Homeschool Preschool Essentials

Homeschool Preschool Essentials

I am here to share with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. The pressure to buy all the things is strong when your kids are young, and they are just beginning their homeschool journey. I am a former preschool teacher, and I also operate within a real life budget.

My youngest child was in a Mother’s Day out preschool when we decided to start homeschooling. We decided to keep him enrolled, even though I would be teaching my older children at home. However, this year he will be home full time with us. I am so excited! He will be in pre-k, which is the last year of preschool. Because he is my last child, I do not want to spend a lot of money on things we will only use for a short time. So, I am sharing with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials.

Essentials You’ll Use for Years

Table top easels are great because they take up less space and can easily be stored. I love easel work because it hits so many learning points for preschoolers. For example, did you know that easel work teaches pre-writing skills by encouraging top/down hand motions?

This marble run kit is a favorite for all three of my kids! However, I plan to utilize it most for our preschool. So much STEAM activity is involved in planning and building these structures. And preschoolers LOVE it when they finally get to release the marbles down their creations. 

This set of gears provides another opportunity for planning and creating with a big reward of action at the end. We work on building gears on the flat surface first, then we start working on vertical structures. 

I love this dinosaur balancing game. This kit works on proprioception skills as well as fine motor movements. Start with the animals on a flat surface, then work up to using the included curved base. My preschooler also really enjoys doing pretend play with this toy.

I love these blocks so much. I had them in my classroom when I taught preschool. Every piece is the exact same size and weight. That might sound boring, but it actually fuels creativity. Because all the blocks are equal, it makes it easy to build amazing structures that are stable and don’t fall over easily. 

Essentials for Arts and Crafts

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I am not a crafty mom. When I taught preschool, my co-teacher did all the arts and crafts, because I just didn’t enjoy it. However, they are SO important for preschoolers. Crafts provide opportunities for so much exploration and learning, so of course I will be doing all the crafting with my preschooler this year. Below are a few things I consider to be important to always have on hand, but might not be obvious. Additionally, most of these products can be used in other subjects as well, such as math and science.

These Dot Markers were a last minute addition to my homeschool preschool essentials, but I am so glad I bought them. They are easy to hold for kids who might not have a great pincer grip yet, and they practice the handwriting skill of using appropriate pressure. Use these to create artwork, or you can use them to learn all about patterns in math.

Everyone knows about construction paper, but using cardstock paper is really great for preschoolers. Cardstock is, of course, thicker than construction paper. This means when your child uses 10x the amount of glue necessary, the paper won’t tear as easily. The same is also true when your little one colors with markers in the same spot a little too much. Cardstock is also great to build on established hand strengthening skills like folding, tearing, and cutting.

If your preschooler is still struggling with their pincer grip, triangle crayons are awesome. They encourage proper grip, which means you’re having to correct your child less. Added bonus is these crayons won’t roll off the table. 

Essentials for Sensory Play

Finally, we need to talk about the importance of sensory play. My preschooler has ADHD, and he needs sensory input throughout the day. Even if your child is not neurodivergent, sensory play is essential for early learning. It fuels learning and curiosity for preschoolers (and all children, honestly). Below are things that I have on hand for sensory play at all times.

Last year I added a fidget station to our homeschool, and it was such a huge hit. Every child has their own preferences with fidgets, so this kit provides a little bit of everything.

Any time I am talking about sensory needs and children, I share this vibrating cushion. It is probably what gets the most use, in our home, out of all our sensory tools. A child can sit on it, and it will automatically start vibrating. This provides LOADS of proprioception input. My preschooler likes to use this cushion during meal times, as well as when he is upset and needs help calming down. 

This Ikea Trofast storage bin is what I am using for a sensory box. It is big enough to provide enough room to play, but small enough to be practical. I also like how it can be used for water play. I switch up what is in here every week for my preschooler. For our first week of school, I put soapy water in it along with his little construction builder trucks. His activity was to wash and dry them. He loved it!

And there you have it! I wanted to keep this list sparse, containing only what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. You can always add more once you begin schooling and notice gaps. But this list will get you a great start to your homeschool journey! I would love to know what you think is a must have for homeschooling preschoolers. Also, make sure to share this post with your friends!

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

There are so many ways to teach pre-k at home. The preschool years are when we, as homeschool parents, are (typically) not bound by any sort of state requirements, testing, or attendance. We have complete freedom in how we approach the preschool years.

One thing we all want is to instill a love of books and a desire to learn in our preschoolers. This is when we are laying the foundation for their long term education. Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World knocks it out of the park in creating a curriculum that is rich, thorough, fun, and engaging. I am so excited to tell you all about it! Also, you have a chance to win the ENTIRE Pre-K curriculum. Enter now!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

What’s Included in the Pre-K Curriculum Package?

Sonlight is a literature based curriculum that spans preschool through 12th grade while covering all required subjects. It has been equipping Christian homeschooling families for more than 30 years! They have updated their pre-k at home resources just in time for the 2022-23 school year.

With the Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World, you get the entire curriculum plus the Instructor’s Guide. That’s nearly 30 literature books and readers, as well as a Sonlight tote bag, tactile letter cards, counting beads, and MORE. These rich stories will immerse your child in history, nature, and Biblical stories, while teaching critical thinking skills and reading readiness.

As a homeschool mom who has had a few reluctant readers, there is SUCH value in exposing your child early and often to rich literature. Furthermore, don’t be overwhelmed by having so many books to get through in this package. This curriculum is supposed to take an entire school year. The daily break down, which you can see below, is very doable for a pre-kindergarten student.

Open and Go Pre-K at Home

If you are looking for a pre-k at home curriculum that is completely open and go, this is the right choice for you. Everything you need for the entire year is included. The Instructor’s Guide includes ideas for enrichments, such as field trips, and extensions, but they are not required. Additionally, very little advanced planning is needed for this curriculum. Sonlight really makes it easy to begin formal school with your pre-kindergarten child.

Let’s talk more about this Instructor’s Guide. I have seen several open and go curriculums, and this guide is the best I have seen. Seriously. Each week, you get an extensive overview of every thing you will be doing. Then, each day is broken down in a way that feels concise and doable. Furthermore, I REALLY like how each day is counted to to keep track of how many school days have been completed for the year. I mean, how much time is wasted counting and recounting days on a calendar to make sure we hit our requirement?!

My Overall Thoughts

Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World is a well thought out and thorough curriculum. It is a great fit for a Christian family who is ready to start formal school at ages four and five. Not everyone is ready to do that, though. And that is ok! Sometimes kids need more years of just play, and other times they are ready to dive in to schooling. There are SO many ways to do pre-k at home and this is a great option. Check out Sonlight today, and don’t forget to enter the amazing giveaway!

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Sending My Child to Preschool

Sending My Child to Preschool

I will be sending my child to preschool. But wait a minute….Didn’t I just write a whole post about our decision to homeschool? Yes. Yes, I did. We are homeschooling are kindergartener and second grader. However, we decided that our almost three year old will still attend his preschool this year. He will be going to school two mornings a week starting mid-August.

What Led to This Decision?

There was a lot that went into this decision, and it wasn’t easy given the current state of the world. Some of the reasons I’m sending my child to preschool are acknowledging that what’s best for one child in our family might not be the best choice for another child. And that is okay. Our preschooler needs consistent opportunities to be around a group of peers. He needs to learn that he can have fun with other people rather than just mommy and daddy and sisters. He needs some more practice in following rules in a more structured environment like a classroom. Are you catching a theme? We really feel that the social skills he will gain in preschool this year will be a huge benefit for him. Teaching those types of social skills at home can be really difficult (although, definitely not impossible). He also has a minor speech delay. We are confident that preschool will continue to propel his speech forward. And lastly, he LOVES his preschool. He loves circle time and singing songs and dancing and all the things. He thrived last year in his little class, and I have no doubt he will do the same this year.

Dealing with Doubt

Now, what about the Big C? The Corona? This is where I am just going to have to trust and rely on God. I have His peace right now. If something changes, then we can always reevaluate. The school is putting procedures in place to keep staff and the kids safe, without being too over the top. Kids will still be able to be kids. Our family has already had Covid19. And even though the whole immunity situation is still a big question mark, we are confident that if/when we are exposed again, that our bodies will know how to fight the virus.

We’re All Just Doing Our Best

There are no easy or clear answers for anything these days. We are all doing the best we can with the information we have. And that is okay. Our kids are going to be okay. Mama, your kids are going to be okay! What is best for us this year might not be what we choose for the following year. Just like everyone else, we will take things day by day, week by week, and month by month. Tell me more about how your kids will do school this year. Are all of your kids on the same path? Or are different kids doing different things? Do you have peace about your decisions?