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How to Begin Homeschooling With a 5 Year Old

This week, The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are discussing what homeschooling looked like for each of us when the oldest student was five years old.

When my oldest child was starting homeschool kindergarten, I was full of ideals and ideas about projects and subjects and units and many notebooks filled with hand written work.

I was one of those moms that held an "open house" and invited our friends to see our colorful bulletin boards and school desks and neat stacks of textbooks.

We began our school day promptly at 8:00 a.m. each morning and even had scheduled breaks for "recess". The school day ended at 3:00.

Our subjects included, but were not limited to:

  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Math
  • English
  • Handwriting
  • Science
  • History
  • Art
  • P.E.
  • Music

There were written assignments for each subject. Always. Every day. And I kept those in a large 3 ring binder. I remember my friend, Sandy, telling me, "You know, you don't have to put paper to pencil every single day."

Oh, I almost forgot, probably because I had blocked it from my memory, we also did school on Saturdays. When another homeschooler asked me why we did that, I answered, "Why not?"

I didn't want my precious, precocious child to fall behind the children who were 2 grades ahead of her did I?

Are you noticing that this remembrance is written in past tense? That is because I kept this schedule up religiously until my second child, who I highly suspect would have been put on prescription drugs had he gone to public school, began kindergarten.

Then my head exploded and my eyeballs rolled under the kitchen table.

By and by I found my eyeballs and relaxed the schedule for kindergarten. I relaxed it A LOT.

Now, I have settled into a kindergarten schedule that looks much like what the preschool schedule looks like, which is not much of an academic schedule at all.

My preschoolers and kindergarteners now have a schedule similar to this:

  • play outside
  • climb trees
  • pet kittens
  • chase chickens
  • look for eggs
  • catch bugs
  • listen to Mama read
  • count roly polies
  • write name on sidewalk
  • help make lunch
  • sing songs
  • swing

And here is my most recent kindergartener explaining multiplication and reading the Bible aloud.

I guess the new schedule works just fine.

Now, go see what the rest of the 4 Moms team does for kindergarten at their houses:

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  1. I do not know why I doubt this method for my barely five year old almost every day….Thank you for the reminder that it works.

  2. Connie, you are such an inspiration.

    We started our homeschool journey at the end of May. Each day is not seamless. Each day does not end with everything checked off the list. But my kindergarten twin boys are learning and comprehending so much more than I EVER expected. And I let them do a lot of activities that express their learning style and personality. I am getting to know my boys in a completely different way.

    And they are so proud to be homeschooled. They tell everyone- “You know we are homeschooled now? “.

  3. This post made me laugh so hard! I think it was the visual image of eyeballs exploding and rolling under the table…

    My daughter is 5, turns 6 in October. Last fall we started “preschool”, which consisted of buying some dollar store workbooks and doing a page now and then, focusing on numbers and letters (since she knows her colors and I figure shapes aren’t really that important–and she’s been learning them IRL anyway) as well as coloring and other crafts. When we do it, we spend maybe 30 minutes on it, while her younger brother sits at the table and colors, looks at books, or plays with some special tools that we had reserved only for school time–that is, until the baby came last week and Daddy took over the care of the older children. In the school year, we got about half way through the alphabet. She knows most of her letters anyway, and from time to time she will write a little something, like a birthday card for Daddy or a short letter to Grandma (while I tell her each letter to write and sometimes draw in the air how it looks if she can’t remember). If I buckled down and really focused, I’m sure she would be reading by now. But I don’t see the need. I’d much rather she did all the things on your current kindergarten schedule. We’ll start first grade in the fall of next year. Until then, the dollar store has enough workbooks to more than keep her occupied when we get around to it. :)

    • Lisa, your daughter sounds almost exactly like my daughter! She will be 6 in December, and she writes to people just like you described :)

  4. Thank you for the reminder, I was starting to stress about Arrie. I’ve never done Kindergarten homeschool! But I need to ask your advice on what to do when the 5 year old is constantly asking to do math and writing and reading like her sisters? How do I keep her busy “doing” work like her sisters, she seems to thrive when you hand her a pencil and paper and truly wants to sit at her desk.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Kara, I would let her do as much “school work” as she wants. Just don’t stress yourself or her out with a schedule and tons of unnecessary worksheets.

  5. LOVE! This made me laugh because when we began schooling our two oldest 11 years ago, who were both in PS for a short time prior, I kept a rigorous schedule that included every subject. I also had alloted time slots for each subject. At the time, I felt it was only way to get to EVERYTHING!

    I am MUCH more relaxed now. I have to be when I’m schooling 6 at a time, but my little ones enjoy a schedule that looks much like yours….lots of creative play! And they’re doing great!

  6. ROFLOL, I can sooooo relate! Except I ordered my oldest the aBeka 2-year old nursery curriculum!! Haha, this year my 4th child starts kindergarten, and she is only slated to get 30 minutes of structured sit-down school time a day (outside of read-alouds and activities that include all the kids).

  7. Aaaaahhhh! So timely! My eldest is 5.5 and will start homeschool kindergarten next month (AKA when I finally actually bite the bullet & hit “check out” on my online shopping cart!). Of course he’s my first and I’d love to do something like you describe, but he’s my first! Poor boy.

    He’s really excited about “school” though and loves learning, so hopefully we can find a good balance. I was really getting nervous until the sermon he decided to “preach” to the rest of us on the way to church last night. I was amazed by all of the truths he’d soaked up and put together to make a pretty sound theology. So that gave me hope that he’s already learning and will maybe be fun and easy to “teach”.

  8. Ha ha, your second child is my first child.

    In a manner of speaking.

    And our ‘kindergarten’ looks a lot like yours!

    So reassuring that they do turn out alright anyway :o)

    Thanks, Connie, and now I will go pick up my eyeballs off the floor, too (You crack me UP!)