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The best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum should focus on the basics, yet include plenty of hands activities and games. Phonics, writing and math take priority, although you should make time for social studies, science and art at least once or twice a week. Spending a just a few minutes per day on each subject will give your child the foundation he needs to move on to more rigorous studies in first grade. Work at your child's pace and remember that not everyone learns in the same way.
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Several curriculum companies offer a complete homeschooling kindergarten curriculum which include everything you need to teach your child during the year. Although these "school in a box" style curricula can be pricey, they may provide you with the reassurance that you are covering everything your child needs to learn during his kindergarten year. Most provide the parents with an instructors guide that gives daily lesson plans in all subject areas. To use these programs, you simply open the book every day and work through the daily plan. Complete packages are available that include everything you need for the entire year, or you may choose to purchase only the lesson plans and core texts, then borrow the literature selections from the library as needed.
Sonlight is probably the most popular all inclusive curriculum on the market today. The kindergarten curriculum provides daily lesson plans in history, reading, writing, math, Bible, and science. This program relies heavily on literature, so expect to spend lots of quality time reading to your child.
Winterpromise is another program that provides daily lesson plans that cover many subject areas, however parents need to choose and purchase a math program separately. The kindergarten program, Animals in Their Worlds teaches not only a complete language arts curriculum, but is themed around specific animal habitats around the world, such as the African Savannah or a tropical rainforest. daily lesson plans include lots of suggestions for hands on activities and art projects. This curriculum is perfect for a child interested in doing lots of crafts.
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A good language arts curriculum is an important part of the kindergarten year. This is the time when the child needs to learn to read and write and should continue to be exposed to high quality children's books. Picture books and chapter books should be read to him on a daily basis. There are several highly rated language arts programs that are perfect for kindergarten and are recommended by experts as well as homeschooling parents.
Books such as The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington and How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engellmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner are both step by step programs that provide daily lessons and a script for the parent to follow while teaching a child to read.
For parents who want something more involved, there are other programs that offer a complete package including extra activities and workbooks. Veritas Press' Phonics Museum or Sing Spell Read and Write by Pearson Education both include readers, games, and other activities to that reinforce the phonics skills.
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When it comes to the best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum, math should be simple. You may find that you don't even need to purchase a curriculum in the early years. According to Education.com, kindergartners should learn to do the following by the end of the kindergarten year.
- Sort objects by size, color, and shape
- One to one matching
- Recognize and name numbers
- Measure length in non standard units
- Count to 10
- Compare the size of two objects
- Match numerals to a set of objects up to 10
- Recognize basic geometric shapes
- Understand why we use money
- Identify coins and bills up to $5
Spending lots of time counting, sorting, and playing number games can help your child achieve these goals, however, excellent curricula are available for parents wanting more structure.These math curricula are considered to be the best on the market.
Horizon Math and Saxon math both offer daily lessons that cover the above skills and more during the kindergarten year. Counting, number recognition, adding and subtraction are all included in the Kindergarten curriculum for both programs.
Math U See is a highly recommended program that takes a different approach. The program is not level by grade but the Alpha level is suitable for Kindergarten. Students use special blocks that are sold with the curriculum, and begin learning place value then move on to adding. Math facts and skip counting are also included in this year. Math U See is a self paced curriculum that allows the student to move through the lessons as quickly or as slow as necessary, but most lessons take about a week and each level includes approximately 32 lessons, which is about the length of a typical school year.
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History and Science
During the kindergarten year, history and science should include hands on activities and exciting picture books that expose the child to concepts he will study in later years. Many parents choose to simply read a wide variety books based on historical events and do simple science experiments at the kitchen table. If you are teaching history and science to an older child, it may be appropriate to allow your kindergartener to simply listen in on lessons, coloring pictures of famous people in history and helping with science projects at her level.
Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar is one of the only highly recommended curricula that includes instruction at the kindergarten level. Read aloud suggestions as well as hands on activities expose the child to historic events in a way that a kindergartener can understand.
Both Mudpies to Magnets and More Mudpies to Magnets by Robert E Williams, Robert E. Rockwell, Elizabeth Sherwood and Laurel Sweetman are excellent resources for teaching science to young children. Doing one or two science projects per week, plus reading related books, such as the Magic School Bus Series, will provide an excellent foundation for future science studies.
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The best homeschooling kindergarten curriculum should take about an hour per day to complete at home, but don't stop teaching when school time is over. Take advantage of the learning opportunities that exist everywhere in your home and community. Attending storytime, park days and playing with friends should also play a major role during kindergarten.
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"The Well Trained Mind"; Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise; 2004