I have been formally homeschooling my 8 children for 13+ years, so I've seen my share of homeschool curriculum designed for preschoolers.
I frequently see curriculum for sale with sensory bins and water play and balancing activities, worksheets for cutting practice with special safety scissors, special manipulatives for fine motor skills and gross motor skills. The list goes on.
I get emails and messages asking for my recommendations for curriculum for preschoolers, so I am going to address that today.
I don't use any preschool curriculum.
Or checklists for that matter.
I let my preschoolers play.
And climb. And dig.
I read books to them. We have conversations.
They help in the kitchen.
We have tea parties.
I don't buy any curriculum at all. I don't buy little colorful plastic teddy bears for counting. We count the apples in the fruit basket or coins in my purse.
I don't have worksheets for cutting practice. I leave scissors around and let them cut things.
Just today my 3 year old asked me if she could cut up an empty egg carton. "Sure," I said. "Go for it."
It wasn't on the schedule. It wasn't part of a curriculum or checklist. I didn't have a lesson with her. She initiated the activity herself, gathered the materials she needed, and got busy.
Yes, the scissors were sharp. Yes, she made a mess. But she learned.
- She learned that she is imaginative enough to create "baby doll tea cups" from an egg carton.
- She learned that she can come up with a good idea and present it to an adult in a way that is persuasive.
- She learned about manipulating scissors.
All without a lesson plan or curriculum.
Now, if you have the money and the inclination to spend hundreds of dollars on a preschool curriculum, I would say "more power to you" and "whatever floats your boat."
But if you don't have the money or the inclination to buy a preschool curriculum, I would say it isn't necessary. Optional, yes. Necessary, no.
It might give you peace to know that someone has come up with ideas to keep your preschooler busy, but here's a little secret. (Looks around and lowers voice to a whisper) Your preschooler will come up with those ideas herself if you let her.
If you enjoy using a curriculum, fine. If you feel burdened by it, set yourself free, Mama.
Preschoolers don't need homeschooling.
They just need home.
*Note: Each of my children is creative, imaginative, witty, and on or above grade level having used this "no preschool curriculum" approach.