Kindergarten is a great time to give homeschooling a trial run. Here are a few things that I like for this age group:
Samples of Five In A Row can be viewed at the author’s website. If your public library doesn’t have a copy, you can request Inter-Library Loan; Pierce County library in Washington state has a set of this excellent curriculum. It can be purchased directly from the publisher, and sometimes from other homeschoolers who are finished with their set of books.
Baking cookies is a good, educational activity for this age level. Kids are doing more than having fun with mom. They’re learning some home-ec skills. They’re doing quite a bit of math as they use fractions, count cups of flour, measure with teaspoons…
Math at this age is fun! Playing dominoes can help kids learn to add, without having to deal with written numbers. We also played a game with base-10 blocks. Yahtzee is great here, too, if the child does the adding (in his head – no calculators allowed!). Someone older should serve as a scribe, no need for five-year-olds to do the writing for this game.
Go-Fish with a regular deck of playing cards can help kids with number recognition. Even better is using only half the deck; red Aces, black twos, red 3’s, black 4’s, etc… Playing this way makes it easy to tell the difference between 6’s and 9’s. Some days play with one half, some days with the other half, so that kids don’t think “it’s red, so it’s a six.” None of my kids have been confused between sixes and nines by the time they were playing well enough for us to put the entire deck together.
Another fun activity that is also educational uses attribute blocks. Kids will get to work on shape recognition: triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, and circles. Hopefully by now they know their basic colors. These blocks have “big” and “small” versions of all the shapes, as well as “thick” and “thin.”
When they are familiar with all of these attributes, you can have fun by playing attribute dominoes. Directions for this and a few other games come in the box.
Lots of nature walks are appropriate for this age. Kids can learn about plants and bugs and weather. Stay up late and look at the stars, play with magnets… All of these things are considered an introduction to science.
The focus at this age should be more on learning responsibility. Age-appropriate tasks for kids this age would include making their bed every morning, helping unload the dishwasher, setting the dinner table, and feeding a pet. Written work can wait another year.
Another approach to kindergarten is to look at Sonlight’s complete curriculum (link in sidebar). I think that many of Sonlight’s materials are good (after all, I’m providing a link). However, in the younger years there is a heavy reliance on Usborne books which neither my children nor I like. Usborne books have overly-busy pages – designed to grab the attention of kids who have developed television-induced short attention spans. If your kids watch enough television to like Usborne’s busy pages, you might like Sonlight’s kindergarten (and pre-K). If you don’t like Usborne books (visit your public library), think twice about Sonlight.