Our home school is full of young ones. Our oldest is four and our youngest is ten months. Our house is busy, crazy, and a lot of fun.
I resisted any form of formal curriculum, but my kids wanted and enjoyed activities, especially those they were able to do with me.
I’m all for free play and holding off on formal curriculum until kindergarten or first grade, but for our family the inclusion of curricula made our lives more full, more fun, and more manageable.
The kids spend tons of time outside, take swimming and gymnastics, and we read like bandits. What we don’t do is watch a lot of TV. We have a family movie hour or two after our weekly church picnic on Sundays. That’s it.
After spending way, WAY too much time on Pinterest and Amazon buying materials, I finally relented and found some curricula that met the creative needs and inquisitive interests of my littles.
All In One Universal Curricula
Mother Goose Time
Our first and favorite preschool curriculum is Mother Goose Time!
My daughter blossomed under their theme and play based projects. This year Mother Goose Time has made even more awesome improvements to their program making it our “go to” curriculum for preschool. My favorite addition this year is their inclusion of process art with “Invitations to Create.” Since every month Mother Goose Time magically shows up at my door with all the supplies I need, I actually find myself managing to enjoy the activities with the kids instead of scrambling to find materials.
One of the best parts of homeschooling my littles together is giving them the opportunity to learn and have fun as a team! Some of our best sibling moments in our home school have happened while the kids were engaged in one of the Toddler Tray activities we LOVE from Mother Goose Time’s toddler supplement, Little Goose. This year the kids are old enough to really start to enjoy even more of the projects, games, and other activities in Mother Goose Time’s regular program together. We have also added “More Reading and Writing” and “More Math” to Ladybug’s agenda, since she has been asking to do more in these areas.
This year I also wanted to include more festive, seasonal based play to our home school. I love the seasonal unit studies from Wee Folk Art, but want to wait another year or two until the kids are a little older. I also love Oak Meadow’s philosophies, but don’t want to spend quite that much money in addition to Mother Goose Time, at least not yet.
Home Grown Preschooler
Our final decision was to incorporate A Year of Playing Skillfully into our home school year. The projects are simple and fun and easy to do in our day to day. The only problem so far is that I’m back to having to gather materials, which is challenging for this Mama of three under four 🙂 The good news is that there is a free sample for the month of September available on their web site; so no harm no foul 🙂
Build Your Library
This past summer, we participated in a Read Summer Challenge with Give Your Child the World! The kids absolutely loved it and now know more geography than I did after graduating elementary school. When the summer challenge ended, both of my preschoolers begged me to do it again! I found the Around the World Kindergarten Curriculum from Build Your Library to be a great fit. It’s relaxed, book based, and uses several books that we already have or can get easily. It’s very laid back, no pressure, and we get to spend more time on all the different places the kids love, since we are tackling it at our own pace. Please note this curriculum doesn’t claim to be all inclusive, but it’s easy to make it that way by adding some simple math and phonics practice 🙂
Before Five in a Row
We also try to “row” a book from Before Five In a Row once a month. The kids love these 🙂 My daughter is ready for Five in a Row, but my son isn’t and they both love to do the BFIAR activities. We rowed A Snowy Day this year and we will do it again this year. I may cheat and use Ivy Kids, since they have a kit for that book. We’ve also rowed Blueberries for Sal. I have started collecting materials for “The Quiet Way Home,” so hopefully we can tackle that one this month.
Other boxed curricula we have enjoyed
We also have the Sonlight Preschool Kit and all of those books are loved and well read. Our favorites from this curriculum include:
- 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury
- A First Book of Fairy Tales
- The Bee Tree
- Eloise Wilkin Stories (old fashioned, but the kids love them)
- Go, Dog. Go!
- Horton Hatches the Egg
- Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?
- Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics
- The Usborne Flip-Flap Body Book
We also use the preschool and pre-k curriculum kits from Timberdoodle. These are especially helpful on days we are stuck inside and during the winter my kids devour this curriculum! Our favorites from this curriculum include:
There are other curricula that sound very promising for preschool and pre-k, some free and some not, but my shelves are full 🙂
Let me know if you have tried and love any of these others. You never know what will work for which kid!
Facebook Groups for these curricula.