My “Kindergarten is the HARDEST” post was so long that I had to split it up into two articles. But it’s worth it! These helpful tips were a huge blessing to me when I first started homeschooling…and still is!
A HUGE BLESSING!!
Click here for Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)
Here are some fun and simple ideas to make your child’s Kindergarten year awesome. These ideas work great with the older kids too. Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas. There are many, many more things to do and you’ll come up with some on your own as you start working with your child. Pinterest is my best friend!
BUT AT THE SAME TIME: Don’t be overwhelmed! There is plenty here to keep you busy for many years.
Want to know the secret ingredient to a successful homeschool?
I can’t stress enough the importance of reading a lot to your child. We go to the library every Friday and we all have stacks of books that we bring home.
~ picture books
~ nonfiction books about everything
~ chapter books
~audio books and more.
I THINK YOU GET THE PICTURE!
I love to go through the nonfiction section for kids at the library and get a lot of books. There are so many books at the library to help them learn. You don’t have to read them all to them, have them browse the pages on their own. I have a daily 30-minute or more silent reading time even for the ones who aren’t reading yet.
Reading Writing Math and Bible
In Kindergarten, you’ll focus on the basics… reading, writing, math and bible. For reading, I used “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons” by Siegfried Englemann to teach all 5 of my children to read. The lessons take about 15 minutes and are divided up to make it easier. There are other wonderful books out there too but this is the one I used. Feel free to do a lesson a day or spread out a lesson during the week so you’re doing less each day. I always started out with a lesson a day but went to a page a day as the lessons got harder. It really depends on the needs of your child. There is no right or wrong way since every child is different. They say the book is for ages 4-6 but in reality, depending on your child’s personality, I think it should be for ages 5-7. For younger children, you can still do the book but if they cry or get frustrated, just slow it down to meet their needs.
Here’s a short video sample of the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”
Have them practice writing their letters and numbers. There is practice in their reading and math books but extra practice each day will help. This is the part of school where I have them practice as perfect of penmanship as possible, at least once. When they slow down and work hard, they can learn to write neatly.
For math, I used Horizon’s workbooks from Alpha and Omega Publications for Kindergarten through 4th grade (I like Saxon Math for 5th grade and up). You can also print off worksheets online for free to get you started. This picture is for 1st grade. I don’t have any of the Kindergarten books handy but you can see the Kindergarten math book in the video I have posted in the “Reading” section of my blog. 😀
I absolutely love Egermeier’s Bible Story Book. They have short, simple and engaging stories that keep little one’s attention as it takes them through the bible. They have simple questions at the end of the book that help the kids understand each story. I’m usually still reading this to them throughout 1st grade also. Your book probably won’t come with the fancy artwork on the cover!
Another thing I like to do is read verses from the bible. I start in the old testament and read through 5 verses at a time. I also do this with Proverbs and the new testament. You can do bible anyway you want. You can pick up your bible and read, or get curriculum. Reading the bible regularly to your child is important even if it’s just a few verses at a time. Read it and discuss it with them.
One of my favorite things to do that I did with all 5 of my children (and still do) is having my children write journals. First, I have them draw a picture. It could be about their day, about a book, or about whatever they want, then I have them write about it. At first when they write about their picture, their letters are just scribbles, shapes, or random letters but I have them write anyway they want. I focus on writing their letters correctly and spelling correctly during another part of their school, but not journaling. When they’re finished drawing and writing, I have them tell me what they wrote and then I write out what they say. Then I always label their work with their name, date and their age. I keep all of their journals but you can keep the best of the week or month and put them in a notebook or folder. Or you can make a book out of them. As they mature and grow, you’ll start seeing them improve in their journaling.
Every month we make calendars. I make them by hand but you can print out a template. It will give them writing practice in general, and they’ll learn their numbers, months, and days of the week. They can color and decorate their calendar and I remember getting stickers for their calendar for my first two kids, but not the younger three haha. When they’re first starting out, I fill in the entire calendar for them and have them copy the numbers in the squares and copy the name of the month. As they got older, I had them fill in more of the calendar by themselves. I usually do this through 7th or 8th grade but I get started in Kindergarten or even preschool.
Another idea we love is going for a nature walk. We would just go in our back yard or the park and look for bugs, look at all the different plants, look at the sky, the clouds, the weather, and the birds, and then we draw and write about what we saw.
I’d have the kids “write” anything they want and then when they are finished, they would dictate what they wrote and I would write it for them. As they got older, they would ask me how to spell words for them, or they would even sound out the words themselves. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
I did this next idea for preschool also and carried the activity into Kindergarten. I made big cards out of card stock. I drew or printed out pictures of an apple, boat, cat, dog, elephant, frog, etc. and glued them to the cards. I put names of the pictures on separate cards and also the first letter of each picture on the cards. I’d set out the pictures and have them match the first letter or the name of the picture with the picture. I also made number cards with a number on each separate card. I had them put the numbers in order, skip count them or put them in backwards order. The ideas are endless with this. I started out laminating them but as I did more of them, I just did the card stock without going through the trouble of laminating all of them. It worked just fine.
LAP BOOKS & HOME MADE BOOKS
Pinterest has a TON of lap book ideas and samples. I also have them make their own book based on a science or history book they read or a book report, or they’ll make their own “About Me” book or “Nature” books. Lap books are the same idea as homemade books but you glue their small pages and flaps in a manila folder. I took a class on making lap books at a homeschool convention but before that, I never heard of them. The ideas are endless with this!
LEARNING WITH BOOKS
Another idea: we like to get books from the library and then I have them draw a picture from the book, any picture, and then pick a word from the page and copy it. I usually have them do this after they’ve had some practice writing their letters so they know how to write the letters correctly for this exercise. Or I help them copy the word they chose correctly. My kids love this.
For December curriculum, I include several extra special things in school.
Scripture Reading: We read the Christmas story from Luke 1 and Luke 2:1-40. I divide up the verses into the amount of days we have and I read a little bit of it every day. I discuss each section with them and ask them to share what stood out to them.
CHRISTMAS SONGS: I take a Christmas Carol each day or each week and go over the lyrics with them and explain the meaning. Then we listen to the song 2-3 times. This makes me cry every time. My kids are more amused with me crying than with the actual activity but it’s an important tradition to me. 🙂
We watch Christmas movies: The Nutcracker, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol… you get the idea! I also try to find a new Christmas movie or special that the kids haven’t seen yet since we’re not real big on watching the same movies over and over… weird… I know! But the Nutcracker is always a MUST SEE around here!
CHRISTMAS CRAFTS: One year we made Christmas decorations and put them up around the house. The next year we made Christmas gifts for people and Christmas pillows. We also make homemade Christmas cards.
We bake Christmas cookies: That’s pretty self explanatory. Usually, we just make chocolate chip cookies and maybe put M&Ms on top. I’m not really an extravagant Christmas baker but that doesn’t seem to hurt anyone’s feelings too much.
Advent Calendars: Sometimes they’re homemade but this year I bought one and I have them take turns opening the little doors each day. The homemade advent calendar is usually a homemade calendar with Christmas stickers for each day.
OTHER RANDOM ART IDEAS AND MORE
~ Cut shapes out of colored construction paper and have them glue the shapes to cardstock. (It could be random gluing or they could make a house or pizza with toppings.)
~ Get markers (at your own risk haha), crayons, glue, glitter glue, paint and stickers for your child to play with.
~ BAKING ~ nothing thrills a child more than making cookies in school (enough said)
~ On pinterest: I find simple art drawing tutorials (key word is “simple”) and I draw them for my child to copy. Then I have them color their picture. The library also has books with step by step drawing tutorials for kids (and moms!)
There you have it: LOTS and LOTS of fun and easy ideas that work for kids of all ages…not just Kindergarten. If you missed my “Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)” blog you can see it here. I have some ideas and helpful hints in that blog as well.
What are some of your favorite school ideas and activities that you do with your child? Do you have any special activities that you do for Christmas? I’d love to hear from you!
My other posts:
Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)
4 Things to remember when things don’t go as planned