Preparing to Homeschool a Preschooler?
While it probably sounded pretty easy at first, it can definitely be a task! Am I right? I have tried a lot of different methods the past 2 years to find what engages my daughter best, and finally we have this thing down (now that kindergarten is on the horizon. Ha ha, go figure!) I am so excited to share my must haves and top choices with you! Ready to learn how to start homeschooling your preschooler successfully, with the help of some amazing curriculum aides? Check it out!
Learn How to Start Homeschooling Your Preschooler with the Help of Curriculum Aides
A Homeschool Mom’s Top TEN
#10 Search & Find Books
*My Top Choice* Usborne “Very First Book of Things to Spot” series – I want to start off by saying, these books are super cute! However, they also make great curriculum aides. Each page is filled with questions, asking a child to find multiple different things. It covers colors, patterns, amounts, object and animal identification, size, types of clothing, shapes and length. Such a fun tool for engaging your preschooler and making them think.
While Usborne is definitely my go to for this type of thing, I’m sure there are other good options out there as well! I haven’t done a ton of research on it, because honestly, the Very First Book of Things to Spot worked great for us! My daughter recently turned 5 though, so it’s almost time for these specific books to retire from our collection. We will be moving up to the 1001 Things to Spot series very soon! So exciting!
I encourage you to try adding this type of enrichment to your homeschool day. Preschoolers are always learning! Search and find books make such a wonderful addition to regular curriculum. Do some looking around and find the series that’s right for you!
#9 Story Time Books
*My Top Choice* Berenstain Bear Reader Books – It might sound a little silly, and you might be thinking Berenstain Bears for preschool curriculum? Really? Think about it though. These books teach great values and important lessons. Every preschooler needs a good story time anyway and Berenstain Bears has so many great ones! I like to check out a few of these books at our local library every month. I read them with my daughter, and sometimes her older brothers even read them with her. Some of the stories really get her thinking about life lessons and behavior. They truly make a lovely addition to our homeschool day.
Now, if you have been following my blog even in the slightest, you probably already know that I sell Usborne Books & More. Yes, I know these books aren’t Usborne, but guess what? That doesn’t even matter! The value in these books is huge. I don’t only endorse products because I sell them. I simply love sharing how we do life, which includes sharing homeschooling tips, as well as sharing the products we use and love. Most importantly, I want to help others find solutions to the things that I had to figure out completely on my own.
With that said, there are so many other great options for story time. Personally, we don’t always do Berenstain Bears, but we do them quite often! Local libraries have an abundant supply of great books that would work amazing for this purpose! Usborne also offers a great selection of stories as well. Some of my daughters favorite Usborne titles for story time are “All Better”, the “Peek Inside” series, and “A Tale of Two Beasts”.
I truly hope story time is something you will try implementing into your homeschool routine, if you aren’t already! There is just something so magical about reading good quality books with your children!
#8 Hands on Activities
*My Top Choice* Melissa & Doug Wooden Stringing Beads – These letter beads are seriously amazing you guys! While yes, they are originally intended for jewelry making, they actually work amazing as a preschool teaching aide! Not only are these beads great for building motor skills and hand eye coordination, they can also help your little learn to spell or read. My daughter is 5 and still uses these beads on a regular basis. We started off by learning to spell names (of family members, hers first of course!) and now we have moved on to simple words.
However, if you don’t feel like your child is quite ready for the small, lettered version just yet… don’t fret! Melissa & Doug has a handful of other selections that are also wonderful for preschool. These lacing beads can be great for encouraging pattern making, as well as for color recognition. Alphabet train beads are another favorite in this house, they too encourage spelling and the all important lesson of following instructions! Any way you look at it, beads are a definite must have for the homeschooled preschooler!
#7 Fun Activity Books
*My Top Choice* Usborne rainy day – While the rainy day book we just finished is actually a retired item, Usborne still has many other similar titles to choose from. From maze books to sticker books, Usborne is sure to have the right fit for your child. These types of books work great in a homeschool morning basket, or for using while working with older children on core lessons. I can’t even count the amount of times that an Usborne activity book has come in handy during our homeschool day.
Most of these titles promote both fine motor skills and independent learning, which is essential for the homeschooled preschooler. Using activity books throughout your homeschool day is such a great way to encourage learning without the constant fuss of lessons. Preschoolers aren’t made to sit still for hours on end, for that matter neither are my older children! Activity books are fun and engaging, however there is no pressure if they want to get up in the middle of a page and finish another time.
#6 Dry Erase Books
*My Top Choice* Usborne “Wipe-Clean” books – If you aren’t already familiar with the wipe-clean series, I highly suggest you check them out immediately! These titles are amazing for homeschooling your preschooler. Unlike most traditional workbooks, these can be used time and time again! Usborne’s awesome wipe clean, reusable workbooks are non consumable, meaning a bigger bang for your buck! This also makes them the perfect option for any homeschool mom with multiple young children. Think about it. If you purchase these titles for your oldest to use during his/her preschool years, you can totally reuse them when the younger sibling is preschool ready.
Picking the perfect wipe-clean book for your child can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start, which is why I highly recommend starting with the pen control book. This book is fun, engaging, and helps you as a mom see where your kids are with their pen control. My daughter spent many days working in this particular work book through her first preschool year. Now we have moved up to first words and dot-to-dots. With so many great wipe-clean titles, the options are endless!
#5 Educational Books
*My Top Choice* Usborne “Lift-the-Flap” series – Hopefully you aren’t tired of hearing about great preschool books just yet. We are a family of book lovers here, so books are just second nature to us! The Usborne lift-the-flap books are a huge help to our homeschool day. Even at a very young age, my daughter could spend an exceptional amount time consumed in these very books! Our top 3 picks for the first year of preschool are colors, shapes, and numbers. All three of these titles are fun and make incredible learning tools for young homeschool kiddos.
While these definitely make a wonderful teaching aide when working with your child, they can also work wonders during your homeschool Quiet Time! Even though my daughter isn’t a strong reader, she thoroughly enjoys these type of books on her very own.
#4 Educational Puzzles
*My Top Choice* Crocodile Creek puzzles – Similar to our love of books, my family also has a huge love for puzzles. Our favorite puzzles hands down, are Crocodile Creek puzzles! When it comes to family time, we tend to enjoy larger puzzles such as this awesome map puzzle. However for Pre K time, simple puzzles will do! From 48 piece puzzles to these super fun block puzzles Crocodile Creek is a sure winner for preschool entertainment and motor skill building.
These amazing puzzles are not only super engaging, but they also encourage imaginative play as well a educational fun! Our local zoo preschool class has a set of these stacking blocks that tend to be a huge crowd pleaser. While not a traditional puzzle, still a wonderful Crocodile Creek product for preschool!
#3 Educational Toys
*My Top Choice* Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie – I absolutely love all things Learning Resources! However, my number one pick has to be the super sorting pie. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this product during her preschool years, and I have a huge feeling it will still be used quite regularly through her kindergarten year. Not only is this a super cute toy, it also doubles as a wonderful tool. Your preschooler can work on colors, counting, fine motor skills, matching, and more. Absolutely love this pie!
While the super sorting pie is our favorite, we have a number of other wonderful Learning Resources products we utilize in our preschool routine. One being the amazing alphabet acorns! The excitement my daughter had when it was time to open a new acorn was through the roof. I planned for her to open an acorn on our first day of school day, each week. This worked out great!
*My Top Choice* School Zone Workbooks – Our go to workbooks are the amazing School Zone workbooks. If your interested in hearing about some of our favorite preschool titles, I highly encourage you to check out my blog post on workbooks for preschoolers.
Something that sets School Zone apart is the simplistic way it engages my child. My daughter uses these during our morning routine and she typically goes through 4-6 pages. She literally can’t wait to open up her wordbook and get started every day. School Zone makes an array of titles, but if your looking for something long lasting and budget friendly, you might check out the 320 page big preschool workbook.
Workbooks are a must have when homeschooling children of any age, but essential for the preschooler. Young 3-4 year old children aren’t made to sit still all the time, however it’s the perfect age for introducing small increments of table time. The thing I love most about open and close curriculum or workbooks, is that there is absolutely NO pressure involved! You can easily set goals by time or amount of pages for your preschooler, and when they get overwhelmed simply close and return later!
Have a preschooler that just doesn’t do table time well? No problem! Workbooks are made for flexibility. My daughter actually prefers her workbook time to be done on the floor each morning.
#1 A Good Foundation Building Language Curriculum.
*My Top Choice* The Good & The Beautiful LA curriculum – Oh my word. I wish I had our current curriculum the day I started homeschooling my daughter. It would have made this whole thing SO much easier!! I actually started out doing my own thing… finding things online, using TPT, printing, cutting, prepping. I did really good at first, but as time went on I got extremely exhausted and let things slide. It just wasn’t the right fit for us.
Earlier this school year I needed some change, so I decided to overhaul our entire homeschool life. I pulled the rug out from under us and started over with all new curriculum. Best choice ever! If you want to know even more about this amazing curriculum, I highly encourage you to check out my review on the Level K Primer.
I can’t even describe how amazing this curriculum has been for us. Pay attention to name, “The Good & The Beautiful”. I mean seriously, it is exactly what it says it is! This curriculum is filled with good, easily understood material, as well as beautiful artwork and simple activities. My prep time has pretty much vanished, because this is an open and go type curriculum. Plus, my daughter LOVES it. She looks forward to language time every morning and quite frankly, so do I! The Good & The Beautiful for the win!
Now, don’t get me wrong, TPT is wonderful (I still use it for lots of things) and planning everything yourself is great too! They just didn’t work as a full curriculum option for us. That’s why I want to stress that it’s super important for you to find what works best for your preschooler, and your family! I do however, highly encourage you to check out The Good & The Beautiful if you are currently looking for a great curriculum program to use with your preschooler. It’s fairly priced and incredibly easy to use. We started with the level K Primer shortly before my daughter turned 5. Rather you fall in love with this curriculum or a different one, it doesn’t mater. A good foundation building curriculum is all you need for a successful run at this “homeschooling a preschooler” thing.
Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. If you absolutely hate it, you don’t have to stick with it. Easier said than done sometimes, I know. It’s hard to “throw away” money, especially if you have several children or are living on a single income (like us). However, most of the time that chance is totally worth the risk! We are talking about our children’s education and future, always keep that in mind! Plus, if you look hard enough, you can probably find a local BST group to sell your partially used curriculum. Do some research, ask other homeschool moms what they love, and in the end do what works best for you and your family!
Homeschooling Your Preschooler
I wish you all the best on your homeschooling journey and hope some of these products sparked your creativity, plus helped to put your mind at ease. You’ve got this! Homeschooling isn’t always easy, but it’s so incredibly worth it. There is no right or wrong, no perfect solution, and definitely no mold that works for everyone. We each get to plan our own journey! Enjoy these preschool years, for they are gone way too soon. Focus more on fun, hands on learning than on perfection. Plus, give yourself a break when needed. We aren’t meant to be super moms after all… we are HOMESCHOOL MOMS!
If you have any questions about homeschooling your preschooler, feel free to comment or email me!