Early Learning & Preschool
Children learn from birth, so the concept of homeschooling a preschooler is easy to contemplate. Get information on how to make early learning fun and enjoyable for you and your child.
Homeschool Preschool Curriculum
TouchMath
This pre-K homeschool math unit download includes an implementation guide, module guides with instructional strategies, student activity sheets, answer keys, progress monitoring, and vocabulary. Designed for ages 3-4, it covers counting and number sense, comparing and classifying, sorting, graphing, patterning, 2-D and 3-D shapes, coins, and representing quantities and shapes.
JumpStart Free Preschool Curriculum
Preschool is a time of rapid growth and development. While the preschool curriculum is designed keeping in mind the physical and intellectual developmental characteristics of 2 – 5 year olds, there are certain milestones that most preschoolers should achieve before they begin kindergarten.
Time4Learning
The Time4Learning preschool program combines technology, animated characters, original stories and fun music to inspire a love of learning in the littlest e-learners. Ed Mouse and his friends guide children through more than forty topics such as numbers, letters, rhymes, self, time, music and colors.
Everyday Mathematics
Everyday Mathematics is a comprehensive Pre-K through 6th grade mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project and published by McGraw-Hill Education. Everyday Mathematics is a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power. The Everyday Mathematics curriculum emphasizes:
  • Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.
  • Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children’s ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.
  • Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.
  • Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.
Life of Fred
This set of books is unlike any other textbooks. Each text is written in the style of a novel with a humorous story line. Each section tells part of the life of Fred Gauss and how, in the course of his life, he encounters the need for the math and then learns the methods. Tons of solved examples. Each hardcover textbook contains ALL of the material – more than most instructors cover in traditional classroom settings. Includes tons of proofs. Written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt with the intent to make math come alive with lots of humour, clear explanations, and silly illustrations that stick in the mind. The student will learn to think mathematically. Completion of this series prepares student for third year college math.
Things to See & Do in Iowa with Preschoolers
Old MacDonald's Farm, Bever Park
Old MacDonald’s Farm, Bever Park’s Children’s Zoo, is operated by Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation. Located on the SE side of Cedar Rapids, it is a free public zoo and features farm animals and North American waterfowl. This city landmark is over 100 years old and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Open Daily from late April to early October.
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
The Mission of the Dubuque County Historical Society [and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium] is to explore life of Dubuque, the Mississippi River, and the Rivers of America and their global connections, and to research, interpret, educate and promote the conservation of their historical and natural environment. The National Mississippi River Museum is the nation's premier center to interpret and preserve the Mississippi River's natural environment and history, inspire a global audience, and create more knowledgeable and engaged citizens.
Blank Park Zoo
The Blank Park Zoo is located in Des Moines and features animal exhibits and educational programs. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation. Blank Park Zoo has been a part of the Des Moines metro community since 1963.
Storybook Hill Children's Zoo
Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo was established in 1976, in partnership with the Optimists Clubs of Dubuque, as an effort to increase the knowledge and understanding of common animals among the people of Dubuque. The zoo is a replica of an American farm from the 1940’s, and contains a wide variety of animals that a person visiting this time period might see on an actual farm.
Blank Park Zoo Home School Programs
The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines offers a number of home school programs, including Home School Safari, Zookeeper for a Day, and Home School Day. You can also schedule your own home school class.
Links and Items
Bob Books
Bob Books are organized into sets that progress in level as your child learns. They have cute stories and darling illustrations. These books are perfect for children ages 4 to 8.
Explode The Code
Explode The Code provides a sequential, systematic approach to phonics in which students blend sounds to build vocabulary and read words, phrases, sentences, and stories. Frequent review of previously learned concepts helps increase retention. Each workbook in this series contains exercises that incorporate reading, writing, matching and copying. The consistent format of the books helps facilitate independent work. This series includes primers—Get Ready for The Code, Get Set for The Code, and Go for The Code—which introduce initial consonant sounds. In addition, Beyond The Code provides a comprehension component introducing basic comprehension skills with phonetically controlled stories. You'll find product information here.
Bead Sequencing Set
Stack the durable, brightly colored wooden beads on 5 hardwood dowels in sequence to match the design on one of the pattern cards. Builds complex reasoning skills as well as sorting and coordination. Includes over 45 brilliantly colored beads, 5 dowels, and 10 patterns that increase in difficulty.
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
Pattern Blocks and Boards
This set of 10 simply designed colorful wooden blocks and pattern boards includes 100 blocks in six different shapes and colors. They help develop shape recognition and spatial relationship skills. The contents store neatly in a durable wooden case. This games was awarded the Scholastic Parent & Child's 2004 "Top 22 Toys that Make Kids Think" award.
Preschool/Early Learning Games and Activities
Math Games and Activities for Preschoolers
Great and creative ideas for reinforcing counting and numbers.
20 Ideas to Practice Measuring
There are so many ways to practice and teach the science and math skill of measuring. Here are some ideas for fun ways to practice measuring.
5 DIY Manipulatives for Preschool and Kindergarten
These manipulatives are easy to make at home. They provide early learning supplies for anyone on a budget.
PBS Kids Math Games
This is a huge collection of online math games for preschool and elementary aged kids.
Online Games for Learning Math, Logic and Strategy
A list of games that make learning math concepts fun and easy.
40 Awesome Number Activities for Preschoolers
Number activities for preschoolers don't have to be boring and just worksheets. Make them fun so your preschooler will love math. These number activities help with identifying numbers, counting and one to one correspondence.
Lego Challenge Math Activity-Free Printable
Practicing math skills like spatial awareness and geometry can be fun, especially when the math activity involves Legos! Here’s a free printable math challenge for kids using Lego or Duplo bricks!
Preschool Worksheets and Printables
Making Learning Fun Math Ideas
Fun and free printables that are great for preschoolers. These activities make learning fun!
Lego Challenge Math Activity-Free Printable
Practicing math skills like spatial awareness and geometry can be fun, especially when the math activity involves Legos! Here’s a free printable math challenge for kids using Lego or Duplo bricks!
Making Learning Fun
This early childhood education website is filled with free printables designed to make learning fun.
Support for Parents of Preschoolers
Field Trips 101
Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed unit. Is there somewhere you’d like to take your children to reinforce a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag along (think: group rate)—voila! You’re planning a field trip!
CM4primaryyears
To discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling elementary age children, and to share the joys and concerns of everyday life.
CharlotteMasonKindergarten
A group for Charlotte Mason Mom's using the curriculum outline suggested in Karen Andreola's summer of 93 Parent's Review titled, "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", and also trying to complete the Kindergarten Skills list as described in Catherine Levison's book, A Literary Education.
Homeschoolers Teaching Kindergarten
This discussion list is for homeschoolers teaching preschool and kindergarten. Topics include curriculum selection (whether necessary or not), teaching tips, creative learning ideas, time management, unit studies, homeschooling books, neat craft ideas, cooking tips for all occasions, support those who have homeschool burn out, or those who are just starting to homeschool.
Homeschooling Preschool Teaching Tips & Ideas
Readiness
This article takes a look at one mother's coming to terms with her daughter's readiness, or lack thereof, to learn to read.
Preschool Math: All Sorts of Sorting
Parents may think counting and recognizing numbers are the nuts and bolts of preschool math. While these are important skills for young mathematicians to master, building a foundation for complex mathematical thinking begins in the early childhood years. Sorting and classifying objects helps children begin to notice how items are alike and different, and creates an awareness that is vital for math learning.
Way to Learn Math Naturally
These are ideas and strategies to incorporate math learning into everyday life.
Preschool Math: Exploring Patterns
Patterns are all around us, from the clothing we wear to the repeating patterns found in nature and everyday routine. Patterning is also a basic math skill upon which many mathematical concepts are based. Times tables, addition and skip counting all require an understanding of and proficiency in patterning. In preschool, identifying and creating patterns is just the beginning of the mastery of life-long mathematical skills.
Preschool Math: Mastering Number Recognition and Counting
Learning about numbers is a preschooler’s first step toward becoming a budding young mathematician. And in preschool, math learning is all about counting, number recognition, and one-to-one correspondence. If a child doesn’t ace these seemingly simple skills in a timely manner, don’t fret: even math whizzes need time to blossom. But with age appropriate techniques, helping your child to master these math milestones will be as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Field Trips 101
Field trips can inspire your child to study a topic, give him further insights into his current studies, or provide closure to a completed unit. Is there somewhere you’d like to take your children to reinforce a topic this year? Or just want to visit because it would enrich their lives? If you let your support group (or even just a few other families) know that you are planning to go and they are welcome to tag along (think: group rate)—voila! You’re planning a field trip!
Instill a Love of Math
Parents are bombarded with messages to read with their children, but it’s rare to hear about the importance of doing math with them. Here are some helpful tips on why and how to instill a love of math in your children.
Featured Resources

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Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy
Save Thousands of Dollars a Year Jonni McCoy and her family are proof that you live on one income. The McCoys made a successful transition from two incomes to one while living in one of the most expensive parts of America: the San Francisco Bay Area. Her Miserly Guidelines will help you save thousands of dollars a year on everything from groceries to electricity to insurance and household cleaners—as well as reveal the hidden costs of holding a job and common money wasters. Her practical,...
The Absorbent Mind
In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Italian doctor coined to characterize the child's most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.A new foreword by John Cha...
In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences
Children learn in differing ways. Thomas Armstrong specializes in helping parents identify the unique areas in each of our children that enhance their special way of learning and expressing creativity. This work on multiple intelligences talks about the eight different kinds of multiple intelligences, showing you how to discover your child's particular areas of strength. 
Waldorf Education: A Family Guide
Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade.What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" offers a "first look" for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education - the fastest gr...
The Outdoor Life of Children: The Importance of Nature Study and Outside Activities (Charlotte Mason Topics - Volume 2
The methods of Charlotte Mason are popular among homeschoolers. She includes nature study as a crucial element. This work explores the idea of the outdoors as a classroom for children, and gives tips on ways of teaching the sciences, history, literature, music, and art through the use of outdoor space.