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What Subjects to Teach in Kindergarten

Parents often find that homeschooling kindergarten is a delicate balancing act. You’re excited (and maybe a little nervous) to start teaching your child. You want to make sure that you’re covering all the necessary subjects well. What subjects do you actually need to teach in kindergarten?

Free Printable Visual Homeschool Schedule

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Balancing Play & Academics

There are many thoughts out there on what is appropriate and necessary subjects to teach 5 and 6 year olds.

Some families don’t do any formal learning yet. They just play.

We chose to take an eclectic and academic approach starting in kindergarten. We use both play based learning and academic work. It has worked out really well and feels like just the right balance for us.

This marrying of the two philosophies will create a well rounded and developmentally appropriate homeschool for your family. Integrate learning into play and life. Don’t recreate school at home.

Mom and 3 kids sitting around the table, eating breakfast, and reading a book.

Subjects to Teach in Kindergarten

Let’s dive in to find out what subjects are important to teach in Kindergarten. I’ll also include recommendations for the curriculum that we use.

Core Subjects for Kindergarten:

  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Character Building
  • Art
  • Practical Life
  • PE

Language Arts

For kindergarten, language arts encompasses phonics instruction, reading, spelling, and handwriting.

Some 5 year olds are not ready for this yet, and that is ok! If you get started and it’s too frustrating or it just doesn’t seem to be clicking, step away and come back in a couple months.

Related: Teaching Kids to Read – It’s Not as Scary as You Think!

You also need to read lots of quality picture books and chapter books to your child.

Let kids play with play dough or kinetic sand to build hand muscles. Do activities that challenge their fine motor skills. This is very important for kids having the ability to master handwriting.

All of these things will build skills and readiness for learning to read and write.

It is important to recognize that most kids will not magically learn to read by themselves or simply be being exposed to books. Kids need formal phonics instruction to become good readers.

We use Logic of English Foundations A and B in Kindergarten which includes phonics, reading, spelling, and handwriting!

I also recommend using leveled readers alongside LOE to keep kids motivated. You can add them toward the end of Foundations A. They lined up pretty well and gave him that extra motivation to want to do his language arts lessons everyday!

Related: Logic of English Curriculum Review

Logic of English Tree

In addition to LOE, we also use Brave Writer Jot it Down for writing projects. It’s perfect for Dominic, who often tells us he wants to be an author when he grows up. Through this program, you parter with your child and transcribe for them. The projects are fun and engaging.

Math

In kindergarten, math instruction is often recognizing patterns, building number sense, and counting, plus some simple addition and subtraction. Most kids pick up these concepts naturally, and kindergarten math programs are often too easy and not needed.

Playing games is one of the best ways to build math skills.

Games that Build Math Skills:

You can gain all the kindergarten math skills you need through everyday life.

Primary mathematics textbooks 1A and 1B

If your child is really excited about math and numbers, you can also do a math curriculum. We chose to do this and use Primary Mathematics 1A & 1B (also known as Singapore Math). This is a really solid math program. They do have a kindergarten math, but it looked too simple.

Related: 10 Best Board Games for Kindergarteners

Science

You can approach science in a more simple way with unit studies or a full curriculum. We actually do a combination of the 2 and it works well for us!

You could also choose to have science be nature study during kindergarten.

We use the monthly Kiwi Crate as a jumping off point for unit studies, plus let Dominic choose topics he’s really interested in. He’s been mostly interested in dinosaurs this year, so we have learned a lot about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals of all kinds.

Related: Kiwi Co Subscription Box Review

We also chose a robust secular science curriculum. I did a lot of research when choosing our science curriculum. We really wanted to ensure that it would give our kids a firm foundation in understanding scientific principles, have a hands-on component, and be enjoyable.

The search led us to Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. The first volume is intended for grades K through 2. There is also a useful Early Elementary Science Education companion guide that breaks it down into lesson plans and provides a schedule for the lessons.

Homeschool Mom Planner

Social Studies

Kindergarten social studies should cover topics such as: culture, diversity, local community, basic economic concepts, geography, governance, civics, and basic history.

This can seem like a lot to cover. How do you explain these things to 5 and 6 year olds in a way that they can understand and connect with them?

We decided to use a literature based curriculum to cover these topics. Two of the most popular secular literature based curriculums are Torchlight and Build Your Library. They offer a slightly different approach, but cover most of the same things each year.

We used Build Your Library as our main curriculum and supplemented it with additional books and resources from Torchlight. It has taken us on a journey around the world that has been fun and we have covered all of the topics above, plus many more! I highly recommend taking this approach to social studies!

Both Torchlight and Build Your Library also include light science activities, cooking, arts and crafts, and poetry.

Character Building

Character building and emotional intelligence are both very important during these formative years. During Kindergarten you can talk specifically about character traits, do thought experiments and help your child become mindful.

Kids books: Breathe Like a Bear and Building Character with True Stories from Nature. Secular mindfulness and character building books.

The best way to do this is through reading books and talking about them. Mali and Keela is an excellent book that specifically focuses on this. We also use Building Character with True Stories from Nature.

Related: Secular Morning Basket Time

Art

Most kids love doing arts and crafts, and they are an important part of childhood! You don’t need a structured curriculum for this. Let kids experiment, find fun projects on Pinterest, and incorporate the seasons into your projects.

We are just starting the Drawing with Children curriculum and I really like the approach. I think it’s great if you want something with more guidance on how to draw realistically.

Related: Best Books to Teach Art to Kids

Practical Life

Teaching life skills is such an important part of kindergarten! This is the perfect time to introduce more household responsibilities and teaching your child skills that will foster independence.

Practical Life Skills for Kindergarten:

  • Helping Wash Dishes
  • Helping Put Dishes Away
  • Setting the Table
  • Clearing the Table
  • Cleaning tables and counters
  • Folding laundry
  • Sweeping
  • Dusting
  • Cleaning Windows
  • Helping Cook
  • Making Sandwiches

There are likely many more things you could add to that list, but that gives you a good idea of some of the things you should be having your kindergartener do with you. Teach as they work alongside you.

PE

Kids need to move and get exercise every day! PE should be fun. Take your kids outside to play, go to the park, go swimming, take a hike.

My kids like to do Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube in the mornings. You can also check out your local YMCA for homeschool PE classes that meet once a week!

If your kids play sports, dance or do karate, those all count as PE as well!

PE tends to happen naturally for most families, but I did think it was important to include here anyway.

Kindergarten: Which Subjects to Teach

Now you know the why behind teaching all the core subjects in Kindergarten! Definitely check out the curriculums and books linked, they are all awesome & I highly recommend them!

Core Subjects for Kindergarten:

  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Character Building
  • Art
  • Practical Life
  • PE
Free Printable Daily Calendar

Remember that homeschooling doesn’t have to look like school at home! Many of theses subjects can be accomplished while cuddling together on the couch and reading books and doing hands-on projects. You also don’t have to do them all everyday!

Need help making a homeschool schedule?

These are all the subjects you should teach in kindergarten.

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These are the must teach subjects for homeschooling kindergarten. Plus secular homeschool curriculum recommendations!