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  1. #1
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    Question Preschool/Pre-K Curriculum

    Hi all, newbie here looking for advice for a curriculum for preschool. My son is nearly 14 months and I'm looking for preschool materials that are appropriate for now as well as when he gets older. While I'm not sure when the appropriate age to start, I figure I need to start something now to put him on the right path rather than allowing him to watch TV all day or destroy my house (he's well on his way now; Iím not sure how much more my furniture can handle) once he turns 2. Plus as there is so much out there to look at I figure it is going to take me at least a year to pick one to use when the time is right.

    I haven't found anything that appears to be geared for 18 mos to 2 yrs and 2 yrs to 3 yrs. Suggestions?

    For when he gets a bit older I found Sing, Spell, Read and Write (SSRW) Preschool for homeschoolers. Has anyone used it? Is it any good? Is there something better?

    I really just need some direction. I donít want to wait until heís 4 to discover I canít do it and set him to fail. Well that might be a little dramatic but really if I canít do it, I want to get him enrolled in preschool sooner than later so he doesnít lose that head start.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the site! My kids are much older than yours now, but I would suggest reading to him constantly-read books to him (Dr. Seuss is great), read labels and boxes when you're cooking, etc. Let him see what you're reading, point out the pictures in relation to the words, etc. You might try to pick up some educational type coloring books at Wal-Mart or a dollar store as well. At 14 months, I wouldn't worry too much about a formal curriculum.

    Enjoy your time with him-you've got plenty of time to formally educate him. Take him for walks and talk to him about nature, play with him. At his age, these all have educational value.
    Just call me Shoe...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arrived hockeymom's Avatar
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    I agree with Shoe--"education" at this tender age is just life, reading stories, listening, playing, going places with you, seeing you do your regular day to day things and participating when appropriate. At 14 months all of life is learning (really, that's true our entire lives if we live intentionally); there is nothing special or extra that you need to do. In my opinion TV probably shouldn't play a part in a child's life at all at that age, but we all have different views on that. As long as it's limited and thoughtful it probably doesn't matter in the long run.

    Play in the leaves, explore the colors and textures and trees that they fell from. Have him help you sort socks when you do laundry and have him correct you when you try to put them on his hands or nose instead of his feet. Name his body parts as you do play this game--he'll catch on quickly. Have him help you in the kitchen--at this age my son's favorite thing to do was help wash the dishes. It took forever (!) but there are so many important life skills learned in handling wet dishes and helping mama do her work. He can help set the table with napkins and forks, he can help pick flowers for a pretty vase, he can learn about bugs in the garden, he can rake leaves (Target used to carry adorable kid sized rakes or use a little hand rake). Oh my--I'm starting to miss that age!

    The last thing you need to worry about is a curriculum of any kind, or "giving him a leg up". As long as he has ample opportunity to explore his world around him and share in life with you, you're doing it right!

    Welcome to the group!
    Mama to one son (11)

  4. #4
    callie
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    My 3 yr old likes doing the activities from www.letteroftheweek.com. There is religious content, but it is listed separate if you don't want to do it. She has curriculum listed from 3 months and up. I can't tell you anything about the baby or toddler plans because we didn't start until the preparatory, but my son really enjoyed it. We also use some of the activities from this blog.

    HTH
    Last edited by callie; 09-16-2010 at 09:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Evolved MamaB2C's Avatar
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    At that age I suggest playing, talking, singing/dancing, reading, creating and exploring. Toddlers seem to be hardwired to learn through direct interactions with people. The more you introduce him to new words, experiences, concepts, sights and sounds the better the foundation for more formal learning later.

    You can "teach" during these times, but more subtly...name the colors or shapes of toys, read books that introduce letters, numbers, shapes, colors in the story (Dr. Seuss' ABC book for example), play with blocks, costumes, and puppets, let him have his own drawer in the kitchen with his own cups, bowls, spoons, etc. to play with, take walks and name the trees and plants, or animals, play with playdough, fingerpaint, go to the zoo or aquarium, do the Hokey Pokey, listen to different kinds of music.

    Mostly, have fun!
    Brandi
    Alabama Gulf Coaster,
    Learning and loving life with DS 6 and hubby of 21 years

    DS is in public school, but we enrich and expand at home

  6. #6
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
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    I agree with all the suggestions above...reading, talking, creating, exploring...definitely great things to focus on in the preschool years. If you want a little structure, without going overboard, you might want to check out the Time4Learning Preschool curriculum (if your son enjoys being on the computer, that is). It is a nice amount of formal, fun learning without being too "schoolish".
    Topsy

    • Loyal minion, er...ADMIN of SecularHomeschool.com
    • Happy homeschooling mama to two young men - - one homeschool graduate and one high school senior
    • Lover of all things with buttons that beep and flash.
    • You can also find me over at LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com



  7. #7
    Senior Member Arrived farrarwilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelli21 View Post
    I haven't found anything that appears to be geared for 18 mos to 2 yrs and 2 yrs to 3 yrs. Suggestions?

    ...

    I really just need some direction. I don’t want to wait until he’s 4 to discover I can’t do it and set him to fail. Well that might be a little dramatic but really if I can’t do it, I want to get him enrolled in preschool sooner than later so he doesn’t lose that head start.
    That does seem really dramatic. I don't want to be harsh or rude, so please know that I'm trying to be really kind. But honestly, there's a reason you're not finding that many pre-K curricula for kids under 4. It's because they don't need it.

    The "head start" that preschool gives kids is mostly about two things, neither of which you really have to worry about. First, for kids from poor homes where the parents are mostly uneducated or who work long hours and don't spend much time with them, preschool helps them learn skills that no one is teaching them in the home. We're talking about homes where parents don't read to the kids or play games with them - they just plant them in front of the TV or let them fend for themselves. Second, for all kids, preschool helps kids learn institutional "school" behaviors - how to line up, how to raise your hand, how to sit quietly for longer periods of time, how to hang up their coats and put their things in their cubbies. I don't want to diminish those skills exactly. In life, you do want to know how to wait and be in a group, but at this age they're drastically less important for homeschooled kids.

    I'm not saying you can't do anything. Like others said, you can read, you can go out and see the world, you can play games and cook together and do little mixing colors up science experiments and make art and sing songs... You can even get a curriculum (like maybe Letter of the Week, which I know a lot of people like). However, before a kid is 4 years old, then he cannot be expected to sit still consistently to do any kind of formal learning. And even then, we're talking about a short attention span. You work your way up. My kids are 6. We don't do more than two hours of school total a day and it's broken up between playing games, me reading aloud, them reading, and doing what you might call "seat" work.

    I think there are two important points I'm trying to make... First, if you're reading to him and spending time with him at this age, you CAN'T FAIL. Maybe later you'll figure out things that you realize could have been better, if only you'd known some trick or some resource. But really, you CAN'T FAIL by reading books and playing with a kid under 4 years old. Second, please do not judge yourself or your child by his ability to sit through seat work for a formal curriculum of any kind before age 4. Or really, age 5. Some people would tell you age 6 or 7. You start slow. Remember, homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. The most important element to see if you "can do it" as you say, is just to see if you can stand spending all day with your kid. There's more to it, of course, but I would say that's your first question.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

  8. #8
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    I agree with everyone above. I start teaching from birth. We read, read, read, paint, play with Melissa and Doug toys, play, sing, and get messy !

    I wait for my children to ask to learn. When they start asking what letters are, I teach them. When they want to read, I start teaching them the sounds of letters. When they start picking up books and trying to read them, we begin to put those sounds together. A child will learn best when they are interested in something.

    Until then, read, read, read, and read some more to him.

  9. #9
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    Default Thanks!

    I realize that I must sound kinda nutty. My first time mom nerves are acting up again. lol.

    He's just in a stage where he's getting into EVERYTHING and causing mischief; curiosity is an understatement (swear that heís trying to give me a heart attack). I was just looking for ideas to help his development. I figured preschools must have ďcurriculumsĒ for that age so there must be something out there to point me in the right direction. For my sanity, we just need a bit more structure than we have now. He doesnít sit still for me to read anymore; heíd rather tear the book apart. But he does like the games I have for him on my Itouch and is highly interested in my computer. He will gladly sit in my lap while I click Starfall for him.

    As for the rest, I am a planner and like being organized (though since having my son Iím failing miserable at it). I was just trying to explore the options available so when the time is right I wonít have to waste anytime making a decision, we can just jump in. I like being preparedÖnow if I could just find the manual that was issued with my child.

    Thank you for your suggestions and reassurance that Iím not doing everything completely wrong. I needed to be sure that there wasnít something out there that I was missing.

  10. #10
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    Letteroftheweek.com has some infant stuff. Or get Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready book it is for birth to 5.

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