If you’ve made the big decision to homeschool your child, you know how important it is to start the process right. A good kindergarten schedule can help reinforce for your child that learning is fun and make school something that he or she looks forward to every day. Keep in mind that kindergarten doesn’t have to be very complicated. There are few learning requirements for this age group in most states, so this is a good time for you and your child to both get used to homeschooling and find what works best for you. Your first homeschooling routine could consist simply of cuddles and story time or it could include more formal learning, depending on your child’s development and interests.
Tips for creating a good homeschooling schedule for kindergarten
The best homeschooling schedule is one that best suits you and your child, so each family’s schedule will be somewhat unique. However, from our experience, we’ve put together a few tips that can make the process of creating your homeschooling kindergarten schedule easier and more successful.
1. Decide on your parameters first. The first thing you need to do when setting up your homeschooling schedule (for any grade) is to set down your parameters, ideally in writing. Are you going to have school five days a week, four, six? Are you going to follow the public or private school calendar? (This is advisable if you have other children in public or private school.) Are you going to have school year round or take the summer (or other period of time) off? Do you need to work around your job schedule?
2. Set your homeschooling goals. After you’ve set down your parameters in writing, you should decide what you want to accomplish during the school year. With kindergarten, this may simply be to get your child ready for the more structured learning that he or she will experience in first grade. You also need to decide things like whether you want your classes to include religious instruction or even a second language (if your family is bilingual). Think also about what life skills you want to instill and encourage in your child as a part of his or her schooling.
3. Keep it simple. Keeping your schedule simple will help your kids to remember what you are doing when and make it easier to implement. For example, you don’t have to say what type of crafts you are going to do, just that a certain period of time is “craft time”. Although older children may have different schedules for different days of the week, it’s best to keep to a single, everyday schedule for kindergartners.
4. Use the same schedule every day. Kids, especially young ones, like to know what to expect every day. It helps them to feel secure and ready to learn. Keeping your schedule set for the entire year, or only making small changes to it periodically, will help your child be able to focus on school.
5. Plan for the unexpected. Planning every minute of your school schedule isn’t very realistic, especially with young children. Make sure to leave blocks of white space in your daily schedule, so you can accommodate things like kids having to change clothes because of a spill or other accident; family coming to the door unexpectedly; or learning events and activities than pop up without much notice.
6. Remember that break time is important. Breaks are important for any age group, to make sure that kids keep their attention on learning. However, kindergartners, especially, need those breaks. These can be traditional nap time or time for games or play.
7. Keep the school day short, but not too short. There’s a reason that public schools generally schedule kindergarten for half a day. It gives kids a taste of what school is like without overwhelming them. Homeschooling should ideally operate along the same principles.
Sample kindergarten homeschooling schedules
Below are a few sample homeschooling kindergarten schedules. You and mix and match subjects to best suit you and your child’s needs. Keep in mind that the times are somewhat arbitrary. You can easily start your school day at 8:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. if that works better with your other responsibilities. Homeschooling kindergarten shouldn’t be boring. You can substitute an outing for a day’s activities once a week or so. Trips to the zoo, the museum, the library and nature center are learning experiences as well as fun.
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. — Bible stories or other story time
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. — Math
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. — Recess and snack time
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. — Writing basics
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. — Crafts
11:30 a.m. – Noon — Reading
Noon — Lunchtime
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. — Yoga and stretching exercises
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. — Math
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. — Stories and snacks
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.– Crafts and art
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. — Physical education
11:30 a.m. – Noon — Writing and reading
Noon — Lunchtime
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. — Story time
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. — Math
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. — Physical education and snack time
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. — Writing and reading
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. — Language arts or geography
11:30 a.m. – Noon — Craft time
Noon — Lunchtime
What do these “subjects” mean in kindergarten?
Obviously, things like math and science will have different meanings in kindergarten than they do in first or seventh grades. Below is a brief outline of what is reasonable to cover in kindergarten for the average child’s learning development. Of course, one of the best things about homeschooling is that you can adjust the lessons to how well your child is grasping the information. You may cover more or less material during the school year, depending on how focused and how interested your child is in the lesson.
- Math. Kindergarten math should include being able to count forward and backwards to at least 10; understanding the concepts of up, down, less and more; being able to write numbers and being able to perform simple addition and subtraction. You can make this fun by applying it to common household items and chores, such as how many eggs, how many socks, etc.
- Writing. Kindergarten writing should include being able to write his or her name and being able to write and identify all of the letters.
- Reading. Kindergarten reading can be a simple as story time or as advanced as basic phonics and basic reading skills. The reading segment might also include some short poetry.
- Recess/PE. Physical activities help children learn that exercise can be fun as well as helping them find an outlet for all that pent-up energy. You can do exercise games in the back yard, take a walk in the park or do simple yoga exercises.
- Crafts and art. Kindergarten crafts and art are fun activities that let kids access their creative sides. However, there are basics to art education, also, such as names of colors; blending colors; and the color wheel.
- Language arts. This is where you can introduce your child to another language, maybe Spanish if you live in the southwest, or a language that family members speak. Young children tend to pick up new words and phrases very quickly, so kindergarten is a perfect time to introduce a new language. If they are already familiar with a spoken language, if your family is bilingual, you can start to introduce them to writing and/or reading basics in that language.
- Story time. Story time can be a time to read books out loud or for both of you to tell stories to each other verbally. This is a great time to share stories with your child that illustrate your family’s history or share stories related to your religion, such as Bible stories like David and Goliath or Jonah and the Whale.
- Geography. Beginning geography can start with a globe or a map and talk about where our country is in relation to others as well as a little bit about the culture of other countries. This is another good place to make a family connection like talking about the countries family members original came from. You can also talk about countries you have visited in the past on vacation or ones you are planning to visit.
The bottom line
Setting up your homeschool kindergarten schedule doesn’t have to be stressful or one of those tasks you keep putting off. The best way to start is to sit down and job down your goals for the school year and the “subjects” you want to cover. Then, get out the calendar and see what days you want to have off of school and starting blocking time for each “subject.” It’s that easy.