Curriculum Help for pre school

Discuss the pros and cons of various curriculums, or get help on which to choose!

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Curriculum Help for pre school

Postby natasha0424 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:31 pm

I would like to start homeschooling my 3 year old. I have been looking at Horizons Preschool Curriculum, Rod and Staff and also Hooked on Phonics. I would like to teach religion seperate but don't mind if religion is included in small amounts. Does anyone have any information on these curriculums or any others that I might be interested in.
Thank you,

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Postby Miss_Kristy » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:47 pm

Hi Natasha,

I have a 3 yr old also. We don't use any formal curriculum. At this point I don't feel he's ready to sit and 'be taught' from a book. Or to sit at all. LOL

But, I do want him to be in an environment where learning is easy and fun.

Here are somethings I've done : I went to one of those teacher supply stores and got some wall hangings like they have in pre-school classes. Like, an ABC chart, number chart 1 -10, color and shapes, animals and I hung them in the dining room. He loves to look at them and tell me what they are.

We also read, read, read. At first he didn't like it, so I let him pick the books from the library. Now, he loves to be read to.

He plays games on and he also likes

Aside from that, he just does normal, everyday 3 year old stuff. He likes to help clean the house and he has chores that are just for him.

Life itself is homeschool when you are 3 years old. I know it's tempting to go out and splurge on all the best materials for your child. But you really risk the chance of major burnout if you start too early.

You probably already have most of the stuff you need anyway for fun learning anyway. Books, crayons, finger paints, lots of paper, blocks, play food and dishes, baby dolls, card games like memory, play dough.

I know that all sounds really simple and may not be exactly what you were looking for. It's just my way of doing things. It works for us. I hope you find something that works for you.

:D Good luck :D

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Postby Jazzy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:25 am

We've used the Rod and Staff workbooks and I think they are great for preschoolers who are ready to sit for a short period of time and pay attention to workbooks. The great thing about this particular workbook series is that it includes cutting/pasting activities that are fun for preschoolers. The books are also really inexpensive. If you buy them and they don't work out, you can always shelve them for later.

I agree that the best way to teach preschoolers is to involve them in everyday life. Read to them, explain things to them and let them help you with household chores and errands. Add on a few simple activities if you think your child will enjoy them, but definitely keep it simple!

You can teach counting, colors, shapes and sorting by playing with blocks. You can teach the alphabet by playing with fridge magnets. You can strengthen fine motor skills by painting and playing with play doh. Games like Candyland and Hi Ho Cherrio are also fun teaching tools.

Here's some info about choosing a preschool curriculum, along with links to reviews: ... culum.html

Good luck making a decision!

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Postby Jill » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:41 am


I'm not a huge fan of workbooks for preschoolers, but for some, it works.

I would suggest reading The 3 R'sby Ruth Beechick. Even if you do decide to go the workbook route with your child these will give you ideas on how to use other everyday moments as learning experiences.

Best wishes.

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Postby kgianforti » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:50 pm

I bought Horizons Preschool to start my daughter on in September. I haven't opened it yet but it looks great based on the scope and sequence printed on the box. And I'm really excited to start it with her - she will be 3 when we start.

Currently, she is 2.5 and I was looking for a more "formal" curriculum than we are using now. I'm using Carol's Affordable Curriculum - Son Shine. It's incredibly easy and I have to add a lot of my own stuff. She really likes to do seat work so I supplement with workbooks. With Horizons, I think it will satisfy her need for seat work because it appears to be challenging with worksheets to complete.

Even though Carol's is very easy, it does help me get used to home schooling.

Horizons Preschool almost seems like stuff you would learn in Kindergarten - name printing, address printing, simple math. So I think this will really challenge her. I hope that the Bible content in Horizons Preschool isn't in small amounts (like you are looking for) because I want her education to be Bible based. I know Rod and Staff curriculum is very much based on the Bible - that is something we will use in the future too when we actually begin schooling for Kindergarten.

Also consider introducing a foreign language. I've read that this is the time when children learn language the best. My dd has been learning Spanish from Dora the Explorer! Now I let her watch this show often to learn some Spanish (she can count to 6!). We also started German this week and she already picked up on a few words after watching a video 3 times! We are using Language Tree German Level 1 and I just got Bilingual Baby German (geared for 1 -5 year olds) in the mail today.

I know people have a lot of different opinions on whether or not to use a formal curriculum with such young children. I find with my dd, that a mix of activities works well. We will listen to Classical music while playing with blocks, or we'll watch our German DVD, we bake, we have our memory verses, we do projects at our school table (from Carol's curriculum), she asks to do worksheets, we READ a lot! I think it just depends on what your child likes to do. Plus I've been teaching my child that staying in her seat is important when we are at school.

Hope my thoughts weren't too out of sorts cause I was just typing away!!

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Postby narrowacres » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:41 pm

well, I am homeschooling my last child...graduated the others...have been homeschooling for 21 years and I'm always being asked to homeschool other people's children

with the economy in such a crunch and my dh's job on the line, I decided to start an in-home preschool this past year (for 3 year olds only)

I am AMAZED at what these kids learn! I was very relaxed with my own 3 year olds...well, not the first one LOL He was very eager and ASKED to learn..he wanted to read the TV guide (remember those)? We would always check it before allowing him to watch TV so he thought I could just teach him to read it right then and there...and that's how my homeschooling venture began. Using simple homemade counters and his own toys, I taught him to count to 100, to recognize up to about 20. I also used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to teach him to read (we DID not do this militant style...he actually didn't finish this book until 1st grade) but he was reading 3 letter words at 3...he felt smart and LOVED to 'do' school (which was simple stuff from Usborne books and library books and a few assort. workbooks). With my others, I was more relaxed and other than colors and shapes, I didn't really start teaching them until 5 or 6 yrs of age. They enjoyed playing, listening to me read and learning daily life skills.

All that to say...I have had to change my mind about 3 yr olds after starting this preschool. They not only CAN learn, they enjoy it SO much. They love learning about the world around them. I feel in some ways I shorter my other children, all for fear or 'starting too early'. I think, if presently appropriately for their age, 'school' can be engaging and rewarding to a 3 year old.

I use ABeka as a starting point...we do a Bible story each day (but you don't have to). Then, I use the ABeka Nursery School curriculum, which is not available to homeschoolers at this time, but is really easy to figure out if purchase their workbooks for this age. Basically, they present a letter and a number each week for two weeks and then have a week of review (review weeks have a theme: Circus, Farm, Pond, etc). And each day of the week has only ONE worksheet. They don't start writing until about week 12, and even then, it is basic letter shapes.

For example: we're on the letter P this week; Mon-present Penny Penguin and talk about penguins, walk like penguins, make penguin craft; Tues-peanuts and George Washington Carver, present number 12, glue 12 peanuts in the correct space on the worksheet, make peanut butter dough; Wed-polar bears, practice writing capital P and small P using worksheet with polar bear; Thur-pairs of things, play games with pairs of items, matching, do worksheet about pairs that coorelates to the number of the week 12; Fri-more pairs (but I have decided to do something else...we'll be doing P is for Party and Parade because we live in south Louisiana and most of these kids are familiar with Mardi Gras!)

At this point, every morning, these 3 yr olds say the pledge, sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and a Bible song (changes every two weeks). They play games/toys related to the letter of the week and enjoy cirle time where we dress the frog for the weather and count the days of the month so far. We then have our Bible story and pray. Next, we do finger-plays or music time and then a review game of some sort (for pairs today, I had a mitten with the capital letter in the pocket chart and they had to find the matching pair - which had the lower case on it - from the pile spread out on the table...I never put more than 8-10 out...otherwise it is TOO much for them to take in at once). We then look at whatever they are 'learning' for the day...I show pictures (I use Abeka's Language Development Cards or mini-posters I create from photos on the internet or clip art). I show them photos from library books and may read short one and then we do an activity (where they are moving around) to reinforce what we just learned) they took off their socks and shoes and we piled them all on the floor and when I said go, they had to find THEIR OWN pair of socks and shoes and put them on...they have a blast!). Next we do the day's worksheet or craft. Outside play, lunch, story time and nap follow. When they get up from their 2hr nap, they have a light snack and they we do the worksheet or craft (depends on which we did in the am). We sing our letter song, count again, flashcards, etc and then we have outdoor play again and then back in for quiet play until parents arrive.

So far, these kids have map skills my 1st graders didn't have (they can point to Louisiana, Mexico, Canada, Austrialia, Africa, England, Israel, Netherlands, Japan and China!) They know the life cycle of a butterfly, can tell you what floats, know what is magnetic, know what it means to be 'living', know the 3 parts of a insect and so much more! They have cooked once a week, learned sign language, made several of their own books (they draw and then dictate the story to me), enjoyed arts and crafts projects and so much more!

As a homeschooler, I know how much kids learn during field trips so I have made it a point to bring the field trips to them: we have had a fire truck, a policeman, a dump truck, a nurse, a MONKEY (yeah, that was fun), a dog, a newborn baby, a kitten and we visited a working farm and pumpkin patch!

I think 3 is the PERFECT time to begin some formal homeschooling...children learn SO much between the ages of 2-6...take advantage of their natural curiosity!

have fun WITH her, but do make a plan or use someone else's (curriculum) as a guideline

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Postby mtnheart » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:23 pm

My son is 4 and we loosely use Winter Promise's I''m Ready to Learn and Journeys of Imagination. I'm ready to Learn uses lots of activities and crafts to introduce very basic reading, math, science, art and bible concepts. Journeys of Imagination is a reading program with questions to guide you through enhancing listening comprehension. The schedule provided is only 4 days per week and they encourage you to try some of everything, but never try to do it all. It uses no work sheets. My son hates to color, but gluing, cutting, painting for art projects- he loves. He often looks through the art book- Sing, Play and Create- himself selecting projects he wants to try.

You can find the entire program on the Winter Promise site, then look at the listed books on Amazon. Each program is about $100 with all books. You just need to stock a bin of crafts supplies- the instructor's guide gives a list of items to have on hand. I bought both my programs used for about $45 each, but had to add a couple of books the previous owners could not let go. (I had planned to sell my complete set when we are done, but my son has fallen in love with several of the books too.) Lately I have been seeing the complete sets in the $60 range. Winter Promise site has great forums, but the preschool section is very slow. There is also a thread for used curriculum, where the sets are often listed.

I loved the Rod and Staff books, but my son will not do workbooks. I have the whole set- through "G", but I barely use them. Mostly I ask him to color just one item on a page at a time, even if there are 10 things on the page. If you have an active child who must touch, taste, and take it apart to understand it- steer clear of the Rod and Staff.

Hope you find something that fits your child.

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Calvert School

Postby KristaBelk » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:25 pm

Does any one know any thing about Calvert School's Homeschooling curriculum? It seems nice and affordable. I am looking for an online curriculum of some kind where I don't have to plan the lessons.

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Lorelei Sieja
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Preschool Sponges

Postby Lorelei Sieja » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:09 pm

Hi there! I have my degree in Early Childhood Education, and 30+ years of experience teaching young children. I'd have to agree that they are brilliant little sponges, they seem to soak up everything you offer. You can teach a three year old ANYTHING with time, patience, and the right attitude. However, there is another side of the coin - SHOULD we teach them?

I taught my firstborn to read when she was 2 years old. I used "How to Teach Your Baby to Read", which is a paperback book with directions to making flashcards with great big letters in red ink. She was reading Berenstain Bear books well. But she is also my only child to wear glasses. There is a HIGH correlation between early readers and near-sightedness.

I didn't teach my next three to read until they were older. My middle daughter was nearly seven before she was "ready" to learn. And she went from not reaading at all, to reading at a fifth grade level in three weeks. If you read anything by Raymond and Dorothy Moore (Homeschool Burnout) they talk a lot about waiting until a child is older for reading instruction. They don't believe in delaying School that long - only to delay reading. They say that if you teach a hundred kindergarten boys to read, you have 50% failure rate and it takes all year. If you teach 100 ten year old boys to read, you have 100% success rate, and it takes only a few weeks. SOmething to think about. Most of the men in prisons today can barely read. (I'm NOT saying that if you don't teach your boy to read that he'll go to prison! No way, he's got a mom who loves him, and that's worth a lot!)

Narrowacres, your preschool program sounds wonderful! Keep up the great work.

I believe that three year olds should be coloring (No coloring books, just large sheets of blank paper), painting, cutting, pasting, making gooey collages. But they should NOT be doing cutting on the line, paste in the right spot activity sheets. These activity sheets don't really teach anything, and there is so much more young children can learn through creating their own works of art.

Three year olds should be helpoing around the house - setting the table, sorting laundry, mating socks, etc. They can help put away groceries, or visit an elderly homebound in your church. Three year olds can learn to count, learn to say their ABCs, sing simple songs, play ringaround rosie and duck, duck goose. They can do puzzles and string beads. They can build with blocks and dig in the sand. There is so much to learn, that isn't "school". If there is ever an age for unschooling, it is definitely the preschool years.

You can teach a 3 yr old to play violin. Check out the Suzuki music program in your neighborhood. Some programs in the USA don't like to take 3 yr olds, but Dr. Suzuki designed his program to begin IN THE WOMB! I met a 3 yr old in OK who was playing Vivaldi's violin concerto in A!

You can teach a 3 yr old to swim, do gymnastics, ride a bike, pitch a baseball, even drive a dog sled. Yes, I've seen it. But should you?

Think long and hard before beginning a structured program for a preschooler.

Can I ask you a favor, though? Would you mind visiting my blog? I'm not trying to sell myself, as I don't have anything to sell. I have written two weeks worth of "lesson plans" for stay-home moms of preschoolers. I wonder if you'd mind printing them off and trying them? Maybe you could offer me some suggestions on if they were helpful or a waste of time?

I'm hoping to write more lesson plans and post them for free, but I doubt that I could write them fast enough for you and your preschooler, so I'm not really trying to push my own agenda here. Just looking for some honest feedback.

Lorelei Sieja
Nurturing Creative Young Minds and Wiggly Bodies

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Postby bookletgeo » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:24 am

I was homeschooled from first through twelfth grades and now have my own three year old and one on the way. :-) My personal take on whether or not one should "teach" a three year old or any other age child is no. What? Not teach? I think my role is to facilitate learning which to me is different from teaching. When I was very young, I thrived on workbooks and worksheets and enjoyed doing them, so I was allowed to do as many of them as I wanted. My daughter, who is my opposite in so many ways, hates this type of learning, so we avoid them. That to me is the beauty of homeschooling - We can take each child's personality and learning style and help them learn all of the things that they need to know at the time that they are ready to learn it. So, my first question would be is your three year old ready for a more formal curriculum? If so, then by all means use some of the fantastic suggestions already mentioned, but make sure that you and he don't get stressed out and burnt out and thereby make future learning experiences stilted and unenjoyable.
Stay-At-Home Mom with a passion for learning and exploring. Check out my blogs:

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Postby Jazzy » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:57 pm


I took a look at your blog and really enjoyed it. Nice work! I'll definitely pass the link along to friends.


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Lorelei Sieja
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Wow, Carlotta

Postby Lorelei Sieja » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:23 am

you have a really awesone site, too! So much content. My site has only been up for a month. It takes a lot of time to build that kind of site. It looks really good. I'd be glad to add a link to your site on my blog. I don't have any links built up yet, but I'm working on it. I especially liked your preschool reading section. Encouraging reading without formal lessons. Great work!

Lorelei Sieja
Lorelei Sieja

Nurturing Creative Young Minds and Wiggly Bodies

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Re: Curriculum Help for pre school

Postby ranny123 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:58 pm


I am searching a preschool for my kids in Canada so can any of you suggest me some good preschools.

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