a preschool curriculum question

Anyone out there use a preschool curriculum for their children at home?  I have an almost 3 year old, and I’d like to start a basic preschool with her after her 3rd birthday.  We are planning on home schooling for the first few years of elementary school (or until I don’t understand the math anymore!)  so I’d like to begin the habits of learning at home early.

If anyone happens to come across this post and has experience with preschool curriculum, leave me a comment!

13 Comments on “a preschool curriculum question”

  1. Ohh, also the Teach Me Mommy preschool guide. I use it to get some fun crafty stuff to do. Plus, it has a lot of the same topics he learns about at school (bugs, etc) so we can do stuff at home to reinforce it.

  2. Hi Whitney,

    At three, I would probably not worry too much about a formal curriculum. What things are you wanting to teach? Most maths concepts you can teach incidentally, and there are heaps of fun ways to teach reading without a formal program.

    If teaching reading is what you were considering, you will probably find that her ability to learn to read will be ahead of her ability to form letters, and that’s fine. You don’t need to learn to write, in order to read, and why make a task of it when a pause of a year or two will mean the job will be accomplished painlessly?

    Many of the mothers on my homeschool forum enjoy using Before five in a row. Perhaps that is more what you are looking for?

    If you are a little more specific with your goals, I could possibly offer you some suggestions to help achieve your aims.

  3. Thanks to everyone for their input. To answer a few questions from B.B.: 1. Yes, I was thinking more about reading than anything else. She’s known her letters, and can recognize familiar words already, so that’s what got me started on this. 2. The only reason for seeking a more formal approach is more for my benefit! I work better when I have concrete goals set… and I thought a curriculum of sorts would help me out with that.
    Obviously, I have a lot of research to do now! Between these suggestions, and ideas from some fellow homeschoolers at church, I’ve got a lot to look into!
    Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!

  4. Whitney have you tried the progressive phonics books?


    If she knows her letters already, she might really enjoy this way of learning to read. I had a very early starter and because she had been hearing stories I read aloud to her older sisters for some time, she really didn’t appreciate the limited stories of most readers. She just loved these books. We only printed out the first few, and after that – she was off!

    You can look at samples on line and print some off for free. I don’t like the ones you read on the computer at all – both because I don’t like little ones on the computer (makes print seem too slow in hard copy) and because the content of the on line ones was not age appropriate, I felt (it just read a little nasty, but they may have changed it by now)

    Have you looked at Jan Brett’s site? She has very pretty dolche word lists you can print out. I am a strong believer in phonics, but dolch word practice takes a lot of hard work out of reading. You can make a great game of timing the practice with particular cards, and move on to the harder card when she reaches a set time on the accomplished ones. I would put the link for you in case you haven’t seen it before, but the wordpress default puts comments with 2 or more links straight into spam!

  5. Wow! These are great resources! I did check out the progressive phonics site, and it looks like it has potential. I like phonics too… not because I have that much experience with it, but because my mom, and other teachers of younger ages seemed to love it so much. And, it did me well in Montessori so very long ago! 🙂
    Part of my problem is just self confidence. I really want to homeschool, but since I taught 8th grade history, my experience with basic skills teaching is just not there.
    I’m looking forward to getting into this more later in the week. Tonight I have a big Pampered Chef party to do… wish me luck!

  6. lol! I hope your Pampered Chef party went well. ( I don’t think we have those in Australia)

    I think most people have a confidence deficit with regards to their ability to teach their own child in one area or another when they first begin. If you are patient with your little one, and I am assuming you must be if you have taught her her letters, then there is no genuine cause for concern 🙂

    The what to teach is not that tricky either, once you have a look at the programs available. Ask yourself do you want a faith based curriculum or secular? This eliminates a great deal thus making your choice a lot easier. From there you can choose between workbook style or literature based programs, or a completely relaxed, follow your child’s interests approach.

    There is a lot of what I think of as intellectual hogwash out there in education circles (you only have to browse history to know that the “new new” is not actually new, but is always a throwback to one time or another) and so take what you read about educating styles with your common sense filter on. Much of it can imply you are inadequate if you are not doing XYZ program/style of educating, when in reality there is no perfect program, no perfect method, etc. The best thing will be what suits your ability to teach, and your child’s ability to learn.

    Oh, I really am in rant mode today, forgive me for raving on so!


  7. It did go well! Very well, in fact!
    You have been so very encouraging to me! I was telling my husband last night about all of your suggestions and advice… and how encouraging it all was. I’ll definitely let you know if I have further questions! 🙂

  8. I’m glad to have been some help. When I first started homeschooling I really wished to know some older mothers who had been at it for a while. They are hard to find! The homeschool world is very transient, and many people only experiment with homeschooling, or choose it because they move around a lot, and the ones who have been at it a long time naturally have older children, which makes them very busy!

    Have you found a forum for your country/state yet? They can be truly invaluable. They normally have a discussion board where you will discover questions you hadn’t even thought of asking yet, and often there is a section attached where you can buy and sell books and curriculum. This is great for trying out expensive programs before committing huge amounts.

    Have lots of fun researching!

    BB 🙂

  9. Hello,
    My name is Susan and I am a homeschooling mom of 4 (homeschooled 16 years now). I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development, and was a preschool teacher for 8+ years before becoming a stay at home mom.
    I agree with those who have encouraged you to steer clear of a formal curriculum. Parents who concentrate on early academics often overlook other, more important activities that their preschoolers need. For instance, children need to develop a simple base of knowledge about the world-and the vocabulary to go with it-before they start reading. Otherwise, they won’t comprehend what they are reading.
    This is just one example.
    The fact it, developmental research shows that there is no benefit to learning to read early.
    I would encourage you to proceed carefully, follow your child’s lead, and do some research about readiness before you begin.
    There are lots of resources about readiness, homepreschooling, homeschooling, etc on my blog.
    Susan Lemons http://www.susanlemons.wordpress.com

  10. While I do agree with the comments to steer clear of formal curricula, I found it a lot easier to teach my preschooler with the help of worksheets – it not only gives them great practice in drawing, colouring in and writing, it also gets them used to sitting down at a table and ‘working’ – even if it’s just for 15 minutes two or three times a week. I used the David Dolphin worksheets, which I see are now available online – http://www.worksheetsforpreschool.com – they are better organized and cover more stuff than the free ones I found. They start from age three. I liked the ‘general knowledge’ sections in the older workbooks as they help you to introduce nature and ‘science’ type topics as well. Have a look – and good luck!

  11. Hi Whitney!
    Have you seen http://www.mothergoosetime.com?
    It has an awesome preschool curriculum with monthly themes and you can order for just one child. You can add on children at any time and order only one month at a time. It costs around $50.00 per month for one child but it is just full of ideas and materials and they send you a box for each month you order. Your first box will include a lesson plan book and all of your teaching tools for the year (calendars, weather chart, etc.) plus the pre cut materials, books, activities, crafts, music and movement, science, math, reading, art, charts for the child/children. It’s all in there! Even Beginning Spanish.
    It is the best thing I have ever seen. The lessons are already planned so you are organized, but still flexible. Everything is there for you so you don’t need to run around buying supplies other than the basics, glue, crayons, etc. There is so much, you will have plenty to do. I am a book fanatic, so I still got tons of books from the library and read those too. If the theme was going to be transportation, I got all kinds of books, factual, fiction, picture, etc. to coincide with that months theme or extend it, so to speak. And then you can also plan “field trips” visits to places to help reinforce the theme.
    Anyway all of the above suggestions are great too.
    You will still need to find ways for consistent socializing for your child. Playgroups or other classes/lessons that help learn things you don’t at home, such as lining up, keeping hands to yourself, listening to teachers, classmates, sitting in circle time, sharing, working with a partner/group, etc.
    Just remember to have fun and enjoy teaching and learning with your child. You want to instill a love for learning and then your child will virtually teach herself.
    You will just go along for the ride!
    Have fun!

  12. Thanks for the tip! We have actually been using the A Beka K-4 curriculum this year with the oldest… but I’m always looking for fun options for the younger two!

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