The Very Best Homeschooling Kindergarten Curriculum
So you’re wanting to homeschool kindergarten, but you’re looking for the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum? You think if you can only find that magic curriculum package with all the books, activities, and worksheets, you will be launched into a year of blissful homeschooling, right?
Well, sit tight and don’t you worry, because I’m going to get into all those “perfect curriculum choices” and I’m going to cover my top 8 choices, but first…a story.
When we first decided to homeschool our eldest son, who had always shown an extreme love of learning and was doing kindergarten level work at around age 3, I was so excited!
I went to a local Christian homeschool resource store and the lady who worked there kindly offered her assistance in choosing the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum money could buy.
“Well, you’ll need math, history, science, and English, of course…all the core subjects,” she said as she loaded my arms up with full curriculum packs of each. “And then perhaps you’d like to add some extracurricular courses such as music?” Oh yes! I thought, eyeballs barely peering out over my personal “Leaning Tower of Curriculum.” Konur had shown an interest in music and this would be perfect, I thought. Throw it on the pile!
Homeschooling Kindergarten Success Ahead…Or Not
I came home loaded up with the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum money could buy…but the problem was, I didn’t need what money could buy. I needed the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum money can’t buy. Stay with me here.
We started school at 9:00 AM one bright sunny day. Konur was thrilled! We jumped into one subject after another on this first day of kindergarten. About 11:00 AM, I noticed his energy waning. By 12:00, my normally intensely-focused, eager learner was squirmy and ready to be done and I realized we weren’t going to even finish everything!
That was the first day of kindergarten with the very best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum money could buy. And I realized in that moment that somehow it was all wrong. I didn’t know how it could be, since I followed the advice of the experts—he had all the core curriculum and that’s how long it took to do it—but my motherly intuition knew better. This was not success.
I believe we may have attempted one or two more days just for good measure (and because when you spend hundreds of dollars on curriculum you do that sort of thing), and then I resorted back to the very best homeschooling curriculum money can’t buy…and that’s simple play.
The Very Best Homeschooling Kindergarten Curriculum Money Can’t Buy
So, my homeschooling kindergarten success story was not achieved because I found the very best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum, but because we discovered the deeply educational value of simple play.
And I should have know this all along! From the time he was a baby, Konur loved to play with his Little Leap doll, learning all the letters and their sounds before turning two; He learned fine motor skills and discovered his ability to manipulate and create while playing with play-doh in his high chair; He would spend hours simply turning the pages in a picture book and studying the drawings and (I’m sure) shapes of letters; And he learned many of the countries playing with his Little Leap globe.
No curriculum, just simple play!
Never fear. I will get to talking about some of my very favorite top homeschooling kindergarten curriculum in just a moment. But first I wanted to be sure you understand the value of simple play! For thousands of years, playing and exploring was the only thing children had available in order to learn, and they learned quite well throughout history.
How to Customize a Kindergarten Curriculum to Fit Your Child’s Needs for Playful Learning
While, as we discovered, play is the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum, Konur still enjoyed some structured academic learning and we didn’t want to deprive him of that. So we simply adjusted the expectation that school had to look a certain way, and we adapted it to his age and interests, including plenty of hours for free play time.
And that is the key for every child! It’s important to remember that every child is designed by God as a unique creation with a unique purpose to glorify Him in a unique way. While the top homeschooling kindergarten curriculums (or curricula, to be technically correct) offer comprehensive and well-designed lesson plans, we have to remember that they were designed for use in a classroom where the teacher does not have time to practically teach to the individual child.
But as a homeschooling mom or dad, you do! If you must use a packaged curriculum, consider the following tips to ensure that the curriculum you choose is tailored to your child’s specific needs:
1. Incorporate your child’s interests
If your child has a particular interest or passion, find ways to incorporate it into their learning experience. For example, if they love animals, include animal-themed activities or books in their curriculum. (Animal notebooks are fantastic and have always been a favorite of my youngest son!) Their joy in learning should be your focus right now!
2. Adapt the pace of learning
Some children may progress faster or slower than others. If you do choose to use a curriculum at this young age, be flexible with the curriculum’s pace and adjust it according to your child’s individual learning speed and desire. Keep the daily schedule minimal and let them lead!
3. Supplement with additional resources
Absolutely don’t be afraid to supplement the curriculum with additional resources, such as educational apps, online courses, or field trips. You may even find yourself replacing the curriculum some days for those “extras” and that’s okay! This will add variety and depth to your child’s learning experience, and I would argue that the “extras” are usually what’s most memorable and educational to a child, especially when they are very young.
4. Regularly evaluate interest
Continuously assess your child’s interest and adjust (or scrap) the curriculum as needed. Remember, it’s not about progress at this age, but about keeping learning fun and playful!
Killing a child’s natural curiosity is the #1 enemy of early education. If certain activities or subjects are not resonating with them, set them aside or find alternative approaches that better suit their interests and learning style. You have lots of time!
5. Give plenty of time for free play
I’ve already said it several times, but it’s worth repeating! Research proves that playing increases a child’s intelligence and the value of play cannot be overstated. (Read Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, written by two professional child psychologists, to learn more and set your mind at ease.)
Some professional educators would also recommend that you assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses, identifying your child’s areas of strength and areas where they may need additional support in order to tailor the curriculum. But remember, the goal at this age is to keep homeschooling fun and interesting!
I would argue that at this age, it is not important to worry about such things as “being behind.” Young children develop at different ages and not necessarily evenly across all areas of learning. Learning is always happening, even if you don’t see it right away. They will easily catch up in later years as the brain develops! Don’t put any extra expectations on them at this age. Just enjoy the process and the playing!
Don’t be “that mom.”
Top Homeschooling Kindergarten Curriculums
I know you’ve been waiting patiently! So let’s finally talk about some homeschooling kindergarten curriculum that take a more gentle approach to learning (or can be adapted to be more gentle) that might fit well with the needs of your young child.
Start with God’s Word and you’ll never go wrong! This hands-on Bible curriculum is a great choice and will help make Scripture come alive for your little one. You can use it with your kindergartner alone or with the entire family.
This is hands-down my favorite homeschooling kindergarten curriculum! We used it with our youngest, Korban, but I wish I had known about it with Konur (and his sister). He would have also loved it! It is literature-based and uses good books as the basis for learning about multiple subject areas in a natural, low-pressure way.
My fellow homeschool blogger Christine Zell has done a great job putting this together! Similar to Five in a Row, this curriculum offers a literature-based method of teaching through core subjects. It is a much gentler approach to learning and gives young children a desire for reading.
This kindergarten curriculum, written by a homeschool mom based on what she did with her young ones, is over 900 pages jam-packed with activities! Lisa believes in a gentle approach to learning, which is reflected in the lessons. If you live in a state that requires you to track what you are doing, this is an excellent choice. Plus, my readers get a special deal that is lower than the standard price on her site!
Snuggle up on the couch together with this literature-based curriculum that covers all the subjects except math. The curriculum offers plenty of opportunities for simple conversations and hands-on activities, making learning fun and natural.
Exploring Nature is a nature-based kindergarten curriculum that encourages your child to explore and appreciate the natural world. Based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, it incorporates outdoor activities, nature walks, and science experiments to foster a sense of curiosity and wonder. The curriculum includes lesson plans, field guides, and activity ideas to help your child connect with nature and develop a deep understanding of the environment.
Have you noticed yet how much I love literature-based programs for kindergarten? Storytime Lessons is another one! Covering some familiar classics such as Blueberries for Sal, this curriculum even offers free previews so you can try before you buy.
If you want the flexibility of picking and choosing individual worksheets and lesson plans, this is a great option! There are hundreds of worksheets to choose from!
Additional Resources and Materials for Homeschooling Kindergarten
In addition to the top homeschooling kindergarten curriculums, there are a wealth of resources and materials available to support your homeschooling journey. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Online learning platforms
Websites such as Khan Academy (where my eldest son, Konur, eventually learned computer coding, his future career path), ABCmouse, Headsprout (a site my daughter loved and where she learned to read), and Scholastic offer a wide range of educational resources, interactive games, and printable worksheets for kindergarten students. Just be aware that these are not Christian sites, so there will be a worldview and teaching you may disagree with.
2. Educational apps
3. Library resources
Okay, I have a confession to make. I am not a library fan for several reasons, one being that they promote many books now that as a Christian I strongly object to. But your local library may offer some resources, including books, educational DVDs, and storytime programs that might be helpful to enhance your child’s learning experience.
4. Community support
Joining homeschooling communities or support groups can provide valuable resources, insights, and networking opportunities. These communities often organize field trips, playdates, and group activities for homeschooling families.
There are also curriculum exchanges on Facebook and elsewhere. If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area, our WINGS Facebook group is a great place to find classes and other connecting opportunities. If you simply want to network and talk about “lifeschooling” with other moms (and dads), join our Lifeschooling homeschooling community on Facebook.
5. Craft and art supplies
I cannot highlight this one enough! Kids need to explore their creativity and strengthen their fine motor skills. Stock up on craft and art supplies to encourage creativity and hands-on learning. Items such as paints, markers, construction paper, and modeling clay can be used for various activities and projects, as well as simple freeform play!
Keep the cupboards well-stocked. Hobby Lobby is one of my favorite arts and crafts stores, but you can also find just about any art-related item on Dickblick.com, an old favorite of mine from my college years as an art major.
Conclusion: Empowering Your Child’s Education Through Homeschooling Kindergarten…The Right Way!
In conclusion, don’t buy your own personal “Leaning Tower of Homeschooling Kindergarten Curriculum” like I did. It’s not necessary and will quickly lead to burnout for both you and your child. Follow your child’s lead and keep it simple and relaxed. Playful learning, or what I like to call “lifeschooling,” will help you maintain a stress-free and fun homeschool experience for you and your child.
Homeschooling starting right from kindergarten offers a unique opportunity to unlock your child’s full potential if done in the right way that honors the specific needs of their age and incorporates lots of play time. By carefully stewarding your child’s natural love of learning, and choosing the right curriculum that will help do this, tailoring it to your child’s needs, you can create a personalized and engaging learning experience that lays a solid foundation for their academic journey.
With the flexibility and customization that homeschooling provides, you can empower your child’s education, preserve their love of learning, and set them on a path to lifelong learning and success. So, don’t be afraid of homeschooling kindergarten! Let them play and follow their lead, discovering who they were created to be in the process. This is lifeschooling!