Since I shared that I am homeschooling Gracie, many readers have asked for my homeschool preschool advice.
Some readers send their children to a formal preschool or public school program during the school year and want to refresh their academic skills before the new year begins. Others want to implement a full scale homeschool program for their preschooler gradually over the next month or two.
Either way, to see that parents are becoming so involved in their children's education is really awesome, and I applaud all of you!
There are dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of superlative preschool resources online. I couldn't begin to share them all with you. I personally make use of a handful of sites, and those are the ones I listed below.
Don't Repeat My Mistake
Joe and I had decided to homeschool our girls long ago, but when Grace started to show a real interest and aptitude for learning and literacy, I thought I should take advantage of the opportunity and get started with school.
I have a master's degree, but it's in secondary education. I never taught someone how to read or add or write. I was intimidated. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do/buy/use/teach.
I consulted with a friend on what she did with her preschooler, and I spent hundreds of dollars buying every single product she suggested.
That was not smart.
What worked for my friend didn't really work for me. Grace hated Hooked on Phonics; she'd already taught herself to read. She had no interest whatsoever in Before Five in a Row. Her only interest in Handwriting Without Tears was the red play dough that came with it; she'd already taught herself to write.
It was a huge mistake to assume that any one thing (even if it was a great thing) would work for my teaching style and Grace's learning style.
So be warned. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on anything, get a sample. Try a single book instead of the whole set. Or, follow my new plan - the mostly free non-curriculum.
Our Homeschool Curriculum
The last time I wrote about homeschooling, some commenters asked what method of homeschooling I was planning to do. Charlotte Mason? Classical? Unschooling? Eclectic?
I had no idea!
I still have no idea, and it doesn't bother me one bit.
At this point, I know what Grace likes to do and what she doesn't like to do. I know what motivates her and what she will scribble over out of spite. I don't need a label to explore the resources and find activities and resources for our homeschool.
I guess if I labeled us with one of those terms above, it would be easier to find resources. I could search for Classical Homeschooling Lessons or whatever and have a smaller number of websites to evaluate. I don't mind the extra choices.
Almost all of the following resources are free. A few are for sale, but the fees are low and benefit the families mom-owned small businesses (rather than a humongous corporation someplace). In addition, some of the resources are available in pieces for free, but for a small fee, you can grab the whole curriculum at once.
For the most part, I have located these resources on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, and by following all kinds of links when I see them.
For more homeschool curriculum ideas, visit my curriculum index.
Homeschool Preschool - Language & Literacy Curricula
There are so many wonderful sites. Here are some of my favorites -
This has been my go-to site for months. It's owned by a woman who is an inner city missionary and homeschooling mom now, but spent years teaching kindergarten. She designs and shares all sorts of curricula for tots, preschoolers, and older kids. Her resources are very well done, and her themes run the gamut from story-based to holidays to popular characters.
- Almost all of Carisa's resources are free. She has two subscriptions sections (one for each of the programs below), and they are well worth the nominal fee in my opinion. You don't have to subscribe to use her curriculum, but the fee-based section has additional resources that will make things easier for you.
- If you're just getting started with preschool, check out her Raising Rock Stars curriculum. It's a Bible-based preschool curriculum that Grace has really loved doing. We started it when she was 3, and we're still doing it, along with the You Can Read curriculum and the other things below.
- If your student is learning to read, check out her You Can Read section.
Erica is a digi-scrapper and graphic designer who homeschools her four children. I combined her Letter of the Week curriculum with Carisa's Raising Rock Stars curriculum each week. There are parts of each that Grace adored and parts that she could do without, but together, I felt like we had lots of varied activities.
- Erica maintains a page where you can get most of her activities, and she sells each curriculum set for $10. (The sets for older kids are a little more, but they are also really good.)
- If you're just getting started, check out her Letter of the Week curriculum. We did this last year, when Grace was 3.
- If your student is 4, and you're thinking about getting ready for kindergarten, check out Erica's new K4 program. I just bought it tonight as I was preparing this post.
Last week, I reviewed Jolanthe's Weekly Homeschool Planner. Her site, Homeschool Creations, features theme-based printables for preschoolers. You could use them to guide your studies by doing one theme each week or every other week.
Last year, I supplemented our Raising Rock Stars/Letter of the Week curricula with some of these thematic units for a well-rounded set of activities.
And then, of course, I added my own stuff in, too.
I haven't personally tried this curriculum, but I did save and look at it. It is free.
It looks good. I think it will be a nice complement Carisa's You Can Read program above.
Starfall is a free website that teaches phonics through games. It's not a curriculum per se, but rather a site that will supplement your existing work.
Grace adores Starfall. She asks to "play" it almost as much as she asks to play Barbie dress up games.
Broken into 4 sections (ABC awareness to I'm Reading!), Starfall's games are simple and fun. They work with word families by rhyming and using pictures. After every 2 games, there's a story to read. A lot of the games and stories have electronic versions as well.
The stories are my favorite part. Grace can click on any word to have the computer sound it out for her, letter by letter. It's awesome! She's largely able to do this by herself, a fact that brings her great pride.
Homeschool Preschool - Other Subjects
Obviously, learning to read and write is the biggest part of preschool. The above curricula cover that and more. Many have math and science components. It's all good stuff.
But there's more to learn than reading, writing, and math.
Here are some other curricula I have checked out:
- Elementary Bible Class - This is a free curriculum. I think it might be a little advanced for preschool, but the concepts are good.
- Family Time Fitness - This one is not free. I think it currently costs $77. It's a physical education program for homeschoolers, and it is intended for grades K-5.
I am overweight, and I want to prevent Grace from becoming overweight if it's at all possible. I want her to grow up with regular physical activity being the norm. Even though she's a wee bit young for the program, I went ahead and got it. We'll start using it in the next couple of weeks.
Additional Homeschool Resources
In addition to the resources above, you will find all kind of great stuff at these websites:
- Unit studies on Homeschool Share
- Teach Preschool
- Five J's
- Simple Homeschool
- PBS Parents
- Impress Your Kids
- The Preschool Section of Heart of the Matter Online
A Final Word on Homeschool Preschool
I know there are many formal, paid resources for homeschooling preschool, but I'm not inclined to take that plunge.