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Calling All Moms with Toddlers for Curriculum/Activity Planning


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First, I’d like to thank everyone who reads this post and that have read my other posts. With your help and advice, I have finally made a decision (er…got a grip on reality) and decided to wait on a literature based curriculum and teaching how to read until next year or the year after (also gives me more time to gather the books and decide which one to use). This year’s focus is mastering “basic skillsâ€.

My situation is (I think) a bit different than many of you in that I am a WAHM. As I have my DS at home, my work day ends up 10-12 + hours long in order to “have my cake and eat it too†so to speak. I need to have a more structure and be more planned so I can shorten my day work day and have more quality time with my family. I know many of people dislike have a “curriculum or lessons†at this age but I view it as fun activities to promote learning so mommy can get her work done in a shorter amount of time (and hopefully be less stressed in the process).

I have purchased SSRW PreK to use as resource for some of our activities (much to my surprise it does have some good ideas and is more than just coloring sheets). I’m still debating about Hands on Homeschool for 2 year olds because I’m intrigued by the manners (something very important to me), personal care, movement, and music aspects of the program. I’m hope that if I get enough suggestions on already planned free resources, I won’t need it.

Below is what I have for categories and for some I need more topics/ideas. Some may fit into more than one category. Whew, it is a long list and I hope you will make it longer (and reorganize as needed).

So what are you doing/what have you used? Like everyone, I already have http://www.letteroftheweek.com/ on my list of resources. Maybe we can help each other out and come up with our own schedule and “lesson†plans as I’m at a loss on how to teach some of this stuff.


Pre-readiness/Basic Skills

Colors, shapes, alphabet names/sounds, sequencing, classifying, position/directions, opposites, night vs day, name, age, birthday


“Pleaseâ€, “Thank youâ€, “You’re welcomeâ€, “Excuse meâ€, table etiquette, phone etiquette, waiting patiently, sharing, shaking hands, no tantrums

Personal Care/Chores

Brushing teeth, cleaning up after self, making bed, getting dressed, using the potty, hand washing, bathing, putting on shoes, feeding pets, washing dining table, putting dishes in sink/dishwasher


Clapping to rhythm, nursery rhymes


Run, jump, hop, throw, march, skip, stand on one foot, walk in straight line, summersault, swing, walk backwards, ride bike


Weather, body parts, animals, geography, 5 senses, plants, insect


Counting to ?, Counting Objects, Size, Measuring, pattern, money

Social Studies

Family members, feelings, transportation, about me


Fire/stop drop & roll, strangers, hold hands and look both ways, 911

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To be honest, this year is the first year that I've bought a curriculum (FIAR). My older two have learned all of that stuff from life. We build with blocks and we discuss shapes or colors. We cross the street and I immediately grab my 2yo's hand and say, "We're in a street and you have to hold my hand. Okay, now let's look both ways." We're at the pool and she's ready for me to throw her in the air and we count (it used to be just three, but now it's ten). We're reading books and we point out "o" or "s." We're brushing teeth and I tell her to say "aah" and "eee" and help her hand help me brush. She asks me for a snack and I remind her to say please and then thank you.


I'm sure these are all things you do too. I know that you hear it all the time, but don't try to make them grow up too fast. Let them be little and play! If you want something really age appropriate, look at Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander.

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I need to have a more structure and be more planned so I can shorten my day work day and have more quality time with my family. I know many of people dislike have a “curriculum or lessons†at this age but I view it as fun activities to promote learning so mommy can get her work done in a shorter amount of time (and hopefully be less stressed in the process).


I guess I'm a bit confused... How does actively using a curriculum shorten your work day? At that age, I let my kids play on their own, so they develop independent play skills, and they'll start using their imagination. When you do housework, have the child join in and learn to help out. Everytime you interact with your child, teach manners (if they want a drink, make them say "please", and when you hand them the drink, you have them say "thank you"... doesn't take long to learn this).


Do set aside a reading time where you can snuggle up on the couch and read some picture books, working your way up to longer books over time. And do involve your child in housework and cooking. Also set aside a time to do a nature walk.


But other than that, I'd forego the preschool-edutainment stuff and just let the kid play independently while you work. Teaching the child to do that will save you in the long run, as you won't have to constantly entertain them.

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Try googling "lesson plans for preschoolers" - there are tons of free ones out there that address the things you wrote down & many others. Here are two:


Preschool Themes

Hummingbird Educational Resources


I know what everyone is saying and for many homeschool moms, they know how to teach these things in everyday life. I also know that some moms DON'T and that's okay. (Some of the same moms who know how to do all that stuff you wrote as part of everyday life would freak if they had to teach 1st-3rd grade math that way. Some people are perfectly capable of teaching math skills through discovery math as part of everyday life & play without a text or workbook.) I know I work better with a list or a plan or a curriculum for some things.


For later, there is also a website that has free lesson plans for K (through 5th?) that cover some of the things you listed. I can't remember it right now & it wasn't my cup of tea, so I didn't bookmark it, but I'll try to find it & edit my post to add it.


Here it is. Baltimore Curriculum Project! Just check out some of the ideas in the K plans.


Good luck!

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Well I can only tell you what I'm doing this time. You'll notice my dd is 12, so I have a 10 year spread and am doing this the 2nd time round. And because they're in different worlds, like you I find myself wanting more structure. But to me, and this is just me, the things on your list come naturally just by being with the dc. So what I'm looking for is easy to implement FUN. I've been hitting the thrift store and stocking up on fun games to play together. I got a thick workbook from walmart. I'm making him a rice bin where I'll put little things in for him to search for. I love the ideas at the 1+1+1=1 blog. They're all very montessori and just sweet. I find my ds enjoys them immensely. Then for structure I have a Pam Shiller book "Where is Thumbkin?" that is adorable.


I'd suggest you look at the library before buying anything, because they have so much, in so many different styles. It will let you get a feel for what you like and avoid $$ mistakes. Personally, I think less is more. Pick *1* curriculum or book you want to use as a spine. Then make categories for the other types of things you want to do. For instance, last night I was writing out my ds's 8 categories:

-quiet independent play (puzzles, tray tasks, etc.)

-speech/game time



-Thumbkin/BFIAR activities

-gross motor play (trike, trampoline, plasmacar, etc.)

-tactile play (rice bin, etc.)



But remember I'm trying to keep a 2 yo busy for quite a few hours and out of the hair of his big sis. If you have 1-2 hours, I'd do just a couple of things and rotate through them. Or assign off some of those categories to his caregiver while you're at work. I think it's good to give your little ones what you LOVE. If you love books, read them books. If you love nature, take nature walks and identify things or look at the stars. (Did this a lot with dd!) Don't feel compelled to do everything or do things perfectly. I'm only specing in out this way because I'm trying to keep him profitably busy. There's nothing better than looking back on these years with happy memories of the fun things you did together, kwim?


As far as phonics, well I taught my dd with SWR. I've been teaching my ds the sounds for each phonogram. It's just fun and auditory, nothing serious. Reading is one of those things where kids have their own timetables.


BTW, I particularly like the book Alphabet Art and some of the paper plate craft books I have. You can google to find them. Alphabet Art was SO adorable, definitely looking forward to it. :)

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Ruth Beechick's Language and Thinking for Young Children seems to cover a lot of this well--but maybe for a little older crowd. I love your list, but much of it is just lived as other posters have said.


My 2yo will be joining me and the 7yo for circle time in the morning. So with her big ears she'll catch things like the Pledge, our Scripture memory (with hand motions), the songs/hymns we learn, our phonogram reviews and songs, and whatever else gets thrown in there. I love the idea of working manners during this time, too. You could just role play that with Daddy too. If I were you I'd work down your great list, check things off, review them and enjoy. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

You might be interested in Montessori-type activities, which take an everyday task and break into smaller steps so that a child can master each step before (much later) attempting the entire task. I own only two Montessori books ("Montessori at Home" and "Basic Montessori") and I like them both. You can check out other Montessori books from your library.


You can also peruse blogs, some of which are amazing. 1+1+1=1 has already been mentioned. Countingcoconuts.blogspot.com is another favorite. You can also try chasingcheerios.blogspot.com, activitymom.blogspot.com, and montessorimom.com.


Some things that you do everyday, such as pouring a cup of water or closing a door, need to be taught to a child. Like everyone has said, most things are taught in the course of the day. However, much can be said for arranging an activity specifically to teach a child the correct way to do everyday activities.


I use BFIAR because we love the books. You could probably get away with not buying the BFIAR book, checking out the children's books from the library, discussing them on your own, and searching homeschoolshare.com or delightfullearning.blogspot.com for activity ideas.


I have now forgotten the original post, and I hope that I haven't rambled too much. :)

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