Simple Strategies for Teaching Your Child Math and Reading at Home

LauraFirst Grade, Kindergarten, New Homeschooler

The “backward 5” has happened to all of my kindergartners.

They work SO hard to make their “5” face the right direction, but if they take a break from academics, they return to their desks and write their “5’s” backward again.

Maybe it’s genetic? Maybe it’s universal? I dunno. But I do know that our littlest learners need consistent, almost-daily academic reinforcement along with plenty of time for free play and natural life skills.

Most kids learn math and reading best when it is:

  • Brief (For us? 30 – 45 minutes max)
  • Positive (“You can do it!”)
  • Consistent (For us? Every week day)

I need a sustainable plan – and a few tricks up my sleeve – to help my child take steps forward in math and reading.

Here are some things that work for us:

Prioritize playing and developing life skills.

Children learn so much when they play, help around the house, and talk with you along the way. At this age, free time and family time are the shining stars of a child’s academic program!

Do “academics” for a brief time each day.

Set the timer on your phone so you and your child know that you’ll be working hard for a manageable amount of time.

Notice when your child needs a helping hand in math.

  • Write answers on sticker dots. Your child can find the right answer and stick it in place.
  • Ask your child, “Do you want to be the secretary or the mathematician?” Work as a team to compute and write the answers together!
  • Reverse the teacher/ student roles. Pretend that you are the student. Make up a funny name. Complete the worksheet with plenty of incorrect answers. Doodle in the margins. Then, give your child a red pen or a highlighter to “grade” your paper.

Take your time with early readers.

Your child may be a voracious reader who tears through books at lightening speed. (In that case, keep your library card handy and disregard this part!) Mine’s not yet. So, every day, we take one step at a time. Here’s what’s working for us:

  • Day 1: I read the story aloud. We snuggle up on the couch, look at the illustrations, and get excited for the next day.
  • Day 2: We read the story aloud together. I move my finger under the words. Even if she isn’t reading all of the words, it’s helpful for her to get through the whole story with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Day 3: I read two pages, she reads those two pages. Again, I use my finger under the words to guide us along. We slow down and sound out any words that need extra help. We keep this up until we finish the story.
  • Day 4: My child reads the story aloud by herself. This is always such a fun accomplishment!
  • Day 5: My child reads a review story. It feels good to go back and revisit characters and scenes from stories she’s read and enjoyed in the past.

If you’re new to homeschooling and would like more practical help like this, click here:

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What are your questions about homeschooling?

I’d love to help!

Leave your question in the comment section or email me at [email protected].

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting helpful tips for new homeschoolers and I don’t want you to miss them! I’m not on social media, so email is the best way for me to let you know what’s happening at I cherish your trust and I’ll work hard to respect your time and attention. 🙂