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
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.
Life of Fred
This set of books is unlike any other textbooks. Each text is written in the style of a novel with a humorous story line. Each section tells part of the life of Fred Gauss and how, in the course of his life, he encounters the need for the math and then learns the methods. Tons of solved examples. Each hardcover textbook contains ALL of the material – more than most instructors cover in traditional classroom settings. Includes tons of proofs. Written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt with the intent to make math come alive with lots of humour, clear explanations, and silly illustrations that stick in the mind. The student will learn to think mathematically. Completion of this series prepares student for third year college math.
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.
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.
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.
Things to See & Do in Illinois with Preschoolers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Links and Items
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preschool/Early Learning Games and Activities
Math Games and Activities for Preschoolers
Great and creative ideas for reinforcing counting and numbers.
A Car Parking Numbers Game
This inexpensive and easy to create game uses small toy cars to teach numbers.
Let's Count! Learning Numbers in Multiple Ways
This great video shows different activities that can be used to teach young children how to count.
Montessori Teen Board
This Montessori Teen Board is an easy and inexpensive way to effectively teach the teens (the numbers 10-19)
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.
20 Ideas to Practice Measuring
There are so many ways to practice and teach the science and math skill of measuring. Here are some ideas for fun ways to practice measuring.
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 Preschool Worksheets
Free printable preschool worksheets for learning to write the alphabet, numbers and bible memory verses, plus free printable colouring pages and more!
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!
Support for Parents of Preschoolers
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.
CM4primaryyears
To discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling elementary age children, and to share the joys and concerns of everyday life.
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!
Homeschooling Preschool Teaching Tips & Ideas
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!
Should I Try a Curriculum for My Preschool Child?
This article explains why formal homeschooling is often not the best choice for your very young child. Avoid burnout by enjoying the process of learning and living.
Preschool With Mommy
Here you'll learn to create a simple, inexpensive, and fun home preschool for your children. You'll also find suggestions for books and toys to use in your home preschool. This site supports any type of home preschool, whether you're just supplementing your child's regular preschool, creating an educational home environment, or homeschooling completely.
Instill a Love of Math
Parents are bombarded with messages to read with their children, but it’s rare to hear about the importance of doing math with them. Here are some helpful tips on why and how to instill a love of math in your children.
Preschool Math: Exploring Patterns
Patterns are all around us, from the clothing we wear to the repeating patterns found in nature and everyday routine. Patterning is also a basic math skill upon which many mathematical concepts are based. Times tables, addition and skip counting all require an understanding of and proficiency in patterning. In preschool, identifying and creating patterns is just the beginning of the mastery of life-long mathematical skills.
Kindergarten Math
Simple approaches to teaching math for preschoolers and kindergarteners in the home environment.
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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Kingdom of Children : Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)
More than one million American children are schooled by their parents. As their ranks grow, home schoolers are making headlines by winning national spelling bees and excelling at elite universities. The few studies conducted suggest that homeschooled children are academically successful and remarkably well socialized. Yet we still know little about this alternative to one of society's most fundamental institutions. Beyond a vague notion of children reading around the kitchen table, we don't know...
Montessori Play And Learn : A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six
We all want the best possible starts in life for our children, and one of the best possible starts in life, educationally, is the "method" pioneered by Maria Montessori and taught successfully today throughout the world.Now, Lesley Britton, the leading Montessori practitioner in England for more than twenty years, will show parents how to bring Montessori home. If you would like to facilitate the development of your child's unique personality, make it possible for him to develop to his full inte...
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.
Homeschooling For Dummies
This comprehensive guide gets you off to a great start. From helpful advice on how to decide if homeschooling is right for you, to how to get started, to complying with all legal requirements, you'll find what you need at the beginning of your homeschooling. Also included are teaching tips, advice on networking, testing, curriculum, and more. 
The Absorbent Mind
In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Italian doctor coined to characterize the child's most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.A new foreword by John Cha...