Curriculum for PreK and Kindergarten that works well for a large family because of its flexibility to fit your time, energy, and schedule!
NOTE: I’m going to start this post with the FUN STUFF and then move to the individual seat work I do with my preschooler and kindergartner. Our school day starts with Morning Time all together, then independent work (also known as seat work), and then after lunch, we do the fun preschool and kindergarten projects from the curriculum mentioned below. So, I bear with me as I work backward in our school day – I’m just so excited about the FUN STUFF!
Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum
That Encourages a Love of Learning
So, I used to be an anti-preschool homeschooling mom. That is, until my little Creed came along. He’s super busy and super smart, and seriously needs his day to be structured. That said, my philosophy of homeschooling preschool has NOT changed, and I wanted a curriculum that reflected that.
What is my philosophy for homeschooling preschool?
- Organic and natural
- A lot of open-ended play
- A lot of time outside
- A lot freedom to explore
- Very little seat work
- Plenty of flexibility for me as a homeschool mom!
In my quest to find THAT kind of curriculum, I kept turning up empty-handed. Everything I ran across was super intense, more seat work than I was willing to force my child to do, and WAY too much work for me as the teacher. And then one night as I was Googling once again trying to find something that would work for him, I ran across A Year of Playing Skillfully (referred to as AYOPS from here out), and it was like a breath of fresh air!
READ >> Review of A Year of Playing Skillfully (so much more than I expected!)
The beauty of this curriculum is that it is IDEAS and NOT a schedule. You get a thick card stock checklist that you can put on your refrigerator that has all of the activities for the month. You don’t have to do all of the activities (and I won’t be), but all of them have purpose and an element of play. (If you have more preschoolers coming up behind your current one, I suggest laminating the card so you can use a wet erase marker on it.)
Another set of favorites for Preschool and Kindergarten comes from The Peaceful Press.
For preschool, we LOVE The Peaceful Preschool and for Kindergarten and even 1st and 2nd grade, we LOVE Nourishing Nature. Nourishing Nature is basically ALL of the Nature Guides from Peaceful Press put together into one curriculum!
This curriculum is so easy to implement and is very much in line with my philosophy on homeschooling. Lessons plans in all of The Peaceful Press’ products are set up in a grid, making it very easy to move things around as needed.
READ >> Review of The Peaceful Preschool
I don’t yet have a review up of Nourishing Nature, but I use it exactly the same way I use The Peaceful Preschool. In fact, I would highly recommend you take a look at my post on Simple Preschool Planning to get an idea of how I keep all of the curriculum above flexible and fun!
Before I move into my preschooler’s Morning Time and individual work, I want to mention something I learned from the book The Homegrown Preschooler (by the authors of AYOPS) that I’ve affectionately called Understanding Your Child.
This activity helps you to see your children’s attributes and use those gifts and weaknesses to build a better school year. I decided to create my own worksheet to share with you here because even if you don’t use AYOPS, this is a great exercise to help you understand your children better!
Click HERE to get your own copy!
OK, now let’s go back to the top of my homeschool day!
Morning Time with Little Ones
If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know we have always started our day with some form of Morning Time. This provides an ANCHOR to our day that keeps us on track and focused.
Below are a couple of podcasts to make sense of Anchors and explain how you can have a simple Morning Time:
For the last couple of years, we have had a more extensive Morning Time and that means I have to be a bit creative in my expectations for my preschooler and kindergartner.
No matter how you choose to do Morning Time, I would HIGHLY recommend you offer your littlest ones lessons that are at their level that can be done alongside their older siblings. A couple of good examples of these are:
Treehouse Schoolhouse Morning Time
(use code: AMYRAISINGARROWS for 10% off your entire order!)
For your preschoolers, you can use the Preschool Morning Time Bundle, and then move to the regular Morning Time Bundle when they advance to Kindergarten. These are a really neat way to include your littlest ones in Morning Time!
Bible Study for Preschool and Kindergarten
We always start out with Bible as a family, and currently, we are using GrapeVine Bible Lessons, which are PERFECT for little ones! They sell a traceable version that goes right along with the older kids’ drawing lessons!
How to Keep Little Ones from
Wrecking the House During Homeschooling
After Bible, my littlest one usually drops off to go play with her Paw Patrols at the “baby table” in the corner of our dining room where we homeschool. We bought this table to give us overflow for our little ones when we have guests, but it has also become a favorite play space for them!
I like having my little ones nearby during school, so I can keep an eye on them. I have several posts on this blog about keeping toddlers busy while you homeschool. Click on the graphics below to read each post:
I try to keep the fun parts of Morning Time at the beginning so that my littler kids can hang for a while. Once their eyes start glazing over, I let them go play or color or just zone out. They still have many, many years of schooling ahead of them! No need to force them to sit still longer than necessary.
Art for Preschool and Kindergarten
Once or twice a month, we do art projects during Morning Time as a family. I usually do this toward the end of Morning Time and call my little ones back to the table if they’ve strayed away. They LOVE the art we do, so they usually come running!
My philosophy on art in homeschooling is that it needs to be:
- Simple with few supplies.
- Integrates with what we are already learning.
- Something I can do with the entire family.
That’s why I chose You ARE An Artist chalk art lessons for our art! Chalk is a very forgiving medium and even the littlest ones can participate.
READ >> You ARE An Artist Review
Individual Subjects and Workbooks for
Preschool and Kindergarten
After Morning Time, I let everyone know it is time for independent school work and the littles have learned this means they are to gather back at the table to do their school work with mom.
My Preschooler does the Rod & Staff ABC Series workbooks for her school.
These are fun little workbooks that we have been using since I homeschooled my first! They are Mennonite based, so there are some pictures of women with headcoverings and a few other little things we don’t relate to, but all in all, I LOVE these books! They aren’t busy work and they aren’t boring, but they make Mercy feel like she’s doing “real school.”
My Kindergartner works on her Math, Handwriting, and Phonics.
Math for Kindergarten
We have used the workbooks from Horizons for years and really like them as a precursor to Teaching Textbooks (which the kids usually start in 3rd grade.)
Our Kindergartners use Horizons Math K, and I usually only buy the Student Workbooks since math is pretty straightforward at this age. If you are interested in giving your children a more kinesthetic math education, definitely get the Teacher’s Manual since it has a lot more activities and lessons in it.
Handwriting for Kindergarten
Another long-time favorite is our handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting
We like ARFH because the letters and words our children learn are put together to form Bible verses they write out to send to grandparents or post on the refrigerator. It gives handwriting meaning!
We start with A Reason for Handwriting K in Kindergarten and then work our way up through Cursive.
Phonics for Kindergarten
For many years, we have use Phonics Museum to teach our kids to read. But, this one is a bit difficult because although we have taught all of our kids to read using this program since 2011, the company revamped it (not for the better, in my opinion) a couple of years ago. I only have 2 kids left in Phonics, so I decided to find an old copy of the workbooks to buy for Mercy and Aspen and continue with a program I knew and loved, rather than try to reinvent the reading wheel.
So, while I’d love to offer you a Phonics option we personally use that you can go right out and purchase, that’s just not the case. I’ve been at this a long time, so I guess that’s what happens when you are an “old” homeschooler!
HOWEVER, there is a really neat program called Wild Reading (there is also a Wild Math) that incorporates nature into lessons and has a lot of hands on activities that might be a good fit, especially for these younger years. You can check them out here:
I also recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons if your child is having trouble sounding out words fluidly.
I’ve had several children who benefitted from the lessons in 100 Easy Lessons because the book teaches sound blending so well. Even if you have already started another phonics program, definitely add this in (the lessons are short) if you see this issue arise!
OK, so now that we have all of that out of way…
Usually, by the time my preschooler and kindergartner are finished with their seat work, it is time for lunch. After lunch, a few times a week, we do projects from the curricula I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Homeschool Schedules for Preschool and Kindergarten
If you are interested in learning how to put together a Homeschool Schedule that makes your life easier and provides a structure to your day that everyone in the household can stick to, you’ll definitely want to get my Creating a Homeschool Schedule You Love eCourse!
These early years are the perfect time to start learning your rhythm as a homeschool mom so that you can build on that as you add more kids and harder subjects to your homeschool!
I also have a couple of posts that might help you find a rhythm to your homeschool day:
And finally, below is a video I did in 2017 that includes a lot of the preschool curriculum mentioned in this post so you can “see” it for yourself!
Find all of the Homeschool Curriculum Choices for the Large Family here!