How Do You Choose the Perfect Kindergarten Curriculum for Homeschooling?
Looking for homeschool curriculum can feel so overwhelming.
Many parents who find themselves seeking out the perfect kindergarten curriculum for homeschooling have never gone through this process before and it can be hard to know where to begin.
You want to choose the perfect homeschool kindergarten curriculum right off the bat because you don’t want to bounce around and be inconsistent. Also, curricula are not always cheap. Who wants to invest in something that they won’t end up using?
I’ve been there!
But how do you choose?
If you’re like me, you read tons of reviews to help you decide if a certain curriculum will work for your family. Then you spend hours looking at samples and texting every homeschool parent you know to find out what they use. Oh, and don’t forget about getting input from the 5 homeschool Facebook groups you are a part of!
Today, I want to help you simplify the task of choosing a kindergarten curriculum for homeschooling your kiddo. I will give you the rundown of what we are using and loving this year.
I’m also going to tackle some of the commonly asked questions about kindergarten homeschooling, so that you can feel well prepared to start your year! Let’s jump in!
What Is The Best Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum?
To answer this question, first, think about your family dynamics and your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. Homeschool mamas often jump in to see what everyone else is doing and begin to compare their journey to other families’. This can be a trap. While it’s wise to glean ideas from other moms, don’t automatically assume that just because something is working wonders for another family that it will do the same for you!
For starters, you can ask some of these questions:
Do I LIKE to plan?
Does my family enjoy many hands-on activities and crafts?
Do I need to have a curriculum that is all the way written out – down to the exact words that I should say?
What is my approach to teaching – more traditional, relaxed, or maybe something in between?
And if you’re not sure, that’s okay, too! It takes time to figure this stuff out! Here is a helpful quiz that can help you figure out what style of learning might work well within YOUR home.
Once you have thought through these questions, you can start looking for a curriculum that best aligns with those needs.
Keep in mind that in Kindergarten your child is still learning through lots of play and exploration, so try to avoid curricula that will keep your kiddo doing worksheets for long stretches of time.
What is a Typical Kindergarten Curriculum?
A typical homeschool kindergarten curriculum usually consists of math, reading and writing. Social studies and science are also introduced, but in a very relaxed and a hands-on way. Many homeschoolers don’t buy a specific curriculum for those subjects for their kindergarten year.
Math in kindergarten is typically an introduction to numbers, shapes, patterns, calendar, measurement, fractions, time and money. It is also helpful for children to practice writing their numbers at this level.
Reading instruction at the kindergarten level consists mainly of read-alouds, some sight words and phonics instruction.
Your kindergartener will make huge progress in writing this year. You will enjoy seeing your child go from simply practicing forming the letters and having the correct pencil grip to writing sentences. Don’t focus too much on the correct spelling at this age. As a rule of thumb, we only worry about spelling the word correctly if it is a sight word that we have learned. Instead, focus on correct letter formation, writing the sounds they hear in a word, including spaces in between words, capitalizing the first word in a sentence, and adding punctuation at the end of a sentence.
Full Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Packages
You might have heard of “boxed curriculum” or “all-in-one” curriculum. This simply means that you are getting everything you need to cover the “core” subjects of math, language arts, science and social studies. Sometimes this will look like a unit study covering all the topics while studying a specific theme. Other times, it looks like separate workbooks for each subject included.
Purchasing a full kindergarten homeschool curriculum package can simplify lesson planning and make sure that you are not missing anything.
The Best Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Packages
- Abeka – This is a Christian curriculum that includes easy to follow lesson plans, optional digital products to enhance lessons, and even DVDs and video streaming that will do the teaching for you!
- Bob Jones University Press – This is another Christian curriculum that covers all subjects in a traditional way (similar to how they would be taught in a school setting). It encourages your child to use critical thinking and incorporates a lot of hands-on activities. You can purchase the teacher textbook or opt for using DVD lessons.
- Sonlight – This is a literature based curriculum that includes literally everything you need – including the books you and your kids will read, the science kit and more. Also, if your children are close in age, you have the option to teach science, social studies, Bible and literature all at the same time and split up the math and language arts for each child.
- My Father’s World – This curriculum combines Charlotte Mason principles, classical education, and unit studies to create a beautiful learning experience at home. It also offers a way to teach multiple children at the same time to unite the family and free up more time for other activities.
- The Good and the Beautiful – This is a beautiful curriculum that requires no prep time (WIN!) and combines multiple subjects. It also offers family style learning for science, social studies and the “extras.”
- Timberdoodle – Timberdoodle isn’t really a curriculum, but the company combines the best resources, curricula, activities, and games and sells them to you in a bundle for a discounted price. You can choose from the basic, complete, or elite Timberdoodle kindergarten package based on what you want included. But if you want to get ALL the things and make learning fun, this is the way to go. The basic package includes all the essentials for teaching and learning, while the complete and elite options throw in extra games, puzzles, and even some supplies.
Now, as much as these full curriculum packages are convenient, some teach every subject using the same exact methods. Consider your child’s learning needs before jumping full force into one of these sets. Not taking this into consideration is a common homeschool mistake that many moms regret making.
Free Kindergarten Curriculum Lesson Plans
If you are looking to homeschool on the cheap, it is definitely possible! Especially in Kindergarten. It will take a little bit more time on your part, but you can do it!!
Here are some free homeschool kindergarten curriculum resources for you:
- Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool – This is probably the most well known free resource for homeschooling. It includes everything that your child needs to learn and much of it can be done on the computer!
- Teach With Me – This website is filled with TONS of free amazing worksheets and lessons that you can put together to create a kindergarten homeschool curriculum. However, it will definitely require work on your part to put lesson plans together and know exactly what you need to cover during the year.
- Under the Home – This is a completely free, Charlotte Mason Inspired curriculum that you can use with your child. The subjects available for kindergarten are: art history, music, poetry, prose, studio art, writing, phonics, reading and math.
- Khan Academy – Khan Academy is an online program that offers math and language arts for children in kindergarten. It teaches kids using interactive books, games, videos and activities and is aligned with the common core standards.
- Discovery K12 – Discovery K12 is an online homeschool that offers 180 days of instruction for your child. It offers all the core subjects and even electives. You can use this program full time or just partially to supplement other things that you are doing, and you can always go at your own pace.
- Core Knowledge – Here, you can download free language arts, social studies and science curricula. Although you will have to add math, the materials are amazing and definitely worth looking into!
Kindergarten Curriculum for Homeschooling that We are Using and Loving
I wanted to keep things simple this year. My daughter is in kindergarten and I want her to develop her creativity, curiosity, and social skills through play. And at this age, she is still learning an incredible amount through independent play and exploration.
We are using separate curricula for math, reading, and handwriting and just one other curriculum for everything else. I’ll give you a brief intro to each curriculum and some pros and cons. Let’s jump into my kindergarten homeschool curriculum reviews!
Math Curriculum: BJU Math
Math kindergarten curriculum for homeschooling spread out on a coffee table.
BJU stands for Bob Jones University. They have curricula for many different subjects. This year I’m only using their math curriculum.
Choosing a math homeschool curriculum was the hardest for me. I wanted something that taught in a way that helped my child have great number sense, was engaging for my daughter, would not require a lot of prep work, and left potential for some independent learning as she gets older.
I looked through soooo many different curricula. Some seemed too easy, others too boring. And one that I really liked required a lot of teacher interaction even as the child got older.
Then, my sister-in-law found BJU. It checked all the boxes!
- Minimal prep work
Who has the time to prep? This curriculum allows you pull out the book and teach with almost no prep work.
You might have to pull out some manipulatives or make sure a worksheet is printed the day before, but other than that you can just follow the scripted lessons.
- Daily bonus activity
This activity requires a little more looking ahead to see what materials you might need, but it is very simple, hands-on, and always fun for the kids.
- It’s a spiral curriculum
A spiral curriculum teaches a concept and then revisits that concept frequently to solidify understanding. The daily review is really great for making sure that my kiddo remembers what she has learned in the previous chapters.
- It’s engaging
There are puppets that my kids go crazy over, many songs and rhymes that they enjoy, and cute colorful illustrations.
- The price is reasonable
The teacher’s manual, student workbook and the manipulative booklet come together for $94.15. They suggest some posters, but we have been doing just fine without them. I did buy some unifix cubes, per their suggestion, and I’m really glad that I did.
- There is an option for video lessons
This would be an extra cost, but if you want your child to learn without needing you to teach them or you have multiple children, this is a perfect option!
- There are a LOT of lessons in the book. Like 160 lessons.
I don’t do book work with my kindergartener five days a week, so the amount of lessons makes it really hard to get through the whole book, even if I go through the summer.
Now some people don’t care about finishing a book in a school year since they are homeschooling and grade levels don’t matter all that much, so this might not matter to you. Personally, I like to be done with a book within the school year just for organizational purposes.
To get through the materials quicker, you can skip the review days. Each chapter contains two review lessons and if your child is not struggling with the concepts in the review it’s easy to skip those lessons. Especially, since each lesson also includes review of previously learned concepts.
Another side note about this curriculum is that the teacher’s manual is written for a classroom teacher. So, you will have to modify the lesson a bit to teach only one child, but I didn’t find this to be a challenge at all.
Reading Curriculum: All About Reading
As a reading teacher, I have pretty high standards for what curriculum I use for reading. All About Reading was highly recommend by many homeschool friends and got rave reviews online.
So when a sweet homeschool mama friend gave me the pre-reading and level one materials, I was elated to try it.
I loved it, and you will too!
- It has all five elements of reading to help your child succeed.
If you want to find out more about this, check out this post. But for our purposes here, I’ll just say that this program covers each of these important elements comprehensively.
- This program is a multi-sensory program
The lessons engage my kiddo through sight, sound, and touch. She loves the different parts and activities in the lessons, and they help her learn!
- Everything is taught in context
When a concept is introduced, the student uses what they have learned right away. The skills build upon what was already taught and practiced, which really gives my daughter a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- It is an open and go curriculum!
YOU can do it. You do not have to prep in advance or look over lessons ahead of time. For me, this is a must. The teacher in me loves to plan, but y’all, I know my limitations and sometimes there just isn’t enough time.
- It is not the cheapest option on the market.
The teacher manual, student packet and three readers are $134.94, plus you need to purchase a “Basic Reading Interactive Kit” for $21.85 (This kit will be used for all levels, so you’ll only need to buy it one time.)
My daughter finished level 1 in the first semester, which requires purchasing another level mid year, so the cost definitely adds up.
- The fluency sheets are long.
Some lessons have two pages (front and back) of practice words and sentences. The practice is good, but early readers can get frustrated with too many words and how long it can take to get through them.
We ended up slowing waaaay down to avoid frustration and keep up her love of reading. Her loving to read is the most important thing when it comes to reading, so I don’t want that to be stifled by anything.
Handwriting Curriculum: Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears is a great tool for teaching young kids how to write letters correctly.
- No prep required
- You can do as much or as little as you want each day
- We focus on just a couple pages a day to make sure that my little lady has the correct pencil grip, is forming the letters correctly, and isn’t getting frustrated.
- It teaches how to form letters step-by-step
- It’s inexpensive-only $12.97
I can’t really think of any. We have loved using this handwriting curriculum for kindergarten.
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts: Five in a Row
Five in a Row (FIAR) is a literature based curriculum that is extremely flexible in how much you want to do with it. It is geared toward children from four to eight years old.
There is also a Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) curriculum geared toward children from two to four years old. If you are looking for some preschool homeschool curricula, I have some recommendations here.
This homeschool curriculum is called Five in a Row, because the idea is that you read the same book for five days in a row and do activities that go along with the book during that time.
When you purchase this curriculum, you will receive a large spiral bound book that has a list of wonderful book titles and suggestions for activities that go along with the book.
We have used the BFIAR curriculum for years and have had so much fun with it. Now we are using the FIAR curriculum and are having just as much fun.
- It is inexpensive. The manual is only $35.00
- Great for teaching multiple ages.
If you have kids that are close together in age, this curriculum is perfect since it’s designed for four to eight year olds. Even my three year-old son tags along while we do FAIR and still enjoys it.
- It’s very flexible.
You can do the most simple activities or just read the book five days in a row and be done.
- The suggested books are amazing
I love introducing my kiddos to rich literature, and we have been able to borrow many of the books from the library.
- The activities are a lot of fun
- It’s easy to find even more activities to go along with each book online.
- It is not a stand-alone curriculum
You need to find a math and reading curriculum to supplement.
- It can be hard to choose which activities to focus on during the week.
(But only if you are a perfectionist like me and have to look into eeeevery activity in the book and on Pinterest.)
- Depending on what you want to do, the prep-work can be time consuming
(But again, this is only if you let it, and I definitely struggle with this.)
- You have to either buy or check out the books from the library each week.
How Do I Homeschool My Kindergartner?
Even after you have chosen the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum for your family, you may still be full of questions. Let’s talk about some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to kindergarten homeschooling.
How do I start homeschooling my kindergartener?
First, there are many states that do not require you to provide a formal education for your kindergartener. Find out if your state has that requirement.
If it does, you will likely need to submit a notice to your state that you are choosing to homeschool. If not, you can just completely skip this step.
While you are looking up your state’s homeschool laws, you will also notice if your state has any other requirements for you to follow. Make sure that you are complying with those. You don’t want to get into any legal issues by not keeping track of what you are accomplishing in your homeschool.
Once you have the legal stuff figured out, you can move onto finding your homeschool kindergarten curriculum, figuring out your homeschool schedule, and how to have an organized homeschool (which is possible even if you are homeschooling without a school room).
How many hours a day do you homeschool in kindergarten?
There are a lot of factors that will play into how long your school day will be. Most homeschoolers will say that they spend anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours in kindergarten. This time includes the formal learning part of your day – so the lesson, activities and seatwork that fit into that particular day. Extra things, like life skills, nature exploration, sensory play, are not included in this time.
If your state has specific requirements for the length of your school day, remember that the “extras” can and should be included in that time.
What does a kindergarten homeschool schedule look like?
Every family will have a different looking schedule. Some families like to get everything done before lunch, other families will spread it out to include more breaks, while others choose to do all of their schooling in the afternoon or evening.
Think about what you want your days to look like:
- When do you want your day to start?
- When do you want your day to end?
- Does your child need many attention breaks?
- Do you want to knock all subjects out as soon as possible?
Once you have these questions answered, plug in the core subjects into the time slots that you have allotted for school. After the core subjects are in, add in the “extras” that you want to include.
If you want more details about scheduling your day and an example of what a kindergarten homeschool schedule looks like, hop on over here.
What should a 5 year old know before kindergarten?
A lot of parents worry that their child will not be prepared for kindergarten. Most likely, if you are spending time interacting with your kids through play, pointing things out to them throughout the day, and reading together, your child will be prepared.
But, if you’re like me, and you like lists, here is a checklist of what would be helpful for your 5 year-old to be doing before kindergarten:
- recognize and name basic shapes
- count 10 objects by pointing to them (one to one correlation)
- count to 20
- identify colors
- sort items by size, shape and color
- handle a book correctly (hold it right side up, turn the pages, realize that you look at the left page before the right page)
- recite or sing the alphabet
- start recognizing some letters and the sounds they make
- recognize their written name
- use scissors
- hold pencils or crayons properly
- use glue
Many families choose to get involved in homeschooling programs so that their child has the opportunity to interact with kids, have teachers others than themselves, learn subjects that they are not comfortable with teaching, or even for mama to just get a break.
Here are 2 of the most common homeschooling programs:
A homeschool co-op is usually set up by local homeschool moms and is typically held one day a week.
The activities done in a homeschool co-op are separate from your kindergarten homeschool curriculum. Often, moms have to either teach a class or stay during the lessons to help out.
A hybrid school is a way for parents to receive a lot of support while educating their child.
The children go to school typically two days a week to get the instruction they need and get sent home with homework to complete on the other days of the week.
If you child attends a hybrid school, your homeschool curriculum will be chosen for you, which can feel less stressful, but at the same time has limitations.
I listed only two types of homeschooling programs, but depending on where you live, your community might have many more options. Just search around your area and ask in local Facebook groups for what’s available.
Kindergarten Curriculum for Homeschooling Conclusion
So, mama, if you are stressing about finding the perfect kindergarten curriculum for homeschooling, I would say stop and rest! You cannot mess up your child’s education in kindergarten! Just spending intentional time with your kiddo is enough.
Buuut, I know that you will still stress, which is why I wrote this post for you. You really can’t go wrong with these options.
What is your favorite kindergarten curriculum for homeschooling? Comment below! I always love hearing what is working for other families and seeing how we can switch things up in our home!
Questions about what we are using? Just ask below! I’d love to help!