Homeschooling and the Difference Between College and Kindergarten

What’s the Difference Between College and Kindergarten?

  • Type of Learner.
  • Level of dependence.
  • Maturity.

Your last formal education may have been college: however,  remember that in kindergarten, your students are new learners.

Besides the monetary aspect, to the tune of $40,000 or more, the learning is different! (See more about college tuitions below.)
In college, the students are mature learners.
In college, a student is responsible to know the material in the assigned reading, the extra reading, and the lecture material. He is expected to be a mature learner.

In college, the students are independent learners.

Most college students have already had 12 or 13 years of formal education and are ready to take responsibility for their learning. Most college students know how to study and learn new material.

Warning: If you are teaching a young student, be careful not to expect a college student’s learning ability and level of responsibility.

Your kindergartener may have been read to for hundreds of hours, played with and taken places. However, most kindergarteners have never been asked before to identify a letter with a sound, been required to make that sound and then be asked to identify that sound at the beginning or end of a word. This example is one of many totally new concepts.

In kindergarten, the student is a dependent learner.

The under 6 crowd will “catch on” to the best of their ability but their brain is still developing. I had one teacher tell me that she didn’t expect any of her students to read until they their teeth started to wiggle! 
And then just when you think your young charges are starting to understand, their body will go through a growth spurt and they may regress. That’s normal.
Many curriculum use a spiral teaching method: A subject is introduced, and then re-introduced and then talked about again throughout the year. This spiral learning teaching style  (Bruner, 1960)  is based on the premise that a student learns more about a subject each time the topic is restudied.
Little by little.
Inch by inch.
Some children catch on very quickly to reading or math. Unfortunately it is usually your annoying neighbor’s child, but be that as it may, that is NOT the norm for kindergarten. A good song for kindergarten learning (and our Christian walk) is Little by little, inch by inch. . .  
The maturity you are expecting will come but it will come in increments over the next 13 years. Be patient.
I do recommend finding a good homeschooling co-op or group. These groups provide friendships and encouragement to the children and parents.
God Helps When We Ask: Kindergarten through College!

Remember James 1:5, ESV: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Asking God for wisdom is evidence that we trust Him. (

How do we get wisdom? We ask. Every day.

Homeschooling Kindergarten Tips:
  • Pray aloud for yourself and your students before beginning class each day.
  • Plan to have fun learning with your child.
  • Plan a bathroom break before school starts.
  • Halfway through the morning, plan for a snack.
  • Plan a rest time after lunch called Quiet Reading Time.
  • Plan 2 exercise times to get those large muscle groups working.
  • Plan a creative project after lunch.
  • If your school day isn’t going well, it’s okay to take a break and try again in 15 minutes.
  • Have enrichment activities or worksheets ready if needed for an emergency day plan.
  • Have a plastic tub for storing schoolwork and artwork.
  • Take photos often. You’ll thank me later for this one.
What’s the difference between college and kindergarten?    TIME.
12 years of learning! So enjoy the early dependent years and set the stage for success and independent learning later. Happy Homeschooling!
Some additional thoughts about kindergarten readiness:

From the Conversation: When to worry

According to the developmental milestones, parents should seek advice from a professional if their three- to five-year-old child:

  • is not understood by others
  • has speech fluency problems or stammering
  • is not playing with other children
  • is not able to have a conversation
  • is not able to go to the toilet or wash him/herself.
At least there are some things you won’t have to worry about!
Fortunately for the homeschooled crowd, you won’t have to worry about your child being embarrassed to get permission for bathroom breaks and having an accident, too much stimulation in a crowded cafeteria so that forget to eat, fatigue from a long day without the possibility for a nap or very limited outdoor and exercise time. In homeschooling, you get to control the schedule and it should work to fit your family. Click here for more scheduling ideas.


If you liked this article you may also like:

How to Teach Sharing: Everyone Wants the Monkey

Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child: The Importance of the Walk

Homeschool Mission Statement: Is It Necessary?

Christian Homeschool Mindset Help from 2 Veteran Homeschoolers

Homeschool Christian Mom Elizabeth Estelle is ready to help you!

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*About college tuitions: Vermont has the highest tuition and fees of $43,748 and North Dakota has the lowest tuition & fees of $12,678 over 50 U.S. States and territories for the academic year 2021-2022. Click here for more information on college costs by state.