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When Aiden was about 2 years old, we already knew that homeschooling was the best route to go. It wasn’t until he was 5 years old that I we not only solidified our decision to homeschool, but we also made the decision to unschool.
Unschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around.NaturalChild.org
- Deciding To Homeschool
- Unschooling and Worldschooling
- Self-Directed Curriculum
- How To Incorporate Each Subject While Unschooling
- Writing / Language Arts
- Physical Education
- Art Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
- STEM Curriculum
- Reading Kindergarten Curriculum
- Online Learning Websites – Multiple Subjects
- Fine Motor Skills
- Pretend Play / Imaginative Play
- Problem Solving
- Cognitive Skills
- Subscription Boxes – Multiple Subjects
- Kindergarten Homeschool Graduation
- 1st Grade & 2nd Grade Homeschool
Deciding To Homeschool
My husband and I made the decision to homeschool Aiden when he was two years old. We just knew we would homeschool him, however we didn’t really have a plan at the time as there was no rush.
When Aiden turned four, I started researching homeschooling and kindergarten curriculum options. I knew we would need to choose a curriculum at some point in our homeschool journey, so it made sense to start my research early.
After extensive research on the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum, and watching how well Aiden was learning and thriving without any structured preschool curriculum, I decided to take a more relaxed approach to kindergarten.
This relaxed approach to learning is also referred to as ‘Self-directed learning’ or ‘Unschooling’.
Aiden turned five in February of 2018, which means he will be allowed to start Kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year. This also means that his projected high school graduation year is 2031.
For the first five years of Aiden’s life, we did not use any homeschool curriculum or follow any type of structure or lesson plan. He also did not attend a preschool. However he can read, write, count, spell, and do everything else that he needs to know by Kindergarten.
I then asked myself, “Why change that now?” If something is working so well, why even bother changing it? So we decided not to use any specific kindergarten curriculum.
Unschooling and Worldschooling
Unschooling simply means experienced based learning or natural learning or independent learning and worldschooling simply is a combination of learning and travel. Aiden travels and learns, so both go hand in hand.
PS: There is no one size fits all or one way to do it when it comes to unschooling and worldschooling in place of a kindergarten curriculum.
What Exactly Does Unschooling Mean?
Unschooling is a branch of homeschooling, and the term was coined in the 1970’s by an educator named John Holt. Unschooling promotes non-structured, child directed learning with no set curriculum, lesson plan or schedule.
Unschooling is the complete opposite of schooling by not creating a school-at-home environment. When you unschool, you are trusting that your child will learn what they need to know by giving them control of their own education.
I really prefer to call it child directed learning because unschooling seems to be misunderstood most of the time because people aren’t familiar. They always seem surprised when I tell them that unschooling is the route we chose for kindergarten curriculum.
To read more about unschooling you can visit these websites below:
Is Unschooling / Self Directed Learning Legal?
Unschooling is legally classified as a form homeschooling in California and many other states as well. I love that California has very relaxed homeschooling laws, and I hope that doesn’t change.
Unschooling can be achieved by Filing A Private School Affidavit or enrolling your child in charter school which has very relaxed homeschooling requirements. Aiden is currently enrolled with a local charter here in California.
The only reason why I enrolled him in a homeschool charter is so that he can receive educational funds to purchase things he needs for school. I love that they don’t micromanage how parents educate their children, that they offer homeschooling support for parents who need it.
Although we chose to enroll in a homeschool charter program we are still able to unschool because the only requirement is that we provide a monthly writing sample.
How To Practice Unschooling / Self Directed Learning
Aiden (5) and his cousins, Ethan (5), Milania (4) and Avery (3) are currently unschooled. We are currently not using and don’t plan to use any curriculum or lesson plans.
Our homes are not set up like classrooms and we don’t force them to do any reading or writing or learning, however we highly encourage it. If you see the kids reading and writing, that is because it was initiated by them as they love learning.
The kids are able to direct their own learning and my job as a parent job is to expose them to as much as we can. We also don’t have a set schedule at home, and we especially don’t have bed time.
It may sound like chaos, but trust me it isn’t. This allows the kids to think critically and make decisions especially knowing that actions have consequences. You can watch what our homeschool day looks like below.
Unschooling doesn’t mean that the kids just watch television every day or do not engage in anything educational; it is quite the opposite. Because I do not require them to do any sit-down learning, they ask to do it every single day and some days they don’t even want to see their books, and that’s okay.
They love Spanish, writing, math, geography, science, history, problem solving, building and much more. Sometimes I have to remind them to take a break and go play!
Because unschoolers / self directed learners only learn about subjects they are curious about, they tend to be very motivated. I don’t remember loving school work at five as much as they do.
I just want them to be kids, play, explore and develop a love for learning on their own and they are doing exactly just that.
The kids also travel a lot which allows them to explore their environment, which in turn expands their curiosity to learn more; and this is the worldschooling part of their curriculum.
Remember that all travel is travel; a trip to a children’s museum in another city or just simply visiting someplace new, be it near or far is travel.The Mom Trotter
Aiden and Ethan are currently enrolled with a homeschool charter.
The boys receive educational funds and the funds can be used to purchase educational learning material as you can see below. It is important to have at least some of these items at home for your kids.
Even before Aiden received any educational funds, I had purchased a lot of these educational toys for him to play with. Most children’s museums have similar toys for kids, so I highly recommend that you take your children to children’s museums as often as possible.
Aiden receives educational funds from school and we use it on educational toys, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toys, writing materials (crayons, pencils, books) and art supplies such as (dab and dot markers, paint) etc.
Click below to see detailed lists of what I ordered with our educational funds as well as other educational toys we have at home:
How To Incorporate Each Subject While Unschooling
The best Kindergarten homeschool curriculum should be fun and consist of lots of indoor and outdoor play time. At this age, play is the most important thing for children and that should really be the focus.
Even though the kids are unschooled, my job as a parent is to make sure they have access to the tools that’ll keep them interested and engaged in learning.
Writing / Language Arts
The kids ask to write every single day, so I got notebooks, paper, pencils, scissors and most importantly an electric pencil sharpener. I got tired of sharpening pencils all day and an electric pencil sharpener is just awesome.
They write all sorts of things in their notebooks. When they go to bed, I usually look through to see what they’ve drawn or written and I am always very amazed.
Counting cubes are great for math. The kids usually try to use their fingers and toes to count, however, having counting cubes or counting bears makes it so much easier. Pattern blocks are also a great resource for math, make sure to pair it with activity cards.
The kids spend most of their days playing outside. Outside time is very important, and I believe that kids should spend more time playing outside versus inside sitting at a desk learning.
My backyard is set up so that the kids can enjoy spending time outdoors doing whatever it is that they enjoy without getting bored. Knowing that Aiden would be homeschooled, making our backyard an ultimate kids playground for him was priority.
This is probably one of the kids favorite subjects. Trying out new experiments is so much fun and they loves these sets; My First Mind Blowing Science Kit, Mini Explorer Light-up Terrarium Kit, Magnet Lab Kit, My First Microscope and Talking Microscope.
I am not a big fan of workbooks, however the kids are and they love writing in their workbooks. My go to workbooks are the DK Workbooks. They have all grade levels in each of the primary subjects.
The boys are very proficient readers and were able to finish all their Kindergarten workbooks with minimal help, so I went ahead and started them on their 1st grade books in the same year. What I love about homeschooling is that we are able to go at the kids pace and follow their lead.
The girls aren’t reading yet, so there’s no rush for them to start their Kindergarten workbooks. As you can see below the only difference between the kindergarten curriculum books and the 1st grade curriculum books is that 1st grade doesn’t have handwriting.
Art Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
What kid doesn’t love doing artwork? This keeps them busy for hours, painting and coloring and cutting. For art they have scissors, dab and dot markers, fine point markers, twistable color pencils and the Melissa & Doug art set.
The decorate your own art is fun too. I got twistable crayons because the kids can be rough on color pencils and they won’t use them especially if they are cracked or blunt. They also have coloring books.
They do a variety of things online such as; check and reply to emails (they have email pals their age all over the world), create videos to upload to their YouTube channels (Aiden / Ethan), play learning games, work on their blogs (Aiden / Ethan), learn how to code with BitsBox etc.
STEM simply stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Stem toys use a combination of several things to keep the kids brain active. The kids favorite are the Snap Circuits which requires them to build projects with electrical parts.
The box says grades 2 and up but the boys are five and in kindergarten, and can independently build these projects together with the help of an adult once in a while. Creative Construction Engineering and Think Fun Roller Coaster Challenge are also awesome STEM toys for kids.
Reading Kindergarten Curriculum
Books are very important and the kids self taught to read with guidance of course. It just sort of clicked and they woke up one day being nosy and trying to read my texts.
They learned how to read using the Bob Books and now love the I Can Read series. The Big Book Of Why is one of their favorites, and truthfully, mine too. I learned things from this book that I didn’t even know. There are so many awesome kids books to choose from.
The kids have a library card and we visit the library often, however we also spend a lot of time reading books at home, in the car, basically all over. The most important thing is that they have access to books everywhere.
I also carry books in my purse or bag just in case we go somewhere and they want to read or they want me to read to them.
Online Learning Websites – Multiple Subjects
There are so many fun online learning websites, some are free and some aren’t. When the kids use their laptops, they are required to play educational games for at least 30 minutes before they can do anything else.
Fine Motor Skills
The kids favorites are Build your Own and Take Apart Kids Airplane DIY Toy and Build Your On Toy Racing Car.
Pretend Play / Imaginative Play
The kids have a play kitchen, lemonade stand / grocery store, shopping cart, pet care play set, cash register, everyday heroes figurine toys, costumes / dress up clothes and so many other items. It is very important for kids to be able to role play as it builds their imagination.
Table puzzles and floor puzzles are both a big win with the kids. The key thing is to ensure that the pieces are not too small so that kids don’t get overwhelmed building it by themselves.
There are so many great board games for kids which helps them with their cognitive skills. I love board games because they get your mind thinking quickly. Some favorites are Little Red Riding Hood, Guess Who, 5 Second Rule Jr, Headbanz, Jenga, Sequence for Kids, and Connect 4.
Game night is such a great way to connect with the kids and they look forward to it all the time.
Subscription Boxes – Multiple Subjects
Subscription boxes are one of the kids favorite things to work on. They love receiving them in the mail. Each box covers a subject such as reading, science, geography and more. They are currently subscribed to KiwiCo, Little Passports, Legacy Kits, BitsBox and a few others.
The kids also love watching and learning about the solar system and the earth, and really enjoy this solar system puzzle is really fun. However, most of their Geography lessons are covered through travel, which is great.
Tip: If you are interested in incorporating travel as part of your homeschooling program, it is possible and doable on a budget. The best website to search for tickets is Skyscanner as it allows you to find the cheapest time to fly anywhere in the world.
This is perfect as a homeschooler because there are no travel restrictions which means that you can travel during low season hence cheaper costs. Also make sure you download the Skycanner App which allows to track several flight prices until you are ready to purchase.
For hotels, TripAdvisor is perfect as it shows all hotel reviews and prices for where to book the cheapest hotel, as well for attractions. It is my go to when booking hotels, or excursions in a new country.
Also check out the posts below for more tips on traveling with kids:
- Proven Ways To Save Money On Flights
- Tips On How To Make Travel Affordable For Families
- Best Websites To Find Cheap Flights & Error Fares
Always remember that there is no right way to educate your child. You have to do what works for your family and most importantly, what works for your child.
I have seen Aiden and his cousins develop a love for learning, learn how to read and write, count, build, think critically and do so many other things on their own; with parental guidance and encouragement of course.
They are thriving and doing so well, and this post is so that other’s know that there are other options if traditional school isn’t working for your child. I also want to show that you don’t need a formal kindergarten homeschool curriculum for your kids to learn.
Kindergarten Homeschool Graduation
UPDATE June 2019
The boys graduated from Kindergarten and 1st Grade this summer (July 2019) Woo Hooo!!! They completed their Kindergarten DK Books and 1st Grade DK Books in the same year. They are reading at 2nd grade level, writing, spelling and more.
They were able to do this because we homeschool year round with multiple breaks during the school year. This works better for us especially with our schedule and how often we travel.
There is no homeschool graduation, so I bought them a graduation cap and gown and organized a mini graduation for them. After their graduation my husband and I took them on a two week vacation to Florida.
I wanted to do something special for them so they can look back on it years later and remember all the amazing memories.
1st Grade & 2nd Grade Homeschool
UPDATE August 2019
The school year has officially begun, and although the boys are currently in 1st Grade according to their age, they are currently working on their 2nd Grade DK Books. I’m excited to see how much they learn and grow this school year.
The boys are still following the path of self directed education because it is working great for them. They are moving at their own pace and doing exceptionally well. I am just so amazed and proud of them!!
Homeschooling – Tips & Tricks
Thinking About Homeschooling – Where To Start
- Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family?
- How To Legally Homeschool Your Child
- Best Tips For Choosing The Right Homeschool Curriculum
- A Comprehensive Resource Guide For Black Homeschooling Families
Where To Shop For Homeschooling Supplies
Visit my Homeschool Resources page to see all the reliable and trustworthy brands that we use for our homeschooling journey.