Preschool & Kindergarten

Homeschool 101: What About Preschool & Kindergarten?

Home education begins well before students begin traditional schooling.

Can you homeschool your preschooler? What about curriculum? Is it expensive? How important is early education?

How many hours a day does it take for Kindergarten?

Indiana’s law states that the compulsory age is 7 years old. Yet, society continues to push formal education at younger age levels. This pressure can cause homeschool parents into a structured education model before their child is ready.


Can low-income families successfully homeschool young children?

Recently, the IAHE asked homeschooling parents of young children why they prefer to raise them themselves, instead of sending them to daycare or Pre-K. We wanted to know, 
“Why are you willing and capable of preparing your child for school despite a low-income?” 

We chose to avoid institutional daycare, beyond the occasional play date and church nursery, because it exposes children to more illness, encourages more childish behavior, breaks down trust through a cycle of workers instead of consistent family care, just to name a few reasons. These things can get in the way of a child learning, over parents and siblings interacting in a normal home setting. Money was never the reason, though we did live paycheck to paycheck on a single income and endure a layoff along the way. Just because someone has low income, doesn’t mean, nor need to cause low standards, morals, or outcomes.

We chose to be a one-income family so that one of us could stay home with our preschool aged children. Though we felt great pressure from many sides to enroll them in preschool, we believed that time at home was more valuable and that we were capable of teaching them what they would need to be prepared for kindergarten. We also reviewed studies that showed that around 3rd or 4th grade, students who attended Head Start and had been ahead of their peers, leveled out with them, so there was no longer a difference. Both of our children scored well on the readiness tests that were given to them before the start of kindergarten. They have always scored especially high in reading, which we focused on a great deal from infancy on (reading to them).

I believe children need to be taught and nurtured by the people they love the most and who love them the most. This is especially important for our youngest children. They shouldn’t have to deal with all the social pressure at a young age, either, ie., being made fun of for saying I love you or holding hands with another child.

Looking for more information about homeschooling?

Because we are low income and on so many government programs already (not by choice but because I have two disabled kids who cost more than the normal child) I don’t want one more agency (school) ruling our lives. We are supposed to transfer straight from first steps to school at the age of 3! I’ve already had people in and out of my house weekly telling us how to live for three years. I want a break! I want a couple of years at home where I can be a mom without someone telling me something is wrong with how I parent!

We choose to homeschool, despite the financial burden it places on us because of my loss of income. I am capable of preparing my children for school because no other person, especially not an hourly employee, is going to care more about my children developing into healthy, happy, and intelligent adults than me. No institution can individualize curriculum like a homeschool parent. Even the institutions are constantly changing and adjusting because they haven’t found the “perfect” formula for teaching kids, so if they can spend all that money and resources with “experts” and not have a perfect plan, why is my small amount of spending and resources that create a plan perfectly tailored to my children by the person who knows them best, me, a “lesser” choice? Income has nothing to do with my ability to learn new things, teach them to my children, and develop them into healthy, happy, and productive members of society.

I have two college degrees; now my husband and I prefer to tighten our budget and live on one income so that I may stay home with our child and teach him myself. He has more advanced curriculum than usual for his age, better nutritious lunches, and no bullying. We have three much older children all widely differing in looks, personalities, and interests, all three were bullied at one point in different schools with “zero tolerance” for bullying schools. All of them, like us, wish our youngest to be homeschooled for the better education and positive non-bullying atmosphere.

I am much more capable of tuning into my child’s needs and learning style than a teacher could possibly be. A teacher who has a class full of little people cannot possibly be as capable of knowing AND understanding the individual needs of a young child as well as a parent can. A parent, who has poured him or herself into the life of his or her child from the moment he took his first breath, can prepare his or her child for academic learning much better than any institution can.

I am a registered nurse who has extensive experience in day care and early childhood development. I’ve witnessed the good and bad of government-run, child development centers. As a military family, we saw how children were affected by frequent travel and separation from their parents. Having taken that into consideration, we desired to provide stability and consistency to the raising of our children. I choose to stay home and run our household and educate our children. If I were to return to working in a hospital, I would be away from my children for the majority of their daily lives. I did not desire to have children to have someone else raise them for me, especially by a minimum wage earning and a minimally trained person who has no vested interest or love for my children.

We tried Pre-K due to my son’s diagnosis of Level 1 Autism. It was one of the biggest mistakes we made in regards to his care. He actually fell behind once entering the program. His teachers told me their hands were tied in how they were and what they were being allowed to teach. Realizing I can give far better instruction and more time, we pulled him out of the Pre-K program in our district. It is not the responsibility of the State to raise my child. Schools should not be viewed as an answer to the daycare predicament in which parents may find themselves. Giving more power to the state does not solve the issue it exacerbates it. I know my son, and I know what his needs are. No legislator knows better than a parent who invests in his or her child (ren).

First of all, I am a Christian. I believe that God gave my children to my husband and me to raise, nurture and educate them with the knowledge Him and His word….not the government through public education. Young children fair better both emotionally and physically if their mothers and fathers care for them. They also feel more secure in an atmosphere where they are deeply loved. I believe that good character has to be instilled at a young age and parents are the best ones to do that. If early childhood education becomes mandated, this will cause more of a tax burden on low-income parents that desire to raise THEIR children the way that they best see fit. This is our God-given right and freedom as citizens of the United States. Thank you.

I have three children ages 4, 3, and 5 months. I keep them at home with me because it is the best decision for our family. My husband and I believe that preschool aged children don’t need formal academics. They need the love and attention of their parents. No other teacher will ever care for my children the way I do or know them as well as I do. I know their strengths and weaknesses and can tailor their education to that. We read, memorize poems, play games, count, sing, bake, and countless other things together. I cherish the memories that we have created together. They are memories that wouldn’t be created if I sent them off to school at such a young and impressionable age. I want their values and morals to come from me, not the state.

I know the perfect person to teach/prepare my children for school is me. I know my children better than anyone else on this planet. I know how they learn, when they’ve had enough, and how to motivate them with the most success. My children benefit in many ways by staying home. In addition to being in a comfortable and familiar environment, they are also more rested, benefit from a more appropriate adult/child ratio, and can experience more field trips/activities outside of the home. I think it is important for children to communicate with all age groups, not just their peers. This is something I have achieved by keeping them home and planning outings with local groups (containing all ages) to all kinds of places. They would never get the same experiences at an institutional daycare/Pre-K that I can give them by keeping them home.

God blessed my husband and me with seven precious children whom we have home educated. Four of them have graduated, and are working and are productive citizens. I have always been a stay at home mother and enjoy it very much. If God gave us this little human being to love, nurture, potty train, walk and talk and everything else that comes. Do I become totally incompetent to teach them and educate them in character and other life skills? I was not willing to trust anyone else with my God-given responsibility. Why should I turn my child over at a certain age to someone who doesn’t know him or her like I do?

Research shows that young children develop a healthier understanding of themselves and others at home. It shows children are less violent when they spend their preschool years at home. It shows they develop a better understanding of language and develop better listening skills at home. It shows boys, in particular, thrive in a dynamic situation which requires less seat time and more ability to develop gross motor skills… at home! Why the government would fund something that studies show to be handicapping to young people is beyond me. We have contentedly fought to raise our eleven children on one barely adequate income out of joy and a deep conviction that is what is best for our children socially, academically, and spiritually. We can always earn more money when they are grown… we cannot rewind and invest in their preschool years.

I will raise my children, not some non-relative who has a whole room full of other children to tend to. I can work on good character quality at home, vs. send them out and hope they don’t pick up bad attitudes or bad language because their peers have older siblings at home. I can cultivate a love of learning vs. forcing them to think of learning and school as being synonymous with being planted at a desk all day, preparing for non-age appropriate tests. I keep staying home with my children to parent them because I am their parent as it is my job to raise them to become good citizens and productive members of society with intelligent minds, not assembly line cogs in a machine.


Fortunately, I have a work-from-home job that allowed me not to have to send my child to daycare. Most institutional daycares have a prohibitive cost, meaning that most of what the parent earns would go to paying for daycare. As far as for Pre-K/Preschool, we didn’t send our daughter because we were in the process of moving/just bought a house in a different town & didn’t have time to research the options, and I didn’t feel that it was necessary to go to Pre-K in order to succeed in school later.

We fully qualify for these programs but will not be putting our children in them. We intentionally give up a possible second income to do so. For one, the atmosphere is often that of entertaining children more than anything. Children who may actually be developing a theory and learning something are often swept away to the next activity regardless of their interest in the task at hand or the future task. At home, my child has the freedom to fully develop ideas and to continue building the steps to their desired results for however long it takes and in as many tries as necessary. The children are also often learning useless information. When I worked at a preschool for a summer in college, we put food dye and soap in cold spaghetti noodles so that the children would have the opportunity for tactile “learning.” I’m certain that my three-year-old at home tossing our spaghetti with olive oil for dinner is the one learning a valuable task and simultaneously getting tactile experience. I am also fully capable of providing many educational learning supplies to my children via household items and our public library. We all know the statistics concerning THE most valuable influence on reading success as being read to! Reading and rereading and reading for the fourth or sixth time are the very things that will build confidence and familiarity with the English language and reading comprehension. Pre-K institutions do not provide that for their students. There’s also the very real concern of unnecessary illnesses. Even with preventive measures, the flu, stomach bugs and regular colds are a normal part of daycare and Pre-K learning centers. We also do not personally agree with the disciplinary measures practiced in these environments.


When my kids were little, I watched, amazed, at how capable they were of learning so much about the world around them. They were like little sponges! My oldest, who is now 15, was reading by the time he was 3 and his little sister wasn’t far behind! They are thriving and excelling beyond what I feel they could have if they were placed in a daycare/preschool. The individual time I had them when they were little would never have been possible had they been gone most of the day. My next child in line was way different but still so observant. He didn’t talk and babble about the world around him but he was always watching. He didn’t even talk until he was almost 4! Then, when he did, it was with great difficulty. It has been a long journey in learning how to talk and read, but he is so smart and excels in math skills and mechanics! He fixed my vacuum when he was only 8 after his dad and I gave up! Again, if he would have been placed in a day-care or preschool, he would have been labeled and probably have been overlooked at what he could do well. And for the record, I was totally for placing my kids in public school. I did not want to homeschool and was encouraged (prodded and with persistent discussions) by my husband to do so! I had no desire to stay home all day with my kids and prayed and wrestled (fought!) with the Lord on what to do. To this day, I do not regret my decision to stay home and continually be amazed at their abilities and talents. And yet, to this day, I am fully reliant on God to help me because I am scared to death sometimes of the responsibility of it all! But I know my kids. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world. My family, for years, have been one of those lower income families. But we are not lower in our treasures in our children, each other, or our treasures in heaven. We are lucky and blessed.


We asked Indiana homeschool leaders:

How many hours a day do you recommend to new families for Kindergarten?
  • 3 or more hours
  • 2 hours
  • 1 hour
That one hour is mostly household chores like setting the table, putting dirty dishes in the sink, putting away clean clothes, putting away toys, drawing together, reading together, gardening together, walking together, exploring the neighborhood, reading scriptures or other classic principle-based literature, play dough or clay, cutting and pasting, fingerprints, living together and growing good relationships.

Yes, if you count reading a lot, taking nature walks, going to museums and field trips, then it’s like 10 hours daily! Essentially every waking minute. If you’re going the same route as government schools, then 1 hour, tops.

My youngest wanted to follow what his older brother was doing so he did more “hours” than what most need to do. We worked more on mastering skills at Kindergarten age then we did finishing a curriculum. We worked on your basic writing, learning our ABC sounds with Hooked on Phonics. And listening to a lot of read-a-louds from his brother and I. And how to “sit” for school time, that was a big part of it.

Where to start homeschooling a is a frequent topic of conversation in the
IAHE’s Discussion Group on Facebook

I’m considering pulling my son out of the public school system. He’s five years old and in kindergarten. I feel so overwhelmed looking at all of this. Is there a good place to start? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

You can always pull him out and give him a rest for the rest of the year too. Indiana compulsory age is seven years old, and frequently boys aren’t ready for school at four and five years old, simply because they have a hard time sitting still.  That will give you time to go to the IAHE convention, too! That is invaluable for new homeschoolers. I’ve been going for the last five years because we knew we wanted to homeschool, and our oldest is only three years old! (I was homeschooled the whole way through myself.)
In the meantime, if you feel like you must do some kind of school, just pick up a few workbook-type things from the dollar store if you want, and read read read to him! He will learn so much by just having you read some books to him each day. We loved those books from the library growing up. You can do this! His age really does mean no pressure for you right now in this decision.

The book that helped me the most was Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (or the updates…I think she’s up to the top 101 or 102 now. That book goes over different styles of learning, styles of homeschooling, and lots of reviews on various curriculums. We pulled our son out at the Christmas break of third grade. That was three years ago, and we are loving it.

I pulled my son during the winter break of kindergarten. Use this time to prep and determine curriculum. Pay attention to what he’s learning and the issues he’s having at school. Write them down so you can go back at look at them. Always feel free to ask questions.

No curriculum needed at that age at all!!! Read and explore and just enjoy each other!

I pulled my five year old out after the first semester of kindergarten last year. We purchased curriculum but it didn’t go well, so the rest of the year I just printed fun free worksheets from the TeachersPayTeachers website, checked out Hooked on Phonics from the library, and watched educational kid videos from YouTube (Alphablocks, SciShowKids, Mr Thorne Network, Math & Learning Videos 4 Kids, and Smart Learning for All, to name a few).

I focused on learning letters, sight words, basic numbers, reading aloud, and exploring nature. We took lots of walks and found things in nature to investigate. We also took lots of field trips. If there is something that your son likes, focus on that. Remember, you don’t need to recreate a classroom at home and have lots of curriculum to learn. Find a good support group in your area that offers a co-op and/or activities so you both can start making connections.


I pulled my oldest son out in the middle of kindergarten, too, years ago. I read biographies about great scientists to him and then we would explore what they discovered. I have discovered over the years that the kids love teddy bear counters with a scale to learn math. Pattern blocks are also a big hit around here. There are little books you can get, if you need ideas about math projects you can do. They helped me.

He can count the silverware as he empties the dishwasher! And he can problem-solve while he builds with blocks, does puzzles and Legos, or acts out stories with action figures or animal figures. Just think very carefully before giving him much screen time, and be sure he gets outside—-there is so much to learn that is amazing just by being out of doors. He can learn to ask questions about what he sees and discovers and you can do research together on what he finds and asks, and check out books on things like bugs! He will love learning at home!

Our favorite curriculum for kindergarten is My Father’s World. It depends on the child, but I had one go through it at the recommended pace, one fly through at an excelled pace, and the current one taking a very slow pace. Keep it fun and relaxed. Kids are natural learners. I’d recommend pulling him out and just enjoy reading and exploring his interests together.
Pull him out now. Spend the rest of the year enjoying nature and reading good literature together! You don’t need to do any curriculum right now. Just take your time to do some research on different curriculum. Don’t rush—you have plenty of time. I recommend looking into Charlotte Mason and nature study.

Charlotte Mason or My Father’s World is great for children. My Father’s World is an easy pace for kindergartners. It’s fun for Mom, too. We are part of Classical Conversations (CC) and are learning to memorize a lot of material each year. When you pull him out, go visit a local CC community and make sure to stay for lunch to talk to the moms. It’s a great support having other homeschooling families in your life.