Home school styles, methods and approaches are as varied as the families who educate their children at home. As the primary home school teacher in our home, this author has always opted for a more relaxed approach. When my son was in kindergarten, I bought several workbooks and let him set the pace, for the most part, and didn't try to follow a strict schedule or routine. I had enrolled him in nursery school a year late, at age 4, instead of age 3, so he attended his second year of nursery school during his kindergarten year. It was a good nursery school that taught many of the things a kindergartner needs to know, so I documented the work he did in nursery school. Sometimes, that was all I documented on the two days a week that he was in nursery school. The other three days of the week, I watched him closely and documented what he did. I made many educational materials available in our home. On the side of the refrigerator at that time, I had magnetic numbers and letters. If my son arranged the letters to form his name or other words that he knew, I'd document that. If he got out his colored buckets and counting bears and sorted the red bears into the red bucket or divided them into piles of five bears each, I would document that he was sorting colors or counting to five. If he worked a twenty-five piece puzzle, I would record that in my book. When he played an educational computer game that taught phonics or some other kindergarten skill, I would write down that he had reviewed his phonics or whatever skill the game taught. I would read to him every day and I documented our reading time. Sometimes, I would offer to help him work in workbooks, and sometimes, he would ask to work in workbooks. I had some dot-to-dot books that were a particular favorite of his. If he completed a dot-to-dot with numbers 1-25 or 1-50, I would document that he had counted from 1-50. Also for the early grades, there are fun games, like Sesame Street Uno, Beginning Money Bingo and lots of flash cards that teach phonics, numbers, letters, addition, subtraction and other skills. I didn't force my son to sit down and do a lot of writing in kindergarten. I kept a write-on/wipe-off board and chalk board are available, and I think it made writing seem more fun. I tried to find ways to educate him that didn't feel like work to him. I wanted him to enjoy school and have a good attitude about learning. If you like this approach and get into this mind frame, you will think of lots of fun things for your child to do. There is a book called "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" that will take your child up to a beginning 2nd grade reading level. At bedtime, I used this book with him for a few minutes before I read bedtime stories to him. You only need to do one short lesson each night for about 5-10 minutes. At one point, I realized that he wasn't ready to go to the next level in the book, so we went back and reviewed what we had already covered before continuing.
I hope these ideas have been helpful and encouraging, and I hope that everyone who chooses to home school for kindergarten has a positive experience!
First published on mytincottage.com April 23, 2001. I have adapted a segment from an archived article I published in 2001.