Public schools seem to push learning at an earlier age all the time. It’s believed that children need to be exposed to learning as early as possible, when their minds are more open and they are more curious about the world they live in. Many children are enrolled in kindergarten as young as four years of age. However, many children are not developmentally ready to start formal education at such a young age. Parents who home educate their children have much more flexibility in what is taught and the methods used in the home to reach a child in kindergarten. Learning through play is the best way to teach young children.
Most families who pursue homeschooling follow their state laws regarding compulsory education requirements. This varies from one state to the next with ages ranging from five to seven. Parents need to meet the child at his level for homeschooling to work successfully. Every child is different and one approach may not work for each one.
Homeschooling is different from public schooling in how long a child needs instruction. Because a child taught in the home receives one on one attention, it is not necessary to do formal schooling for more than an hour a day. Any more than that and the child may lose interest and won’t be able to pay attention to the lesson. However, a lot can be covered with someone so young in an hour. Formal learning makes up time for instruction, worksheets or writing practice. The rest of the day can be based on learning through play.
Homeschooling families are extremely different in their approach to material. Some feel more comfortable with a complete curriculum so they don’t have to guess about what needs to be covered. Everything is written out and taught in a way that builds from one skill to another. Tests are available, as well. Other families choose to write their own curriculum so they can meet the child at any level in every subject. They utilize the Internet for educational games that cover reading and math or print out worksheets and tests to use for the child. A third option is virtual schools. The child’s education is almost completely online as skilled teachers check their work and handle any paperwork and testing that is required by the state.
After the formal learning is accomplished, it’s time to reinforce what the child learns through play. Kindergartners need repetition to cement what has been taught. This can be done through many activities in the child’s life. Playing board games can reinforce math or reading skills, as well as working on social aspects such as taking turns and winning or losing gracefully. Online sites such as Starfall help the visual learner work on letter sounds and reading. Reading a book together offers bonding time while helping the child develop a love for learning. Documentaries are a great way to learn about science or social studies when designed for young children.
Chores can be part of homeschooling a kindergartner, while making it fun. Helping in the kitchen can introduce a child to measurements as well as reading skills. She can learn that food cooks at different temperatures and for different lengths of time. Getting out to help in the garden reinforces science lessons while learning to take care of living things. While feeding pets, discussions about life cycles or comparing mammals to reptiles can surface.
Keeping things simple is often the best way to teach a child. Many kindergartners still have short attention spans and may not be developmentally ready to tackle a full day of school. Finding different ways to teach important concepts is the best way to encourage a love of learning while preparing the child for the future.