Advice - Kindergarten

Dear Parent,

Preschool is the easiest part of your homeschool journey. It may not seem like it if you’re new to homeschooling and have an active toddler careening about the house or older children needing your time.

First, know that a 5-year old needs about one hour of formal schooling per day—even less if they are a young 5. Formal schooling means practice in letter recognition, counting, and skill building including knowing right-left. Most parents rely on their own schooling as a model. It is public school standard for Kindergarten to last half a day, if not all day. This is not in the best interest of the child.

The greatest part of your homeschool day should be time outdoors, word-play games essential to learning to read well, lots of high-quality literature, and hands-on learning in a range of areas. Foundation Year Teaching Guide provides step-by-step help for all of these.

What subjects and books does Foundation Year use? Here is a brief overview that will give you a bird’s eye view. To help you further, here is a sample of what a week looks like.

Above all remember that you are at the beginning of your homeschool journey with this child. Hold the vision of what you want loosely as you go forward. The academic needs of a five year-old are far less than a 12-year-old. However, their emotional/spiritual/intellectual needs are specific and actionable. Once you are able to meet those needs the difference in their learning ability is dramatically better than when using a curriculum with the usual workbook, textbook approach.

The hardest part of learning to use the Charlotte Mason method is not for your child, but for you. Homeschooling with living books can feel like jumping off a cliff if you’re new. Doing something different than you grew up with or than “everyone” else is doing can feel that way.

Living Books Curriculum Exclusives

We have created a number of helpful resources that can be found only with our Living Books Curriculum to help you homeschool the Charlotte Mason way. Here is what you will find in the Foundation Year…

ABC Test – In order to determine whether your child is ready developmentally for Kindergarten, The Assessment of Basic Concepts (ABC Test) was created Dr. James Carroll, co-founder of LBC. Dr. Carroll, a specialist in learning assessment, created this gentle way to measure your child’s readiness and progress. The test shows your child’s level of understanding of basic concepts and skills (counting, organizing, oral expression) necessary for kindergarten or first grade and takes only about 20-minutes to administer.

Aesop’s Fables with Scripture References, Sheila Carroll, ed.  LBC Aesop’s Fables with Scripture References is unique in editions of the fables. We painstakingly added the Scripture references for each moral. It is a republication of the 1912 edition, with illustrations by the incomparable artist Arthur Rackham.

Often Asked Questions

How do I know my child is ready for learning?

What do I do with my toddler while I’m trying to teach?

Here is a golden tip from Scott Stroud, “Tips for Frazzled Homeschool Moms”

If there is one gift that I would like to give to each of my children when they have their first child, it is a playpen. Getting the child used to it at an early age is the key. There will be times when they will wail to get out, but if you persevere, you will have a great tool to use for half hour periods when you cannot be distracted.


Here to help

We’re here to help. Living Books Curriculum fully supports our curriculum and we invite you to join the growing community of parents using this wonderful way to home educate. If you have a questions, you can email me at

All the best,


P.S. 100% of the proceeds of your purchase help us help children in Africa to receive a living education. Jim and Sheila Carroll’s non-profit, Worldwide Educational Resources, has seven schools at this time, educating nearly 750 students. The Carroll’s non-profit was founded in 2000. Learn more.