Foundational Skills Taught in a Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
From its German origin, the word "kindergarten" literally means "children's garden." This translation is the perfect analogy for the goal of a kindergarten homeschool curriculum. As homeschooling parents, we want kindergarten to be the rich soil in which we plant the seeds for our children to grow in intellect and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Through the subjects of Bible, language arts, math, science, and social studies, a kindergarten homeschool curriculum provides the foundational skills and resources necessary for our children to succeed academically and in life.
A quality Christian education, therefore, begins with a curriculum taught from a biblical worldview. As homeschoolers, we are blessed with the great opportunity to teach lessons solely devoted to the Bible and Christian living. In teaching a kindergarten Bible class, children are taught that God is the Creator of all things, they each have their own gifts, and they are significant and loved by God. In addition, kindergartners also learn that Jesus came to save them from their sins, so they can have a relationship with God and share Christ's love with others. However, even when they fail and sin after accepting God's free gift of eternal life, a kindergarten homeschool curriculum also teaches children that God continues to listen to their prayers.
Another very important subject for kindergarten students is language arts. A kindergarten language arts classroom uses a variety of strategies to help children learn new words and develop foundational writing skills. In addition, kindergartners grow intellectually as parents read books to their children. When using books and texts that are musical, rhythmical, and inspirational, children quickly learn to read more fluently themselves. In fact, if children recite as few as eight nursery rhymes by the age of four, they have been proven to be excellent readers. Thus, a quality kindergarten homeschool curriculum continues to introduce children to poetic reading.
One aspect of a kindergarten classroom that is often overlooked in lesson plans is oral language. One way oral language is taught in kindergarten is by creating a weekly list of conversation topics for a parent and child. For example, if the topic is a favorite toy, both the homeschool parent and child should each take 30-45 seconds to talk about their favorite toy. After they both have talked, each then repeats what the other person has said. In doing this, children learn that listening is just as important as speaking in a conversation.
Math is a fundamental subject in a kindergarten homeschool curriculum that doesn't require expensive supplies. Kindergartners are introduced to basic terms, such as more than, less than, or equal to. As the basic numerical knowledge of children is increased, they are able to count to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s. Children also learn the basic elements of geometry by recognizing circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. In addition, children learn life math skills that deal with time, money, and measurement. Kindergartners are able to identify different values of coins and learn to measure distances with a ruler and also with informal objects, such as a piece of string, their hands, or their feet.
A great advantage of teaching kindergarten is the excitement of children to learn. Therefore, a good kindergarten science curriculum supports and encourages this curiosity. Children are reminded that God is the Creator as they explore His world through their five senses: tasting, smelling, hearing, touching, and seeing. They also learn responsibility by caring for plants or a pet. As kindergartners are taught to care for their own health, they learn the importance of physical activities and eating healthy.
Finally, children also begin learning about social studies. In kindergarten, most of the curriculum is oriented toward family and relationships, which provides a foundation for later studies in history and geography. Children in kindergarten know their basic contact information like their phone number and street address, and they learn how to read and create a basic map, such as the route they take to get to Grandma's house. They also learn about national historical figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whether we are teaching our children about the Bible, language arts, math, science, or social studies, an effective kindergarten homeschool curriculum provides a solid foundation for further academic success. Most importantly, however, it nourishes the insatiable desires of young children to grow in knowledge and instills in them the aspirations to be lifelong learners in God's world.