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What Do You Really Need to Teach in the Early Years?

By: Courtney Newman

One quick search on Pinterest and our heads can spin from the wealth of information online regarding early education. It’s overwhelmingly hard to sort through all the guidelines for what actually should be taught in the early years.

Homeschoolers tend to be ambitious when looking at lesson plans and textbooks, but these years are perfect for play.  If you want your young kids to learn a concept, make it into a fun game and you can guarantee they’ll have it down before long. To help, we’ve created a simplified list of 10 things to teach to your pre-k and kindergarten students.


10 Foundational Lessons to Study in Pre-K and Kindergarten  

There are a few concepts that most preschoolers and kindergarteners tend to learn during these early years.  However, try not to feel discouraged if all of these aren’t quite coming along for your family. Every child learns differently and at a different pace.  That is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling: customized education! Our kids don’t have to fit in the standard box. You as the parent know your child best, and you will see the learning milestones as they happen in your preschool at home!  This early learning skills checklist is simply a guide.


For this list, the first five lessons are geared more towards preschoolers, while the last five are for the kindergarten homeschool level.  However, these years are so fluid that it’s common for kids to jump from base level to mastery in a moment. Every day is a learning opportunity for young children, and that’s what makes it so fun!

  • Numbers & Basic Counting. Numeracy for preschoolers is basic, but important.  Focus on helping your preschooler learn and recognize numbers, and perhaps starting to count to 10 or 20.
  • Shapes. Work on recognizing squares, circles, triangles, and more!
  • Colors. Preschool is a great age to learn all about colors and to start recognizing them independently.
  • The Alphabet. Start focusing on letter recognition, tracing, and sounds.  You’ll be amazed how quickly they learn the alphabet song!
  • Fine Motor Skills. One of the last important steps to focus on in preschool is honing their fine motor skills.  For example, let’s start drawing with crayons, holding markers correctly, and generally just working on precision.  As the saying goes…practice makes perfect!
  • Early Reading. As your child enters kindergarten, it’s a good time to start on early reading skills.  Perhaps work on sight words, stringing letters together, and sounding out words.
  • Basic Addition & Subtraction. This can be a big step, and doesn’t necessarily happen for every kindergartener.  However, it doesn’t hurt to work on it, one step at a time. Addition is easier than subtraction, and trying out basic manipulatives with formulas such as 1+1=2 can do more than you think!
  • The Weather. It’s exciting to see kindergarteners start to take an interest in the world around them, begin to recognize weather, and look to the chart for what kind of weather to expect during the day.  You can discuss the different kinds of weather, and what it means for how people should dress, or whether they should bring an umbrella!
  • Memorization. We don’t expect kindergarteners to learn rote memorization, however, it is important to know certain things, such as a parent’s phone number. 
  • Social Skills. Let’s start learning how to play fair in kindergarten, how to respond to various emotions, and how to recognize bullying.


Fun Homeschooling Ideas to Cover the Essentials 

Now that we have covered the foundational lessons for early learners, how can homeschooling parents go about applying those lessons?  Here are fun, engaging, and practical ideas to begin working on these steps!


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