As many of you know, we’re not enrolling our 3-year-old in a formal preschool program. In lieu of a formal program, we’re providing her with a casual, play-based preschool experience at home.
As I noted last week, we’re doing this with the help of a customized Timberdoodle curriculum kit. I explained then why we chose this instead of other popular curriculums, and today I’ll outline exactly what we’ve included in our kit.
One of the great things about homeschooling is that you don’t have to worry about labeling materials with a grade level; you can choose whatever materials are appropriate for your child, regardless of his or her age. Timberdoodle offers both preschool and PreK curriculum kits (the former is generally for kids aged 2-3 years and the latter for kids aged 3-4 years). Looking at the materials in each, we decided that our 3-year-old is ready for most of the materials in the PreK kit.
Though the Timberdoodle website provides a tool to help you customize the curriculum kits, this tool only allows you to customize kits within certain parameters. However, you can purchase any of the curriculum kit items individually, so this means there are actually no limitations to how you can customize a kit—you simply purchase the items you want and add to these the items you already have or items you purchase elsewhere. This is what we did! If you look below, you’ll see an image of the items Timberdoodle includes in the 2017 Elite PreK Curriculum Kit (click on the image to visit the Timberdoodle website where you can read details about each of the items). Below this I’ve described our customized kit.
Our customized PreK curriculum
What Your Preschooler Needs to Know is available at our local library. I will check it out instead of purchasing it. We will use some free resources, such as alphabet playdough mats and/or alphabet Lego cards, in place of the Wikki Stix and Purpllinker.
We can do without the remaining language arts items.
The Tiny Polka Dot game looks fun, but we can do without it. The Junior GeoStix look great, too, but we’re getting the pattern blocks instead. The two are somewhat similar, but the pattern blocks are more versatile. We’ve printed some free pattern block templates to use with the blocks.
Geography and social studies
We already owned the book about emergency workers, so I decided to include this with the other two books for social studies.
We’re not purchasing any specific materials for science. We’ll use items we already have around the house (baking soda and vinegar, food dyes, ice cubes, etc.) to do some science experiments.
With the exception of the calendar set, we’re not purchasing any specific materials to teach life skills to my preschooler. She’ll learn these through our everyday activities!
The STEM items in the Timberdoodle PreK kit look awesome, but they are far too expensive for us. We already had the wooden construction set because my 3-year-old received it for Christmas last year. It was too advanced for her at the time, but it is perfect for her now!
We’re not purchasing any specific materials for art. We will use items we already have (crayons, paper, glue, colored pencils, paint, etc.) to complete art activities.
We’ll purchase additional learning tools (pencils, paper, etc.) as we need them.
In addition to these items, we’ve also purchased the 2017 PreK Curriculum Handbook to help us plan out our year. We’ll supplement the materials listed above with innumerable books from the library! We plan to spend 30-60 minutes each weekday on preschool activities. A lot of it won’t even seem like “school,” though, because so many of these materials are things that fit into my daughter’s everyday play!
The only reservation I felt about using this approach for preschool was in regard to the cost. However, as I noted last week, Timberdoodle curriculum kits are comparable in cost to other popular curriculums. Moreover, many of these materials are durable. Though we will need to purchase new workbooks for each child, we’ll be able to reuse everything else (pattern blocks, books, bambinoLUK sets, etc.).
I will let you know in a few months how the various materials are working for us!
What are your favorite learning tools for kids aged 3-4 years? If you’ve homeschooled a preschooler, please share what curriculum you used and what you liked or didn’t like about it.
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