jillian! I can totally understand why you're waiting on Kindergarten! Bless you, sweet friend!

  2. My favorite resource for teaching reading has been the 1955 classic "Why Johnny Can't Read" by Rudolph Flesch - it really explains what does & doesn't work to teach reading & why. It has been such a blessing to me - and most libraries have it.

    1. I will have to look for that text. Thanks for mentioning it, Anna!

  3. Ooo, I can't wait to see your curriculum! I need to put together my curriculum post, but I'm still waiting for some of it to come in. I guess that's what I get for having the last minute jitters & putting off the order. Oh well!

    1. Gabby, I am reluctant to share my curriculum post for the same reasons. Plus, I feel like it's ever-evolving. Just go with it is what I say. I'm taking it day to day and week to week. There will be LOTS of tweaking I know. I'm still waiting for curriculum too :)

  4. This is very similar to what I do as well :) I plan all my own curriculum. It's mostly as a budget thing, but I'm also kind of a nerd and I enjoy the planning as well. I'm hoping to eventually get it all on paper to help others, but it's a long and daunting process, so I don't know when that will happen. Good luck w/ your kindergarten year :)

    1. Oh, Crystal, I am such a nerd, too. I love planning and gathering materials. It's so fun. I am totally overwhelmed about the prospect of writing all my plans down in one place. Right now they are in different files on my computer.

  5. I remember homeschooling my oldest son now 17 with similar resources. It seems like only yesterday.

    I would love for you to link up your post to my Fabulously Frugal Thursday linky. It's perfect!