So many people ask about learning goals for kindergarten. Especially first time homeschooling mommas.
Everyone worries that their child won’t get a solid foundation, but cramming information into a 4 or a 5 year old isn’t what education is all about.
Young children are exploring their world. They need sensory stimulation. They need dogs and cats and chickens and gardens and playgrounds. They need adult interaction, rather than a screen. They need to learn how to have a conversation, how to help with laundry (sorting colors and matching socks and figuring out who wears which item), how to build Lincoln Logs, and how to consider other people when they are making choices.
They need to learn how to use scissors, how to get dirty (playing in the mud should be a requirement of childhood), and how to get clean. They should learn to say please, thank you, and hello.
They should be secure in their home life. It pains me to see teachers peeling children off of their mothers. It means that those children haven’t developed a proper relationship yet to be self confident when they aren’t with a parent. Once they are mature enough, they will happily turn away from their parents to play with friends.
I believe that the single most important thing you can do for a young child is to read to them. Language development depends on the number and complexity of words that a child hears in a day.
I have read many studies about how the research proves again and again that reading to a child makes all the difference in educating.
The gaps in learning levels between preK and kindergarten students can be easily correlated with the number of books the child has been exposed to since infancy.
The love of books and learning and literature begins in the home with young children sharing books with their parents.
I still read at night with my 13 yr old daughter (she’s the youngest of my 3). We occasionally still read aloud at the table over lunch. We definitely still listen to audiobooks, especially in the car.
I have said all of this so that you understand there is no perfect 4 or 5 year old curriculum. Choose whatever you like. Or just learn letters with finger paints. Count while swinging. We learned all of the multiplication facts by skip counting on a swing. Each push is a number. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…
Learn science by watching birds. Make and hang a bird feeder. Keep a journal of who visits, when you need to refill, and if you have squirrels or other critters stealing food. Owen, my middle, once told me where the deep water started while watching fish off of a pond pier.
“How do you know?” I asked him.
“Because the minnows don’t go past here. That means the water is too shallow here for the big fish.”
Indeed. He didn’t learn that from a book. He learned that from observing nature.
Social Studies for this age involves community helpers. Mr. Rogers was amazing at teaching about community helpers. You only need to visit the post office, the doctor’s office, the fire station, the police station, the hairdresser, etc. The list is endless.
It’s about showing them how the world works.
Math is all about counting. Money is an amazing thing! It comes in a base 10 set. We count 5 pennies and exchange it for a nickel. We count 5 more and exchange that for a dime.
Organizing patterns, cooking (fractions anyone?), measuring, telling time, dividing a pizza, keeping a growth chart, and talking about prices in the grocery store are all solid math concepts.
In my opinion, your library is your best source of “curriculum”. Just start at one shelf and work your way through. If your child gets hung up on a book about trains, then check out 10 books about trains. Visit a train station. Check out a train documentary for children. Draw trains with different cars hauling coal and cars and corn. You’ve just made yourself a unit study.
I hope you can relax and enjoy your young children. The years pass so quickly.
The most notable thing about my children is that they look adults in the eye and carry on conversations. That’s impressive to so many people these days.
Self-confidence and a love of learning should mark your homeschooling kiddos at any age.
P.S. Here is my favorite read aloud Bible Story book for anyone and everyone. Beautifully written by a mother for her children.