next year for pre-k: exploring homeschooling

next year for pre-k: exploring homeschooling

Last year, I enrolled Savannah in a preschool program at a local Methodist church. It was only two days a week, and she really enjoyed it. I would totally have done it again this year, but the 4 year old program was quite a bit more expensive. So, my plan is to homeschool Savannah for Pre-K this coming schoolyear. My number one goals are to see if homeschooling fits our family and if I’ll be able to handle the routine (one of my biggest fears is I’ll be too “laid back” and her education will suffer as a result). My secondary goals are to see how she does at learning at home and get a feel for her learning style. I’m not as concerned with how much she learns since it’s only Pre-K.

Since this is a trial year, I’m not wanting to spend too much money on a curriculum, and I’ve been excited about the number of free and inexpensive options out there. Here is a list, in no particular order, that I compiled for a friend of mine and thought I’d share here as well. I’m not sure yet what we’re going to do but I’m leaning toward one of the “Letter of the Week” curricula. There is a homeschooling conference on Friday that I’m excited about attending… I’m hoping that the workshops I plan to attend are helpful!


Raising Rock Stars and Preschool Packs
There are two programs here – Raising Rock Stars is a curriculum using God’s Word to learn the letters. I really like the focus on Bible stories and verses, as well as Bible songs. One reason I want to homeschool is to have the freedom and flexibility to incorporate the Bible and God into our lessons. The Preschool Packs are not a curriculum by themselves but fun themed printable worksheets that can be used for supplemental learning. I think I will definitely do a few of these regardless, depending on how much Savannah enjoys worksheets.

Wee Folk Art

Homeschool Companion Guides – Preschool & Kindergarten
My friend Beth did this last year with her daughter, who is a year ahead of Savannah. She had some really good things to say about it. It seems really fun and creative, incorporating heavily the seasons, and they use living books to teach. I also like having art, poetry, and crafts/activities, as well as field trip ideas. Another reason I want to homeschool is for the freedom to get out and learn from field trips. I might use the 4 week Advent course in December even if I don’t use the rest of the curriculum.

Five in a Row

Before Five in a Row (ages 2-4)
This curriculum fascinates me and uses the living books that appeal to me. “Before FIAR” is geared to younger kids, and what I would probably use for Savannah, but there is also a regular FIAR and “Beyond FIAR”. To buy the manual/teacher’s guide is $35, but if you were willing to do the work you could recreate it yourself with their booklist and scouring the internet for ideas. (I found a ton of detailed resources on blogs and Pinterest.) I love how you get such a variety of activities and lessons from just one book, and sounds like it resembles the organic learning of unschooling, but for someone who prefers a more traditional structure like me.

Letter of the Week

Preschool (Age 3)
Okay, this site should be banned from the Internet for horrible design, but I like the idea of Letter of the Week. (This is the first of three I found using this same idea.) It incorporates books, poems, music, Bible stories, etc. that all connect to one letter that you learn each week. I love how many ideas this curriculum gives, making it easy to pick and choose what works for you. But seriously, the website is so horrible on my eyes that I am not sure I could handle looking at it all year.

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Letter of the Week
Another Letter of the Week curriculum, with much much better design. This one has a convenient download for $15, or you could collect all the ideas separately from her blog. (I am a big fan of paying a low amount to have it all at my fingertips.) Compared to the other one, this one is a little more specifically planned out, but the activities look really cute. I do like that it incorporates Bible verses as well. I am very much leaning toward using this one.

K4 Curriculum
Another option from Confessions of a Homeschooler, this is geared for kids who need something more than Letter of the Week. This doesn’t really apply to us, but I wanted to throw it out there for anyone who might be interested.

Read to Me & ABC

Letter of the Week Preschool Program
Yet another Letter of the Week program, by Walking By the Way. This is just a different spin on the same concept of the other two curricula. It is completely free, but doesn’t have a handy manual/teacher guide like I am wanting. However, it does look like it has different types of activities and could be a good resource. I’ll have to study each of these LotW curriculum more closely to figure out the differences.

ABC Jesus Loves Me

ABC Jesus Loves Me Preschool Curriculum
There are quite a few options for this curriculum, for various ages from 2 until 5. I would do the 4 Year Old Curriculum for Savannah. This is another one where you can order it in book form for $30, or download it all individually for free. I like how detailed the curriculum is… seems a bit more academic than the others, but not necessarily in a bad way. As the name indicates, it does incorporate Bible stories and verses, as well as character traits – though I would have to modify some of those to fit what we believe.

Easy Peasy — All in One Homeschool

Getting Ready 1
Getting Ready 1 is designed to teach the children how to read. It is another one that goes through the letters, but is a lot simpler/less intensive than the other ones – using mostly YouTube videos and simple printables to teach the letters. By the end of the year, the child should be reading.

Summing Up

I hope this list is helpful for someone out there who might be looking into preschool options. One blog to check out, written by a friend of mine – shows several of these curricula in action. It really helped me visualize how I could turn the curriculum from words on a page to practical application. She has done a great job.

5 thoughts on “next year for pre-k: exploring homeschooling

  1. All I felt I needed for Pre-K at home with K and J was Barbara Curtis’s Mommy, Teach Me book. Then later I used Sing, Spell, Read & Write with Katherine for phonics. She started Dutch school ahead of her classmates in everything but Dutch. (Obviously.)

    Unschooling is probably a much better approach for you guys than trying a structured approach. I think it would fit your preferences and life more comfortably. Do you read Penelope Trunk’s homeschooling blog?

  2. Becky, the *idea* of unschooling appeals to me, but I just think I would be too lazy to actually pull it off. I think I need at least a semblance of structure, at least until I get used to this whole education at home gig. And this really is a trial year for me – I really don’t think she *needs* Pre-K.

  3. As you may know, I’ve used most of these resources! I don’t really like package curriculum, however, and would never pay for the unit since I know I wouldn’t use it all. Even with FIAR, which we’re doing, I checked the manuals out of the library to get an idea and decided to put it together myself.

    After I told her about it, a friend of mine spent the money on ABCJLM for her daughter but felt like it was a waste, whereas I just picked what I wanted from the website and incorporated it along with a Letter-of-the-week program. In fact, you can check out all of my alphabet posts! I also have Pinterest boards and links for most of the books/resources I used.

    I gravitate towards unschooling (for SO many reasons), but do like having a bit of structure, and I like choosing things from different sources and putting them together. Once you do it for a while you get a feel for it… but it CAN and DOES get overwhelming at times! It helps to start with a schedule/outline and plug things in here and there.

    Instead of writing yourself off as being “lazy,” just have fun with it, realize that you want to be in charge of your kids’ education, and go from there. I personally don’t think kids NEED pre-K or even K, nevermind a traditional education; I could preach about my opinions but I think you’re on the right path!

    You know where I am if you would like some more suggestions!

  4. I sorta worry about this with me too — about being too lazy with things, or just generally falling short of my goals. On one hand, I want preschool and the early elementary years to be fun, low-key, low-stress, but productive.

    But I know me, and I know how quickly my big hopes and expectations can get derailed.

    I’ve considered implementing some sort of workbox system, or perhaps just a visual chart of what to do next to keep somewhat organized. I dunno. It’s a work in progress.

    All I know, is what we accomplish *this* year isn’t necessarily indicative of what future years will be like. Preschool, plus a toddler plus a newborn is hardly a typical year for us!

  5. Oh, another free one is Hubbard’s Cupboard. I found the site a little difficult to navigate at first to find all the elements, but it has some nice ideas

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