It seemed like yesterday the kids were enjoying summer, now they are already back to school. At least in some districts. Where we live, there are about 3 or 4 schools in the area so I see kids already walking to and from school all the time. Whether your kids go out to school or are homeschooled, there are usually lots and lots of BACK to SCHOOL preparations at hand. There are always the registrations, the purchasing of books, clothes, and school supplies, curriculum (if your kids are homeschooled), school breakfast, snacks, and lunch meal planning, transportation, new school year orientation, pediatrician visits, meetings to attend, school tours, homeschool Co-Op, and everything else that goes into a New School Year. Our kids are not in school yet but from my experience as an educator and even as a student, I know the basics of all that goes on into a new school year.
As our kids grow, there is the decision of whether to homeschool or not. I love teaching and do like to teach our kids various skills at home. Last year, I surveyed a few preschool teachers to see what the kids learn in school. Hmmm, ABCs, coloring, tracing, scissor practice, etc. and learning to walk in lines and to follow instructions. Our kids already knew all that stuff (well maybe not the walking in line part), but I figured I’d save the money and we’d just continue to do what we do at home. We did pretty well last year (see here), but this year though, I wanted something just a bit more organized. Considering I have a preschooler at 4.5 years old, a toddler at 2 years old and baby at 7 months old, we’ll see how that goes:=)
We call it homeschool although it is not really official. Our kids are still little and need LOTS of PLAY and imaginative thinking. They love pretend play, dress-up, running around outside and just being kids. Their PRIMARY way of learning is through play. And of course, they will learn from observing and even participating from what goes on around the home. But they also love doing worksheets. While we are not really firm per say, it gives us some sort of a routine. Especially when the weather gets cooler. Right now we try to enjoy the sunshine as much as we can. But we will continue to use the same books we used in previous times. No big pricey curriculum involved here. I looked at various school curriculum and boy are they pricey. I figured the little work books we have used are sufficient and they teach the same skills that they learn in school. Although, this really is not fully about school – it is more about our kids learning the basics.
So if you have preschoolers at home and need some resources, I have put together some examples that we use. Each of them cost less than $10, some even $1.
School Zone Little Scholar Workbooks (Ages 3 to 5)
I love this little line of preschool books. We have used them for a while now and our preschooler loves them, too. We first started off with the smaller one (Zoo themed) a while ago. It is called Preschool Scholar and can be found on Amazon for less than $4. Then we moved on to the other Big one. I will use the smaller one for our 2.5 year old (to keep her occupied). It is really not necessary. But of course, little sister will want to do something while bigger sister does her thing. And she may learn a thing or two from it, too.
With this book, the kids learn the basics of ABCs, colors, tracing, numbers 0 to 10, actions, measuring, positions of items (first, next,), and they also learn same and different, big and small, etc). Here are some sample pages.
The bigger Preschool book (also found on Amazon for around $8.40) has more pages and seems to be a step up from the smaller one. It has 320 pages of work. The kids will learn pre-writing skills, colors, shapes, ABCs and basic phonics, early math, matching, seek and find, same and different, etc. We really enjoyed these two books so we will use them again. This may only last one semester or less. If your kids are anything like mine, they will want to do all the pages in one setting.
It is a bit more complicated for little kids (so it takes a bit more explaining). It has a lot of pages that deal with finding a path from one end to the next and that could be tricky for kids and adults, alike:=). It also has lots of connecting the dots and seek and find pages. I do prefer the red books over this one just because I am not a huge find of finding those path worksheets.
For supplementary materials we have been using some Pre-K workbooks from Target. Yep, they only cost a $1 in the Dollar isle. I have used them last year and just got some more again. These little books are cheap but they are great for learning the alphabet and for learning math.
Check out a few of the sample pages. They come with loads of reward stickers, too, so that is winner for the kids!
I also found these new kinds from the Dollar isle at Target, too (ages 3+). We have not used these before but it seems like the kids will learn to draw and write on the worksheets.
These will encourage them to use their imagination as they think of objects to put on each page. Some pages they will draw an animal of their choosing, other pages they will decorate cookies, and activities like that. See the following sample pages.
Another line of preschooler activity books I came across at Target the other day is the Leap Frog learning books. Amazon has them, too. I have only used one of the videos called Letter Factory for learning phonics and we love it! My kids love to watch it over and over and over again. So I may look into the big activity workbook. I think we will like it!
So these are what we use for our little learners along with some of mommy-made printables. You can find loads of them on my page here. But remember, little kids need lots of play and exploration. So as much as we would like to jump into school, we would like them to play and have fun, too! So keep that in mind as you plan your “school” days. The books I listed are to be a guide to help boost their learning if you choose to use them at home.
If you have little learners at home, what kinds of material do you use with them? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments.
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