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Homeschooling a 5 Year-Old

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

September 19, 2022


rainbow-watercolor-child-art

Artwork by our resident kindergartener


If you read my posts on homeschooling a 3 or 4 year old, you will see that learning should be laid back, stress-free, and enjoyable for those years. Once we get into kindergarten, we are getting down to serious business (at least a little bit more!) though learning should still be fun.


Back in the day, kindergarten was not required in many states and was actually more like our preschool today. Students learned their letters, colors, and numbers just as many K4 children learn those concepts today.


Honestly, I do not like the educational trend in America to push learning down lower and lower grades. I liken what has taken place in our school system to “shoving” expectations down on a grade below. For example, what used to be the norm for teaching in kindergarten is now expected in K4. In an attempt to correct the mass ignorance in our country, legislators have created unrealistic expectations of younger and younger children. Before you know it, our lawmakers may make 3 years-olds start reading! I’m just teasing, but who knows…


Anyways, I believe that a home educator has the lovely privilege of keeping kindergarten fun and relaxed while still teaching her children what they need to know.


 

Before I dive into some ideas for homeschooling, please check your state’s requirements and guidelines for homeschooling. In SC, we are required to cover these main subject areas in kindergarten:


Math

Reading

Writing

Science

History

Our family has added Bible instruction to this list.


My goal has been to find a curriculum for each subject that works for our family and then stick with it. I am more eclectic in my approach in that I am not buying “school in a box” from one publisher (which is not a bad idea, may I add!) I know some wonderful home educators that buy the whole “kit and caboodle” from one publisher and are doing an amazing job homeschooling. Though I use different publishers for different subjects, I do desire to maintain consistency and stick with a curriculum once I decide to use it.


 

I really enjoy researching curriculum and have grown personally from my research. I grew up using one curriculum my entire life and attending the school that published the curriculum (literally from K5 through 12th grade and even into higher ed). My heart just longs for something fresh for myself and interesting variety for my children.


I like to pick well-written curriculum written by an individual author who is


· Passionate about his/her field of interest (A love for the subject matter spills over into his writing.)

· Knowledgeable about his/her field of interest (I expect an author to be an expert or highly skilled in his field. I do not want curriculum written by someone who just researched and then turned around and wrote about the topic.)

· Focused on his/her field of interest (I like to find curriculum authors who are very focused and skilled in one or two areas. By choosing what I sense to be the best curriculum for each subject, I am attempting to present the very best education to my children.)

· Compatible with our family’s Christian worldview. I definitely prefer Christian authors for language arts, history, Bible, and science. The only curriculum author that I am unsure of her religious beliefs is Kate Snow, the author of Math with Confidence. I find her curriculum warm and engaging and in no way antagonistic to Christianity.


kindergarten-math-with-confidence-kate-snow

 

No matter what your educational philosophy and style preference is for learning, you really need to establish systematic teaching in math, phonics (how to read), and handwriting at this stage of life. The traditional “3 Rs” (reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic) of bygone days are still indispensable today. Being willy-nilly in these three areas will not set your child up for success. I would strongly recommend honing in on your preferred curriculum for these areas and sticking with it!


Some educational trends today encourage reading books as the sole means of teaching children all subject areas, but may I gently say that children need systematic teaching in math, phonics, and writing in kindergarten. The thought of sitting on the couch reading to my children for an hour and hoping they will grasp everything they need sounds lovely, but there is some hard work that needs to take place at a desk or the kitchen table using a well-written, comprehensive curriculum. Please know that I am all for reading to my children, yet there is some hard work that needs to be done in sometimes* less-than-interesting textbooks in the foundational areas of reading, writing, and math.


So yes, I strongly recommend using a curriculum for math and reading. The thought of designing my own curriculum for these subject areas is daunting, and quite frankly a waste of time. There are excellent curricula already available; no need to reinvent the wheel for math and reading.

mason-jar-pencils


I’ve heard of mothers neglecting handwriting at this stage stating their children just aren’t ready. May I gently say that learning to write is actually a part of the process of learning to read? Children need to be able to write the sounds that they hear in order to read. Wanda Sanseri says in Spell to Write and Read, “Students who do not write clearly and legibly are more likely to struggle with spelling, writing, and reading” (page 33). Sure, a child’s handwriting at this stage will not be impeccable, but he needs the ability to convey sounds on paper (aka handwriting).

 

As I stated in my other posts about homeschooling, in no way am I attempting to present a comprehensive curriculum map for kindergarten. Rather, I hope to encourage and maybe inspire you to try something new. I am not presenting the following curriculum ideas as the "best” and the “only” curriculum you should use. Each family and each child is unique!


Flexibility and the ability to adapt are essential in homeschooling. What I may have been convinced would work for our family (curriculum, schedule, lesson plans, etc.) may not exactly turn out as planned. I am learning to listen to the Lord’s prompting and wisdom and follow His leading for our homeschool. Ultimately, I am learning to relax and rest in God’s plan for our homeschool.


Today’s post was simply an introduction about kindergarten. In two following posts, I plan to discuss ideas for math, reading, handwriting, science, history, and homeschool space. Stay tuned for more ideas!


-Ashley


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