pre-K Curriculum Ideas/resources ETA

Updated on March 01, 2012
I.G. asks from Seattle, WA
7 answers

This is a question for all the homeschooling moms out there.
I am not homeschooling, but I would like to make the time I spend with DD at home a bit more productive in terms of educational content than just playing the same old games over again and letting her watch TV while I cook. I was hoping that you could point me to some (free) onlne resources that I can use to come up with a weekly plan of things we can do together and some tasks I can let her do by herself. I am just not very creative and having a weekly plan of activities really would help me....

Thanks a lot!

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So What Happened?

Hmm, maybe I should have been clearer... I was looking for a curriculum of some sorts to get some ideas for activities. As I have said I am thoroughly lacking in the creativity department (I am a scientific minded person) and while my DD is involved in our daily activities (cooking, cleaning, she helps around a house here and there) and we do things like reading every day - she has asked me to do thinks with her that go beyond giving her a blank page of paper and a box of crayons. I figured for me it would be good to see what pre-k curriculums usually do, pick a subject each week and some of the more fun activities and art projects around it... that way I don't have to try to be creative on the fly (which I am simply not) and I could make sure I have all of the supplies at hand...oh and by the way...this is for short activties only, maybe an hour a day. She is in daycare all day and every night she asks me "to do something with mommy".

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answers from Boston on

Hi! First, please don't make it work, there is so much learning to be done without making it work. My kids favorite place was . There are so very many fun things to do. Let her cook! Let her get the eggs and count them. Double recipes with her. Do math with the clean laundry. "Please put away five undies" "Oh, can you handle two more? How many is that?" Make pancakes in the shape of letters. We ate breakfast with the Magic School Bus for years. Just last week my 16 yr old commented on something she learned with Ms Frizzle. Let her help you with the grocery list, even if you don't write one usually. Yup, all of this will make things go slower, but it is way more fun. Read, read, read with her. Take her places, Every Monday is Museum of Science day, Tuesday the library, etc., etc.. Being out and about and hands on will teach her more than any curriculum will. Have fun!!!

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answers from Albuquerque on

Exactly what Elisa said!!! You don't need websites... just get your daughter involved in daily life and she'll learn letters, numbers, counting, art appreciation, etc. My four year olds LOVE to cook and it's great for teaching fractions (1/4 cup, 1 Tablespoon, that kind of stuff)

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answers from Savannah on

If you want a structured curriculum, I like Abeka, but it's not free. You can also pick up little workbooks "curriculum" that say preschool or pre-k on the cover. You could go to the library and pick up a few things in the educational / school section on homeschool lessons. We like to play together.
But what the others have mentioned is really how you "teach" preschool. I am way more anal than most, and thrive on lists and "stuff", so I made a couple lists that go like this every week: what do I want to do to meet his spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, social, (etc) needs? I'll think of something I'm going to do that focuses on these needs for the week and write it down. Then I make a list of what I want to teach. For my 5 year old (he'd be in pre-K because of his late birthday--he'll start K next year), it's like this: Math (he counts to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s, writing/recognizing numbers, greater than/less than games, very basic adding and subtracting games).
Reading, spelling, English ( is great for the beginning stuff, then we started getting little books that we read together, we have a "wall of words" for sight words where we made little he learns a sight word we add a brick and we're "building" a house with them, we go through magazines or newspapers and he can highlight the words he reads without help, practicing the ch, oo, th, sh, ck sounds by sight and making stupid words with them that make him laugh: oo....add a p before, now add a p after, yay, it's poop! Stupid, but he's a 5 year old boy and he likes that kind of stuff, so we have to laugh, and he's learning to build words. I can say a word and he'll work at deconstructing it in his head and spelling it outloud while we're in the car. We sing goofy songs, when we first started we did watch The Letter Factory DVD. I don't know how old your child is, but if learning the alphabet, make letters with playdoh, paint and brush, color the shapes, finger paints, make them by lining up stones, writing in the mud with a stick, the alphabet train floor puzzle did more than anything on recognizing what letters go where in order. Playing simple games and little activities with you is important, and it is HOW they learn.
Another "class" is handwriting. We squish playdoh and play with it, I let him help me in the kitchen squishing meat to make meatballs, string beads to make bracelets or whatever, stuff like that--it's just quality time together BUT it is also great for building the muscles and dexterity in their little hands so they can write. Give them different things: chalk, markers, crayons, pencils, our dry erase markers and let them draw, ''write'', color, etc. Do little activities where you draw the line to connect one thing to another, or connect the dots with ABCs or 123s, simple mazes, etc. Joseph is now excellent at handwriting (in pre-K, he's writing as nice as my friend's 9 yr old son), and we make little cards or notes to give/send.
Computer time: he can play games on nick jr or starfall (I'm usually there to help him with instructions unless it's something he's an "expert" on). He also likes to go to youtube (with me there!) to watch entertaining or educational things. We use youtube to help us with little lessons on rhythm, basic music classes, origami, stuff like that.
Spanish: our family uses the Rosetta Stone homeschool edition and is learning Spanish TOGETHER. Art: we do different arts and crafts, the regular stuff as well as making puppets and putting on a show, or getting the free crafts that Lowes and Home Depot do one Saturday/month and doing that together, then taking them home and painting or decorating them with stickers. Music as I said before, we practice things we see on the internet, games too, and my 2 year old does a kindermusic program with me, I'll line up several pots and pans and give them wooden spoons, or we make our own "shakers" with formula tubes and rice, etc and put on a concernt. We take field trips to art galleries, museums, festivals that showcase art or music, concerts in the park, the symphony, we listen to EVERYTHING on youtube (classical, opera, doowop, pop, oldies, rock, country, raggae, etc). We sometimes take field trips to children's theater, the zoo, the aquarium, really ANYTHING that sounds remotely interesting we'll go visit. I remember loving Mr Rogers and seeing inside factories, so yes we've taken "field trips" to Mrs Bairds, a pizza shop, the local Dr Pepper factory, the Atlanta Coca Cola, etc.
For Health / PE we teach little health lessons on hygiene, teeth, food choices, exercise, etc. There's games in the backyard: soccer, Tball, dodgball, etc. My 5yr old does kung fu class 2 nights a week but practices EVERY DAY at home, he also does horseback riding lessons now (but in summer we'll stop horses and put both children in swim lessons). I let them lead me in stretches and basic exercises on the living room floor, we walk the dog, etc.
Geography, Social Studies, and Sciences? YES we teach those too. We have a USA map puzzle and we use it and practice learning capitals of the states and a little something about them as we learn them. He can tell us in order without looking the southernmost states from CA to SC because it's a trip we've taken and discuss a lot. He knows about deserts, plains, mountains, forests, beaches, islands, and peninsulas. We are learning about the Gullah community here, history about them, we visited a Gullah community center/museum and a restaurant, we listen to some traditional music, etc. We discuss social issues within the family and ways to volunteer on things we think are important. We had an AWESOME Civics lesson while voting in the primary, and right after MLK day too. We were able to tie some really neat things together. For Sciences: we play and explore (so much to learn from simple things like playing with magnets, watching leaves turn and fall, digging around in the yard, visiting the beach, etc). We also make "experiments'', made paper one day, use my microscope, do star gazing, etc. We also like to watch Sid the Science Kid and discuss what he's learning on the show that day.
We have prayer time and children's devotional time, we learn scriptures each week for Awanas, we include time for "Bible" class. We do "Home Economics" in a sense, because we clean the house and do chores, we cook together nearly every night now, I let them be involved in helping me do inventory, cutting coupons (I cut the ones I want, and they can cut the rest....because they don't cut straight enough yet but like to try), making a menu and shopping list, stuff like that. History comes up all the time in all kinds of ways.
We also go to events at the library (not just story time and crafts, but a magic show, or a drum circle, a story teller or a folk singer). I get books in the educational section for neat ideas or crafts. We take field trips or day trips. We talk, sing, and play. So you don't need a curriculum or special workbook you follow, you don't need it to even be an official "class time" either---just spending time with the knowledge that your child will absorb whatever you throw in the mix, and while I'm covering A LOT of subjects and my kids are incredibly well rounded, they don't really know it's a "class". When your daughter asks to "do something", ask her if she has an idea what she'd like to do. Does she want to role play, use scissors, have you read a book, dance together, or what? That could help if you knew what she was hoping for. If she just wants time with you and nothing specific, then soak that up and share with her.

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answers from San Francisco on

You don't need a curriculum at this age, preschoolers need and learn best through HANDS ON experiences.
Fine motor (pre writing) skills: lots of coloring, painting, drawing, gluing, cutting, beading, lacing, etc.
Literacy: read TO your child, every day, ask her what she thinks the characters are thinking, or what she predicts may happen next. Independent reading doesn't always happen early but you can at least encourage good comprehension.
Math/spatial skills: puzzles, cooking (measuring) counting and sorting, you could do this ALL day, sorting laundry, organizing toys/clothes, sorting coins, etc.
Physical skills: bouncing, passing, catching balls, balancing on a beam or a bar or a log, running, climbing, jumping, swinging.
Science: again, cooking (what happens when the water gets hot?) gardening (what makes the plants grow?) nature, go for a walk (what is happening this spring, what do you notice?)
It's such a great age, so much to talk about and learn, and no need for homework or workbooks, they just take it all in!
They will have 13 plus years of "real" school, ENJOY this amazing time to teach your child about the world by SHOWING her the world :)

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answers from Chicago on

My son is 4 yrs old and I use Starfall phonics online and I tell you this program is great. My son is Autistic and was pretty much nonverbal and now he is saying words and letter sounds. Hope this will be of help to you.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Here is one I use to supplement my home childcare. I do a play based program with multi ages, but sometimes they DO just want "school time". Its theme based and she has a ton of free pages. I use it so much I am just going to buck up and pay the $25 a year, but there is likely enough Free content for what you want.

There are alot of Tray activities and other things that you can set up for those times she wants a quick learning activity (like while you are cooking and can just sort of "coach" and guide from a distance). Some simple supplies are maybe needed (a pack of magnets like it shows, dry erase markers and the clear sheets to slip pages into. Maybe dabber markers...things like this). My older 2 and up kids will often do these as "table time" when I am feeding a baby a bottle, or diapering, etc.

Best wishes!!

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answers from San Antonio on

Great ideas/suggestions so far. I am in the same boat as you. I want to homeschool as well. I have a 3.5 yr old and want to get started now.
+ The Dollar Tree has some great $1 each educational workbooks.
+ TV - try to make it educational - Superwhy, has DVDs that I just love. There are samples of "Meet the letters" and "Meet the sight words" on youtube that you can preview. My local library has them as well.
+ Songs - I am realizing that I should have been teaching my son Biblesongs and scripture. Very easy to teach things put to music. My Hermie CD should come in the mail tomorrow from amazon!
+ Cooking with you --- I have a recipe for doggie treats that my son just loves to make. It rolls flat with a rolling pin and we use cookie cutters to make shapes. We can talk about making circles, squares, etc. We can talk about which is bigger, which is smaller, we can put the cookies in order from size or put numbers in them (using our playdoh cutters). Then we bake the cookies and give them to our dog-owner friends (freeze some). Dogs just DROOL over the treats. PM me for the recipe if interested. I like making these b/c the kids can be hands-on, yet I don't worry about him sneezing on it or whatever. A dog's going to eat these not a human so being sanitary isn't the hugest deal in the world.
+ Story time at the library. Help teach her to sit still and listen and pay attention to the teacher in charge/speaking. Plus pick out books (both fiction and nonfiction). Don't forget about poems, true stories, educational, etc. I like "Take Me Out of the Bathtub" by Alan Katz for poems/songs. He writes silly poems set to the tune of . . . . For non-fiction, you can't go wrong with a book by Nic Bishop. His photos are very big, very colorful, very interesting. I think I may like his books as much as my son does.
+ Spring is almost here (it's here in Texas already, maybe not quite in Seattle). Bugs and insects outside! Target had a bug net for $1 last week. Catch some if possible and ask questions about what they eat and where they live, etc.
+ Also at my library - some CDs. This week my son and I have listened to the Singing Zoologist (Google it. He's in Texas I belive). I had a song stuck in my head last week about "symbiosis" which I don't even know how to spell but I sure know what it means now! Same for insectivore, herbivore, etc. Songs teach the science/animal concept and some are even kinda funny and catchy.

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