In kindergarten, instruction is primarily guided by your child’s unique level of readiness and interest, with the main goal being to develop a love of and foundation for learning.  Plenty of time for exploration and play is essential.

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How kindergarten children learn


Kindergarten children are hard-wired to learn through play.  Cause and effect helps them learn about the world around them and how to interact with people.  Provide plenty of time for your child to play outside, interact with peers, engage in role-play (toy dishes, dolls, trucks, restaurant menus, etc.), build (blocks, magnetic tiles and/or sticks, Legos, tangram shape pictures, etc.), draw, cut with safe scissors and paste, listen to and make music, and move (playgrounds, balls, jumping toys, etc.).


Children learn so much by exploring! This can take many different forms. Walk through a garden and see how different flowers are shaped and what kind of bugs visit them. Look closely at the grass and see what lives there. Watch the animals above and below the water at a pond. Pour water between different shapes and sizes of containers outside or in the tub. Make oobleck and see what happens when you squeeze it, push on it, or pick it up and try to hold it. Mix different colors of paint and see what new colors you can make. Count out different numbers of objects and see if you can put them evenly into groups of 2, 3, or 4.

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Read to your kindergarten child every day! If your child can read or enjoys looking at books independently, that’s wonderful, but it doesn’t take the place of reading aloud. And while listening to digital recordings of books read aloud is great, too, that doesn’t take the place of reading with you either! Why? Because reading with you is special, and will help create a life-long love of books. Also, you can do so much to enrich the experience when you read together. Stop to talk about the book as you read. Point out what’s funny, wonder what happens next, share how you would feel or what you would do if it were you in the story – model the thinking that good readers do. Enhanced read-alouds from Homeschool 4 Real Life give lots of ideas for what to do before, during, and after reading to make read-alouds engaging and educational. You can see samples on our Facebook page.


A lot of learning takes place as your child interacts with you, siblings, peers, neighbors, etc. Chains of questions deepen understanding as well as critical thinking as your child decides what to ask next. Stretch the bounds of your patience and see how many you can answer! As your child plays with siblings and friends, social and emotional learning takes place as they observe and experience the effects of different words, actions, and responses on themselves and others (i.e., when I ask and say please, I get a better response than when I grab a toy someone else is using). The opportunity to interact with different types of people (grandparents, grocery store clerks, friends) helps children understand that it is polite to speak to people in different ways depending upon their age, familiarity, etc.

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What kindergarten children learn


• Know names and sounds for upper case and lower case letters
• Able to write letters (upper case and lower case) and numbers (writing may be large, backward, and not very neat)
• Learn to recognize some sight words (a, the, so)
• Begin decoding simple words, i.e. cvc pattern and practicing simple word families
• Develop awareness of different types of texts (fiction, nonfiction, stories, information, poetry, fantasy, etc.) and the parts of books (cover, author, illustrator, glossary, etc.) and how they are read (title, front to back, left to right, top to bottom, words, letters)
• Retell stories and identify characters, setting, problem/solution, main idea
• Think while reading – ask questions, make connections, predict, compare and contrast…
• Understand how illustrations relate to the text and compare them to what you “see” in your mind
• Create stories with a problem and solution as well as a beginning, middle, and end – may write in words, record as pictures, or tell aloud
• Work toward writing one or two correct sentences about a topic with capitalization and punctuation and grade-appropriate spelling
• Practice reading grade-appropriate texts (levels A-E)


  • • Counting forward and backward to and from 10; recognizing amounts, numerals, and words
    • Count to 100
    • One-to-one correspondence and conservation
    • Addition within 10 (apply to different types of word problems)
    • Classify, count, and put in order smallest to largest
    • Understand half
    • Even and odd
    • Subtraction within 10 (apply to different types of word problems)
    • Place value – ones and tens
    • Examine and classify 2- and 3-d shapes by various attributes
    • Develop awareness of time, money, measurement comparisons (i.e. longer, shorter), relative positions (i.e. above, beside)
    • Become familiar with days of the week, months of the year, and seasons

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• Read books, visit museums and zoos, try experiments, watch videos, explore outside
• Follow your child’s interests and take advantage of opportunities
• Gain a foundational understanding of animals, plants, body parts, health, nutrition, ecosystems, habitats, properties of materials, laws of motion


Learn about the community in which you live.

• Gain a foundational understanding of land and water, continents and oceans
• Explore that kids around the world live in different ways
• Know personal address and phone number
• Know which city, state, country, continent, and planet is home
• Know that countries are represented by flags and songs, and know the flag and anthem of the USA (home country)
• Visit historical and cultural sites
• Look at maps; draw and label a map of a familiar place
• Understand that people need goods and services and other people have jobs that provide those goods and services and help them earn money they need to live


• Exposure to famous works
• Opportunity to try various art mediums and instruments
• Explore rhythm and dynamics
• Move to different kinds of music
• Talk about how different pieces of art and music “feel”


• Run, play, jump, throw, climb, balance – be active!



Learn a variety of engaging ways to introduce all kindergarten math concepts and build foundational literacy skills with our training videos for parents!  Enhance your read-alouds with educational activities that increase engagement.  And when things get tough, head over to the parenting section to find some helpful solutions or ask a question in the forum and get advice from other homeschooling parents.

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