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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homeschooling Kindergarten

Do you homeschool kindergarten?  Some do, some don't.  You may or may not be aware of this, but most states do not require kindergarten - even for public-schooled children.  The state where I live does not require a child to be formally educated at all until the year they turn 7.  So, Kindergarten is not a requirement.

In 1840, the first Kindergarten was opened in Germany.  In the states, the first Kindergarten classroom provided was in 1856, in Wisconsin.  My city, and Susan Blow, are known for opening the first publicly financed Kindergarten in the US, in 1873. Regardless of who is credited for its start, Kindergarten is just a gentle way of making schooling appealing to children, and easing them into their next 12 years behind a desk.

So, is it important to homeschool Kindergarten?  The answer really depends on your personal preference, and your state's requirements.  If your state requires it, then you will need to provide this for your child.  If your state does not require education until after the child's Kindergarten year, then Kindergarten is completely up to you.

If you decide to homeschool Kindergarten, it is one of the most fun years.  The curriculum really mostly just covers a really good, sound letters and numbers foundation.  Other than that, you can throw in some basic social studies and science learning, some physical education, and some art.

Everything with Kindergarten teaching/learning is fun and exciting.  Everything is so bright and colorful, and friendly looking.  If you decide to homeschool your Kindergartner, enjoy the process!  Provide tons of coloring pages, and hands-on crafts that tie into all learning.

Make letter shapes out of:

  • Play-Dough
  • Craft Sticks
  • Masking Tape on the floor
  • Sandpaper sheets
  • Crayons with paint overtop, to reveal secret letter
Do the same with forming numbers, and writing number words.  With numbers, also be sure to include plenty of manipulatives, such as:
  • Plastic animals
  • Large buttons
  • Recycled lids
  • M&Ms
Have some fun making number cards with your child.  Cut out a picture of objects, and glue them to a recipe card.  Above the number, write the number and the number word.  Or, play matching games with one side showing the number, and the other showing the number word.

Science is fun at this stage, as well.  Do tons of hands-on experiments, such as planting bean seeds in a wet paper towel, inside a zip-lock bag.  Go to a petting zoo.  Anything your child can see and touch indents the learning experience into their memory.

Social Studies involves learning basic cultural facts, manners, and maps.

Art is so much fun for Kindergartners, as they can get their "hands dirty".  Provide tons of finger paints and other paints, clay, Play-Dough, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, and glue.  Learning basic hand-eye coordination, and other skills, such as cutting, is the important underlying skills you want to teach during all lessons, including art.

Just enjoy!  They don't stay little for long, and as their studies progress, they get more and more in depth and less and less colorful and fun.  Now is your chance to make learning exciting, and introduce your child to a life filled with learning.

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