I start homeschooling Grade K with my children when they are at least 5 years old. In my mind, my biggest goal is to start a mathematics and reading program. I don’t expect them to add or read well by the end of this year, but I want them to learn some math concepts, letter sounds and start putting the sounds together and if they are ready, they can add or read. If not, then maybe next year. Our state (Wisconsin, USA) presently doesn’t require anything until 1st grade! That makes me feel better if I have a sick baby and can’t do anything but ask my grade K child to count as he/she puts away 10 blocks plus read and sing to him/her.
I like to incorporate “school” into the whole day, though we only call our “Homeschool Time” 10:00 a.m. (after hobby farm chores and breakfast are done) to 3:30 p.m., with a quick 30 minute lunch in between. I am teaching them as we: do chores, make meals, tidy up, do laundry, attend a homeschool Phy Ed Co-op, club event (like 4-H), or enrolled activity (like bowling, music lessons, archery, dance, etc.) The evening story time before bed routine consists of:
- Bible We sometimes read a little from a Children’s Bible. My husband or I read to my children straight out of a regular Bible or Bible app on a Smartphone (if traveling) every day. No matter what. Even on the busiest day in the world, we at least read the Bible to them.
- A few picture books In our family, the kids take turns picking books, (Maris and Miranda on odd days, for example), so it doesn’t drag on too long. At this age, I don’t expect them to be sitting still when I read, but I expect them to use an inside voice so they can hear me. I have found that even though it looks like they are playing, they are actually listening. Often they will run over and say, “I want to see that picture!” or “Why did he do that, Mom?” when I thought they weren’t even listening.
- Part of a chapter book I like to read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and continue through the series (Over about three school years, not all in one year!). If you haven’t read one, it is about a girl growing up in America in the old days before electricity and modern appliances. She describes in detail how they did things back then for survival. My kids appreciate what they have and are amazed at how the Ingalls’ did it. I feel like I am teaching a little History with that. While I am reading, I let my Grade K child play with My Book of Little House Paper Dolls which you can get here.
The reading and writing program I use is Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 Kit. The whole kit (pictured at the top of this post) is over $200 and can be found on Amazon here or at rainbowresource.com. Just be sure to get one with the CD and not just cassette tapes (some come with both) if you don’t have a cassette player. It has songs and games to play and phonics books to help the children learn to read and a treasure box of prizes (Which I refill with treats, not toys – older kids are allowed to play so they can win treats too, sometimes a child will “win” a treat by putting away homeschool items for me when I am busy breastfeeding!). At this age, we follow the program that is planned out in the Instructor’s Manual for Level 1 that comes with your kit or you can get here.. The Instructor’s Manual also gives a list of what books to read to your child so you can bring a few ideas to the library each time you go. The workbook is called the Raceway Book, which comes with your kit or you can get here or at rainbowresource.com for less than $20. It may take some years to get through Level 1. Do not rush. It is so important to do each step and learn it well and have fun as you go. It really teaches them everything they need to know to read and I personally do not ever teach Level 2. You really need the kit to tell you what to do with the workbook though. I bought my kit new for over $300, but have used it with 6 kids so I think it’s a great deal. The teacher book told me what to do and I followed it and amazingly my kids learned to read! Some of my older children love to read and sometimes have two or three books going at a time.
Workbook But, you might ask, how do I know what is expected for Grade K? This is my first time. I can’t think of all that stuff. Don’t worry, there is an amazing book that can help you for less than $15.
I love this book! Right in the first few pages it tells you what your child should be doing so you can work on it with your child. They cover motor development, social/emotional development, language, and cognitive development. One of the things to do in the motor development category is “can control his/her large muscles. He/she can hop on one foot; jump over objects; and throw, bounce, and catch a ball easily.” So if you don’t have a Sam’s club, click here and order this book on Amazon, start playing ball with your kid every day until the book gets here and you’ll be doing school!
Need some ideas for homeschooling your Grade K child? See what a mom of 7 has been using for her children.
This book also has a checklist for you to check things off throughout the year as your child masters it. Topics are Basic Skills, Reading Readiness, Mathematics Readiness, Fine (Small) Motor Skills, and Writing Readiness. It has very simple pages for your child to work on with large pictures and large lettering for them to trace.
It covers: Basic Skills, Reading (just a little), Math, Time and Money (not as thorough as Saxon, see below), and Thinking Skills.
The very back of the book has teaching suggestions with 100 more ideas! One example is: “Discuss types of weather. Ask your child to identify the clothes that he/she would wear when the weather is rainy, snowy, hot, etc.” You have to get this book! I am surprised they don’t charge more money for it. There is a new edition every year so yours may have a different cover.
Please remember that you do not have to do everything in this book or ANYTHING in this book. If you live in a place where Grade K is not required, you can do what you want. I was public schooled and I almost died of pregnancy-induced heart failure (PPCM). So even though God has healed me and I am healthy today, I realize that I will die at some point and if I die young, my husband is presently not planning to homeschool. I want my children to be competent at every grade level if they are suddenly put in school. This book helps me stress less. Even if we work on the same book for both Grade K and Grade 1; I feel better about it, if I read those pages of what is expected and my child can do a lot of those things. I often tend to think I need to do a ton more just because I don’t know what is truly expected for this age. Now I have a nice list in the book to check off.
For Health at this grade level, I try to get fun picture books from the library that cover hygiene: brushing teeth, germs, combing hair, taking baths; going to the eye doctor, dentist, pediatrician/doctor; safety: a little First Aid, Police, Fire Department, Ambulance, Crossing Streets, Stranger Danger, etc.
For Math, I use Saxon Math K. I like to have the complete kit plus manipulatives. Make sure you get a Teacher’s Edition and Meeting Book. You can always improvise for some of the manipulatives or buy the ones you want separately. The Teacher’s Edition is so nice because it tells you exactly what to say to your child! Just try not to “sound like a computer” when reading it as my first child told me I was doing! It covers concepts like patterns, counting with counters and linking cubes, sorting, shapes, graphs, money, time, writing numbers, calendar, Geoboards, dividing by sharing, matching, acting out addition stories with teddy bear counters, etc.
For Science I use Answers In Genesis. I like The Answers Book for Kids for all my younger children so the Grade K child hears those too. I like to read Inside The Noah’s Ark For Kids, A is for Adam, D is for Dinosaur, N is for Noah books.
Keep in mind this is what I choose to use for homeschooling my children, it doesn’t mean you have to. You get to choose what you want to teach. Just have fun and happy homeschooling!
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