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Kindergarten Year in Review

June 25, 2023

I’m a sentimental mama- that’s no surprise. This was my last year teaching kindergarten at home. This was also my first year officially teaching my little fella with extra needs. Since we began 6 years ago I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with teaching my crew at home. With Rutledge’s T1D diagnosis I am even more grateful I can teach him at home with me. We began the year with a heavy amount of therapy – around 20-25 hours. It was a lot for all of us. Homeschooling allowed us the opportunity to try this therapy and while it was good intentioned- we ultimately ended up recognizing it was not a good fit for our family. 

Before the school year started I knew I would need to evaluate things differently for my guy. His learning style is especially unique. I dove into all kinds of curriculums, listened to podcasts, and watched an inordinate number of YouTube reviews. Finally I landed on my plan and felt ready for the year. I knew I wanted it to be a gentle but intentional approach to formal education.

As you’ll see through the pictures we moved around a lot. Kindergarten at home is not a lot of sitting at the table doing book work. It’s LOTS of hands on, it’s read alouds, and exploring natural curiosity. Kindergarten is a sweet, sweet year to grow, learn, and explore. I think it’s important to note that Rutledge did transitional kindergarten last year and he was ready for more formal lessons.

A typical kindergarten year may not include all these subjects. Touching on the main ones- reading, math, and writing are sufficient for K. It’s important to enjoy Kindergarten, make it a good, gentle experience. More in-depth, formal lessons will come in time but this isn’t the year for it.

If you’re reading this as you’re planning your kindergartner’s school year  I’d want you to hear this, if nothing else.

Choose a rhythm of lessons that is enjoyable, sustainable, and gentle. 


For math we went with Masterbooks. It is hands down the most gentle introduction to math imo. Perhaps a little too gentle. He was finished with the Level K book before Christmas break. This is where I had a mid year crisis of, “oh no! what have I done, was this the wrong curriculum?!” Again I dove into research and came to discover  MathUSee. It was pricey and I had spent our school year budget already. So I set out to find the most frugal way possible to explore the curriculum. I figured, worst case we finished the years worth of math in Masterbooks so if this was a flop we wouldn’t be behind. 

As it turns out we ABSOLUTELY fell in LOVE with the program. It’s different and I felt a twinge of fear approaching math this way but I am already seeing the value and virtue of approaching math concretely and conceptually instead of an abstract exercise in memorization. To save on expenses here’s how I got us started. 

I searched Facebook Marketplace for the integer blocks and for used curriculum. I found that you do not need the textbook or CD. I replicated (read: I hand drew) the pages already filled in and purchased the virtual lessons on the demmelearning website. Was it ideal? No. But it was worth it. I saved A LOT and got to see the curriculum enough to know it was going to be an excellent fit for us! Now we’re full steam ahead loving this program and learning so much too! (I loved it so much I pulled my 2nd grader from her curriculum to start MUS- you can read more about her experience in my 2nd grade review blog post.)


This was another subject that went on a bit of a journey but ended exactly where I was hoping we’d be. For reading I knew we wanted to use the All About Reading – Pre Reading program. Rutledge knew his letters but would intermix them and I wasn’t sure he was firm on each of the consonant sounds, short/long vowel sounds, etc. We went through the Pre Reading program and it was perfect! We LOVED it – gentle, meaningful, and fun! However, he was finished with the lessons in the pre- reading program around Christmas time as well. Having just completed Level 1 with my middle daughter I knew it was a jump from where Rutledge was at to where Level 1 begins. So, I pulled out my tried and true, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I had no intention completing the book I only used it to bridge the gap between All About Reading’s Pre Reading and Level 1 programs. 

I can tell you the 100 Lessons book is no where nearly as exciting as the All About Reading curriculum but it did the trick. I alternated lessons in the book with Learn + PLAY phonics activites to keep him engaged. It took getting a little creative on my end but after we got to around lesson 30 I could tell he was ready for AAR Level 1. I had already ordered the books so I figured we’d go ahead and try it. Sure enough, he did great! Just a little bump to get him there between levels. He’s just a few lessons in and we’ll pick it up in the Fall semester of 1st grade next school year! 


This is a place you’ll likely find push back (particularly with boys although sometimes with girls too.) Writing can be difficult- there are several challenges that can make writing feel hard for little learners. Things like fine motor skills, left to right progression, spelling, organization, etc. I didn’t want writing to be a fight so I set out to keep it simple. I started the year by having him write just one word. He sounded out each letter sound and added a picture to go along with that word. Over time we increased to writing one sentence and adding an illustration and by the end of the year we would occasionally write a few sentences (especially if he got fired up about a topic) but still there were days he preferred to write just one sentence. Writing is something that will take a little time for most kids and that’s ok. We practiced the habit of daily writing and I’m excited to watch that habit grow in the coming school year. 

He did participate in the lessons I did with the girls from IEW (The Institute for Excellence in Writing) but he didn’t work on key word outlines or the writing projects. Again, laying the ground work for the days ahead in a gentle and intentional way. 

He also used the Handwriting Without Tears program for his handwriting and printing skills. He enjoyed the simplicity of it and finished it early on in the school year. 


Science was fairly hit or miss this year. We mainly studied topics of interest. A few ideas we explored were lifecycles, animals, insects, weather, basic physics, basic coding. I used my Discover + PLAY Science curriculum because it was just easy to incorporate without having to do a whole lot of extra. Sustainable and meaningful it’s what I’m all about in our homeschool. 

In the Fall we focused on Missionary stories- George Mueller and Hudson Taylor. We used the stories to inspire a geography study of Europe and China. I used the mini units I wrote called To All The World: Asia and To All The World: Europe

In the Spring we switched to a study of United States History using the Notgrass curriculum Our Star Spangled Story. My crew fell in love with US history and this incredibly engaging textbook was PERFECT! We all loved the many images in the text, suggested reading lists, and suggested crafts at the end of each unit! 

In addition to curriculum there was always the adventures we went on following their natural curiosities – bugs, frogs, leaves, etc. 

Bible Study

In addition to attending our weekly Community Bible Study program our study at home looked very simple. I would read from the Bible and we’d focus on a memory verse. At times I’d use the New City Catechism, Little Pilgrims Big Journey, and other devotional type materials.  

Community Bible Study is an international program with groups all over. If you’re interested in participating, be sure to look here for a class local to you! 

Field Trips & Extra Curricular Programs

Field Trips with my crew are some of my favorite parts of homeschool. Adventuring together is just so fun. A lot of our “field trips” are just day to day life – dentist, doctor, eye exam but we take a few real field trips too. This year we visited the state house, a marionette theatre, an orchestra performance, a ballet performance, we even counted dinner at Cracker Barrel as a field trip because the style and decor matched our current history study.

Rutledge has a LOVE for soccer and played both in the Fall and Spring seasons. He had a blast and it was so fun to see him in his element! We did a little music appreciation and into to piano with the online Hoffman Academy program. He did fairly well with it. Of course, a recorded video only goes so far but the program is so well written I could see it being successful if we continue into the new school year. 

Rutledge has the opportunity to participate in a variety of therapies throughout the week over the school year. With Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and other programs he has made great gains. I do not take it lightly that he has access to these resources. It took years to go through the diagnosis process and then through referrals and applications to get him into therapy. Of course, then there was the issue of finding funding and then being blindsided by a comorbidity of T1D. This isn’t a road we ever imagined walking but oh how thankful I am to be home with him! Homeschooling has allowed him to get into therapies and doctor/specialist visits that might typically be more difficult to get into because we have the flexibility of schedule. We still had waitlists but they usually weren’t very long. 

[side note: If you have found yourself in a similar place and maybe you’re considering homeschooling or maybe you are already homeschooling but feeling nervous about adequacy I would absolutely LOVE to connect with you. Send me an email (hello@everydaylearnandplay.com) I can NOT imagine going through the whole process we did without the absolutely incredible community we have around us. I would be lost without the many phone calls, coffee dates, or run-ins at the grocery store/target/etc with other mamas walking similar roads. Their prayers, wisdom, practical advice, and encouragement meant the world. We need each other and if you don’t have that I’m here. I’m absolutely willing to pray with you, share any knowledge I’ve gained along the way and simply be someone who gets it.]

At the end of the day- setting aside any and all of the curriculum, I am so very thankful for the gift of teaching my sweet boy at home. Kindergarten was a JOY and spending my days loving him, teaching him, shepherding his heart was a blessing and delight. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us next year as we venture into 1st grade! 

So there you have it, our Kindergarten year in a nutshell. Have a question or curious more about a specific curriculum, don’t hesitate to ask! Stay tuned for my next post reviewing our 2nd grade curriculum picks from the past school year! 

Curious about more of our curriculum reviews? I wrote up a post on our 4th grade year too! 

  • Reply
    June 28, 2023 at 1:30 am

    So encouraging, Carla! Thank you for your enlarged heart! Blessings always!

    • Reply
      June 30, 2023 at 10:20 pm

      Thank you so much, sweet friend! It’s a delight to get to share!

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