In years past, I have always shared details of our preschool and kindergarten curriculum choices here at Hodgepodge. Now that we’ve had much practice with children in preschool, elementary, middle and high school all at once, I felt it was time to make a permanent spot for all our favorite homeschool curricula. One place that Hodgepodge readers could easily find and reference. See, I get many questions about what we use in our home.
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You might know that my husband and I are owners of The Curriculum Choice homeschool review site. So we extend a standing invitation to visit there at any time. The group of fellow, veteran homeschoolers there regularly shares reviews of those favorites that they use in their homes and love for their homeschools. You’ll notice that many of my reviews link over to The Curriculum Choice.
*Special Note: Remember, these are tools that have blessed our family big time. But they may not be the very best fit for your family. And, of course, with the exception of the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) we NEVER did every bit of what is listed below every single homeschool day. Sakes! There would be no way. Rather, ours was a slow and steady approach. (Basically, these are all the resources we’ve used over all our years of homeschooling – for preschool and kindergarten).
Babies to About Age Four
So, we start at the beginning and share those tried and true favorites. Most of these we used for all five children! Each school day I start with the little ones first. Since there are some of you that might be looking for resources for the littlest of littlest crowd, I’ll share with you a few resources, besides just classic books, we use up until age four:
- Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready – from birth until age four.
- Ages two to four Before Five in a Row.
- Babies to preschoolers enjoy Morning Room Time.
Leading Little Ones to God – my full review at The Curriculum Choice. This is a book we purchased as part of our Sonlight curriculum the first year we started homeschooling. We are rereading it again as a family, bedtime devotional. “It’s time to read Leading Little Ones to God!” Freshly bathed and pj-clad, he announces it while rolling his matchbox cars around the coffee table. We read a selection together each night, building memories and discussing basic Bible truths.
Rod and Staff Bible Stories to Read and Pictures to Color – My little ones always sit still longer and learn much more when their hands are busy. I’m sure you’ve found this to be true as well. That’s one of the reasons we’ve so enjoyed Bible Stories to Read and Bible Pictures to Color by Rod and Staff. As we start the school morning, I open up the Bible Stories. I read the next one while my youngest colors the matching picture.
Sing the Word – my full review – Memorization is so very important but often a difficult skill to set aside time to practice. For us, singing has been the simplest way of memorizing. I found this resource early in our homeschool journey through Sonlight curriculum. We started with Sing the Word A to Z and A New Commandment.
Alphaphonics – my full review – Basic. Simple. Long-lasting. Used with all of our five children to learn how to read. The phonics book that has been the go-to teaching tool in our family. Alphaphonics by Sam Blumenfeld is a full, logical resource for teaching students of all ages to learn to read.
Phonics and Reading with McGuffey App – Once the student is comfortable with the letter sounds for the current lesson, words are presented using the letters. Each word is correctly sounded out.
A Reason for Handwriting – my full review – A Reason for Handwriting has been a mainstay over the majority of our homeschooling years. We have tried two other handwriting resources but have always come back to this one. Why? One workbook – all in one spot. Dear fellow homeschool mom – it’s all together for each, individual grade. Just open and go.
Saxon Math K – For K-3rd grade we use Saxon. Boy have we gotten our money’s worth out of the Saxon K kit! We use Saxon Math through 3rd grade then switch to Teaching Textbooks (though our rising third grader just might be using Teaching Textbooks this year). Saxon has offered that basic grounding in the mathematical operations and learning multiplication. More on homeschool math with Multiple Ages.
Loving Living Math – my full review – Cindy West’s Loving Living Math has given my family permission. Permission to learn and enjoy the real life stuff of math. See, I admit I am not a math type mom. But I do thrive on the practical. That’s why Loving Living Math speaks to me. I can see math all around us now. This ebook also opened my eyes to the fact that we were already enjoying many living math opportunities in board games, Snap Circuits, Saturday morning trips to the store and simply setting the table! Our favorite game, Blokus? Check!
Science and Nature Study
Our youngest ones don’t necessarily have a formal science curriculum. We believe it is best to wait until 3rd grade to start that. However, they always join in whatever the older ones are doing. Our main focus at this age is nature study. We love the Outdoor Hour Challenges from The Handbook of Nature Study as well as seasonal studies from NaturExplorers.
History and Literature
Tapestry Primer – my review of this wonderful resource (plus a review of Love the Journey) is coming on June 23rd! Here is a preview: Tapestry Primer authors Mike and Jessica Somerville are parents of young children. “Together, they created Tapestry Primer to help Jessica develop her teaching skills as they sought to introduce their first-grader and preschooler to the joys of learning…It (Tapestry Primer) offers a simple, conversational, hands-on and game-oriented approach to history. It introduces young parents and children to the joys of story-driven learning, integrated humanities studies, and full family education while taking them through the entire sweep of human history in (the parents’ choice of) either one or two school years.”
See, I have had my readers ask me if I would recommend Tapestry of Grace for kindergarten. I have suggested that a concentration on the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) plus a list of good living books was the best type of education for a kindergartener. That is just what Tapestry authors suggest as well in the introductory material of Primer. However, now the Primer offers the tools for just that – good books, how tos, a simple “take you by the hand” leading for not just kindergarteners and first graders – but the focus is also on teaching the parents how to homeschool!
General Preschool and Kindergarten Skills
Rod and Staff Preschool activity books – my full review – Rod and Staff Preschool Activity Books are full of fond memories for this Mama! This wonderful set is one of the resources we started homeschooling my eldest with all those years ago. This set of books are “beginning activity books for your young child…made to provide introduction and practice in motor skills such and hand-eye coordination and visual comparison of objects…primary exposure to number concepts.”
Slow and Steady Get Me Ready – my full review – Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June R. Oberlander has age appropriate activities from birth to age 5. Weekly developmental activities. Just one activity a week.
Five in a Row Literature – FIAR we keep around the couch for easy reading. These are the same books we’ve enjoyed for years and years. So many wonderful memories with Five in a Row books. Plus so many Pinterest resources to supplement an already wonderful curriculum.
The Three Rs by Ruth Beechick (Heidi’s review at The Curriculum Choice) – the slow and steady, practical how tos that we love about homeschooling!
How an Art Box Inspires Artists – I often hear fellow mamas say that they would love to offer their children more chances for art every day. That statement is usually followed by: but I…Let me offer you a simple solution. An art box. See, I am very much the practical and make-it-easy type of mother. This solution is so practical you will find it easy to pull out the supplies for an afternoon of art.
We often pull out the chalk pastels and do an art project around a favorite book we are reading. Last year we aimed to do a Painting a Day! (even something as easy as paint with water.)
How to Start Art with Little Ones – The idea is to build a wonderful habit of enjoying art. This art time with our youngest may even be less than 5-10 minutes. Then, as months and years go by, you can build on the basic love and joy and add the learning and the technique.
Art and Children’s Books – A wonderful way to introduce and encourage children in a love of art is to do a project around a beloved book.
We revisit and continue to share new art tutorials based on what we are studying. Many thanks to Nana for always teaching and inspiring Art for All Ages!
More on All We Love for Preschool and Kindergarten Homeschool
Our youngest ones join in all that we do together for history, science, art, music appreciation and more. Each at their own age and ability level.
- Hodgepodge Review Index
- Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum Choices 2013-14
- Preschool to First Grade Curriculum and Organization
- All our best habits for Starting a Homeschool Routine
- Choosing Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum – resources from The Curriculum Choice review team
- Those little desks and the cubby bench organization for our two youngest ones
- Our IKEA and chalkboard homeschool room
- How to Homeschool Preschoolers – answering I Can’t Homeschool Because of the Little Ones
- When do we start our homeschool year?
- My Homeschool – The Younger Set Pinterest board – this is such a happy board!
Hodgepodge Homeschool Curriculum Choices
Each of these links will be live as I share about them:
- Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum Choices
- Elementary Homeschool Curriculum Choices
- Middle School Homeschool Curriculum Choices
- High School Homeschool Curriculum Choices
- Multiple ages – all those resources we enjoy with all ages together
Linking up to iHomeschool Network’s Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!
Be sure to stop back by or subscribe now. I share more of our homeschool for all our ages – elementary, middle, high school – throughout the year.
Are you homeschooling little ones this year?
-originally published June 2014