Resources › For Educators Top Choices for Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Share Flipboard Email Print PeopleImages / Getty Images For Educators Homeschooling Spelling Geography Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Teaching By Kris Bales Education Expert Kris Bales is a long-time homeschool parent. Since 2009 she has reviewed homeschool curricula for providers like Alpha Omega, Apologia, and All About Learning Press. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Kris Bales Updated July 28, 2019 A preschool curriculum is a course of study designed for 2- to 5-year-old children. Preschool curriculums include two key features: a set of developmentally-appropriate learning goals and specific activities through which the child will achieve those goals. Many preschool homeschool curriculums also include approximate timelines for the completion of the activities, which creates structure and helps parents track their child's progress. Because "preschool age" includes children as young as 2 and as old as 5, preschool curriculums are designed to serve a wide range of ages and skill levels. However, the best curriculums will provide strategies for modifying activities based on your child's child's cognitive, social, and emotional development. How Preschoolers Learn A young child’s primary tool for learning is play. Play is a well-documented human instinct that enables children to practice real-life scenarios. Through play-based learning, children hone their problem-solving and social skills, increase their vocabularies, and become more physically agile. Preschoolers also learn through hands-on exploration. Sensory play—using a variety of tools and materials to engage physically with their environment—builds critical thinking abilities and improves fine and gross motor skills. In order to reach their full developmental potential, preschoolers must have time devoted to play and sensory exploration every day. These active learning experiences are crucial to early childhood development. What to Look for in a Preschool Homeschool Curriculum When researching preschool curriculums, look for programs that teach the following skills through hands-on learning opportunities: Language and literacy skills. Reading aloud to your child is essential for the development of language and literacy skills. When children watch you read, they learn that letters form words, words have meaning, and printed text moves from left to right. Look for a program that includes the quality of children’s literature and encourages reading and story-telling. Although preschoolers don’t need a formal phonics program, you should look for a curriculum that teaches letter sounds and recognition and demonstrates rhyming through stories, poems, and songs. Math skills. Before children can learn arithmetic, they must understand basic mathematical concepts like quantity and comparison. Look for a preschool curriculum that encourages children to explore mathematical concepts through hands-on activities. These activities may include sorting and categorizing, comparing (bigger/smaller, taller/shorter), shapes, patterns, number recognition, and one-to-one correspondence (understanding that “two” isn’t just a word but that it represents two objects). Children should learn the basic colors, which may not seem to be a math skill but is important in sorting and categorizing. They should also begin learning simple time concepts such as morning/night and yesterday/today/tomorrow, along with the days of the week and months of the year. Fine motor skills. Preschool-aged children are still honing their fine motor skills. Look for a curriculum that gives them opportunities to work on these skills through activities such as coloring, cutting and pasting, stringing beads, building with blocks or tracing shapes. Top Choices in Preschool Homeschool Curriculum These preschool homeschool curriculums encourage active learning through play and sensory exploration. Each program includes specific hands-on activities that support the development of literacy, math, and fine motor skills. Before Five in a Row: Designed for children ages 2-4, Before Five in a Row is a guide for learning with your child through quality children's books. The first part of the guide is a list of 24 high-quality children's books accompanied by related activities. Because the guide was originally published in 1997, some of the suggested titles are out of print, but most will be available through your local library or the Five in a Row website. The second section of the curriculum focuses on making the most of learning moments in everyday life. There are ideas for turning bath time, bedtime, and trips to the store into engaging educational experiences for your preschooler. WinterPromise: WinterPromise is a Christian, Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum with two distinct options for preschoolers. The first, Journeys of Imagination, is a 36-week read-aloud program featuring classic picture books like Mike Mulligan, Corduroy, and various Little Golden Book titles. The teacher’s guide includes questions to ask your child about each story in order to build their critical thinking, narration, and listening skills. Parents can use Journeys of Imagination alone or couple it with I’m Ready to Learn, a 36-week program designed for kids aged 3-5 that teaches specific language and math skills through hands-on activities and themed units. Sonlight: Sonlight’s preschool homeschool curriculum is a book lover’s dream come true. The literature-based Christian preschool curriculum features over a dozen quality children’s books and more than 100 fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The program emphasizes quality family time, so there is no daily schedule. Instead, families are encouraged to enjoy the books at their own pace and track their progress using trimester-based checklists. The curriculum set also includes pattern blocks, mix-and-match memory games, scissors, crayons, and construction paper so that children can develop spatial reasoning and fine motor skills through hands-on play. A Year of Playing Skillfully: A Year of Playing Skillfully is a play-based curriculum for children ages 3-7. Based on the book The Homegrown Preschooler, A Year of Playing Skillfully is a year-long program that parents can use to guide their children through exploration-based learning. The curriculum offers a list of recommended children’s books to read and field trips to take, as well as plenty of hands-on activities to promote language and literacy, math skills, science and sensory exploration, arts and music, and motor skill development. BookShark: BookShark is a literature-based, faith-neutral curriculum. Aimed at children ages 3-5, BookShark features 25 books designed to teach preschoolers about the world around them. The curriculum includes classics such as Winnie the Pooh and The Berenstain Bears as well as beloved authors like Eric Carle and Richard Scarry. The all-subject package includes hands-on math manipulatives to help your preschooler explore numbers, shapes, and patterns. Children will also learn about plants, animals, the weather, and seasons.