How To Put Together A Free Preschool Curriculum
When we first began the journey of doing preschool at home I thought I would order a curriculum from one of the many companies that sell homeschool materials for young learners. However, I wanted to be very frugal with our spending, so for the first few weeks of homeschooling, while I continued to research buying a curriculum, I found materials for my then four year old son online.
As those weeks went by I realized there was so many fantastic websites for preschoolers, offering free curriculum, that I wouldn’t need to purchase anything after all.
If you are considering putting together your own preschool curriculum through the free offerings on the world wide web here are some things to consider:
- You most likely will not find everything you need all at one site. I used multiple sites a week to provide a comprehensive education for our son. Some sites may offer more than one subject, but more than likely you will be gleaning materials from many areas.
- It will take time to put together your own weekly plans. Each weekend I would spend a few hours making my weekly lesson plans, and then searching what I needed for the plans on the internet. I also spent time each month putting together a list of monthly goals for our son’s education. If you buy a packaged curriculum set this work is all done for you. However, you pay a price for someone else putting it together. You will need to decide which avenue is more valuable for you.
- Make goals for each subject area. If you’re putting together your own curriculum with freebies from the internet, you will want to set accomplishable goals for the core subjects of language/phonics, mathematics, social studies, and science. We also made goals for Bible and Social Skills (like learning your address and phone number). For example. in November our son was to learn the letters I, J,K and L for language/phonics and for physical education it was hopping.
- Ask around. I got many leads to new websites from other parents who had homeschooled, or were homeschooling, preschoolers. If you belong to a homeschool support group, don’t be shy about asking what websites other families use.
- Supplement. Besides using the lesson plans, curriculum, and printouts from the websites, I supplemented his preschool education with field trips, art projects, hands on learning activities (many found on the sites below), and play dates with friends. A well rounded education won’t be achieved through the websites alone.
Favorite Free Websites
- STARFALL (www.starfall.com) Starfall is a website that opened in September 2002 and offers online phonics activities, games, and learning tools ideally for children preschool through second grade. We used this website as a supplemental source, mostly using it to play games that drilled phonics skills and letters. For advanced learners they have a ‘learn to read’ section where you can read interactive stories. It’s a fantastic free site for all young learners!
- LETTER OF THE WEEK (www.letteroftheweek.com) Letter of the Week is an amazing website developed by Katrina Lybbert, a homeschooling mother of four children. We used this website every week! Katrina has fantastic lesson plans for each of the 26 letters, and she also has lesson plans for sounds of the week and stories of the week. She also has developed bible lesson plans for young learners, and has a section devoted to themed activities like shapes, colors and animals.
- LETTER OF THE WEEK (www.letteroftheweek.com) This site, as listed above, has a science section with free curriculum for preschoolers.
- SCIENCE EXPERIMENT WITH EGGS (https://hastings.lexingtonma.org/staff/SLee/science) I used this website to do a fun egg experiment with our son.
FOR HEALTH/SOCIAL STUDIES/SOCIAL SKILLS:
- CRAWFORD THE CAT (www.crawfordthecat.com) This website has videos of Crawford, a cartoon cat, who teaches young children about health issues like the importance of brushing your teeth, covering your mouth the right way when you sneeze, the importance of hand washing, and sharing, along with many other topics. We followed Crawford on YouTube as well.
FOR ALL SUBJECTS:
With each of the following websites, I used these monthly to pull lesson plans off the websites to do at home for various subjects. I got many math and science ideas off these websites.
- A TO Z TEACHER STUFF (www.atozteacherstuff.com)
- EVERYTHING PRESCHOOL (www.everythingpreschool.com)
- ABC TEACH (www.abcteach.com)
- TLS BOOKS (www.tlsbooks.com)
Summarizing A Year Of Using Free Preschool Curriculum
As I look back on our year of using free preschool curriculum, I would have to say that it went very well. Our son learned all the skills he would’ve learned in a traditional preschool setting. We spent a small amount each week on materials for science or art projects, or for special learning activities. Our cost for the year was very easily under fifty dollars. The time I had to put into compiling the plans and printing out worksheets was no more than a few hours a week. Utilizing the free resources on the world wide web is a fantastic way to educate a young learner at home for a fractation of the cost of a name-brand curriculum or attending a private preschool program.
Image of child on computer courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, author Linda Spashett