Archive for July 2014

Our Pre-K / K4 Year

We made it through a year of at-home preschool! And as this is the time of year when homeschooling parents start to plan for the upcoming school year (Or, if you’re like me, you’re ALWAYS planning for the upcoming school year…) I thought I’d share my plans.


Curly will be 4 for the 2014-2015 school year, and I am not sure if I am going to label our year Pre-K or K4. I don’t know if there is even a difference, but I’m leaning towards K4 since we will be adding in a few things labeled Kindergarten level.

We will be continuing with:

Kumon workbooks for skills and pencil practice. We are currently using  My First Book Of Uppercase Letters,, My Book Of Numbers 1-30, and My First Book Of Cutting. We do these whenever Curly brings them up. Sometimes it’s several days a week, and we’ve also gone for weeks without looking at them. The cutting one is a favorite, as well the Kumon maze series. She seems to really love the little certificate you get at the end when you finish a whole workbook.

Building Thinking Skills Beginning for critical thinking. We started this last year, and we are about halfway through. It’s a big book! We only do this when Curly asks for it.

Art Lab for Little Kids for art ideas. We didn’t use this much this past year (mostly because I forgot I had it..whoops) so I’m hoping to do better this year.

-We have an iPad we let Curly use, and I’ve found some educational apps I really like for her. One is StartDOT Handwriting by TrishCO LLC, and another is Avokiddo ABC Ride by AVOKIDDO. StartDOT is an app that teaches letter formation (sounds boring but the app is really well done) and Avokiddo ABC is…an ABC app. 🙂 If you have an iPad I highly recommend these two!


iPad Screenshot 2iPhone Screenshot 2 is a fun ABC and learn to read site. You can do the ABC learning for free, and if you want to use their learn to read games you pay a monthly fee. I haven’t tried that part out yet, but it’s very popular. Curly asks to use this site at least once a week.

Educational TV is something I do my best to limit, but sometimes this mama needs quiet brain time. The shows I like include Leapfrog, Wild Kratts, and Magic School Bus.

Whew! When I type out all the things we do it looks like a lot. Rest assured we are pretty laid back around here, and the above things aren’t even the primary part of our homeschool! The primary part is ….drumroll...reading. No big surprise if you’ve read my blog before. We go to the library every Monday to get new books. We get both nonfiction and fiction titles, ABC books, poetry books, ethnic goes on and on. I want to raise a reader! Not only for the joy of reading, but for the world of knowledge that opens up when you enjoy reading. When you can read, you can learn about anything!

So, all of the above are things I will be continuing. Here a couple things I will be adding:

Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 2 from the Critical Thinking Company. This math workbook is from the same company as the critical thinking book I mentioned above. We spend most of our time focusing on ABCs so I wanted something to spend a little time on the 123s. It has good reviews on Amazon, so I’m hoping it’s a hit for us.

KinderBach Piano Lessons is something I’m really excited about! I linked you to the DVDs on Amazon, but we will be getting the monthly subscription from the website, at I was thinking about getting Curly piano lessons starting next year (and not looking forward to paying for them), until I found this site. It’s geared for ages 4-7, and it’s super affordable. Booyah!

Build Your Library K: Around the World is going to be the main focus of our year. This is basically a reading list and schedule, including some science books and art projects. We will going on an exciting ‘trip’ around the world, cooking food from different countries and learning about people and animals from those countries. Build Your Library information can be be found here :  I am really happy I found this for this year, as I wanted to do a ‘Continents’ based year anyway; this way it’s all put together for me!

Edited to add:

I don’t feel Curly is ready to read yet, but every few months I reevaluate. If I feel she’s ready, I will probably use this:

Let’s all have a great year! I would love to hear about your plans!

Lately We’ve Been Reading…

I realize I haven’t posted since January…epic fail on my part! However, I have the time and inclination today to update you all on some of our favorite picture books from the past months. This is just a few of them – we have read dozens and dozens from the library. It really is the main part of my preschool program – read, read, read!


Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert is my new favorite retelling of the classic Aesop fable. The illustrations are what really make me love this book!

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea is a fun nonfiction title. The rhyming text compares nonliving and living things to determine which ones will grow. A fun way to teach a little science!


We greatly enjoyed the onomatopoeia in this story! Here’s an example of the text:

Crush the stone. Crush the stone.
Chip and grind and munch.
Make new concrete from the old.
Whirr! Churr! Crunch!

If you have a child interested in machines this will be a great choice. Plus, it’s just really fun to read. Whirr! Churr! Crunch! Dad had a great time reading this one aloud.

This Caldecott winning title will probably be familiar to many of you, but we finally read it. It’s a wordless book about Daisy the dog and her favorite ball. She does everything with her ball – plays with it, sleeps with it, goes on walks with it. One day her ball gets ruined at the dog park, and Daisy is very sad. Of course this book has a good ending  – go check it out from your library and see what happens! This was one we read over and over.


Steve Jenkins’ nonfiction titles are usually a hit in our house, and this one was no exception. This is an interactive book, where the child is supposed to match pictures of animals. My 3 year old found this book really funny for some reason – and quoted from it for several days after we returned it to the library!


This book by James Rumford has really unique illustrations. It’s done in the calabash engraving style from West Africa – Chad, I believe. This book tells the story of Calabash Cat and his journey to find the end of the world. He keeps meeting animals who tell him they know where the world ends  – usually where the desert turns into grasslands, and the grasslands turn into the jungle, etc. It’s an interesting story for a child, but I personally found the underlying principle of the story very nice – sometimes even seemingly insurmountable boundaries can simply be walked across.


Do I even need to introduce this book? No, David! by David Shannon is a pretty famous book about a naughty little boy that does many naughty things; but at the end of the day, his mother still loves him. This book is useful for preschoolers to help them identify feelings they may be feeling, and etc…but I would not have included this book normally. I really dislike the illustrations. However, Curly liked it, so it goes here on the list.


Mo Willems strikes with awesomeness again! I feel like this book is even more enjoyable for the parents or for an older child very familiar with the classic story of Goldilocks than for a really young child. This book parodies the original story at every turn, leading to lots of laughs on my part!


I love Olivia, the ridiculously girly and imaginative pig. Curly loves her too – this is one of those that couldn’t get read enough! Ian Falconer has written several Olivia books now, but this one and the original are our favorites.

Happy reading!