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The Best (and Mostly Free) Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum Ever Created

As the implications of Common Core are felt more and more by students/parents/families, I am asked more often than ever, “How do I start homeschooling?” One of the single most common questions I have encountered is, “What is the best curriculum for kindergarten?”

Best Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum

I don’t know why I’m so taken aback by this question. I could have asked it myself 20 years ago. But now when I hear it I have a strong desire to slug a tree. What are we thinking?

Perhaps the thinking comes from dolts like Rob Saxton and Jada Rupley who think there can actually be “sobering” results from kindergarten readiness tests based on, say, the number of letters or numbers a year-year-old knows. Or maybe from dolts like Barrack Obama who are sure putting kids in pre-school (and probably pre-pre-school and…) is the solution for all the “sobering” problems of non-academic tykehood.

Pppphhttt.

Kindergarten children are five years old. We all know this, right? Outside of abusive or neglectful parenting (which neither this study nor the president was addressing) why are we being angst-filled about the academics of five-year-olds?

An Utterly Non-scientific Sampling of Reading Ages

Just to give you a sampling, even among our six children we have a large range with regard to reading proficiency.

Young Extreme

I have one who taught himself all the letters (he slept with his sister’s alphabet puzzle — I swear) when he was two, could spell many words (again, self-taught) by two-and-a-half, and could read simple words (self-taught) by three. He was cognizant enough that before he was three he could make jokes about spelling things incorrectly.

Trust me, I would never take it upon myself to even try to teach a child this young to read. Also trust me that I used to think people who made such claims were making it up. I know how it sounds. I was as surprised as anyone.

Middle of the Bell Curve

I have four who learned to read between the ages of four and six in a pretty typical fashion using phonics. (I do not actually know if this is the average national reading age (and I really don’t care, but feel free to provide stats in the comments!), but it’s in the middle of our family bell curve.)

Older than Average

I have one who could read at five, but really hated it. Hate. Hate. Boring. For example, when we’d try to read some short “a” words, she would rather to do anything other than read the list. This is how it looked:

B-a-t. Bat.

Mom, is that a bat like you use at a baseball game or a bat like the one that hangs upside down in a cave? Remember when we saw all those bats at the science museum in that big place upstairs and the were soooooooooo creeeeeeeeepy? I loooooove bats, but they are kind of scary and I’m afraid they will bite me. Will I turn in to a vampire if they bite me? It would be cool to be a vampire, but not to have to sleep in a coffin. That would be scary! What if…

So, I would work with her on reading and after about four minutes I’d give up and let her go “build Thunder Mountain” in the garage. Or make her “hat factory” with office scraps. Or make horse or monkey or dinosaur costumes for all her siblings. A few months later I’d try again and give up. Rinse. Repeat.

When she was seven-and-a-half years old she came in from the garage and announced, “Mom, I can’t build the stuff I want to unless I can read the directions.” Within less than a month she was reading at a junior high level. Because she was internally motivated.

Standards Shmandards

Young children do not need a rigid, prescribed standard in order to be successful in later life. Young children do not need an inflexible, academically rigorous course of study in order to learn. (All my kids, to date, have gone to college, including the “late” reader.)

They need a healthy, loving environment with exposure to a variety of good things. Period.

The Best Kindergarten Curriculum Ever Created

Without further ado, I present to you the amazing (and mostly free!) things that will best provide every kindergarten child on earth with the necessary preparation for further schooling and eventual responsible adulthood. These are in no particular order.

  • Time with mom and/or dad doing real things
  • Time with siblings doing sibling things
  • Playing alone or with others doing whatever is fun
  • Singing and dancing
  • Skipping, running, hopping, jumping
  • Throwing balls
  • Swing sets, trampolines, teeter totters, sand boxes, jump ropes, etc.
  • Listening to various kinds of music
  • Playing (around on) instruments
  • Dress up
  • Learning to do chores
  • Cooking
  • Make believe
  • Coloring, drawing, cutting, pasting, painting, sculpting, other art
  • Exploring
  • Building with blocks, tinker toys, legos, boxes, etc.
  • Story time (with parents, siblings, at the library, etc.)
  • Library trips (to pick whatever they want)
  • Nature
  • Playing games
  • Animals
  • Academic stuff the child wants to do (not to be confused with “stuff I want my child to want to do”)

What would you add to the list of kindergarten activities?

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Molly Christensen November 17, 2014, 2:26 pm

    Hear, hear! I totally agree! Why add so much undue stress on ourselves worrying about what to teach our kindergartner? They will learn, you can’t stop it. Just surround them with all those great things, and they will amaze you.

    I would just add one more to the “curriculum” – work! And I would no longer let my kids pick whatever they want at the library. I get to approve it first because there are some books for kids that are really awful. I do try to approve most everything they pick, though.

    I have a kindergartner right now. I’ll ask him periodically if he wants to play a reading game or do “reading lessons.” Mostly he says “Nah” and that’s fine. Sometimes his 3 year old sister says yes to my invitation to him and he says no. Sometimes he asks me to do it so we do. Pressure-free Kindergarten, the way it should be.
    Molly Christensen wants to school you about Could you use more Time, Energy and Order in your life?My Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith November 17, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Great point about library books, Molly. I completely agree.

    Should have been more clear. What I meant was to avoid going with the Mom List of Must Read Books. I don’t, of course, mind making suggestions or grabbing some great books they might like. I just think they need the freedom to explore (within reason, as you said) what interests them. I take them around the library and show them the different sections and some examples. Let them see what’s out there, let them go through phases (holy cow, if I never see another Garfield book it will be too soon!), let them check out things and change their minds.

    Many people will be really surprised to see how many truly educational books their kids will be drawn to.

    My kids also like checking out books on CD to listen to in the car. (Where the Red Fern Grows is done really well, among others.)
    Alison Moore Smith wants to school you about Why I Don’t Teach CursiveMy Profile

  • Maggie November 18, 2014, 11:07 am

    I have been so stressed prepping my dd for K. Now it all makes so much more sense! Thank you! We’ll have a fun year. :)

  • Jon November 18, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Voice of reason. Thanks!

  • Kat November 20, 2014, 8:19 am

    I totally agree! I stressed myself on what’s the best curriculum for my son when we started our homeschool earlier this year. As I get to learn more about my son and focused on what our reasons are for homeschooling on the first place, helped me realize what’s best for him. Now we’re just enjoying what he loves to do.

  • Araseli Mancilla January 14, 2015, 10:21 am

    Hello am going thru some really hard time withy 5year old.he crys every morning because he doesn’t want to go to school my son knows how to read and write but am really thinking of home school do you think this is something I should do or keep him at school it hurts me seeing him cry everymorning what should I do pls help me.

  • Mindy March 6, 2015, 5:15 pm

    This feels harder to do with my current K’er. He’s #3 in our family and younger than the others by 4 & 6 years, so they are doing more involved school and he’s a social guy who wants to be with us/me and isn’t that interested in doing his own thing.

  • Ashley November 4, 2015, 2:55 am

    Yes, thinking about the curriculum for children’s education and being stressed is the common problem moms face these days. The blog shares the ultimate resources of the homeschool kindergarten curriculum. Great work!!
    Ashley wants to school you about Online Education – The New Way to LearnMy Profile

  • DBF March 23, 2016, 2:51 am

    Very nice information simply love the way you explained every think thanks for help.

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