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
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.
JumpStart Free Math Curriculum
Homeschooling parents will find that when it comes to choosing the curriculum for math, there is a huge variety available. In fact, the number of math curriculums available to choose from may make choosing the right one difficult. These supplemental math activities for grades K-5 are fun ways to incorporate more math into your homeschooling.
Singapore Math
Singapore Math books are clear, logical, and sequential. There is a strong focus on mental math. Word problems and geometry are integrated throughtout the series. Singapore Math® books are a popular choice of homeschool families and for parents looking for math activity books to support what their child is learning in school. There are also titles to help home educators understand the foundations of Singapore Math® methodology, giving you tools to help your student be successful and have fun.They offer math texts from pre-K to 12th grades. This series challenges children to think through and understand mathematical concepts instead of simply memorizing facts and algorithms. One of the benefits of using this program is its affordability. The textbooks are inexpensive and are reusable. The consumable workbooks are priced so that even families with multiple children using this program will find it affordable.
Alpha Omega Publications Mathematics Resources for Homeschoolers
These workbooks help teach pre-K concepts such as time, counting, and more.
Math on the Level
Math on the Level is a flexible, maturation-based, homeschool math curriculum with a very effective review system. It's unique approach is designed to turn your home environment into a rich, real-life learning experience and make math education meaningful and fun for your whole family.
  • Teach when it is easy for your child to learn
  • Use everyday activities to make math real
  • Review for long term retention without busywork
One curriculum purchase covers your math needs for the whole family from pre-K through pre-algebra.
Five in a Row
Five in a Row provides a step-by-step, instructional guide using outstanding children's literature for children ages 4-8. Unit studies are built around each chosen book. There is a series for preschoolers called "Before Five in a Row," along with other volumes for older children.
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.
Math-U-See Primer
In the Primer level your child will learn not only how to write numerals but also addition and subtraction, basic counting, skip counting, geometric shapes, telling time, and they will be introduced to the manipulative block system. It’s a gentle introduction to "doing math."
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.
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.
Things to See & Do in Iowa with Preschoolers
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.
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.
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.
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.
Resources
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.
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.
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.
Preschool/Early Learning Games and Activities
Math Games and Activities for Preschoolers
Great and creative ideas for reinforcing counting and numbers.
5 Simple Games for Teaching Number Recognition
These number recognition games are simple, don't require any fancy materials, and preschoolers love to play them.
Montessori Teen Board
This Montessori Teen Board is an easy and inexpensive way to effectively teach the teens (the numbers 10-19)
Montessori Spindle Box
Make this counting spindle board with simple materials from around your home. Teaches counting and grouping.
JumpStart Math Activities
When it comes to math, a good foundation is essential. With these fun math activities for kids, numbers become friends and the basic foundation for the subject is established at an early age. Different math activities for kids of different age groups can be effective in teaching them basic but essential math concepts. Here are some interesting grade-based math activities that parents and teachers can use to make math a whole lot of fun!
Math With Legos: Preschool Roll and Count
Use 1 x 1 Lego bricks and a 12-sided math die to encourage counting and learning.
Math Songs
These counting song are available for download. Lyrics can be printed.
Free Printable Ten Frame Cards
Learn 10s with these free printable cards that offer a fun way to practice. Read about different ways to use the cards for enjoyable math games to teach this concept.
Sort the Mail: Pretend Play and Number Recognition
Kids love to pretend and test their limits within boundaries of make believe. Combining pretend play with math is a great way to challenge your kids without making them feel like it’s a test. Pretending to be a postal worker gives the task of sorting meaning and with that meaning their learning is deeper and better retained.
Activity Ideas for Preschoolers
If you have ever tried to teach your older kids and deal with a toddler too, you know that life can get pretty complicated and noisy. While one child is asking for your help with algebra, another needs guidance with diagramming sentences, and the three year old is wanting to "do school too. Don't panic! Other homeschoolers have been through this too. This list of activities can help you calm the storm.
7 Fun Ways to Learn Numbers Through Play
Enjoy these activities that introduce number concepts and active learning through play.
Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics
This booklet is made up of fun activities that parents can use with children from preschool age through grade 5 to strengthen their math skills and build strong positive attitudes toward math.
Place Value with Beads
Learn the concept of 10s with these simple bead and pipe cleaner manipulatives.
Early Maths with The 3 Bears: Fun Counting and Grouping Activity
This activity helps children to model basic numbers and use counting and grouping strategies to demonstrate and verbalise relationships between basic numbers--in this case, the numbers 1-3. Using the well loved and well known tale of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears will help engage your child and also give them a greater understanding, meaning and depth.
Preschool Math Games
Preschool math games let kids have fun while getting practice with early math concepts like number recognition and identifying shapes. This online learning program, Brainzy, includes math games for preschoolers that work!
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!
5 Great Pre-K Math Activities
Giving children a foundation to build number sense is very important. Learning might as well be fun to help kids build a great outlook on math, as they grow older. Here are five fun Pre-K math activities that build number recognition and counting skills.
75+ Math Activities
These simple early learning math activities teach skills like number recognition, counting, simple addition and subtraction, sorting, sequencing numbers, and measuring.
Sort and Count Bottles
Use old bottles and pom poms for simple counting and sorting maths games and motor skills fun! With lots of ways to play and learn, these are a great addition to the maths area at home or school.
Counting Tubes
The fun and colorful tubes are a great way to practice 1:1 correspondence, counting, and numbers.
Preschool Worksheets and Printables
Free Printable Ten Frame Cards
Learn 10s with these free printable cards that offer a fun way to practice. Read about different ways to use the cards for enjoyable math games to teach this concept.
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.
Preschool Math Printables
These printables are free and help provide extra support for teaching preschool math. You'll find calendars, number tracing cards, number mats, patterns, and more.
Making Learning Fun Math Ideas
Fun and free printables that are great for preschoolers. These activities make learning fun!
Preschool Math Worksheets and Printables
Preschool math worksheets help your young learner develop essential early math skills. From number recognition to counting to addition, preschoolers learn a lot about numbers in one year. Our collection of preschool math worksheets is designed for kids who want to build skills that will prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. These preschool math worksheets help present new number topics to kids in a way that's fun and easy to understand. Help foster a culture of learning by doing these preschool math worksheets with your child.
Free Printable Preschool Worksheets
Free printable preschool worksheets for learning to write the alphabet, numbers and bible memory verses, plus free printable colouring pages and more!
Support for Parents of Preschoolers
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.
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!
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.
CM4primaryyears
To discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling elementary age children, and to share the joys and concerns of everyday life.
Homeschooling Preschool Teaching Tips & Ideas
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!
Design Your Own Preschool Curriculum
Teaching your preschooler at home can be accomplished several ways. There are three options: 1) Purchase a program from one of the preschool curriculum providers, 2) Read to your child from great books, and explore the world together paying attention to what interests your child or 3) Design your own curriculum for free using the internet and the library. Any one of the three options should work fine. But if you prefer a plan laid out in writing and you are on a tight budget, option three is the way to go.
Developmental Milestones for Preschool Mathematics
Children’s ability to understand mathematics takes a big leap forward in the preschool years. Their strengthening ability to represent using manipulatives, symbols, and signs opens up many new possibilities. Children also make strides in algebra and patterning. They can sequence events in time by age three. By age four, they can re-create patterns or make their own repeating pattern. During the preschool years, the child’s ability to problem solve takes on a new zeal. Children’s ability to classify objects is more developed; they can sort and organize objects into different categories and tell which pile has more. This chart details the skills that children can exhibit at different ages.
Simple Tips for Summer Math Learning
Summer reading clubs and story times can help with early literacy and reading, but it might seem daunting to figure out how to prepare a young child for math. Here’s the great news: you’re the right person for the job.
Homeschooling Preschoolers
Learning at home begins at birth for children. The preschool years can be the most enjoyable time of year to homeschool—children are self-motivated, eager to learn, naturally inquisitive and curious about everything. In this article Teri Ann Berg Olsen gives some great ideas for creating a learning environment in your home, how to incorporate learning into play, and lists several games that can help your child learn while playing.
Pre-K Smarties
Pre-K Smarties is a preschool education resource for parents teaching preschoolers with tips for early reading using phonics, parenting articles, family freebies, and deals on the best educational toys.
Tips for Frazzled Homeschool Moms
Any homeschooling family with more than one child knows the challenge of keeping “Baby Kong” from tearing apart the house during school time. These tips help with how to deal with those unruly toddlers and make it through this difficult and often exhausting stage of homeschool life.
Preschool Math--Counting by Tens/Odds and Evens
This youtube video demonstrates some great strategies to help preschoolers learn counting by tens and odd and even numbers.
Preschool Practice: Shapes and Colors
Learning shapes and colors may well be a young child’s first educational endeavor. Although recognizing objects as red or blue, round or square might seem like child’s play, it’s actually integral to a young child’s cognitive development, and sets the stage for math concepts from sorting and patterning to geometry, and beyond! What can you as a parent do to help your young learner master these academic milestones? You may not have to look beyond the backdrop of your life for the perfect learning tools. Try a few of these fun activities to help your child master colors and shapes.
Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School
houldn't very young children be allowed to explore, inquire, play, and discover? Perhaps direct instruction can help children learn specific facts and skills, but what about curiosity and creativity—abilities that are even more important for learning in the long run? hile learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution.
A Homeschool Curriculum for Preschool and Kindergarten
"Can anyone recommend a curriculum for pre-K and kindergarten? This is a frequent question homeschooling bulletin boards and email lists. It's a perfectly reasonable question, but some of the responses can be confusing to new homeschoolers. We all come into homeschooling with some common preconceptions of what the program should be - but many who have been at it for a while or raised homeschool grads are likely to strongly suggest not setting up a structured study program for young children. This is where some misunderstanding can come into play. Saying that a structured study program for a young child is inappropriate is not at all the same as saying that learning is unimportant during the early years. It's simply that many experienced homeschoolers and other educators feel there are certain kinds of activities that are much more important and appropriate in early childhood than studying the 3 R's - and that to establish a structure that emphasizes the 3 R's at that age can actually be detrimental. If a child is asking to learn to read, of course, that's a whole different matter - but it's simply a question of helping that child learn to read, which is very different thing from setting up a curriculum.
Homeschooling Kindergarten Math
Teaching math to young learners at home can be successful if you respond to your child. Children learn best when they aren't forced to learn. Introduce them to ideas, books, educational television, and most importantly, show them how this stuff is used in everyday life. they will catch on and learn it at their own pace.
Way to Learn Math Naturally
These are ideas and strategies to incorporate math learning into everyday life.
Teaching Young Children at Home
How do you teach young children? What do you do all day? How do you provide a "stimulating environment"? These questions are asked frequently by parents of young children who understand the immense magnitude of what it means to take responsibility for their child's education.
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.
Kindergarten Math
Simple approaches to teaching math for preschoolers and kindergarteners in the home environment.
Preschool With Mommy
Here you'll learn to create a simple, inexpensive, and fun home preschool for your children. You'll also find suggestions for books and toys to use in your home preschool. This site supports any type of home preschool, whether you're just supplementing your child's regular preschool, creating an educational home environment, or homeschooling completely.
Mathematics in Pre-K
Young preschool children are active learners, naturally curious and ready to engage in mathematical learning. They approach math with excitement and curiosity, if the practices are age-appropriate, engaging, and involve hands-on, minds-on learning approaches.
Math for Preschoolers: More Than Just Counting
Preschool-age children are ready to explore more than one might think! Parents often focus on counting from one to ten, but there are many other skills that children are ready and able to investigate.
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!
Featured Resources

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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and ...
Home Education: A Homeschooling Classic
Home Education consists of six lectures by Charlotte Mason about the raising and educating of young children (up to the age of nine), for parents and teachers. She encourages us to spend a lot of time outdoors, immersed in nature and handling natural objects and collecting experiences on which to base the rest of their education. She discusses the use of training in good habits such as attention, thinking, imagining, remembering, performing tasks with perfect execution, obedience, and truthfulne...
Serving Homeschooled Teens and Their Parents (Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians Series)
This guide for librarians addresses the needs of homeschooled teens and how a library can meet those needs. Includes ideas like developing a homeschool resource and book collection to creating special homeschool programs. While this book was written for library staff, it is also an insightful guide into how homeschoolers and libraries can work together. 
Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
There can be no greater delight in parenting than passing on the Faith to the next generation. To help with that glorious responsibility comes Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, a parents handbook to home-based religious instruction for the youngest members of the family. Filled with practical ideas, developmental guidelines, and a contagious enthusiasm for the treasures of the Catholic Faith, this exciting guide makes raising truly Catholic kids one of life s greatest pleasures. Recommended in ...
Choosing & Using Curriculum: For Your Special Child
Homeschooling a child with special needs can be challenging. This book lays out a discussion of different reading and math programs, how to adapt materials for special situations, resources for blind, deaf and speech/language, and curriculum types and styles. It will help you find the resource you need to make your homeschooling successful.