Choosing the Best Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum in 2024: An Easy Guide

Updated on:
Published on:
 minute read

Great news! Homeschooling your kindergarten student isn’t as difficult as you might think. 

While we start formal schooling at age 5 in the U.S., many other countries don’t start school until 6 or 7, and in about two-thirds of states, Kindergarten is legally considered optional. 

So, if you’re feeling stressed about getting your little one started academically, just take a deep breath and take a minute to think about what you really want their childhood to be like. It’s very easy to be swept away in comparison-based judgments and not want your child to be “behind.” These feelings are so understandable (especially if this is your first child!). 

Still, it’s important to consider how diving into academics this early is going to affect your child’s development and their long-term relationship with learning. 

How to build a homeschool kindergarten curriculum for your child

No matter what style or approach you are using to homeschool, there are a few general guidelines you might want to follow…

The job of a Kindergartener is to play

Research shows play is absolutely essential to a child’s development and well-being. Sitting them down for hours every day and making them do worksheets at the cost of spending less time outside with their hands in the dirt or dancing or singing or painting or kicking things isn’t actually going to serve them long-term. Let them be little!

Think about their brain

When we usually go about “educating” kids, we think about what they know and what they can do. What we should really be thinking about is their brain development. Kids who can read and write and add and subtract because they have been pushed hard by the adults in their lives might have good skills, but their brains aren’t necessarily more developed. Letting kids explore, solve problems, do risky things, and resolve conflicts with each other actually does more for their “prefrontal cortex” development than making sure their handwriting is neat when they are 6.   

Relationship first

When you take on homeschooling, the role you play in the lives of your children changes, and your relationship can either be strengthened or stressed. It’s easy to accidentally emotionally “own” the academic successes or failures of your kids when you are their primary “teacher.” Set a boundary for yourself early on that you won’t allow their academic performance to impact how you treat them. Your kids are looking to you for unconditional acceptance and love more than they are looking for feedback on their writing.

Ok, but what about academics? 

Once you’ve got your homeschool grounded in play and relationships and healthy brain development, you can start to think about what tools you want to “hire” to help you. Here are some of our favorites… 


The most important thing you can do to set your child up for success as a reader is to read out loud to them. Like, so much. In order to become a strong reader- they not only need to know how to sound words out, but they need to understand spoken language, develop their vocabulary, and build their background knowledge about the world. There’s no better way to do that than through reading out loud. 

Specific tools…

Treasure Hunt Reading: Created by the Prenda team but available (for free!) to anyone, THR is a deep phonics Pk-3rd grade literacy curriculum that will give your child the foundation they need to become a strong reader without you needing to become a literacy specialist or deliver boring lessons. 

Lexia: If you’re OK with a little educational screen time, Lexia Core 5 is a comprehensive Pre-K-5th grade mastery-based curriculum that is gentle and fun. And it pairs well with THR. 

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get access to our extensive reading list! 

Kindergarten Literacy Skills

  • Can listen to a story, point at pictures, make relevant comments
  • Can listen to 5-6 minutes of a read-aloud while doing something active with their body
  • Knows letter names, short vowels, and consonant sounds
  • Can read some CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with short vowels and single consonants
  • Do not teach them sight words
  • Can trace letters, writes some letters independently


The main thing you want to accomplish with math is basic numeracy (counting, identifying written numbers, etc.) and something called “number sense,” which includes more conceptual ideas like that a number can be broken down into smaller numbers or that numbers have a specific order. There are TONS of fun math board games for kids that teach the vast majority of what a Kindergartener “should” know. 

Specific tools…

If you’re looking for an offline, hands-on approach, look into RightStart Math. There are a ton of manipulatives and things you have to buy for this, but it’s effective. Lots of great games. 

MathSeeds for a full online mastery-based approach. The art feels a little outdated, but it’s a solid program and comes with a workbook to reinforce skills with pencils and paper (VERY important, especially for the littles). 

Khan Academy Kids is also a great app-based supplement. 

Kindergarten Math Skills

  • Counts to and recognizes printed numbers 1-20
  • Understand number sequence (before, after, between)
  • Identifies patterns
  • Understands some measurement comparisons (longer, shorter, heavier, lighter)
  • Understands and can perform single-digit addition and subtraction

Social-Emotional Learning

There are a lot of “SEL” curricula out there, but I am here to tell you that kids do not learn things like sharing, empathy, and emotional regulation from programs or worksheets. 

Here’s how to develop social and emotional skills….

Step 1. Become an adult who is great at self-regulation. This means identifying any triggers that send you into your stress response (fight, flight, freeze) so you end up yelling, punishing kids out of spite, feeling overwhelmed and panicked, or being irritable all the time. ← All of this stuff shows up for us as parents because our raising small humans tends to bring up all the ways we feel insecure and scared still as adults. I won’t go into this more here, but check out this podcast episode about self-regulation.

Step 2: Allow your kids to have big feelings. When kids have big feelings, we tend to send them to time out, tell them to stop crying, or demand that they “calm down.” While being able to maintain one’s composure, speak respectfully, and abide by certain social norms is all part of becoming socially functional, a child’s brain actually develops FASTER when we encourage our kids to feel these big feelings and stay with them until they pass. This teaches kids that we aren’t afraid of their feelings and that they don’t need to be either. It’s much healthier to process a feeling with support than it is to feel alone and ashamed in the middle of your big feelings. 

Step 3: Help kids get their inside world out. We all have a unique and complicated “inside world” where our thoughts and feelings live. Kids need help processing their inside world so they feel validated and seen. Simply narrating what might be happening for them inside and expressing empathy goes a long way. Next time your kindergartener is lying on the ground kicking and screaming instead of “Calm down” or “Go to your room until you’re calm,” try something like, “Ah, you didn’t get the toy you wanted and that’s really frustrating. That’s understandable- I feel frustrated too sometimes.” And then let them cry. This is very hard for most parents to handle calmly (myself included). When I’m in these situations, and I’m trying to stay calm, I repeat to myself over and over, “Crying is ok; crying is safe.” 

Kindergarten SEL skills

  • Label emotions like angry, happy, sad, frustrated 
  • Share, take turns (upset about these things is very normal)
  • Can use some simple calming strategies with a reminder (breathing, taking a break) 
  • Clearly communicate wants and needs

I hope this little Kindergarten walk-through was helpful! 

If you are looking for other educational options outside of homeschooling…

You may want to consider “microschooling.” 

Microschools are small learning environments with 5-10 kids led by inspiring grownups we call “guides.” Prenda guides create learning spaces where play, relationships, exploration, and academic mastery are all wrapped up into one engaging experience. 

To find a microschool near you, visit our Microschool Map. 

To learn more about how you (yes, you!) could start your own microschool for your kids and a handful of their friends, watch this free video about why microschooling is the future of education and how you can get started as a guide. 


And just because we want your child’s education to be full of as much joy, curiosity, and fun as possible… Here are 3 KindlED podcast episodes you don’t want to miss if you’ve got a Kindergartener:

  • Rest. Play. Grow. with Deborah MacNamara: We talk about the development of a young child’s brain and their need for relationship and attachment with their primary caregivers to develop fully. 
  • The Importance of Play with Kaity and Adriane. We talk about the research behind play and some helpful how to’s if “playing” is not your jam. 
  • Free to Learn with Peyer Gray: We go over natural human development sequences and how to build a world that allows young humans to really thrive. 

Don't forget to share this post!