by Dawn Michelle Michals
This is it! You’ve taken the leap to homeschool kindergarten. You and your five-year-old are gearing up for a successful year! We have everything you need for homeschooling at the kindergarten level. Developmental milestones, competencies, field trip ideas, and more are all listed below.
By age five, children are able to recognize their names in print, begin to recognize many upper and lower case letters, and even begin recognizing words they know from signs, labels and billboards. Below is a list of kindergarten competencies by subject.
Knows by heart and recites favorite nursery rhymes and songs
Pretends, creates and makes up songs or stories
Tells or retells stories and/or everyday experiences
Asks questions and expresses curiosity
Expresses ideas so that others can understand
Recognizes and names basic colors
Draws recognizable shapes and simple objects
Tells a story with pictures
Understands concepts of in/out, under/over, on/off, front/back, etc.
Describes how objects are the same or different.
Pretends to read books by reading the pictures and begins to look at books on his or her own
Begins to read in everyday situations (signs, labels, etc.)
Recognizes rhyming words
Blends sounds into words
Recognizes some common words in print
Recognizes many uppercase and lowercase letters
Recognizes some letter sounds
Describes characters’ actions and feelings in a story
Relates stories to personal experiences
Puts events of a story in order.
Kindergarten Writing Skills
Attempts to write own name and recognizes own name in print
Tries to write, scribble or draw
Asks you to write words or notes to others.
Compares the size of groups of objects using language such as “more,” “less” and “same as”
Arranges objects in size order (big to small or small to big)
Uses comparison words, like “bigger,” “smaller,” “heavier,” etc.
Understands concepts of none, some and all and more than and less than
Identifies and draws a square, circle and triangle
Correctly counts four to 10 objects
Knows that the final number counted represents the total number of objects in a set
Recognizes numbers one through 10
Can distinguish numbers from letters and understands that numbers relate to quantity
Understands the effects of addition and subtraction
Matches or groups objects according to size, shape or color
Groups objects that are the same.
Shows interest and asks questions about objects and events observed in his or her environment
Notices common properties and differences among objects and materials
Knows some facts about common plants and animals, such as what they eat and names of baby animals
Recognizes some objects in the sky such as the sun, moon, clouds and lightning
Kindergarten Creative Arts and Music
Able to move to the beat of the music
Explores with common musical instruments
Enjoys improvising or copying musical patterns.
Kindergarten Social Studies
Recognizes basic traditions such as birthdays
Shows an understanding of the passing of time, including concepts of before and after, and today, yesterday and tomorrow
Explores simple maps and visual representations of neighborhoods or communities
Understands that people live in different parts of the world and have different customs and traditions.
Kindergarten Social Skills
Adjusts to new situations
Attempts new tasks knowing it’s okay to make mistakes
Shows pride in accomplishments
Follows simple directions
Stays with an activity to completion
Asks for help
Interacts appropriately with adults and peers
Takes responsibility for own belongings (lunch, coat, etc.)
Adheres to a routine and schedule for personal hygiene, eating meals and going to bed
Uses good hygiene habits and table manners
Uses appropriate bathroom skills
Follows simple safety rules
Offers to help peers and family
Respects the rights, property and feelings of others
Works cooperatively (listens to others, shares and takes turns)
Demonstrates increasing self-control
Participates in clean-up activities.
Kindergarten Good Citizenship
It’s never too early to discover what it means to be a good citizen. Not only are understanding our right to vote and the privileges of citizenship important, but also respect for our planet, good stewardship and discerning the world around us. Here are some great ideas for teaching good citizenship in your homeschool.
Become involved in events and initiatives such as Capitol Days (sponsored by THSC).
Attend rallies of causes you believe in as a family.
Register to vote and vote! Take your child with you to see the process. Children under the age of 18 are allowed to go with you and even go inside the booth with you in every state in the United States.
Keep our state clean by picking up litter.
Learn about recycling and where and how you can recycle items in your town.
Five-Year-Old Developmental Milestones
By age five, your kindergartener is becoming a little more independent, a little more outspoken, and a lot more knowledgeable of the world around him. Below is a list of milestones that are easily identified by age five.
Remember, all children develop at different rates. If you have concerns about your child’s development after reviewing this list, please discuss those with your healthcare provider.
Five-Year-Old Gross Motor Skills
Jumps, hops and skips
Walks heel-to-toe without losing balance
Runs on toes
Able to get up without using hands
Balances on alternate feet (eyes open or closed)
Catches a ball using hands more than arms
Jumps down several steps.
Five-Year-Old Fine Motor Skills
Grasps a pencil correctly
Begins to print her name and can print some letters or numbers
Can draw a person with at least six body parts
Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
Uses a fork and spoon, and sometimes a table knife
Gets dressed and can tie shoes
Cuts out a circle
Opens a lock with a key
Draw a diamond shape when given a model
Talking and Understanding
Speaks very clearly and in complete sentences.
Able to say full name and address
Uses words to solve problems or conflicts, articulates feelings in words
Uses words like please, thank you and excuse me
Uses full sentences to tell a simple story
Uses future tense; for example, “My friend will be here.”
Able to count 10 or more things
Has an understanding of things we use every day, such as money and food
Wants to please friends and be like them (mimics behavior)
Is aware of gender
Likes to sing, dance, and act
Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
Shows more independence
More likely to agree with rules
Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative.
Dr. Seuss: The preeminent author of juvenile fiction weaves together life lessons, cultural diversity, environmental science, and stage-appropriate vocabulary
P. D. Eastman: A protege of Dr. Seuss, provides large print and fun illustrations in his stories that children have enjoyed for generations
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”: find out what happens when all of the letters try to climb the coconut tree in this book by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault (illustrated by Lois Ehlert).
“Harold and the Purple Crayon”: how far can Harold’s imagination take him? With his purple crayon in hand, Harold creates magical worlds and twists and turns in this book (written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson).
“Leo the Late Bloomer”: when Leo isn’t reading, talking or drawing like the other children, Leo and his father become concerned, but his mother’s not. She knows that Leo is just a “late bloomer.” This endearing book by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego shows that children learn at their own pace.
“Miss Nelson is Missing!”: when a group of rowdy school children drive their teacher to her wit’s end, substitute teacher Miss Viola Swamp (known as “the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world”) helps the children discover how much they really do like Miss Nelson. Who is Miss Viola Swamp, and where did Miss Nelson really go? Harry Allard’s and James Marshall’s hilarious words and illustrations will entertain you until the end!
“The Story of Ferdinand”: a sensitive, peaceful Ferdinand prefers sniffing flowers under his favorite cork tree than snorting, leaping and head-butting with the other young bulls. Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. This book opens up conversations about self-respect and honor, as well as standing up for what you believe in.
“Madeline”: this beloved Caldecott Honor Book (1940) by Ludwig Bemelmans tells the story of a seven-year-old girl attending boarding school in Paris under the care of Miss Clavel. For almost 80 years, “Madeline” has brought rhythm and rhyme to households around the world.
“Tikki Tikki Tembo” author Arlene Mosel and illustrator Blair Lent share the story of Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, a boy with a super-long name. This re-telling of an ancient Chinese folktale is sure to delight both you and your young reader.
“Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”: learn about Mike and his steam shovel “Mary Anne” in this classic by Virginia Lee Burton, first published in 1939. Will Mary Anne be saved from the scrap heap? Discover how friendship, hard work and ingenuity can save the day.
Magazines offer a great way for children to learn core subjects and relationship skills. Here are a few great options:
National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3 to 6)
High Five (ages 2 to 6)
Sports Illustrated Kids
Homeschooling Kindergarten Websites
HomeEducator.com: This site is brought to you by THSC and offers resources for parents, student learning and a free biweekly newsletter.
PBSLearningMedia.org: Free videos, lesson plans and other digital resources for early elementary students.
NASA.gov: Games and resources to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
10 Kindergarten Field Trip Ideas
Especially in kindergarten, field grips don’t have to be fancy. Everyday situations (like taking a pet to the vet) serve as great field trips!
Field trips also don’t always mean a trip in the car. Take an imagination field trip around your neighborhood or backyard. What do you see? Make up stories about what the bugs are doing. Tell stories to each other and broaden everyone’s imagination.
Want to get out and go? Here are some ideas scattered throughout Texas to keep you and your eager homeschoolers engaged and learning.
First Responder Appreciation: Police, fire and EMS stations are located throughout most cities. Locate the one closest to your house and make a connection. Tour a fire station, talk to a police officer or reach out to an emergency medical technician and find out what it truly means to be a first responder.
Government: THSC Capitol Days are one-day, hands-on events that allow homeschooling families to fully participate in the state legislative process. These events give the opportunity to defend the rights of homeschool families in Texas, meet representatives and staff, and actually help pass a law.
Picnic at a pond. Ducks, fish, ecosystems, conservation, recycling, picking up trash and using less plastic are just a sampling of the topics that may come up while visiting a pond. Bring a lunch and enjoy some time outside together.
Visit our state capitol: the Capitol offers daily tours as well as a free grade-specific guide, which includes history, architecture and the legislative process. This kindergarten-specific tour meets several social studies requirements!
Ride a train: Bring a child’s fascination with trains to life by visiting the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Forty-five minute to five-hour excursions are available. Due to excessive freight-train traffic, it is advised that you check their Facebook page for day-to-day updates and cancellations.
Theater/Music/Art: Get front-row seats for a theater performance or grab a blanket and head to a free outdoor concert. Stroll through a sculpture garden. Music, art and theater will open your child’s mind to other worlds and experiences. Attend a performance by a children’s theater for added inspiration.
Agriculture: Head to Marble Falls and tour Sweet Berry Farm during the spring and fall seasons and pick fruit, learn about growing food, and take a turn through their Texas-shaped corn maze available each fall.
Texas history: Nothing says “We’re in Texas!” better than a trip to the National Day of the Cowboy held each July in the Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth. Free activities include chuck wagon poetry, a quick draw contest, face painting, armadillo races, and live western music. There’s also a youth fiddling contest, a BBQ rib eating contest as well as the Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive and Western Parade,
Homeschooling kindergarten is one of the best ways you can give your child a love for learning. And if your child loves learning, she will continue to be curious about the world around her and explore long after graduating. Have fun this year!
We believe homeschooling is one of the best educational models, which is why we support families with encouragement and practical resources like you found in this article. Won’t you join us in making these resources available to homeschooling families by becoming a member?
Dawn Michelle Michals is a writer, homeschool mom, musician and social media strategist based in Hewitt, Texas. To learn more about Chelle, visit her website at DawnMichelleMichals.com and follow her on social media at @dmmwrites.