Want to know more about homeschool kindergarten? This article has information on homeschool kindergarten curriculum, things to consider when starting a homeschool kindergarten, and the pros and cons of providing kindergarten in a homeschool setting.
The Homeschool Kindergarten Statistics
The U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics website has homeschool kindergarten statistics. There, we learn that 2.7% of kindergarten children in the United States attended a homeschool kindergarten in 2003, up from 2.4% in 1999. The increase in kindergarten homeschooling is less than the increase in homeschooling overall in that time period: overall, the number of homeschooled children increased by 23%, whereas the number of homeschooled kindergartners increased by 12%.
In addition, we see that children were more likely to be homeschooled if they were: white, if they were in families with 3 or more children, if they were in a two-parent household, if only one of the two parents worked, if the family earned less than $75,000 rather than more, if at least one parent had at least a bachelor’s degree, and if the family lived in a rural, rather than an urban, setting.
Pros and Cons of Homeschool Kindergarten
• A Great Experiment
Homeschool kindergarten can be a great experiment - a way of testing whether homeschooling works for your family at a point at which it is still pretty easy to integrate your child into a public or private school if you decide it’s not something you want to continue. Additionally, at kindergarten age, children may not yet have many experiences of peers starting school, so there may be less difficulty in convincing them that it’s a good shot.
If you are new to homeschooling, the less demanding kindergarten year may allow you to ease into this new way of life - both in adapting yourself to being your child’s official teacher and in figuring out how to accommodate schooling and family life.
• Best for the Child?
A child who has already accomplished much of the “work” of kindergarten may benefit by an additional year of very individualized attention before moving into a classroom with dozens of peers. At home, you can cater to and extend idiosyncratic talents, and make them a learning focus in a way that may not be able to happen in a school kindergarten. Likewise, a child with special needs or who is just a bit behind peers developmentally may also benefit from a homeschool kindergarten that is completely geared to his or her level, abilities, and needs.
• Age and Grade
Sometimes a child will miss the age cut-off for kindergarten by a small amount, but be prepared in every other way for kindergarten. A homeschool kindergarten experience may be a good response to this situation (though you should keep in touch with the school to look ahead to the following year and what choices might be available then).
• Missing Out
On the other hand, because it is a less demanding year academically, children have a lot of time in kindergarten to adapt to the social, academic, and behavioral demands of schooling. A child who is in a homeschool kindergarten and goes to public or private first grade has to make the transition as well as do the work of first grade all at once.
Children whose peers get on a bus and go to public kindergarten or who have older siblings who have attended kindergarten in a school may have grown up with the expectation of following in their footsteps, and be disappointed about the difference.
• Many Demands
Homeschooling place demands on the family budget, schedule, space, and time. It also brings child and parent into a new role relationship. How this will work out depends on the family situation and the particular parent and child. It can be really rewarding, really difficult, or a bit of both. But in any case, it does mean that things in your household must change.
Things To Check
States have different requirements about when children must be in school For example, as of 2002, the age at which it was compulsory for a child to be in school ranged from 5 years old to 7 years old, depending on the state. States also differ in whether or not they require residents to attend kindergarten. Maryland, for example, has a mandatory kindergarten attendance law that allows the child to attend kindergarten in a variety of settings including a public or nonpublic kindergarten, which may be “supervised home instruction,” that is, a homeschool kindergarten.
States may offer curriculum for kindergarten along with other curriculum on their education department website. See the articles “Free Homeschool Curriculum” and the separate articles on homeschooling in art, history, math, science, English, social studies, and foreign language (note that not all of these may include kindergarten level material, but you may be able to extrapolate from older grades). Companies publish program materials for home schooling, but you should make sure that this will fit the first grade program that you intend your child to experience. See the articles “Beginning the Search for a Home School Method” and “Beginning the Search for a Home School Curriculum” for further information.
Maryland Public Schools - marylandpublicschools.org
InfoPlease.com State Compulsory School Attendance Laws