Getting started (PK) - suggestions please!

Preschool readiness skills (birth to age 5) and the common developmental concerns of young children.

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Getting started (PK) - suggestions please!

Postby mom2blu » Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:39 pm

My son is still just a little guy (not size wise by any means) at 15 months old. We realized recently (when my 2000 page homeschool catalog arrived) that this coming school year he'd be old enough for early early learning. He is our first and only (so far) but we've known for years we want to homeschool. Right now I'm figuring on just reading, doing fun (but educational) games and activities, crafts, etc. When he gets old enough for lessons I plan on taking a unit study notebooking/lapbooking approach (if that suits his learning style.) Anyway I'm working on putting together a supply list of sorts for this coming year. I'm trying to get a well rounded few books of activities, plus plan to check out new ones periodically from the library. Also I want to order a few books that I here are great that we don't have yet, plus he will no doubt get more throughout the year (we just bought 20 at the thrift store for him today! lol) I plan on checking out basic how-tos, info types etc from the library. Our county is the best library system in the state, so I'm counting on it a lot. It always pulls through. Our local thrift also has great book prices and book sale mondays, my mom is addicted to auctions, and my aunt used to homeschool and has her old stuff plus is seeking new (used) stuff for me, so more stuff will now doubt come my way.

I'm hoping if I share my "shopping list" then more experienced people can ixney some books, give ideas of swapping this for that, suggest a MUST have book, and just generally make suggestions. If it helps any we are not christian, so I don't want books with strong christian or religious bases, but some context is okay.

Any and all input is welcome and appreciated! Here's my shopping list:

For activities/games/etc ideas:
101 Great Games for Infants, Toddlers & PK
365 Activities You and Your Toddler Will Love
Adventures with Books (the little workbook from Rod & Staff mostly so I can see how I like it)
Instant Curriculum
The Learning House
Peak with Books
Toddler Theme Calendar (a calendar with themes and activities for the year)

Books to get just cause they are great:
Accidental Zucchini: An Unexpected Alphabet
Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom
Goodnight Moon
I Knew Two Who Said Moo
Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book

I was also going to get the Lauri Toddler tote, some cool colored plastic rings (so I can make my own little color/shape/whatever books) and some white sticky putty for hanging stuff. Also budgeted is printer cartridges (to print out great stuff like flashcards, mini books, games ideas, alphabet train, etc etc etc there is so much great free stuff out there to print) two 3" binder (one for games/activities/crafts and one for worksheets/mini books/flashcards etc printouts and copies) sheet protectors, a case of printer paper, and crayons and paste/glue. Oh and construction paper, just cause we love that stuff.

I plan on using all the really great printable freebies intended for daycares and preschools, hence all the printing supplies.

I was going to buy the Toddler Busy Book, but figure I can either do without it or discover it at the thrift one day.

I also thought the books I picked would serve me well for the next few years. So next year I can get more activity type books, and basics books, then more the year after that.

Do you have any other must have book recommendations? Or suggest I don't buy one I have listed? If so why?

Also in the future I was wondering is it actually feasible to do $200 per kid per year?? My aunt said I'm looking to spend about $1200 per kid, but I said there is just no way! I figured doing unit studies can easily be cheaper then buying premade curriculum. Also just a lot has changed since she homeschooled, and she also didn't use the internet (to buy used books, get freebies, find printouts, etc) which I'm sure affect the cost involved.

Thanks! Hope this wasn't to much info! I tend to get carried away.


PS. I hope this is a relatively active forum, I'd hate to ask all this to get like one response.

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Postby Mark » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:28 pm


I'm afraid I won't be much help here, since we started our two a bit
later than that. :)

I also don't know about the 200.00 per year, but we are well under the
1200/year quote at my house. :)

good thing too, considering my current employment situation.


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Postby Kitty-Cat » Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:02 am

Looks like you got things figured out already.

My advise would be to go with your child. See what captures his attention and run with it. If he wants to stop then stop, if he has no interest shelve it. I would recomend the books in Before Five In A Row.
Jo from Australia

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Postby momo3boys » Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:22 pm

While all those things are great, I would recommend being careful not to push. Young children do not need to have any type of "organized" education. They are getting plenty as is. Just talk about the world around you. If you over do it. You may burn him and you out before you hit kindergarten! :lol:
Young children are learning so much, speaking, language, (two different things) motor skills large and small, people skills, colors, concepts..... this is all without ever opening a book.

I have three boys, ages 10, 8, 3, we spend about $60 a year on homeschool materials. That's it. We do spend a lot on paper and ink for the printer, :) but most of what we learn is just real world stuff. I just caution you not to try too much too early. Enjoy your child, and let your child enjoy it too. Just play, there is time for "school" later.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Postby Ophelia » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:50 am

At that young of an age I wouldn't do much "structured" learning with him. He is rather young.

I would recommend reading him stories daily, singing him the abc's, singing other children's songs especially something like The Lady's Bugs Picnic which involves counting. Play simple games like Peek A Boo, Pat a Cake and Where is Thumbkin. Play music in your home and a variety of types of music such as children's songs, classical, jazz, modern, etc. You might also try some finger puppets and edible finger paints (they are usually Jello or Koolaid based and can be a lot of fun. Keep him in the high chair!) Take him outside and give him a bucket of water and a paint brush and let him "paint the house".

You can hang up pictures or posters of the alphabet and numbers in common areas or his room.

Right now I would just keep things simple and fun. When he's ready for more you will see signs. You have plenty of time in the years to come for structured learning. Right now should be a period of discovery and wonder.

My youngest is 10 months old and I'm looking forward to doing all those fun things again.

Mother of Fionn (5-7-01), Bailey (9-12-02) and Owen (8-7-07)

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Postby gardening momma » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:24 pm

At his age, I'd hold off on the printables, worksheets, workbooks, flashcards, etc... Maybe just get one of the toddler activity books.

Go with lots of picture/board books and toddler-appropriate toys. You could get the wooden puzzles that have large knobs. You don't need much more for another year.

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Postby triplescoop » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:45 pm

I say just let him be a kid and play play play all day long. At this age play is the most important thing for him.

Read to him everyday, play, teach him finger songs, dance to music and let him explore his world.

Academics is not important right now.

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Postby Minniewannabe » Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:50 am


I can't help but laugh when I read your post. You remind me of myself. I've always said my kids were not raised, but jerked. :lol:

In my opinion, if you've got the money, there's nothing wrong with buying all those goodies to start teaching. Everyone is constantly teaching their toddlers, just not necessarily with an academic curriculum.

Here's what I would add:

* Toys to allow emulation of whatever he sees his parents doing, i.e. toy lawnmower, kitchen play sets, wooden or plastic food, plastic shopping cart, scoot car.
* Disney Interactive computer software for babies, toddler, & preschool.
* Size appropriate table with a paper roll attached to the side of it. You can use the paper roll to draw roads for him to run cars on as well as he can scribble on it without hurting the table or walls.
* Some sort of second language curriculum like songs for babies on a CD, cartoons in another language, or whatever.
* Toddler musical instruments.
* Toddler medical kit
* Lots of toys for pretend play
* Workbook "The Complete Book of Preschool" printed by School Specialty Publishing. (This may be similar to what you already have on your list, I'm just not familiar with the one you listed.)
* Instead of flash cards, I would use toys to demonstrate the concept you want to teach. For example, colored blocks to teach shapes, colors, & counting.
* Any book by David Shannon to cuddle and laugh with
* An annual membership to the zoo, children's museum
* An annual pass to DisneyWorld (hey, we're dreaming here with unlimited bank account)
* Swimming lessons

p.s. (I've got the book of "365 things to do with Toddler" and we never used it. The things are common sense stuff you'll be doing anyway.)

Have fun and good luck! I'd love to be going shopping with you.

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Postby pecangrove » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:23 pm

I agree - let him play and have fun - and use toys wherever you can instead of books/cards. As long as you play with him daily, he'll learn as much if not more than he ever will with all the "official" school material.
Toys are a child's best friend... :D
It's ok if you don't know where you're going,
so long as you know the ONE who does.

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Postby momo3boys » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:49 pm

I loved Minniewannabe's reply. :) The only thing that I would change would be the computer software. Don't open that can of worms unless you have to. I learned that one the hard way with my youngest. The longer you can just use the stuff you would play with anyway, (the fewer batteries the better) the better off you will be. He will have lots of time to learn how to use a mouse, and the keyboard. Once he knows how, he will not want to turn back, so get him to enjoy the rest of the world, and when you can't hold it back anymore go ahead, (like when you teach typing) :) Seriously I would wait until five or six if you can. Yes there are a lot of great programs out there, I have most of them, but I wish I had waited.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Postby eHomebody » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:35 pm

Don't forget cuddle time. Keeping him with you while you work will also be valuable training.

You are going to have so.... much.... fun! :)

Marcia W.
You can have a healthy, happy, holy home - "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. . ." (Heb. 12:2)
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Postby bubbaansissy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:25 pm

i'm sorry but, did you say that your son is 15 months? i honestly do not mean anything rude, but what's the big rush? are we really living in such a hectic society that our infants/toddlers cannot even be allowed to just "be" anymore or are we teaching them early on to keep up w/ the "jones'"? children at this age, in my opinion, should be allowed to do what comes naturally, for example: playing, singing, dancing, reading, swinging, exploring, etc.

we, as homeschoolers, have a wonderful opportunity to share all the joys that life has to offer. we can read them books of OUR choosing, take them to the park ANYTIME we choose, educate them....PERIOD. from the moment you gave birth to your child, you began educating taught them to walk, talk, ride bikes, play ball, etc. don't rush their education. enjoy it instead. you don't need all the printables, etc. on how to play w/ your child at this age.

read stories together everyday, quality stories. play w/ playdoh, finger paint, blow bubbles, write on the chalkboard, write on paper w/ crayons, play ball, play simple games, go to the park, take walks, MOST OF ALL, enjoy your children..........!!!!!!!! :wink:
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things....

Homeschooling Mama of Jake & Kenzie Leigh
Wife of Phil (Military Dad)

Our motto for now: accidents happen.......

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Postby Jazzy » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:46 am

I agree with Bubba and Sissy.

Just relax and enjoy him. And take care not to be too hard on yourself.

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Postby bubbaansissy » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:33 pm

wow jazzy, i'm a little bit stunned that someone agreed w/ me. i thought after i made this post that i may have come off a little harsh (COMPLETELY did not mean to). i've been researching the charlotte mason method (for more info, go to and just the way that she taught seems so natural. so, we are doing what comes natural & it is definitely the BEST!!!! :idea:
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things....

Homeschooling Mama of Jake & Kenzie Leigh

Wife of Phil (Military Dad)

Our motto for now: accidents happen.......

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Postby Jill » Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:24 am

I almost didn't post on this one, because sometimes in writing it is hard to not sound harsh. I wish this could be spoken in kindness. Since it can't, please try to imagine it that way when your read, becuase that is the intention.

While I am glad many parents of preschoolers are deciding early they want to homeschool, it also saddens me when they have to change what they are already doing or add curriculum to make their home more "school-ish". I think pre-school/toddler curriculum companies should be ashamed to sell this stuff to parents. Parenting is hard enough without having a company pressuring you to buy their materials so your kid can learn something.

So, I totally agree with the posts that encourage slowing down, just hanging out, playing, reading, having an outing now and then, and enjoying those little sweeties for the curious little learning sponges that they are. Forming a bond with you is their most important "academic" need.

Of course, I am a huge advocate of reading to young children...Good Night Moon and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom are two all time favorites. Scholastic has a "book on tape" set with Ray Charles doing the reading that my kids loved. Very rhythmic. If you can find that, it is well worth getting. Eric Carle is a wonderful author for young children with bright pictures and familar subjects.

You will also stumble upon books that may not be the very best in a reviewers eyes, but your child loves. Read these often. My daughter loved a book called Going to Sleep on the Farm - you'd probably never find it on any suggested book list, but that didn't matter to me. She loved it and would listen to it 10 times a day if I would read it.

Help them learn that the library is a great (fun) place....

Like I alluded to in the beginning, please don't feel like this fourm is "beating up" on you, we've just been there and many times hindsight is 20/20. I know it's hard to believe they grow up so fast (I know I never thought I would agree when people told me that), but believe me, they do. :cry:

Best wishes.

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