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Help me with a preschool homeschool plan


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I'm very interested in homeschooling and want to start off on the right foot with preschool with DS who will be 3 in January. In WTM Slow and Steady Get me ready is suggested http://www.amazon.com/Slow-Steady-Get-Me-Ready/dp/8188353019/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356658431&sr=1-1&keywords=june+oberlander


But the same author also wrote Fun Start: An Activity a Week http://www.amazon.com/Fun-Start-Activity-Maximize-Potential/dp/0007245653/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356658431&sr=1-4&keywords=june+oberlander


Which seems like the same book but newer. Any recommendation on which one to get?


Is Before Five in a Row recommended?


I'd really appreciate any and all advice on where to start. I'm very new to this so I'm having trouble following the abbreviations here so full names would be very helpful. Thank you!

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I could use a homeschool preschool plan myself as my youngest has just turned three! Does your library have either book? I remember Slow & Steady when my oldest was a baby!


I used B4FIAR when my teen girls were about 4 & 2, and still use the playdough recipe in the back regularly! The book doesn't have the structure that some are looking for but we made a folder for each book and it worked well for us.


Sorry I'm not more help. I have two Pinterest boards that might inspire you: http://pinterest.com/5wolfcubs/toddler-ideas/ and http://pinterest.com/5wolfcubs/primary-track/

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Some people like Slow and Steady. I thought it was horribly dull and my daughter found it an insult to her very small girl intelligence. I recommend you try and look before you buy!


Lots of people like Before Five in a Row, but with a boy turning 3, I would recommend you buy none of those things and instead spend your school time outside, looking at bugs, climbing trees, singing nursery rhymes, putting his blocks away and learning to pour his own drinks without spilling. Unless your boy really wants to learn his letters, and if he really wants to, you won't be able to stop him and he'll be telling you what to do, the physical is a more important way of preparing his brain.


Use your reading and prep time to study up yourself so you can answer all those "why?" questions and name the different types of bug. If you want to spend money (and who doesn't want to buy books?) start building a collection of good picture books and the technology required to be able to play audiobooks in the car. Start with kids classics from Librivox, since they are free. At his age, he probably won't be fussed what he listens to, whereas if you start with kids classics when he is older, he may be less inclined since he'll be more used to understanding everything he hears. Heck, you can put on Shakespeare if you want to. He can't run away when he's strapped in his car seat, so go ahead and play stories you want to hear.


We have a box rotation here. I read literature at bed time, but for school time we have a box for alphabet books, one for maths books, one for science and one for general humanities type things. The boxes are chosen in rotation but dd picks which book she wants me to read out of it. While the literature is good for her, and she really enjoys it, it doesn't lend itself to repetition, hence me setting up the box rotation. I would want to drill my ears out if I had to read the crayon counting book every day, but I can handle it every fourth day, :p. I don't know how wiggly your boy is, but mine at that age wouldn't listen except in the car or the bath.

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Before Five in a Row is great, the book suggestions are wonderful.


Slow and Steady is also useful, I also like What Your Preschooler Needs to Know by Hirsch as a reference.


Amblesideonline and Mater Amabilis are free online Charlotte Mason style curriculla that have great booklists and suggestions for preschool and kindergarten. I am a former preschool teacher, but I didn't discover Charlotte Mason until I started homeschooling my own children. CM methods are very close to what we used in our school when I was a classroom teacher. AO is a Christian curriculum and MA is a Catholic program, but most of the books on their list are secular, and so they can easily be adapted and are a useful resource for anyone, not just Christians.


I also like the looks of Memoria Press's Junior Kindergarten, it has a wonderful read aloud program and the lesson plans are very well laid out. It is more of a "work book" program, but that does appeal to certain types of learners. I am using their 2nd grade program with my 8 ds now.



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None of my kids have actually completed anything preK. We did books and lots of reading and drawing and crafting. It hasn't hurt my oldest two. My current 3yo is actually the closest to completing the Core Knowledge PreK activity book (which I LOVE!). That's only because she wants her own schoolwork...NOW!

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I'm on my third preschooler, and thankfully, my first taught me well. :D He resisted anything that looked like me trying to teach him. Now I taught him a lot - by talking normally with him and answering his questions, discussing what we were doing, why, how it worked, etc. We had a lot of great conversations. But I never sat down with a workbook and taught him his colors or counting or shapes, etc. He learned by living and working with me around the house. He learned so well, in fact, that by time he started K at school, he was well beyond the other kids (many of whom had gone to preschool). He was reading, doing basic addition and subtraction, even figuring out multiplication (orally in the van while driving down the road). You can do an awful lot without ever cracking open a curriculum. Most preschool topics are easily learned by children who are interacting with their parents regularly.


My other two kids have had a few little preschool workbooks for "fun", because they see their older brother(s) and want to do school too, but really, they just want to look like they're doing school. They didn't really want to WORK at learning anything new. ;)


Read to your child a lot, and let him play outside a lot. Teach him to entertain himself. That's where the real learning will come in - when he is using his own imagination to play. I believe that type of learning is more important than learning "preschool topics" of letters and numbers and shapes and colors. And again, most neurotypical kids will pick up on those things as you live life by time they're 5 years old. They may need a little extra help with counting to 100 and learning letter sounds and such, but they'll know that a fire truck is red, you know?


I'd also like to mention that my oldest being so resistant at ages 3-4 made me think I couldn't homeschool him. Later, I realized that he just wasn't ready for formal school. He was ready to learn to read and do math, but he wasn't ready for school. Later when he was 5-6, he was much easier to teach. He's a great homeschool student now. So I'm telling you this just in case your preschooler ends up not liking "school". Don't let that scare you off school at actual school age, because children change a lot in those years. My middle son is an older K'er, and we're taking formal school pretty slow this year, and we'll probably keep it slow next year also. I fully believe in rigorous academics, but I also believe that young boys especially often need more time before jumping into those rigorous academics. Starting school at 3 won't really give your child an edge against other kids, and it could even cause you and/or child to burn out before you even reach 1st grade. So be careful, keep it light and easy.


The best preschool curriculum is a library card used weekly.

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I started a preschool co-op with a couple of friends in September just before my son's 3rd b-day. Each of us has a subject (currently science, math, and reading). We don't have a formal curriculum. We meet twice a week for about 2 hours. Each of us just presents topics we think will be of interest to the boys (3, 3.5, and 4). Our approach is play-based and very hands-on. We talk and count and paint and sort and sing and play. We go on field trips and outings and walks around the neighborhood to look for things (shapes for math, leaves for science & art project, etc.)


DS isn't interested in anything too formal. He hasn't had exposure to worksheets or anything like that.


One thing that really helped his counting/number recognition was sticking marbles in playdough, counting aloud with me, then stamping the playdough with a number stamp.


Some resources I find helpful:


Any Richard Scarry book (lots to point at and talk about)

BrainQuest Cards (he LOVES these--we have both the 3 & 4 year old set. He already knew most of them, but they've been great for exposure to random topics I hadn't thought about talking about. There are lots of add-on questions you can ask based on the picture to make him think).

Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD to learn letter sounds (started at 18 mo.--worked like a charm!)

Leap Frog Number Land to learn 1-10 (started at 2--also worked amazingly!)

Kitchen Table Math (I bought all 3 and find them to be a great help!)

All About Reading (Pre-K)--I have just started this with DS and he is loving it so far, especially Ziggy (the zebra puppet). (He already knows his letter sounds and can sound out many 3-letter words, but hasn't made the leap to really reading yet. He loves letters and this is a nice gentle way to reinforce.)

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I like the free tot school stuff at the 1+1+1= 1 blog and the Totally Tots blog. Just because they are free and I find them easy to print off and organize, (trust me, I'm too lazy for anything involved at this age level, and am not a naturally organized person), and I like their philosophy of learning through play and letting the tots lead.






I'm doing a letter of the week thing with the animal alphabet stuff from 1+1+1=1. And reading tons of picture books. Fun!

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For preschoolers younger than 4 I wouldn't do anything except read, read, read and do preschool activities. There are good lists in A Thomas Jefferson Education as well as Teaching the Classics, but there are other ones too (Read for the Heart and Honey for a Child's Heart). Here are some preschool activities I would recommend:


Saxon Math Manipulatives

Right Start Math Manipulatives

Attribute blocks


Blocks (all kinds)

Letter activities

Fine Motor Activities

Chalkboards, whiteboards, coloring, cutting, gluing, etc.

(Just playing with craft and art supplies)

Language immersion books and videos and cds

Audio books

CC Memory Work cds (to follow current cycle by listening)

IEW Poetry cd

Character First materials


First Catechism (first few questions....available from Christian Liberty Press)




Schoolhouse Rocks

NEST videos for history and Bible

Magic School Bus

Newton's Workshop (science)

Getting to Know...series (artists and composers)

videos from Answers in Genesis (science)


Really books, videos, cds, and preschool activities (think Melissa and Doug) are the best investments at this age. Coloring books are also great and very educational as well as many sticker books. Fill your house with educational play things and they WILL learn without any formal curriculum. I would start getting more formal the year before kindergarten, at which point I would do the following:


Saxon Math K

Activities for the AL Abacus (from Right Start Math)

Building Thinking Skills Beginning

Yes, Phonics! or Saxon Phonics K

Bob Books (pre-reading series)

Classical Conversations

Character First, AWANA, IEW Poetry, First Catechism for more memory work

365 Great Bible Stories


Hope that helps!

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For 3 yr I will not get any curriculum. Instead

For math

Get c-rod and right start abacus. Just play it and get the number sense. You don't need currculum to recognize number or count. Plenty of free print out u can download

For reading

If he not yet recognized the letter and sound. Try starfall.com. It is like the best computer beginning reading program. It is also free.



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I have a three-year-old. For reasons I now no longer understand (first-time mama panic?) I used to have vague thoughts about how you needed to do pre-academic work with a three-year-old. While I know there are some kids that works for, my kid is not one of them, so I've done a brisk about-face on this topic. :laugh:


The things I think are important for this age are playing ("the work of childhood"), being outside, and being exposed to a lot of rich language. I use the Wee Folk Art guides, but just use them as themed reading lists. We do basically nothing that looks like "school": we read, he plays, he asks a lot of questions, we go to the library a lot, I try to lead him to high-quality information as he asks for it. It's mostly driven by him. I'm also working my way through things like BFSU, because he asks a lot of science questions, and I want to be sure I'm helping him find accurate answers.


I looked at a lot of preschool/homeschool things, and was left lukewarm. A lot of it seems awfully worksheety and not really all that valuable to me, especially for children under five.

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At three I did "school" with dd but not ds, I probably will with dd2 though. It all depends on the child. Also, in our homeschool it is all play based. Puzzles, games, counting bears.., all fun. For dd2 the only official preschool thing I am planning is AAR.

Just be flexible an keep it fun. If its not fun at this age it is not working...

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I'm in the "better late than early" camp when it comes to formal academics. My oldest had to beg daily to learn to read from the time she was 3 until she was 4. Since she took to it early, I was willing to spend 15 minutes a day total on Phonics. She could read fluently by 5. My second child (22 months younger than the oldest) wasn't ready to start to learn to read until she was almost 8 years old. She didn't need to diagnosed with anything either-she just wasn't ready. My youngest (7 and 9 years younger than the older two) was ready to learn to read at age 6. Don't assume your child needs any formal academics before the age of 8. You may opt to do it, but that's not the same as needing to do it.


Preschoolers need mom to read beautiful story books, start reading wonderful literature aloud in increasing spans of time, they need to run, jump, skip, hop, dig holes, climb trees, climb playground equipment, go to the zoo, go to the park, play in creeks, explore nature, catch bugs, color with finger paints, haul water in buckets to the moats around the mud or sand castles they've made, avoid lava and crocodiles in the living room by jumping from couch to recliner, use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, listen to all kinds of music, play dress up role pay games, and the like.


They also need to lean to follow directions without constant arguing, complaining or negotiating-almost all of homeschooling requires following mom's directions. They need to learn to get along with siblings, neighbor kids and cousins. They need to be taught compassion, empathy and kindness. They need to start learning to help and follow through.


I think your time is best spent on deciding what kind of homeschooling approach or approaches you and your spouse want to take with your kid(s) and why. Once you get that clarified, then you should focus on comparing curriculum, teaching methods and support groups that fit that. It'll save you a tone of time, money and energy in the long run.

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I recommend lots of reading aloud. Next on my list:

Audio books

Chapter books

Leapfrog letter factory DVD

A 100 chart taped up somewhere

Practice writing the child's name with him


We do a ton of crafts/ art and messy science exploration.

I also think that fine and gross motor skills are important to work on.

Nature walks and playing in mud are good too.


I start phonics lessons once the kid can blend. 100ezl followed by OPGTR.

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More Starfall and Kumon First Steps booklets are all very popular around here.


FWIW, I thought Slow and Steady Get Me Ready was dull as dirt, poorly illustrated and one of the absolute weakest of many existing possible options. Some possible substitutes that list sensible, age-appropriate learning activities for the 3-6 age range:


* How to Raise a Brighter Child, by Joan Beck (originally published in the 1960s, revised and updated by her children in the 1990s)

* Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain: Early Learning Activities for 2-6 Year Old Children, by John Bowman

* Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years, by Elizabeth Hainstock

* How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin

* MaryAnn Kohl's various art books, or Young at Art, by Susan Stryker

* The Preschooler's Busy Book and the Children's Busy Book, by Trish Kuffner

* Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write--from Baby to Age 7, by Richard Gentry

* Testing for Kindergarten, by Karen Quinn --> don't let the title or the marketing orientation scare you off; this turns out to be a great rundown of games and activities for youngers


Last but not least, if I could give one book to every parent it would be Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. It's simply wonderful.

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My almost 3 year old likes Sonlight P3/4 books. I love the Leapfrog Letter Factory and use it for pre-reading. After they pick up on sounds we usually move on to blending...I've used 100 EZ lessons since my library had it, but have The Reading Lesson also and easy readers like Bob books. My kids tend to do more when they are around 4 but each kid is different. Oh yes if the like workbooks Rod and staff has some cute ones and Handwriting without tears has a cute Pre-K program too. I would just focus mostly on reading books to them and lots of manipulatives :)

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