by Eaman Elhadri
~ Bismillah ~
I hesitated while typing this post. I don’t typically like to share what curriculum and resources we use with other homeschooling mamas for one reason – our families are different.
I remember the feeling I had when hearing other homeschooling mamas discuss their curriculum choices. I couldn’t help but think that I must be wrong because so and so is using a different curriculum and I’m not.
With that being said, I’m only sharing this post with you today if you feel as though you will benefit from it. If you don’t think it will bring you benefit, then by all means feel free to skip it. 🙂
As always – do you times two boo!
We’ve arrived at a new year on the Gregorian Calendar and some families have just started homeschooling. If you are one of them, may Allah (AWJ) bless your year! Ameen.
Although we’ve started our 2019-2020 homeschool year in September, I like to do a quick overview of our year in the month of January.
What is curriculum?
The definition of curriculum is as follows:
The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.– Oxford
For the sake of this post, I will use the term curriculum in the way that it is widely used – the products purchased to teach a subject. However, my views about curriculum are similar to Sarah Mackenzie’s from Read Aloud Revival:
Curriculum is something we “do”, not something we buy. It is the form and content of our children’s learning experiences. Singapore Math isn’t the curriculum. It’s just the book that I use to teach the actual curriculum, which is: math. Curriculum is life. It can’t be contained within the pages of a book.Sarah Mackenzie
What works for one child may not work for another
Not only do we have different family units, every individual has a diverse set of skills, gifts, etc.
It’s also important to understand that what works for one child, may not work for another. It might make sense, at first, to use the same exact approach, curriculum, or resource for each child. It worked for the first child, why not the next, right?
To find out if it’ll work for a different child, you’ll need to first observe them.
Observe your kindergartner and make an honest decision as to what he needs. You may realize that he needs a totally different approach to math, for example.
Changing the curriculum is not as cost effective, but one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can cater to the diverse needs of your children. What an awesome blessing! Alhemdulilah!
Disclaimer: Your kindergartner does not need school!
And by school, I mean formal lessons. Formal lessons are structured, and the child is typically sitting and writing.
Your kindergartner is young. And in fact, any child under the age of eight shouldn’t feel pressured and overwhelmed with formal lessons.
Continue to give your child exactly what they need – an Islamic environment, fresh air, and your lap. This will prevent stress for the both of you, inshAllah.
Continue focusing on habit training, developing a love for learning, reading aloud, and providing hands-on experiences.
Have fun and don’t sweat kindergarten!
So you may be wondering, “Why on earth does this sister have a post on kindergarten curriculum then!?” 🙂 Read on…
When your kindergartner asks to do ‘school’
“Mama I want to do math too. Mama I want to work in that book too.” Alhemdulilah, I was happy to hear my kindergartner’s enthusiasm, but I didn’t want her to become overwhelmed with formal lessons.
My kindergartner is a younger sibling which means that, naturally, she is going to find interest in what everyone else is doing.
I don’t view formal lessons as a necessary component for this age group, therefore starting formal lessons with my kindergartner is solely to fulfill her desire to ‘do school’.
Tips for when your child is interested and developmentally ready for formal lessons
Start with one
Focus on one thing and do it. Is it math that your child is interested in? Try it out and observe how he responds.
Introduce new things gradually
You don’t have to do it all (and shouldn’t). If and when you think your child is ready for something new, try it out. Take it slowly and enjoy!
Learn to let go
If your kindergartner refuses to do formal studies that day, let it go. Forcing them to finish the work will lead to frustration for the both of you and destroy their love of learning.
The goal is for your kindergartner to develop a lifelong love of learning.
What is working for my kindergartner
It’s January, a perfect time for our periodic review. This is when I ask myself, “Are things working?”
After contemplation, I’ve decided that we will continue using the same resources, inshAllah, however our routine will differ because of the season. We live in the northeast U.S., therefore it’s cold and we can’t get out daily for nature walks as much as we’d like to.
Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Picks
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We don’t take grade levels seriously in our home. I mention grade levels because our state legal requirements ask for it. Otherwise, it isn’t important.
A child may be two grade levels higher in science and one grade level lower in math, according to someone who’s never met children and wears his tie too tight. 🙂
Grade levels are arbitrary!
We prefer to practice the freedom of allowing our children to work at their own pace.
Although this post highlights our curriculum choices, I tend to change things up as the year progresses.
Islamic Studies with a Kindergartner shouldn’t look like studying.
Quran memorization is the only exception because of the necessary method of ‘listen and repeat’. Even then, it should be toned down for a kindergartner or any young child.
Islamic Studies is first ‘taught’ by example
Islamic Studies is first taught at home, naturally by observing parents and siblings. Just as children learn Quran and dua naturally by listening to others say them aloud, they will also pick up on our character, naturally, through observation.
May Allah AWJ bless us with the best character, Ameen. And all the Muslims. Ameen.
Sunday School or after-school programs
Alhemdulilah and mashAllah, we attend a local masjid’s Sunday School. My kindergartner learns a bit about the Arabic alphabet, Islamic Studies, and a few short Surah of Juz Am.
It’s not an all encompassing Islamic school. She is mainly there for the social aspect.
When registering your child for Sunday School, or any program, I would advise that you or your husband stay on the premises. It’s the best way to observe what truly takes place once all of the other parents leave.
Islamic children’s literature
Literature is at the heart of our homeschool. Islamic literature is of utmost importance when teaching Islamic values and character.
Read below about a few of our Kindergarten Islamic children’s literature choices for 2019-2020.
Migo & Ali – Love for the Prophets by Zanib Mian
Migo & Ali – Love for the Prophets by Zanib Mian is a hardback book containing vibrantly illustrated stories of the prophets, from Prophet Adam (A.S) to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The stories are told in engaging, child-friendly language, on beautifully illustrated pages.
Purchase Migo & Ali here. Or click on the image below.
Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah by Omar Khawaja
Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah by Omar Khawaja is a well written book with beautiful illustrations. Ilyas, the boy, searches for Allah (AWJ). By the end of the story, his childish curiosity is fulfilled with profound realization.
You can purchase Ilyas and Duck here. Or click on the image below.
Noor Kids is a yearly subscription book set. On a monthly basis, you will receive one book containing two stories.
Noor Kids is written in comic style format. I’m not a big fan of comics, however my children enjoy reading Noor Kids, so I let it go. 🙂
A bit of caution here – Ayat in a few of the books aren’t always translated correctly. It’s something to be aware of in advance.
You can purchase Noor Kids books here.
Islamic Studies: hands-on materials
Learning Roots sells beneficial Islamic Studies books and products for Muslim households. You can purchase Learning Roots products here.
I’ve laminated all of our cards that we’ve purchased. Click here to see the laminator and laminating pouches that we use.
The Box of Manners
The Box of Manners card set by Learning Roots helps children develop Islamic etiquette through three fun and engaging games: Memory, Application, Reference.
Purchase The Box of Manners here. Or click on the image below.
What to Say When
The What to Say When card set by Learning Roots helps children learn dua in a fun and meaningful way.
Purchase the What to Say When card set here, or click on the image below.
The What’s Next card set by Learning Roots is a sequencing game divided into four themes: prayer times, prayer actions, prayer words, and ablution.
Purchase the What’s Next card set here, or click on the image below.
I don’t feel the need for my kindergartner to do much Arabic outside of Sunday school, therefore we prefer to use hands-on Arabic materials. I place them on a low shelf so my kindergartner can use them whenever she’d like.
Sandpaper Arabic Alphabet Wooden Cards
I’ve purchased the wooden Arabic letter cards from the Polliwog77 Etsy shop. This was a custom order, therefore you might not find it under Michele’s listing. Contact her directly to place the order.
Arabic Alphabet Blocks
The Arabic Alphabet Blocks by EduFun are a great way for children to explore the Arabic alphabet by recognizing the different formation of letters according to their position in a word, followed by creating words by placing the letters in correct order on the rod.
It consists of forty blocks and a horizontal rod contained in a wooden box. There is an illustrated base matching the blocks, however I (obviously lol) don’t force my children to place them back exactly where they were.
I don’t recall where we purchased them, but I think it was from a local Islamic Store.
English Language Arts
Reading aloud is a key component to Language Arts in our home. We try to choose classic children’s literature whenever possible because they’re well written and don’t typically have shirk and haraam concepts.
What is children’s literature?
Children’s literature is a dynamic entity in its own right that offers its readers many avenues for pleasure, reflection, and emotional engagement.Kerry Mallan
Kerry Mallan goes on to explain –
The irony of children’s literature is that, while it is ostensibly for children, it relies on adults for its existence. This reciprocal relationship between adult and child is, however, at the heart of education.
Kindergartners, and all children for that matter, thrive on read-alouds. Kindergartners aren’t typically reading on their own and, even if they were, still need to hear an adult read to them.
Reserve around ten minutes every other day to read to your child. If you’d like to read aloud more often than that, try out twenty minutes daily.
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.Emilie Buchwald
This awesome book contains all you need to know about the immense benefits of reading aloud!
Purchase The Read-Aloud Hanbook by Jim Trelease here, or click on the image below.
Kindergarten reading curriculum
I’m pretty sure you’ll guess what I’m about to say: “You don’t need a reading curriculum!” 🙂 Many children learn to read just by being read to!
Does your child love to read?
Has anyone ever asked you what age you started reading? I doubt that. And if they did, perhaps hang out with some other folks. 🙂
Here is a question you should ask yourself – Does my child LOVE to read?
InshAllah the answer is yes. If your answer is no, inshAllah they will develop a love for reading when you read-aloud to them.
This love will be what motivates your child to value reading for a lifetime, inshAllah!
When your child demonstrates readiness and a desire for reading
How I determined that my kindergartner was developmentally ready for reading
My kindergartner shows signs of readiness and a desire for reading because she ‘fake’-reads everything around the house.
She writes notes (mainly the same often used letters) and hands them to everyone. She asks when she can start her own lessons.
Therefore, I ‘allowed’ her to start formal reading lessons this year. My kindergartner doesn’t perceive it as work, but views it more as, “fun with Ziggy the puppet”.
Read about our Kindergarten reading curriculum choices for 2019-2020 below.
All About Reading by Marie Rippel
I had a feeling that my kindergartner would love the gentle reading curriculum that my eldest and I used in the past: All About Reading by Marie Rippel. I also knew that we still needed to try it out to make sure it was a right fit for her.
Alhemdulilah, it seems to be working for her so far, so we’ll stick with it, inshAllah.
All About Reading is my favorite reading curriculum because it’s gentle and scripted – a complete open and go curriculum!
My daughter was so excited to learn with ‘Ziggy’, the puppet included in the Pre-Reading package.
The readers (books) are beautifully written and illustrated. And get this! – The readers use real stories vs. nonsense stories! Alhemdulilah for that!
All About Learning Press provides a key to determine your child’s level, however keep in mind that Level 1 is pretty advanced. Most kindergartners start off at the Pre-Reading level.
Once my daughter completes the Pre-Reading Level, we will take a short break and then I will re-test her to see if she’s ready for All About Reading Level 1, inshAllah. If she isn’t ready, I’ll read aloud more often and play various hands-on phonics games with her, inshAllah.
I recommend purchasing the deluxe package. We’ve used every aspect of it (for years!) and it still holds up! Worth every penny! InshAllah.
You can purchase All About Reading in parts at Amazon, however you’ll save money by purchasing them directly from their website.
Literature based curriculum
Literature based curriculum uses stories (classic and new) combined with developmentally appropriate activities that foster a love of literature and reading in young children.
Read about our favorite literature based curriculum for 2019-2020 down below.
A Year of Tales by Lisa Wilkinson
Description from Wilkinson’s Nest website:
A Year of Tales is a gentle curriculum for young learners, from Kindergarten through 3rd grade, focusing on literature and nature as a base, blending together the rich and imaginative tales from Beatrix Potter, and encouraging character and exploration.Lisa Wilkinson
Important Note – A.Y.OT. contains Bible pages. I’ve created our own Quran/Hadith copy-work pages to use instead. It’s also important to note that while reading Beatrix Potter’s Tales, I ‘edit’ by skipping anything with shirk and/or haraam. For older children, you will need to point out anything haraam because they’ll be able to read the books on their own.
Purchase A Year of Tales by Lisa Wilkinson here.
Purchase the Beatrix Potter book-set here. Or click on the image below.
For kindergarten, the goal is to help your child continue to develop number sense as they learn basic addition and subtraction skills.
There are multiple hands-on math activities that we conduct throughout the year, too many to name in one post. Read on to find out about a few:
Hands-on math gives children real-world examples of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, making mathematics more relevant to their lives. For kindergarten you will focus on addition and subtraction.
Below are just a few examples of what we use for hands-on math:
Tinker Crate from Nesk Kids
For manipulatives, we prefer to use items from around the house or in nature because it’s free and readily available. This year, however, we’ve been tested with our health so we needed something fast, easy, and already set up.
I decided to purchase Tinker Crate by Nesk Kids. We use the items as manipulatives for counting, addition, subtraction, etc.
You can always go frugal and purchase a tray like this from a craft store and fill it with items from around your house!
Blocks and numbers
Here is an example of how we count with wooden blocks. The wooden numbers are from Treasures from Jennifer.
We use wooden sandpaper number cards for tracing. This approach provides perfect control of error because the child will sense if they aren’t tracing the number correctly.
You can go frugal by making your own sensory cards! Purchase card stock and sandpaper. Trace the numbers (or letters!) onto the sandpaper and cut them out. Lastly, glue the cut-outs onto card stock. There you have it!
Math Curriculum – Singapore Mathematics
Hands-on math is best for young children, but at some point, after you’ve observed your child, your child will need formal lessons in math at some point.
Our favorite math curriculum is Singapore Math.
Although I don’t believe formal math lessons are as necessary as hands-on Math for kindergarten, I allow my kindergartner to use the books if she asks for it. Usually the case is that she begs for it and, in my mind, I roll my eyes lol.
Although hands-on math is our focus at the current time, I plan on starting Primary Math 1A with her next year, inshAllah.
You can purchase the Kindergarten book set here or by clicking on the image below:
Nature study is a main subject in our homeschool that we participate in as a family.
What is nature study?
Nature study can be described as “conceiving of the movement as a loose coalition of communities composed of individuals, societies, and institutions able to find some common ground in the study and appreciation of the natural world. The purpose of nature study is to educate the child in terms of his environment, to the end that his life may be fuller and richer.Wikipedia
Introducing the simplest nature study activity of all time – Take a walk!
And yes, it’s that simple! 🙂
Every walk is an opportunity for your child to learn about the natural world! Don’t underestimate the power of going for a walk around the block!
It’s free, easy, and fun. What more could you ask for!? Alhemdulilah!
PRO TIP! – Oh, and by the way, if you’d like your child to sleep better at night, have them run laps outside, ok!? 🙂
Nature Study Curriculum
You guessed it! You don’t need a curriculum to study nature! As I’ve stated above, going outside and observing nature around you is more than enough!
Read on to find out about why we’ve decided to use a nature study curriculum this year…
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon is a year-long curriculum that allows you to study nature in your own backyard. Many activities easily adjust for different age levels, and you can select from among others, those most suitable for each child, all of which make it easy to keep the entire family involved.
Most importantly E.N.W.C. frees up my mind from the question of, “What should we study next?”
I don’t use the Guided Journal with my kindergartner, because I don’t force writing on any child under the age of eight. However, if she asks to write, I allow her to participate.
Purchase Exploring Nature with Children here.
Tree Guide by The Peaceful Press
The Peaceful Press: Tree Guide is an awesome literature and project based four week guide for 3-5 year old children. We enjoyed all of the activities in this guide, Alhemdulilah!
Purchase the Tree Guide here.
Literature based nature study
Obviously, if you’ve been reading along, we;re a huge fan of learning through literature as much as possible. It’s only natural that we use literature for nature studies as well.
Read below for a few of our nature literature picks.
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman is beautifully illustrated. I love how she combines art and science. I also appreciate the author’s candid explanations and observations.
We loved this book so much, that the entire book set is worth the purchase!
Purchase Nature Anatomy here. Or click on the image below.
Curiositree – Natural World by Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley
Curiositree – Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders by Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley is packed with short, informative paragraphs and gorgeous illustrations. It is absolutely stunning and a total must-have for my wild child.
Purchase Curiositree here. Or by clicking the image below.
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work. This book is huge! Keep in mind that it won’t fit on an average shelf!
Purchase Botanicum here. Or by clicking on the image below.
Letters from Afar
With a subscription to Letters from Afar, you’ll receive a beautiful hand-illustrated letter and awesome vintage stamps from a far-away land each month! Keep in mind that your kindergartner may not be mature enough to understand everything in the letters.
Bringing it all together – literature studies through project based learning
For younger children, it’s enjoyable if they study literature through project based learning. Below is a snippet of what that looks like in our home.
Description of the first image below: Alhemdulilah, we enjoyed reading A fierce Bad Rabbit for our Year of Tales unit, along with Curiositree, and a vintage book called The Life of The Forest. We also studied trees in Exploring Nature with Children.
The description of the first image below:
- My kindergartner made a tree snack with pretzels and grapes.
- She used acorn tops to fill her letter T printable from The Tree Guide.
- We used our number wood slices and tree felt diagram for simple math.
- We discussed our Character Page from A Year of Tales
- She practiced her stick weaving.
The picture below represents how multi-grade levels can work together.
For Physical Education, my kindergartner goes to swim class. We haven’t been consistent recently because she’s been sick a lot this winter.
Common Questions/FAQ About Muslim Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum
What subjects are required of kindergarten homeschool?
Whatever subject your child needs and desires! 🙂 This is the immense blessing of homeschooling, Alhemdulilah! You get to pick and choose whatever is best for your child, Alhemdulilah!
Check your state/regional laws to see if they require certain subjects to be covered.
See above for more information about the kindergarten subjects that we use during our 2019-2020 school year.
What is a typical homeschool kindergarten curriculum?
‘Typical’ doesn’t exist. 🙂 Cater to the needs of the child in front of you, and you will be successful, inshAllah.
Below are other examples of common homeschool curriculum choices for kindergarten:
- Reading – Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann is a very popular homeschool reading curriculum choice. I can’t go in to detail as to what it entails because we’ve never used it. I’ve heard mothers say great things about it.
- Math – Math-U-See. We’ve never used this curriculum, but I know of others who love it.
- English Language Arts – Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row by Jane C. Lambert is an awesome choice for young children because it opens up the world of learning through great books and creative play. We’ve used both BFIAR and FIAR for years and I’m now in the mood to row another book, inshAllah!
- Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears from Learning Without Tears, is a simple to follow handwriting curriculum for all age levels. My third grader uses this program for handwriting, however I’m no interested in handwriting, or any type of writing for that matter, for my kindergartner. Purchase HWT here.
Read about our curriculum choices above.
How many hours a day do you have to homeschool?
You may homeschool for however long you’d like! Just keep in mind that young children don’t need hours of formal lessons.
Kindergartners need plenty of time to explore their world as they learn best through active exploration of concrete materials such as blocks, manipulatives, paint, arts and crafts, sand and water, etc.
What is a homeschool kindergarten schedule like?
Ditch the schedule for a rhythm that is catered to your family’s needs and live in peace! Here is a sample kindergarten schedule used by many Muslim homeschooling mamas of littles:
- Morning routine
- Outside Play
- Read-Aloud Time
- Salaatul Dhuhr
- Nap or Quiet Time
- Free play
- Salaatul Asr
- Dinner prep
- Salaatul Maghrib
- Evening Chores
- Salaatul Isha
- Bedtime rituals
Be flexible and change your rhythm as needed.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
- You don’t need a curriculum for kindergarten. My kindergartner has an older sibling and begs to do ‘school’, therefore I allow her to join us for formal lessons if she asks.
- Your kindergartner is still learning through play, however if she’s ready for ‘formal lessons’, try out one subject and go from there!
- May Allah (AWJ) make it easy for you and me and all the Muslims. Ameen.
- Watch the Live Video where Eaman shows the gentle resources used with her kindergartner!
- New to Homeschooling? Read the Beginner’s Homeschooling Guide for Muslim Families.
- Want to know what products you need for homeschooling? You don’t need much! Watch the LIVE and read the Minimalist Homeschool Guide!
- Read about S. Iram’s Journey – Why We Homeschool. If you speak Urdu, watch this video!
- VIDEO – Hey new Muslim Homeschooling Mama! I Can See you from a Mile Away!
- Are you homeschooling a Third Grader this year? Read S. Eaman’s Third Grade Resources Post!
- Are you homeschooling a middle school child? Read Iram Shaukat’s 20 Tips for Homeschooling your Middle School Muslim Child
2 thoughts on “Muslim Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum and Resources”
Very insightful and beneficial post!
P.s. I see a familiar zebra friend 😄