Why We’re Starting Kindergarten at Age 4

T his morning, a school bus rolled by my house. Both of my kids were extremely excited to see the long yellow vehicle lumber along on this, the first day of school.

But this morning neither of my little ones got on that bus.

After it rolled on by, we turned back to our math lesson at our kitchen table. We started homeschool weeks ago, but with school starting up across the country, this seems like a great time to share our schooling decisions for the coming year and why we’re starting Kindergarten at age 4.

This post isn’t to tell you when or how to school, but rather to share what’s up with our family right now, and how we went about making this decision that we are very excited about! Whether you choose Not send your 5 year old to Kindergarten or decide to start school at age 4 like we are, it’s all about making the right decision for your child and your family right now.

Wondering when to start homeschool kindergarten? These are the 4 reasons we chose to start our son's formal home education at age 4 and why we're loving it!

4 Reasons We’re Starting Kindergarten at Age 4

If you are wondering when to start homeschool kindergarten, these are the 4 reasons we chose to start our son’s formal home education at age 4 and why we’re loving it! Hopefully this will help you think through some of the considerations as you work through your decision.

1. Homeschool Makes Me a Better Mom

While gushing with another new homeschooling mom, as new homeschooling moms are apt to do, we both agreed that homeschooling has made us better moms.

Even though I stay at home with my kids day in and day out, it’s so easy to get busy with wiping counters, washing dishes, changing diapers, and all that goes into meeting their basic needs. Sometimes, it’s easy to be distracted by all the busyness of today,  and I forget to stop and really look into their little faces and check in on their deeper spiritual and emotional needs.

Getting on a school schedule has helped me to be mindful of the fast approaching future when they’ll be all grown up and to remember to train them up in the way they should go now.

I see the looks of women just a few years older than me walking through the store or at church, unencumbered by a diaper bag or stooping to hold a hand of a toddler. And you know what I see? It’s the sideways smile that says “look at these darling children, what a precious time in your life.” But I gotta tell you, sometimes, this season feels hard!

Starting school has put me in the habit to stop and simply enjoy my little ones as they are now and to experience more of the precious moments. There’s nothing like that moment when they understand something new for the first time. I’m so thankful to have the privilege to be the teacher as well as Mom!

2. They are capable of so much more than I realize.

Right now, I have two small children. Though I’ve come a long way in four short years on my journey as a mom, in many ways I always feel like a brand new mom. Especially with my oldest, everything new that we do together is a brand new discovery, and I very often find myself surprised by the absolutely amazing things he can learn and do. This is so fun!

At the same time, I don’t want to hold him back from his potential by the not knowing. Getting into the routine of homeschool and using a structured curriculum is guiding me through making sure he is consistently being challenged and growing his skills and abilities at an age when he thinks learning is really fun.

This is the main reason we’re starting homeschool at 4. He is just so ready.

3. It’s about the whole family.

After four years as a (mostly) stay at home mom, I still wouldn’t have it any other way. But…it can be lonely. While I adore the company of my little people, they don’t offer much in the way of adult conversation. Because we’ve moved twice in the last couple of years, it’s been hard to develop those deep friendships that a mama craves.

Finding time between nap schedules and canceled plans for sick kids leaves me, honestly too defeated to even try  to plan a play date sometimes! I am so ready for some community!

This was a huge motivation for me to go ahead and join a Classical Conversations community now, rather than in a year or two.

I love that CC is based around a community of families who support each other, keep one another accountable in their homeschool efforts, and are there to answer questions and build friendships. In the short time we’ve been involved with this group over the summer, I have been amazed to see how these wise women have gone out of their way to help us feel welcome. I am so excited to get to know these ladies better!

And of course, there’s the added benefit of my kids getting that much talked about “socialization”. I can’t wait to see them start building friendships that will last a lifetime.

4. Honestly, I’m a little afraid to fail.

I jokingly tell everyone, if we start at 4 and I screw it up, then I can take him down and register him for Kindergarten in a year. There is a bit of a real fear there. Education is very important to our family, and I want to give my kids the very best.

In some ways it seemed crazy to me that I could try and fit in a solid school day for my growing kiddos in the midst of working from home, taking care of them and the house and everything else.

That said, we’ve now been easing into our homeschool routine for the last several weeks, and I’ve realized this isn’t a problem at all. I LOVE this. It has been amazing!

The morning routine that I already had in place has played a huge part in helping gradually add homeschool subjects consistently to our day. The kids also keep me accountable by asking to do school all the time. That constant question was actually what helped push me over to taking a formal approach this year.

They love learning! Having a curriculum at my fingertips is helping me to have something ready to satisfy their love of learning every single day.

I know it will be hard at times too, but homeschool has quickly become a major priority that other things will be taking a back seat to if needed. This is a wonderful new season!

Of course, we’ll take this homeschool thing year by year and child by child, but for now, I just keep thinking, We can do this!

Why We’re Starting Kindergarten at 4

I’ve been seeing signs that my 4 year old is just plain ready for a structured homeschool routine and curriculum for a while now, and the beginning of the “school year” was the perfect time to test the waters. That little part of me that says I might fail is quieted by starting early and leaving a ‘just-in-case’ year buffer that’s taking the pressure off.

As we’ve begun to do daily lessons though, I’m even more sure about this being the right time for us to start school.

We were ready to start a more formal learning routine to adequately challenge him to reach his potential, and so far, he is loving it.

I also look forward to the chance to build relationships within the context of our homeschool community in this new season of motherhood. Altogether, we’re ready to start homeschool now as a family, and I am SO excited!

What is your “right-fit” for school this year? Have you started yet? Share your story in the comments!

shannon Clark, LIFE & FINANCIAL Coach

As a mom, I know what it's like to feel exhausted, overwhelmed by life, and inadequate to meet my children's needs. But I also know you don't have to stay there.

As an author and coach, I've had the joy of encouraging more than 9.1 million moms to find forward motion with their faith, family, and finances — without the frenzy.

Will you be next?

9 thoughts on “Why We’re Starting Kindergarten at Age 4”

  1. We started school 6 weeks ago. My daughter got very antsy and she kept begging to do school work, so we did. I’ve been homeschooling my kids for the past 5 years. My oldest daughter turned 5 this summer. :) I have a 5 year old, a 2 year old boy, and a 3 month old daughter and I homeschool them all. This year is our first official year with my kindergartener since this is the first year she is not in public school. I am afraid to fail, too. I keep thinking to myself that she is at a first grade level right now, so if she doesn’t learn enough this year, I can still put her in first next year and she won’t be behind.
    Last year we added classical conversations to our homeschooling. If you don’t know what classical conversations is, I highly recommend looking into it. My 4 year old daughter learned so much in this program last year. We are still getting into the grove of our “right-fit” this year. My oldest is in Classical Conversations again this year, but that is not her focus. Our main curriculum for all my kids came from timberdoodle, because I wanted some fun added to what we are already doing. Good luck with your kindergartener this year!

  2. Having started our homeschool routine a couple of weeks ago, I definitely get what you mean about it making you a better mom. I’m just glad to get back to structure and planning in our days. Summer was fun, but I was ready for fall.

    I am kind of in an in-between place as far as when to start school. My oldest is five and we are starting him in kindergarten this year. He has always seemed so bright and interested in so many things. But I didn’t want to push a lot of structured lessons on him. I wanted to focus more on time to play, reading LOTS of books, and spending time out of doors. I think this was a good decision for us, and generally, I would suggest not rushing schooling. All this to say, even though I wanted to wait a little for my oldest, my second son is 3.5 and is joining us in our lessons now. Which brings me to my point. I really think it’s great that you know what suits your family. I’m learning that we always need to be ready to adjust what we think is best, and remember that it doesn’t necessarily work across the board for every family.

  3. I had always planned to homeschool, but life happened (divorce, back to work full-time), so public schools had to happen.

    Education is very important to both myself and my ex, so we agonize over making the right decisions.

    The kiddo taught himself (okay, I actually give the credit to the PBS tv show “Super Why”) around age 3. He has a late August birthday, so started Pre-K days after turning 4. In our community Pre-K is an all-day affair and because of my work schedule, he went to an after school program until 5 most days. He tolerated the long days well and enjoyed interacting with other kids (he’s an only child).

    He just turned 6 and is in Week 3 of 1st Grade. He is reading on at least a 4th grade level and seems to be excelling. We had a lot of pressure to hold him back so that he could mature/get bigger for sports (we live in Tx), but he seems to be fine.

    I reserve the right to hold him back a year if it ever seems like he needs it or to look into on-line homeschooling down the road if necessary, but as of this year, he’s good.

    I think the main take away from your post and that I agree with is, you have to know your kid, yourself, and the local schools to determine what is best for your family.

    Good luck to everyone this year.

  4. Just wondering what curriculum you use– sorry if I’m missing a place you’ve already gone into detail about this on your site somewhere, I’m new to your blog :)

  5. Hi I would love to start my daughter in Kindergarten this year for home schooling. do you have any umbrella programs you worked with that allowed you to start at 4?

    • Hi Whitney, Yes we just kept going up to the next level with Saxon Math. For many of the other curriculums we were using, they are based more on ability or there aren’t specific grade levels (like with Classical Conversations and Spell to Write and Read), so we just continued using them at the level he was at. I hope that helps, but let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck with your homeschool journey. :)


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