If you're like many homeschool parents, you are asking yourself "What does my 5 year old need to learn in kindergarten?" It's a broad topic with many competing opinions and teaching philosophies. In this article we cut to the core of what you ought to be teaching your child in kindergarten and how to approach developing your own homeschool curriculum and schedule.

In public school, children typically begin kindergarten around the age of five. At that age many children have already been exposed to letters and numbers though may or may not be capable of fully reading or performing basic math by that age. Reading and basic math, however, should be the primary goals at this age. You don't want to solely focus on those two things, though, because your child will likely lose interest. Curiosity is what we want to foster, not boredom. That being said, when you are crafting your homeschool curriculum start with those basic themes for your core curriculum but to maintain interest you need to fill the day with fun activities, even non-academic activities.

The subjects we recommend you cover are:

  • Reading - The primary objective for this year is to learn to read. Everything that follows this year in your child's education will require your child to be capable of reading.
  • Math - Start with numbers and move into basic addition and subtraction.
  • Art - Most young children love art even if it's just coloring. It allows them to express themselves in ways they can't articulate yet. It also gives them a carefree landscape to experiment with the concepts they're learning.
  • Physical Education - As adults, we often overlook the importance of staying active. While academically it may seem pointless, physical education serves as an outlet for your child's energy. It's very hard for a 5 year old to maintain focus for long periods of time. They are full of energy and that energy needs a proper outlet if you wish them to stay focused on academics. Without a class designed to get their blood pumping and using up all that excess youthful energy, your academic subjects will suffer.

Every child learns at different paces so don't overly stress if your child doesn't immediately remember every letter, number, word, or arithmetic you teach them.

There are countless places to find comprehensive workbooks on each subject. For instance, you can purchase workbooks for each subject for your child's grade on Amazon and use those as your starting point. If your current workbooks are boring, get another and see if it holds more interest. Not every workbook or textbook will be ideal for your child. Experiment and find ones that keep their interest but still work towards the goals for the year.

You need to decide how long your school year will be. Will it mimic the public school system in your area? Will you do year round school? Will you have breaks every quarter? Our recommendation is to simply use 9 months of actual learning time as a rule of thumb. You can adjust it more or less to your liking but nine months gives you plenty of room for breaks, holidays, sick time, or just missed classes. If you stick with 9 months and assume about 4 weeks per month you will have approximately 36 weeks to complete all the material for the year. Take your workbook page count and divide it by the number of weeks in your school year to get a rough idea for how many pages need to be completed per week. For example, if your reading workbook has 250 pages when you divide by 36 you get 6.9 pages per week. Round it up to 7. You will need to complete 7 pages of the workbook per week to finish it by the end of your school year. Do this for each of your workbooks.

Your calculations will never work out exactly for every class. Some workbooks will be much easier for your child and others will be much harder. Sometimes you will do more pages than you need to each week and other times you will do much less. Every 3 months, count the pages left in each workbook and divide it by the number of weeks left in your school year. This will give you a new calculation on how many pages need to be done each week for each subject to finish by the end of your school year. If you notice some subjects starting to fall behind in how much you need to complete per year you may need to adjust your homeschool schedule to allocate more time to them.

In conclusion, developing your homeschool curriculum is about being focused on your goals for the year, while being pragmatic about how to maintain your child's interest. You must be adaptive and responsive to the child's current progress. Reading and math are the foundations for everything they will learn in the future so focus but don't obsess over those subjects. Children need a robust education so provide interesting things for them to learn outside of the primary goals to maintain their interest.