Tips for homeschooling a five-year-old

Whether you’re brand new to homeschooling and have been thrown in at the deep end or you’ve been homeschooling for a while, it’s normal to feel a bit lost and worry that your efforts aren’t good enough. 

In this post, I give a few simple tips to help you to make sure that homeschooling is fun for both parents and children, as well as fulfilling educational requirements.

Plan ahead

One of the most important things you can do when schooling any child is to have your day planned out before you start. Of course, you can plan lessons while your child is working, but if you’re planning for the next day or next week rather than the next hour, you’ll find it much less stressful.

Find out where you can print off educational worksheets, which websites are the best for your child to interact with and which YouTube channels have the most educational videos. You could also consider ordering monthly STEM boxes to be delivered to your door which give you everything you need to create fun science and technology projects at home.

Familiarise yourself with the curriculum for five-year-olds

At age five, it’s usual to learn about:

  • Letters of the alphabet and their sounds
  • Addition and subtraction of numbers up to 10
  • Writing numbers and letters
  • Beginning to read simple sentences
  • Understanding patterns in shapes and nature
  • Sorting objects by characteristics
  • Holidays and annual events
  • Sitting quietly, listening and being patient

You don’t have to stick rigidly to the national curriculum, but it’s a good idea to make sure that you know roughly what you should be teaching and incorporate this into your lesson plans.

Allow your child to work to their own ability

Every child is different and you may find that your son or daughter progresses faster in some areas compared to others. If your child shows a natural skill for reading, there’s little point in sticking to a set curriculum and going over the letter sounds that they already know. You should let your child’s ability guide what tasks you set them.

Learn through play

It’s common for five-year-olds to struggle to sit still at a table for long periods. After all, that’s one of the skills that they’re still working on at this young age. Instead of having the majority of the education delivered at a desk, spend time in the garden, on the floor and out and about.

Learning through play is a great way to educate your child without them even realising at this age. They might not like to sit and work through a list of sums. But if you set up a play shop and have them write price tickets and work the cash register, you’ll probably both have a lot of fun.

Be flexible with your timetable

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you don’t have to stick to a timetable as rigidly as you would if you had 30 children to teach. Of course, routine is important, but you are able to be a little more flexible in terms of the timings.

If your child’s having a bad day, maybe they didn’t sleep well the night before, you can wrap up the day early and watch a movie together. There’s absolutely no harm in snuggling up on the couch and watching The Jungle Book, asking them to name each of the animals they see and learning the words to ‘Bear Necessities’.

Conversely, if school is going really well and your child is deep into an activity, you don’t have to suddenly stop when the school bell rings. You can carry on for some extra time until the task comes to a natural end.

Be sure to mix with other children

Making friends is important at any age and if you’re homeschooling long-term you should enrol your child in classes such as Rainbows, gymnastics, football or drama class to that they have the opportunity to make friends with other kids their own age.

If homeschooling is more of a short-term situation for you, keep in touch with your child’s friends from school via video messaging, sending photos or you could even help them to write a text message to their friend.

Have fun

I hope that some of these tips will help you in your quest to homeschool your child. Don’t forget that your child’s happiness should be paramount in all of this. It can take many months to settle into a good homeschooling routine, so if it’s not working out at first, don’t stress. Just relax, learn through play and focus on having fun together.


This article was provided by Jenni Fielding who is a mum of two and is currently homeschooling a five-year-old.