Please be aware that there is an overwhelming deluge of evidence that academic work done too early is detrimental to young kids and that being read to A LOT, exploring nature, unstructured play time, very limited screen time, and just living life within a family is the perfect environment for mental growth.
You don’t actually NEED a curriculum at these ages, but you are likely not feeling confident enough in yourself to go without one, so here are some suggestions to help guide you. (Don’t forget to check Amazon, YouTube, and Google for reviews!)….
A Year of Playing Skillfully
Simply Charlotte Mason
Wildwood Curriculum (secular)
Exploring Nature With Children
The Peaceful Preschool
Gentle + Classical
Charlotte Mason Your Way
Miquon Math (PreK-3) – Miquon is what we used in the lower grades, and I have not found a better way to instill intuitive number sense than this program. This would be my #1 choice for K-1st.
Education Unboxed – Education Unboxed is a website (the one you’re on right now!) with videos that we made years ago to show how to teach/learn math with math blocks. Many people use this as their only math curriculum in the early years. Many schools are using these to train their teachers. If you used only these videos for math in PreK-1st, your child will have a better grasp of math concepts than almost every child who has only used pencil and paper. THIS WORKS. And it’s free except for the price of the blocks!
Singapore Essential Math A
Singapore Essential Math B
This is a great curriculum to help you feel like you’ve covered everything you “should” cover without it being too overwhelming. Inexpensive.
Handwriting Without Tears
Praised by Occupational Therapists as the best handwriting curriculum currently available. (I don’t like the style of the letters, but I have only heard good things about this curriculum for kids who struggle with writing.)
A Reason for Handwriting
Ball and stick printing. Traditional cursive. Christian (uses scripture for practice).
Italic style looks nice and makes it easier to transition to cursive.
Before you look below, please read this: If your child is giving you pushback, if she is just not making progress no matter what you do, if you are getting frustrated and annoyed… PUT IT ON HOLD. The brain must be developmentally ready to learn to read. You cannot make the brain develop faster than it’s going to (though you can provide a rich environment which allows it to grow more actual connections). Most kids will learn to read at 5-6. Some will learn at 3 and some will learn at 8 and there are a few outliers who will learn outside of those ages. If you have a child who is going to learn at 7, but you are pushing phonics instruction at 3, 4, 5, and 6, by the time he gets to 7 he’s going to be sick to death of “reading” and possibly think he is stupid. Instead of pushing phonics when the child isn’t ready, take a few months off before trying again, and instead READ READ READ READ READ to him. Every day. All kinds of books. Lots of poetry. Let him see you reading so he knows this is what people do. He WILL learn to read! Your biggest job is to make sure he develops and doesn’t lose a love of reading.
Teaching Reading With BOB Books – Easy. Fairly inexpensive if you use the online version (online is for you, not your child) and make your own cards. Takes some initial work to get everything set up at the beginning but open and go after that. Not visually overwhelming. Simple.
The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading – We used this. Scripted (which I ignored because it felt too stilted). Inexpensive. It was great as a guide for what order to teach the various phonics pieces.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – One of the longest used programs around. Uses non-standard orthography (formation of letters to represent various sounds). Take a look inside before deciding on this. Many people swear by this program.
Teach Your Monster to Read – Free app that people are finding success with.
Starfall – We used this successfully! Online (maybe there is an app, too?) videos that teach basic phonics.
Leapfrog Letter Factory – This is an easy way to teach letter sounds and beginning phonics!!
READ ALOUD LISTS
1000 Good Books List
Ambleside Online Year 0 Books
Read Aloud Revival Picture Books List
Charlotte Mason Plenary Preschool Books List
Charlotte Mason Plenary Kindergarten Books List
Here’s a list of what to expect from a Kindergartener. You could literally just do the things on this list and not buy curriculum if you wanted to – What to Expect From a Kindergartener + Kindergarten Program and Books
Developing the Early Learner workbooks – If your child struggles with auditory or visual processing, these may be helpful. We found that only books 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 were necessary.
Book 1 – Book 2 – Book 3 – Book 4
Come Look With Me art books – Excellent beginning art appreciation books!
Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six – PLEASE don’t graduate your child from kindergarten without having read these aloud or at least listened to the audio books together! Milne was a genius. His poetry books are amazing, too!
Poems to Read to the Very Young – One of my favorite early poetry books. We also loved A Child’s Garden of Verses, The Llama Who Had No Pajama, Runny Babbit, Mother Goose, and The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (gorgeous!).
The Aesop for Children – This book is on every single Charlotte Mason and Classical homeschooling list. Don’t miss it!
Pattern Blocks and Cards – One of our most used educational toys.
Jeweler’s Loops – Great for looking at tiny things in nature.
Go Find It game – Fun way to get kids (and adults!) exploring outdoors.
Peter and the Wolf – Introduction to the orchestra. This is the version my husband watched as a boy. We got an audio CD from the library when our girls were young. There are many versions! Here’s a ballet version. And here’s a live orchestra performance.
Carnival of the Animals
The Cat’s Duet (bad video quality but cute!)
And, lastly, some great articles to help you keep your priorities in order
Six Ways to Early Years You Won’t Regret
My Ideal Early Learning Program
Early Years Math By the Way