Homeschool Kindergarten

Homeschool kindergarten has it’s pros and cons.  In this article we define kindergarten and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of homeschool kindergarten. Also learn about the homeschool socialization aspect of homeschool kindergarten.

What Is Kindergarten?

Prior to the days of widespread preschool and daycare, kindergarten was the transition year in which children were prepared—both academically and socially—for entry into first grade. Children learned not only the basics they would need for first grade, which—depending on their home preparation—might include learning or reviewing the alphabet and counting—but they also learned to exist in a group of around 20, raising their hands, taking turns, following a schedule they didn’t choose, exercising on command, eating at designated times, and getting used to the energy expenditure of the school day. Today, kindergarten no longer serves that function for most children, who have already been outside their homes in a preschool or daycare environment, where they have likely been exposed to both the academic side of education as well as the homeschool socialization and scheduling aspects. 

Homeschool Kindergarten

But in a homeschool, kindergarten is a different type of transition. Many homeschooled children have spent their early years in their own home, involved in the activities of the home, as appropriate, and playing. So, with its limited demands, kindergarten can still serve as a transition to the demands of schoolwork. In the case of homeschooled children, there may be different challenges, in the form of periods in which they are still home, but cannot do the things they are used to being able to do at home. This could include playing with siblings, for example. So, rather than increased socialization, homeschool kindergarten could seem to begin by lessening interaction with other children while the child learns to focus on academics.

The academic aspects of homeschool will be guided by the requirements of the state in which you live and any program or programs that you use that meet state requirements. (Go to the state website to find out details.) This is not to say that you are restricted to the aspirations of the state. You can teach your child to count to ten, say the alphabet, spell his or her name, and know his or her home address, while simultaneously teaching him or her the same things in Finnish, allowing him or her to help in training the family dog, providing French horn and horseback riding lessons, etc. It is likely that you will be able to choose a curriculum that supports your faith beliefs if you so desire, and it’s possible that you and your child will complete the kindergarten curriculum in much less time (fewer hours/days) than recommended and may have to come up with other things to do to meet requirements for attendance.

Socialization in the Homeschool Kindergarten

Opportunities for socialization for the homeschooled kindergartner are clearly different than those available to the student in public or private school. Clearly some of the differences may be ones that were sought in setting up the homeschool. But it’s important for a child to learn to get along with peers, take turns, work in a room in which other people are doing different things, work as part of a team, and negotiate. Other important learnings that typically happen in kindergarten are that people can get to the same result by taking different paths and that one is generally better than others in some things and not as competent in others. If you focus on the goals, you can probably find situations in which your child can have an opportunity to learn these things other than in school. Recreation department programs, library programs, art schools, parks, and other public places are often good starts. A playgroup with other homeschooling families and perhaps taking field trips together can also work.

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