Hey All! School starts back here this week! We are all SUPER excited. Okay, I’m super excited, and the kids are just humoring me I think. Anyway, It’s hard to believe, but we are starting into our SIXTH year of homeschooling. In case you missed it, I was actually an Accidental Homeschooler, who only planned to homeschool for kindergarten. Now my oldest is going into 5th grade! It all went so fast. Anyway, I was thinking back on those early years, about how terrifying it all was, when I decided I would offer my top tips for homeschooling kindergarten.
1). Start Slow
There’s no need to rush into it. Take your time, and learn to settle in. Maybe start with only a couple of subjects a day, or even just a few days a week. Don’t immediately jump into five full days a week. Your kindergartner is accustomed to a life of play. Ease up a bit in the beginning.
2). Don’t expect school to take all day
This one shocked me at first. My local kindergarten holds class the same amount of time as regular elementary school children, meaning that they are in school for 8 hours a day. Kindergarten does NOT take 8 hours a day, so please don’t drive your child crazy by trying to draw it out. Homeschooling looks different for every family, but for us, it was 1-2 hours per day.
3). Read, Read, Read
This one is important. You will be utterly amazed at what your child can learn just by simply listening to a book. Check out these benefits of reading to your child. Don’t limit reading to just books either….stop signs, sales flyers, newspapers…..read them all! This will teach your child that words are everywhere, and that reading is an essential skill for life.
4). Sometimes you have to move on
Occasionally things will be hard for your child to master. This inevitably leads to frustration for both you and your student. Sometimes it’s best to just move on to a different subject, and revisit the source of frustration later. Every child has a shutdown point, so try not to cross it. It’s okay to move away and come back.
5). Let them work at their pace
Guess what…..my youngest was a nightmare in kindergarten because I was constantly trying to force her to tackle subjects that she simply wasn’t ready for yet. It took forever for her to learn to blend words, but one day it just clicked. We would have both enjoyed her kindergarten year more if I would have pushed a little less.
6). School can happen anywhere
Don’t feel bound to your at home “classroom” with the colorful posters and cute desks. You can do school in the car, in the park, or even at grandma’s house. Sometimes everyone needs a change of scenery.
7). Don’t worry about what you’re missing
This was my BIGGEST fear as a new homeschool mom. I was so sure that I was “missing” something. I would pull up CSOs from the local school system and check off all the tiny boxes. When I discovered we had skipped the life cycle of plants I almost had a nervous breakdown. Guess what though…..They cover that again. So far it has been covered in 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd, grade, and 4th grade. See what I mean? It ALL repeats itself. Every year things just get a little harder, and a little more detailed. Don’t stress about missing an important topic, it will eventually be there.
8). Be Flexible
Kindergartners get sick……A LOT! Plus there are always cool opportunities that come up for play dates and field trips. Sometimes things don’t get mastered as quickly as the schedule says they should. Don’t be a slave to your schedule. Learn to be flexible early on, it will save you tons of headaches later.
(Related Reading: Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum to fit your family)
9). Have Fun!
Don’t become so busy being a teacher that you forget to be a mom. Kindergartners still have plenty of play left in them, so be sure to enjoy it. Play games, make crafts, and go on nature walks. You will be surprised at what they learn just from being with you and interacting with the world. You have this wonderful opportunity to just BE with your child all day long, take advantage of it. The little years slip away really fast, and suddenly your cut and paste pumpkin isn’t cool anymore. Don’t miss it!
10). Take pictures
Your days may seem long, but your year will FLY by. Take tons of pictures, not only for your portfolio but just for you. One day you can look back with your 5th grader and remember the time you made a ziplock bag erupt, or painted a tree with q-tips. Trust me, you will be glad you did!
So there you have it, my top ten tips for kindergartner homeschool moms. Hopefully, these will encourage you in your day. I love comments so if you have any tips to add please post them below. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook & Pinterest!
(Are you a beginner homeschooler who needs more tips? Check out my 15 homeschool tips for beginners.)