Friday, December 2, 2011

Curriculum for the younger years?

The question pops up on homeschool forums every few weeks, it goes something like this "What curriculum should I buy for my 2/3/4 year old?" Often the answers are mostly saying this like don't. Play, read to them, let them help with cookies, take walks, provide make believe toys etc etc.
 Although this is true play is the main way of learning for kids until about 1st grade or so it is a totally unhelpful suggestion for a parent just starting out. Normally parents grew up in a public school setting and are not used to unstructured learning. It's not that the child/ren needs structure it's that the parent needs a check list.

 This is okay. In fact it is good. If just left to float in a pool alone many parents will soon feel overwhelmed, alone, and toss in the towel before they have even begun their homeschooling journey.

 So what curriculum would be good? Well, okay. I'm totally bias. There are plenty of curriculum sources out there for preschoolers but I will give you my favorites. As an avid curriculum hoarder I've tried most everything or at least looked through it so here are my choice picks for the toddler / young kindergartner;

Toddler / Early Preschool

Little Acorn - This is my most favorite EVER. It is a very easy natural rhythm type of 'curriculum' Each month provides you 4/5 weeks of stories, fingerplays, poems, songs, and a craft a day. It is not too overwhelming to do one craft a day so works well for busy mom or someone with several children.
For a younger child it would require some tweeking of the crafts to account for ability but having used this for 2 years in a row (and about to start again with my new 2 year old) it is a minor inconvenience for an abundance of fun & learning.

Timberdoodle - I wouldn't buy a whole grade level but it has great materials for getting ideas or picking and choosing what looks fun. If you just want some good educational toys to play with Timberdoodle has you covered.

Sonlight - A very Christian company but the secular books on their lists are AWESOME. Many are classics (Make Way for Duckling, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Goodnight Moon, etc) but there were a few books on the list that I had never heard of that are now family favorites.

Christopherus - This is not a day by day check list to follow but if you need some inspiration, songs, finger plays, and ideas this is a fantastic resource.  I suggest; Kindergarten with your 3 to 6 year old.

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