Early Learning & Preschool
Children learn from birth, so the concept of homeschooling a preschooler is easy to contemplate. Get information on how to make early learning fun and enjoyable for you and your child.
Homeschool Preschool Curriculum
JumpStart Free Preschool Curriculum
Preschool is a time of rapid growth and development. While the preschool curriculum is designed keeping in mind the physical and intellectual developmental characteristics of 2 – 5 year olds, there are certain milestones that most preschoolers should achieve before they begin kindergarten.
TouchMath
This pre-K homeschool math unit download includes an implementation guide, module guides with instructional strategies, student activity sheets, answer keys, progress monitoring, and vocabulary. Designed for ages 3-4, it covers counting and number sense, comparing and classifying, sorting, graphing, patterning, 2-D and 3-D shapes, coins, and representing quantities and shapes.
Everyday Mathematics
Everyday Mathematics is a comprehensive Pre-K through 6th grade mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project and published by McGraw-Hill Education. Everyday Mathematics is a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power. The Everyday Mathematics curriculum emphasizes:
  • Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.
  • Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children’s ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.
  • Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.
  • Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.
Time4Learning
The Time4Learning preschool program combines technology, animated characters, original stories and fun music to inspire a love of learning in the littlest e-learners. Ed Mouse and his friends guide children through more than forty topics such as numbers, letters, rhymes, self, time, music and colors.
Sonlight Homeschool Preschool Curriculum
Finding the right homeschool preschool curriculum is important. For many children, this will be their first introduction to organized learning. Giving your child the right introduction to the world of knowledge can help them become life-long learners. To learn how to choose the right homeschool preschool curriculum for your child, consult the resources offered at Sonlight.
Five in a Row
Five in a Row provides a step-by-step, instructional guide using outstanding children's literature for children ages 4-8. Unit studies are built around each chosen book. There is a series for preschoolers called "Before Five in a Row," along with other volumes for older children.
Math on the Level
Math on the Level is a flexible, maturation-based, homeschool math curriculum with a very effective review system. It's unique approach is designed to turn your home environment into a rich, real-life learning experience and make math education meaningful and fun for your whole family.
  • Teach when it is easy for your child to learn
  • Use everyday activities to make math real
  • Review for long term retention without busywork
One curriculum purchase covers your math needs for the whole family from pre-K through pre-algebra.
Living Math
Early exposure to real mathematics in natural settings, without requiring mastery of arithmetic on a set timetable is a key to the ease with which kids attain mastery when the time is right for them. Math literature and history humanizes math, makes it come alive, and provides a context to enjoy and retain learning. This wonderful site offers a literature-based approach to math learning, with book lists, lesson plans, and more.
Numbers Plus - Preschool Mathematics Curriculum
The Numbers Plus Preschool Mathematics Curriculum is a comprehensive set of detailed plans for small- and large-group early childhood mathematics activities, with ideas for extending learning throughout the program day. What’s special about Numbers Plus is that children’s mathematical learning is sequenced within activities — each activity has a built-in progression so children of different developmental and ability levels can participate together and have a positive and meaningful learning experience. By actively engaging young children with materials and ideas, Numbers Plus builds on the latest knowledge from research and practice about early mathematics learning and how adults support it.
Math-U-See Primer
In the Primer level your child will learn not only how to write numerals but also addition and subtraction, basic counting, skip counting, geometric shapes, telling time, and they will be introduced to the manipulative block system. It’s a gentle introduction to "doing math."
Things to See & Do in Illinois with Preschoolers
Henson Robinson Zoo
The Henson Robinson Zoo is located in Springfield. More than 300 animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America find refuge at the zoo. Come and view the naturalistic exhibits that house more than 90 species of native and exotic animals. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the lagoons and watch mischievous spider monkeys at play on monkey island. Delight at the river otters. Marvel at the grace of the cheetahs and the deceivingly cuddly appearance of the Asiatic black bear. Then take a walk on the wild side with cougars, gibbons, lemurs, and more.
Scovill Zoo
From cheetahs to spider monkeys, giant toads to pygmy goats, you can journey around the world at Scovill Zoo. See animals on the verge of extinction as you take a spin on the Endangered Species Carousel, journey through the zoo on the Z.O. & O. Express train, feed the goats in the petting area, and search for the glass lizard in the herpaquarium. Located in Decatur.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is one of the nation's oldest zoo and one of the last free zoos in the country. More than 1,000 animals make their home here. Rare and exotic species, as well as more familiar animals, are exhibited in environments that reflect their habitats in the wild.
Miller Park Zoo
Bloomington's Miller Park Zoo features a walk through Wallaby exhibit, the new ZooLab exploration center, which includes an indoor butterfly and birds exhibit (butterflies from April-October), sun bears, snow leopards, red wolves, Sumatran tiger, a Children's Zoo, and a rain forest exhibit.
Glen Oak Zoo
The Glen Oak Zoo is an AZA accredited facility located in Peoria, Illinois, and is home to more than 175 animals from around the world.
John G. Shedd Aquarium
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is the world's largest indoor aquarium. The facility houses nearly 8,000 aquatic animals representing some 650 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Shedd Aquarium attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year.
Chicago Children's Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum is a place where families and caregivers with infants and children are encouraged to create, explore, and discover together through play. The museum features three vibrant floors of exhibits and activities that provide sensory experiences and engaging educational content focusing on literacy, science, math, visual and performing arts, and health. Some of CCM's most popular exhibits include: Dinosaur Expedition, where kids can dig for dinosaur bones in an authentic excavation pit; WaterWays, an interactive system of pulleys, pumps, and pipes showcasing the wonders of water; Kids Town, an early-learning exhibit featuring a real CTA bus, mini-grocery store and kid-sized cityscape; daily free family art workshops in the Kraft Artabounds Studio; Pritzker Playspace, an area designed specifically for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents; Play It Safe, a realistic firehouse and fire truck that invites families to learn about fire safety through play; and Skyline, a National Science Foundation-funded exhibit that explores the science, engineering, art, and technology that keep Chicago's tallest buildings standing.
Cosley Zoo
Located in Wheaton, the Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. You can enjoy sitting by the picturesque duck pond, get close to a 2,000 pound horse, and if you're lucky, hear the coyotes howl. The 1887 railroad station, antique caboose, and a 125-year-old barn provide visitors with a piece of local history.
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is home to animals representing more than 400 species. This magnificent collection inhabits nearly 20 naturalistic exhibits within the zoo's 216 acres.
Chicago Area Homeschool Field Trips
A group of homeschooling parents dedicated to providing local field trips and group classes in the Chicago Metropolitan Area by taking advantage of discounts and special privileges given to groups versus individuals. Parents volunteer to organize events geared towards the age, interest and benefit of their students. Each event or part of it is usually aimed at a specific age or grade range. Any member may organize trips, and post events sponsored by other groups.
Resources
Bead Sequencing Set
Stack the durable, brightly colored wooden beads on 5 hardwood dowels in sequence to match the design on one of the pattern cards. Builds complex reasoning skills as well as sorting and coordination. Includes over 45 brilliantly colored beads, 5 dowels, and 10 patterns that increase in difficulty.
Bob Books
Bob Books are organized into sets that progress in level as your child learns. They have cute stories and darling illustrations. These books are perfect for children ages 4 to 8.
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
Pattern Blocks and Boards
This set of 10 simply designed colorful wooden blocks and pattern boards includes 100 blocks in six different shapes and colors. They help develop shape recognition and spatial relationship skills. The contents store neatly in a durable wooden case. This games was awarded the Scholastic Parent & Child's 2004 "Top 22 Toys that Make Kids Think" award.
Explode The Code
Explode The Code provides a sequential, systematic approach to phonics in which students blend sounds to build vocabulary and read words, phrases, sentences, and stories. Frequent review of previously learned concepts helps increase retention. Each workbook in this series contains exercises that incorporate reading, writing, matching and copying. The consistent format of the books helps facilitate independent work. This series includes primers—Get Ready for The Code, Get Set for The Code, and Go for The Code—which introduce initial consonant sounds. In addition, Beyond The Code provides a comprehension component introducing basic comprehension skills with phonetically controlled stories. You'll find product information here.
Preschool/Early Learning Games and Activities
Coin Poems
These fun printables feature poems to help young children learn the value of coins.
75+ Math Activities
These simple early learning math activities teach skills like number recognition, counting, simple addition and subtraction, sorting, sequencing numbers, and measuring.
A Car Parking Numbers Game
This inexpensive and easy to create game uses small toy cars to teach numbers.
Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics
This booklet is made up of fun activities that parents can use with children from preschool age through grade 5 to strengthen their math skills and build strong positive attitudes toward math.
Montessori Teen Board
This Montessori Teen Board is an easy and inexpensive way to effectively teach the teens (the numbers 10-19)
Handprint Measuring and Number Lines
A simple activity to teach measuring and number lines. Easy to put together and understand.
JumpStart Math Activities
When it comes to math, a good foundation is essential. With these fun math activities for kids, numbers become friends and the basic foundation for the subject is established at an early age. Different math activities for kids of different age groups can be effective in teaching them basic but essential math concepts. Here are some interesting grade-based math activities that parents and teachers can use to make math a whole lot of fun!
Preschool Math: Teaching Numbers Greater than 10
How to make a homemade version of the Montessori seguin board, a board with lots of 10s in a column.
Models of 3-D Solids
These printable 3-D models are easy to use. They are pdf files that can be printed out to construct prisms, pyramids, platonic solids, polyhedra, and more.
Preschool Math Games
Preschool math games let kids have fun while getting practice with early math concepts like number recognition and identifying shapes. This online learning program, Brainzy, includes math games for preschoolers that work!
Early Maths with The 3 Bears: Fun Counting and Grouping Activity
This activity helps children to model basic numbers and use counting and grouping strategies to demonstrate and verbalise relationships between basic numbers--in this case, the numbers 1-3. Using the well loved and well known tale of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears will help engage your child and also give them a greater understanding, meaning and depth.
Easy Preschool Activities for busy Moms and Teachers
We all have busy lives, yet we want the most productive preschool activities for our children with as little fuss as possible. Here you'll find activities to stimulate gross motor skills, preschool songs, activities to develop visual perception, numeracy, and mathematical concepts, language building activities, and children's bible lessons and faith building activities.
Preschool Math Idea
The best way for preschoolers to learn math is through lots of fun and creative games that let them explore and discover new concepts about the world of numbers.
Counting Tubes
The fun and colorful tubes are a great way to practice 1:1 correspondence, counting, and numbers.
Pom Pom Math Activities
These fun math games help encourage counting and color matching using pom poms.
PBS Kids Math Games
This is a huge collection of online math games for preschool and elementary aged kids.
7 Fun Ways to Learn Numbers Through Play
Enjoy these activities that introduce number concepts and active learning through play.
Board, Card and Dice Games for Learning Math, Logic and Strategy
This list is a great start to incorporating fun activities and games into your homeschool math curriculum.
Free Printable Ten Frame Cards
Learn 10s with these free printable cards that offer a fun way to practice. Read about different ways to use the cards for enjoyable math games to teach this concept.
Lego Challenge Math Activity-Free Printable
Practicing math skills like spatial awareness and geometry can be fun, especially when the math activity involves Legos! Here’s a free printable math challenge for kids using Lego or Duplo bricks!
Preschool Worksheets and Printables
Free Printable Ten Frame Cards
Learn 10s with these free printable cards that offer a fun way to practice. Read about different ways to use the cards for enjoyable math games to teach this concept.
Making Learning Fun Math Ideas
Fun and free printables that are great for preschoolers. These activities make learning fun!
Preschool Math Printables
These printables are free and help provide extra support for teaching preschool math. You'll find calendars, number tracing cards, number mats, patterns, and more.
Making Learning Fun
This early childhood education website is filled with free printables designed to make learning fun.
Preschool Math Worksheets and Printables
Preschool math worksheets help your young learner develop essential early math skills. From number recognition to counting to addition, preschoolers learn a lot about numbers in one year. Our collection of preschool math worksheets is designed for kids who want to build skills that will prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. These preschool math worksheets help present new number topics to kids in a way that's fun and easy to understand. Help foster a culture of learning by doing these preschool math worksheets with your child.
Lego Challenge Math Activity-Free Printable
Practicing math skills like spatial awareness and geometry can be fun, especially when the math activity involves Legos! Here’s a free printable math challenge for kids using Lego or Duplo bricks!
Free Printable Preschool Worksheets
Free printable preschool worksheets for learning to write the alphabet, numbers and bible memory verses, plus free printable colouring pages and more!
Support for Parents of Preschoolers
Field Trips 101
Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed unit. Is there somewhere you’d like to take your children to reinforce a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag along (think: group rate)—voila! You’re planning a field trip!
CM4primaryyears
To discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling elementary age children, and to share the joys and concerns of everyday life.
Homeschoolers Teaching Kindergarten
This discussion list is for homeschoolers teaching preschool and kindergarten. Topics include curriculum selection (whether necessary or not), teaching tips, creative learning ideas, time management, unit studies, homeschooling books, neat craft ideas, cooking tips for all occasions, support those who have homeschool burn out, or those who are just starting to homeschool.
CharlotteMasonKindergarten
A group for Charlotte Mason Mom's using the curriculum outline suggested in Karen Andreola's summer of 93 Parent's Review titled, "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", and also trying to complete the Kindergarten Skills list as described in Catherine Levison's book, A Literary Education.
Homeschooling Preschool Teaching Tips & Ideas
Pre-K Smarties
Pre-K Smarties is a preschool education resource for parents teaching preschoolers with tips for early reading using phonics, parenting articles, family freebies, and deals on the best educational toys.
Mathematics in Pre-K
Young preschool children are active learners, naturally curious and ready to engage in mathematical learning. They approach math with excitement and curiosity, if the practices are age-appropriate, engaging, and involve hands-on, minds-on learning approaches.
Math Play: How Young Children Approach Math
Mathematical experiences for very young children should build largely upon their play and the natural relationships between learning and life in their daily activities, interests, and questions.
Board, Card and Dice Games for Learning Math, Logic and Strategy
This list is a great start to incorporating fun activities and games into your homeschool math curriculum.
Teaching Young Children at Home
How do you teach young children? What do you do all day? How do you provide a "stimulating environment"? These questions are asked frequently by parents of young children who understand the immense magnitude of what it means to take responsibility for their child's education.
Preschool Practice: Shapes and Colors
Learning shapes and colors may well be a young child’s first educational endeavor. Although recognizing objects as red or blue, round or square might seem like child’s play, it’s actually integral to a young child’s cognitive development, and sets the stage for math concepts from sorting and patterning to geometry, and beyond! What can you as a parent do to help your young learner master these academic milestones? You may not have to look beyond the backdrop of your life for the perfect learning tools. Try a few of these fun activities to help your child master colors and shapes.
Readiness
This article takes a look at one mother's coming to terms with her daughter's readiness, or lack thereof, to learn to read.
Pre K Teaching Strategies and Early Childhood Education
Young children are unique creatures who love nothing more than to experience everything from tactile, hands-on items to feeling the wind in their faces as they jump off a wall. They are all about hiding under blankets to see what happens if they walk through the house like a ghost or playing safari and taking pictures with their imaginary camera.
Preschool Math: All Sorts of Sorting
Parents may think counting and recognizing numbers are the nuts and bolts of preschool math. While these are important skills for young mathematicians to master, building a foundation for complex mathematical thinking begins in the early childhood years. Sorting and classifying objects helps children begin to notice how items are alike and different, and creates an awareness that is vital for math learning.
Preschool Math--Counting by Tens/Odds and Evens
This youtube video demonstrates some great strategies to help preschoolers learn counting by tens and odd and even numbers.
Kindergarten Math
Simple approaches to teaching math for preschoolers and kindergarteners in the home environment.
Preschool Math
There are many natural ways to teach preschool math. Everyday activities, like cooking and grocery shopping involve mathematical concepts.
Tips for Frazzled Homeschool Moms
Any homeschooling family with more than one child knows the challenge of keeping “Baby Kong” from tearing apart the house during school time. These tips help with how to deal with those unruly toddlers and make it through this difficult and often exhausting stage of homeschool life.
A Homeschool Curriculum for Preschool and Kindergarten
"Can anyone recommend a curriculum for pre-K and kindergarten? This is a frequent question homeschooling bulletin boards and email lists. It's a perfectly reasonable question, but some of the responses can be confusing to new homeschoolers. We all come into homeschooling with some common preconceptions of what the program should be - but many who have been at it for a while or raised homeschool grads are likely to strongly suggest not setting up a structured study program for young children. This is where some misunderstanding can come into play. Saying that a structured study program for a young child is inappropriate is not at all the same as saying that learning is unimportant during the early years. It's simply that many experienced homeschoolers and other educators feel there are certain kinds of activities that are much more important and appropriate in early childhood than studying the 3 R's - and that to establish a structure that emphasizes the 3 R's at that age can actually be detrimental. If a child is asking to learn to read, of course, that's a whole different matter - but it's simply a question of helping that child learn to read, which is very different thing from setting up a curriculum.
Preschool Math: Mastering Number Recognition and Counting
Learning about numbers is a preschooler’s first step toward becoming a budding young mathematician. And in preschool, math learning is all about counting, number recognition, and one-to-one correspondence. If a child doesn’t ace these seemingly simple skills in a timely manner, don’t fret: even math whizzes need time to blossom. But with age appropriate techniques, helping your child to master these math milestones will be as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Math for Preschoolers: More Than Just Counting
Preschool-age children are ready to explore more than one might think! Parents often focus on counting from one to ten, but there are many other skills that children are ready and able to investigate.
A Poetry Unit for Preschoolers
This free unit study for preschoolers features poems found in Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends as a text for 10 poetry lessons. Each lesson refers to a poem (so it helps a lot to have access to that book), includes an activity suggestion, and instructions for a writing project (mostly poems). You can use all the lessons, or just a couple.
Early Math Matters: A Guide for Parents of Preschoolers
As the parent of a preschooler, you probably enjoy experiencing the world through your child’s eyes (and hands and feet!) as he or she explores and learns with great enthusiasm. And as your child’s first teacher, you can start teaching the basics of reading, writing, and math. Giving preschoolers a solid foundation in early math literacy is critical to their future academic success, not to mention how important it is to their day-to-day functioning.
Developmental Milestones for Preschool Mathematics
Children’s ability to understand mathematics takes a big leap forward in the preschool years. Their strengthening ability to represent using manipulatives, symbols, and signs opens up many new possibilities. Children also make strides in algebra and patterning. They can sequence events in time by age three. By age four, they can re-create patterns or make their own repeating pattern. During the preschool years, the child’s ability to problem solve takes on a new zeal. Children’s ability to classify objects is more developed; they can sort and organize objects into different categories and tell which pile has more. This chart details the skills that children can exhibit at different ages.
Homeschooling with Little Ones ARound
Homeschooling with babies and toddlers underfoot is indeed a wild crazy ride, and one that stretches you to the limits of what you previously thought chaos could look like. But once you embrace the madness, you will love it.
Field Trips 101
Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed unit. Is there somewhere you’d like to take your children to reinforce a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag along (think: group rate)—voila! You’re planning a field trip!
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Featured Resources

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Shurley English
Shurley English maintains that effective instruction in English must be founded upon an understanding of how the parts of speech work together in a sentence. A good grammar foundation gives students the skills to improve writing. Grammar is the structure of sentence composition. Through grammar, students learn how to write, improve, and expand sentences. After they have an understanding of sentence structure, students are then able to combine sentences successfully into paragraphs, essays, and r...
Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences in Learning and Behaviour
First Published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading was developed for use with students of multiple ages at the same time, perfect for the homeschooling family. It is designed for use as an entire reading program or as a supplement to an existing program for students in grades 2-8.
English from the Roots Up
English from the Roots Up explores the Latin and Greek roots of words. Many people haven't realized how valuable the Latin and Greek vocabulary is in the formulation of the finely structured English vocabulary of today. Even learning a few Latin and Greek root words gets you hooked and you want to learn more. Why? Because you can move from "what words mean" to "why words mean"&mdashin short, a thinking vocabulary. You'll find product information here.
Catholic Home Schooling: A Handbook for Parents
Mary Kay Clark, the director of the accredited and successful Seton Home Study School shows parents why and how to teach their children at home, giving scores of practical examples and setting forth the spiritual, moral and academic advantages. The book includes chapters by several experts and covers Catholic curriculum, textbooks, Catholic family life, legal aspects, discipline, socialization, home management, using computers, children with learning disabilities, single-parent home schooling, t...