Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Comparison

Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Comparison - The Silvan Reverie

To Preschool or Not to Preschool…

There is a wide range of opinions in the homeschool world about whether or not to “do preschool” with our children. Charlotte Mason purists will hold to the idea that under age 6 should be a “quiet growing time” and that no formal lessons should begin until age 6. I believe that most homeschoolers are some kind of eclectic mix of philosophies and are not purists in the sense they hold fast to that as a hard rule. Many are willing to do school in some way before the age of 6.

I think sometimes there is this notion if you buy a preschool curriculum or you see others doing preschool with their children, that it creates an overly structured learning environment that is too much for kids at that age. We use phrases like “protecting childhood” which are important, but I truly do not believe if you are going through a preschool curriculum you are NOT robbing your children of childhood. Most preschool curriculums are specifically designed to NOT be overly time-consuming or burdensome. There are SO MANY hours in a day that you have to spend with your child, and a preschool curriculum might give you some intentional learning space for anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes a day.

Further, the activities in these homeschool preschool curriculums are often so gentle and naturally fit in to the flow of your day. Many activities are about focusing on the child and where they are at, figuring out their learning style as well as what works for you as the home educator. It’s supposed to be fun!

Preschool at home can appear to be overwhelming, especially if you are considering it for your first child, but it truly does not have to be!

One last point I have is that preschool for your children likely is going to look vastly different between your first child and subsequent children. It’s just a thing that happens. As your older children move up in grades they will require more planning and prep and focused time from you, so moms of multiple children will have to get creative with preschool curriculums if they are interested in incorporating these with their preschoolers. There are a number of ways to do that: only do a few of the activities each day, or take one day a week to dedicate special time with just the preschooler, or involve the older children in helping do activities with the preschooler. Lots of options for creativity and finding a fit that flows with your family!

When to Begin Preschool?

Between the ages of 2 and 6 there is such a WIDE range of interest and ability when it comes to learning. You as the parent are going to have to figure this out on your own. No one can do this for you. And you will likely falter and need to re-find your footing. There will be some things you try with your child that just do not work. Try not to take that personally. Try not to see it as failure. The fact that you are the parent at home with your child and able to see that child in love and fullness is a huge gift! You get to decide that something is not working and reimagine something new for them. They will not have to be forced in to something simply because 20 other kids their exact same age are doing that thing already.

One of the best gifts of a life of a preschooler spent at home is: freedom. This time truly should be filled with unstructured time and play and read alouds and creative exploration and lots of outdoor time. If you buy a curriculum, keep in mind your core home values and make sure to stick to those things. Feel free to skip activities or take weeks or months off of caring about the curriculum. These are invitations, not requirements. Know your child. Love your child.

Similarly, what I feel does not get said enough is that YOU matter. You as the home educator matter: what you enjoy, what you are capable of, who you are. Be attune to yourself and your needs and try not to compare yourself to what others are accomplishing with their children.

How to Choose Curriculum

I encourage you to sit down and think about your homeschool vision and priorities before you start shopping around. This does NOT mean you need to have your entire homeschool philosophy for the next 12 years perfectly articulated and solidified! I am still in the early stages with my children but, as I understand it, many homeschoolers shift and change and revise and grow as their kids grow. The vision may alter and adapt as needed, but that does not mean your initial vision was wrong! It was right for the right season.

Here are some helpful places to start thinking about your homeschool philosophy and vision:

For example, our home incorporates a mix of homeschooling models, but we have some core value “key terms” that I try and consider and even revise a few times a year:

  • Knowledge of God
  • Living education, not school
  • Outside every day
  • Atmosphere of love
  • Rhythm, not schedule
  • Celebration of beauty
  • Whole self health
  • Community-mindedness

I have a list where I expand on each of these items and try to evaluate if any are lacking at given times.

Four Favorite Preschool Curriculum Options, Reviewed

Below I have provided some detail for four Preschool Curriculums that I own:

I encourage you to download the free sample week from each shop if you are interested in seeing what these are like.

Here are some helpful budget-friendly options to print digital versions of curriculum:

The Peaceful Preschool Overview- The Silvan Reverie
The Peaceful Preschool


A literature and project-based 26 week gentle curriculum that runs on on a letter-a-week theme. The Peaceful Press is predominately Charlotte Mason and Montessori inspired, though elements of other pedagogies weave their way in.

We did this curriculum all the way through, and absolutely loved it. I decided, since my son was 3.5 at the time we began, to extend the time of preschool to longer than 26 weeks and instead spread it out over longer than a year. We spent 2 weeks on each letter and did some extra on-theme activities, taking breaks here and there. This is not at all necessary! You can stick to the 26-week curriculum and not add on a single thing.

Subjects Covered in a Week

  • Read Alouds
  • Phonics
  • Counting Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Large Motor Skills
  • Practical Life Skills
  • Art Skills
  • Field Trip


  • Easy to follow; the weekly grids are well-designed and supply lists are organized meaningfully
  • Adaptable to work with what works best for your family
  • Excellent book list!! The book list for this curriculum is so good! Even if you do not wish to do a full-blown preschool curriculum, any home library for little ones would be enriched by any book from this book list.
  • Developmentally appropriate activities, hands-on learning and beautiful projects
  • Considers natural rhythms and home life with multiple children
  • Budget-friendly activities — most activities take in supplies you likely already have around the home or at least could come up with a suitable alternative.
  • Access to a private Facebook group when you purchase.
  • Designed with some religious content (Bible stories and optional weekly Bible verses) but this can be easily adapted for the secular household

What Comes Next?

Depending on when you began, you have a couple options if you want to stick with The Peaceful Press. You could go to their Early Elementary series like The Playful Pioneers (based on The Little House on the Prairie series) OR they have monthly guides that work well for a Kindergarten year (e.g. Sky, Mountain, Desert). There are (or will soon be) 12 guides so you could do one per month! Check out The Peaceful Press for more.

A Year of Tales Preschool Overview - The Silvan Reverie
A Year of Tales Preschool


A literature and hands-on approach to preschool with beauty and nature learning weaved in. This uses the Beatrix Potter tales as well as nature-based literature for a gentle year of hands-on learning and exploration. It is a full and rich curriculum and well worth reading the introduction for general homeschool inspiration.

We used the A Year of Tales elementary curriculum for our Kindergarten year for my oldest child — this blog post details what I planned for that year. Towards the end of our year when the Preschool curriculum was released I began incorporating it with my Preschooler (age 5).

Subjects Covered in a Week

  • Character
  • Phonics
  • Literature
  • Math
  • Imagine and Explore
  • Handcrafts and Project-Based Invitations
  • Friday Tea
  • Field Trip


  • Easy to follow with weekly grids and supply lists but also adaptable — the activities are invitations and it is up to you to decide what works for you
  • The nature learning is beyond excellent and age-appropriate
  • Hands-on approach that is also age-appropriate and full of beauty
  • Emphasizes character building and takes in to account the whole child, not just academics
  • You get a LOT of extra worksheets and printables with this curriculum to weave in if you child is interested and ready, but these are not at all necessary to do the core work of the curriculum. There are also nature study-based printables that are beautiful and would be useful for beyond the preschool years. It is shocking how much extra you get for the price.
  • Easy to pair with the A Year of Tales elementary curriculum if you have multiple children. You can take two approaches: pair it with A Year of Tales Elementary, or do it on its own going through the alphabet A to Z.
  • Incorporates a Friday Tea Time which is used for engaging in beauty and review of the week
  • This does incorporate Bible verses weekly but if you wanted to do this from a secular approach I believe you could

What Comes Next?

Blossom & Root Early Years Overview - The Silvan Reverie

Blossom & Root Early Years


A comprehensive open-and-go curriculum with hands-on learning, engaging projects, and beautiful incorporation of the arts. You can read more detail and download free samples here.

Note there are two volumes to the Early Years Volume 1 covers ages 2-4 and Early Years Volume 2 covers ages 4-6. You can purchase them bundled together and save.

Subjects Covered in a Week

Early Years Volume 1

  • Read-Together Time & Prompts for a Literacy-Rich Environment
  • Environment / Experience Prompts
  • Nature Study
  • Composer Study
  • Math & Science (with Environment, Experiences, Engagement)
  • Picture Study
  • Kindness & Connectivity
  • The Arts (Visual Arts, Dramatic Play)
  • The Kitchen Classroom

Initially this might seem like a lot of categories for ages 2-4 but these are truly meant to be incorporated so easily in to your day!! Everything is experience and play-based and minimal to no prep is involved for each week.

Early Years Volume 2

  • Read-Together Time (Read-Aloud plus Activity Invitation, Poetry)
  • Reading / Writing Readiness
  • Composer Study
  • Picture Study
  • Kitchen Classroom
  • Exploring Artistic Expression
  • Early Math Foundations
  • S.T.E.M. Activity
  • Nature Study & Notebook
  • Interest-Based Investigations


  • Hands-on learning requires no worksheets or printables to manage
  • Open-and-go and little prep is involved
  • In my opinion this is the best option out there for a secular household or a household that incorporates its own specific religious traditions. We fall in to this category. We are Christians but often I am shopping for secular curriculum to ensure it fits with our worldview.
  • Budget-friendly and designed for a busy household. Most activities are incorporated in to the flow of your day.
  • A beautiful and seamless incorporation of the arts (picture study, composers, etc.)
  • Weekly STEM-based age-appropriate learning in addition to math and nature study. I really appreciate the STEM focus!
  • Excellent book list and incorporation of poetry

What Comes Next?

I highly recommend buying the Early Years & Kindergarten Bundle to save money!

Habitat Schoolhouse Preschool Overview - The Silvan Reverie

Habitat Schoolhouse


This curriculum is mostly housed in a worksheet-style student notebook but that does not mean there are no hands-on activities! I love the inclusion of a wide range of arts & culture lessons, the science is nature-based and there is an inclusion of Montessori-based skills on a daily basis. You can read more about the preschool curriculum here.

Subjects Covered in a Week

  • Reading
  • Letters & Phonics
  • Number/Counting Skills
  • Shapes & Color
  • Arts & Culture
  • Plants & Animals
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Practical Life Skills
  • Field Trip


  • Pretty much everything you need for this is right in front of you once it is all printed out
  • Low-stress for the home educator to incorporate
  • I think this works well for having multiple children around and wanting to not spend a ton of time gathering resources each week
  • Some children genuinely respond well to worksheets and the ones in this curriculum are engaging, thoughtfully-designed and beautiful. I know many parents are grateful that a program like this exists.
  • Globally-focused in literature, art, culture, and nature
  • Includes shape and color recognition activities every day
  • There is a private community for this program but you need to purchase a membership

What Comes Next?

Comparison Charts

Preschool Curriculum Comparison

Preschool Curriculum Overview - Weekly Categories Covered
A Few Other Options

I have had friends use the following curriculum for preschool and love them. I personally have never used these so I cannot speak directly, but I wanted to add them to the list here for your exploration:

A Year of Playing Skillfully (Religious)

  • Designed for ages 3-7 to have a year of wonder and discovery through hands-on activities and play. Each month has a set theme and the curriculum activities are laid out monthly instead of weekly/daily to allow flexibility. Charlotte Mason inspired and includes memory verses from the Bible. Free sample here.

Before Five In A Row (Religious)

  • A precursor to Five In A Row, designed for ages 2-4 but similar in style in that it is literature-based. Activities are built around the stories. You can download the Goodnight Moon unit as a sample.

My Father’s World (Religious)

The Gentle + Classical Preschool (Religious)

  • Charlotte Mason-inspired with hints of Classical. Follows Charlotte Mason’s List of Formidable Attainments Before Age 6. Includes memory work from catechism and the Bible. Open-ended, literature-based. Level 1 is for ages 2-4 and Level 2 is more Kindergarten-leaning, for ages 4-6. Level 2 includes math. Note: The Teachers Guides are completely free! Seriously! You can then purchase printable bundles to pair with each level.

Torchlight Pre-K (Secular)

  • A 32 week full curriculum designed for ages 4-5. Not dependent on religious beliefs. Follows traditional educational standards for this age but also includes the development of emotional intelligence and humanistic values (truth, morality, etc.)

Charlotte Mason – A Quiet Growing Time

If you are sold on a more purist Charlotte Mason style homeschool I do recommend Leah Martin’s Charlotte Mason Preschool Foundations guide.

For a secular perspective of Charlotte Mason’s principles for ages 3-6 see A Quiet Growing Time from Juniper Pines.


Bears Nature Study

Bears Nature Study - The Silvan Reverie

Nonfiction Books:
Fiction Books:

Great for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Early Chapter Books





Space Mini Unit



We spent about 1 1/2 weeks learning about space, with a special focus this time on space exploration. Two years ago we mainly focused on the planets, which was fun to repeat with my 3 year old. But, my 5 year old had a much greater interest in rockets and rovers and such, so I grabbed a lot more books this time for him.



*The two favorites of my 3 year old. Most other books were more for my 5 year old.

**These were just okay. Interesting for one read, but overall not as engaging.

Reference Books:

Note that we did not sit and read every page of any of these books, but flipped through and read what interested the kids at the time. My son also enjoys flipping through books like this with lots of pictures on his own even though he cannot read yet.

*We used this book for the information about the planets. We did not really cover too much about constellations and stars this round.

Projects & Activities



Shown here are the books The Planets and Space!

My free Solar System Cards are also pictured here.

We used a clay recipe from Nature’s Art Box, but I’m sure store-bought clay or salt dough would work great! We used biscuit cutters to make different sizes, then once they dried we used watercolor paint to design them. Both kids loved this activity, and then they. had their own solar system to play with.



For a space sensory bin we used black beans, black and white glass gems, balled up aluminum foil (for meteors). Then we put our clay planets and toys in the bin. The kids play with this and tell stories but also use scoops and fine motor tools to play around.



Shown here are the books What We See in the StarsSpace!Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover, and Life on Mars.

We made homemade bright red play dough (here’s the recipe I use), built the Curiosity out of LEGOs, and just did a lot of reading and pretend play.



Shown here are the books Moonshot and Exploring Space.

Obviously my son was particularly interested in rockets — what kid isn’t? So, we used our books and watched videos comparing different rockets over the course of space exploration history. We used these Space Shuttle Nomenclature Cards and books to learn about the parts of the space shuttle.

I have about 20 different space shuttle drawings all over my house right now! And we built different rockets out of LEGO Duplos as well.

The R is for Rocket printout is from the Playful Learning Space Unit (Member’s Lounge access only).



Not surprisingly the kids wanted to make more of a craft-based space shuttle (not just illustrate their own on paper), so we looked up ideas together and liked this one with the fire hanging down from the rocket. We taped the rockets to their ceiling fan and had fun watching them take off!



Shown here are the books MoonshotExploring Space, What We See in the Stars, and Space Exploration.

The Printable Space Exploration History Cards are free. We also found the book A Brief Illustrated History of Space Exploration at our library which helped put the timeline of space exploration in context.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing coming up this year, it was fun to have my son so interested in learning more about this mission. He particularly loved learning about the astronauts and the mechanics of The Columbia and The Eagle. Again we watched some videos — the footage of the Saturn V rocket launch is pretty astounding and worth checking out!



Shown here are the books Moonshot and The 50 States.

The black and white state cards are from Target.

The NASA facilities location map I got from here.

My son likes maps so I thought it would add some context to his understanding of the U.S.A. to pinpoint where the Kennedy Space Center, Jet Propulsion Lab, Johnson Space Center, and Langley Research Center are.



This Solar System Scavenger Hunt is free – I created it awhile ago. This past week we used it by hiding the printed planets around the house, then the kids had to find them, name them, and check off the list until we found them all. This is really fun and engaging, and works well for young children. It was a fun way for my 3 year old to learn the planets a bit more.



Shown here are the books Mae Among the StarsCounting on KatherineHidden Figures, Herstory, and Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.

Our point of inspiration to even begin a space-themed unit was Mae Jemison and Katherine Johnson. I had checked these books out for Black History Month, but my son in particular was so enthralled I thought it warranted further exploration.

Katherine Johnson has even inspired him to go deeper with his math lessons! He asks to do math every day now!


We learned about what it’s like to be an astronaut: A Day on the International Space Station, and Astronauts were two books that helped.

We listened to some music included on the Voyager Golden Record.

We also talked a lot about gravity and played games to demonstrate.

We watched several videos from NASA: rocket launches, the design of the Mars Curiosity rover, a tour of the International Space Station. Lots to enjoy online!

Additional Resources

Feel free to take a peek at our Space Unit from two years ago! We repeated some of these things this year too, like a meteor count and scavenger hunt.


Links to All Printables


Space Play: My Picks



Mountains – Mini Unit



Lately for our preschool units I tend to plan things on the fly, paying attention to the interests of my kids. This unit was 100% driven by them. They had the idea and I quickly did a library grab of some books, and we watched the Mountains episode from Planet Earth II, then went from there on to other learning and play and crafts (thank you, Pinterest). This unit is not meant to be a comprehensive preschool unit where I cover every category of learning. Rather, I treated this more like a nature study and kept it play-based as much as possible.



I’ve detailed in the ACTIVITIES section below how we have used these books and resources.


Learn Mountain Terms


We used both Geography A to Z and Mountains of the World to talk about how mountains are made and learn some new vocabulary.

Build Mountains to Learn about Mountain Zones


The Golden Glow is a recent book that quickly became a family favorite. The story and illustrations are wonderful! On one page of the book the different zones of a mountain are depicted as Fox hikes to the top (pictured on top above), so we used that book and Mountains of the World to talk about what kind of plants and animals might live in the different zones. I did not expect my children to name all the zones in order or anything, but just to explore the fact that thing that live at low altitude might not be living at the top of the mountain.

Mapwork: Find Mountains Around the World


My son in particular LOVES our MAPS book so I thought it would be fun to go through and find different famous mountains illustrated in various countries throughout the book. We used the map in Mountains of the World as well as a printout from Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter M Unit) do explore the locations of various mountains.

Specific Mountain Focus: Everest


Of course we needed to look at the highest mountain peak in the world, right?  Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter Y Unit) has a nice brief info sheet about the Himalayas, as does the book The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth. Mount Everest is features in Atlas of Adventures: Wonders of the World so we also read about it there. We located the Himalayas in our MAPS book and explored the book Everest (this is a longer reference-style book with some stories so we did not read through the whole thing).

Learn about Mountain Wildlife


We watched the Mountains episode of Planet Earth II, read the Mountains poem from Wild World, explored animals in Mountains of the World, and then I found the following animals from Learn Create Love for the kids to create:

Specific Animal Focus: The Yak


After creating our Yaks we learned more about them from Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter Y Unit), Everest, and Mountains of the World.

PLAY: Small Worlds & Pretend/Role-Play


We did a lot of pretend play with this Mountains unit, pretending to be different animals, especially the ones featured on the Mountains episode of Planet Earth II.

We also built small Mountain worlds with Schleich Animals and the following:

I really feel that play is the most meaningful learning avenue for my kids—they both love exploring books, but we often expand the information and stories through play!

Letter Unit Activities · Uncategorized

Preschool Supplies & Resources by Learning Category


Another Supply List??

Up until now I have resisted putting up a supply list on my blog because I did not think it would be helpful to re-invent the wheel. There are a ton of great preschool supply lists out there already — I personally started with The Peaceful Preschool supply list since that was the curriculum we used and will be repeating again.

However, here’s what I have to offer that might be a unique perspective:

  1. We live in a small house and do not have much storage space so I try to keep the supplies to a minimum,
  2. I prefer nature-based materials because they cost no money, have added sensory benefits, and do not harm the earth when disposed of, and
  3. I’ve done a whole year with The Peaceful Preschool and now that I know what we really need and actually gets use, I wish there were some things that I had not bought so I have noted those things below.

I plan to share my supply list based on must-have essentials, nice-to-have items, and, lastly, things I wish I would have skipped buying.

Note, though, that even the “must-haves” on my lists are my based on my preference and what fits with our preschool curriculum. Feel free to disagree with me!

Each supply list also includes some additional resources like free printables that I’ve found useful over the last year.

The Categories


Click on a link below to jump to a specific category of supplies & resources:

Lesson Preparation


  • Paper
  • Pens, Pencils, Highlighters
  • Scissors

Seriously. If you are on a tight budget, I think you can totally get by not having a printer & laminator & paper cutter!! You could have The Homeschool Printing Company print your curriculum and any worksheets, and not do any weekly printing from home. This is preschool, not college! Granted, this works for a non-worksheet-intensive curriculum like The Peaceful Preschool. There are other curriculums out there that require A LOT of printouts, in which case you probably are better off owning one!


The printer I purchased also has a scanner which I use on a weekly basis to keep digital files of all my children’s artwork.

I resisted buying a paper cutter at first but when I finally got one it was SO much better. Such a time-saver for cutting 3-Part Cards especially. I do think if you are not using a lot of printables you could skip all this stuff, though. I have had the one linked for over a year and have not needed to replace the blade yet.

Then there’s the regular office stuff like scissors, paper, hole punch, etc. that you likely already have.

Lesser-used but still nice to have:

The corner rounder cuts through laminated card stock. I love that thing so much.

I use binder rings to hold A-Z memory verses and other flash cards together.

The circle hole punches I have used for materials preparation but the kids also use them for arts & craft projects.

Read Alouds


See this blog post for all the resources I use to select Preschool books.

Letter Formation & Phonics

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:

* The Peaceful Preschool has you make your own DIY sensory letters using their printouts and glitter glue. These are redundant since we have the sandpaper letters listed above. My kids also had a hard time using the glitter glue tubes without frustration. AND, I’ve read that glitter has a negative impact on the environment so have tried to stay away from it.

** We bought this book and my son enjoyed it to a degree. He liked the stickers, but really I did not feel it was worth the money, in the end, because we already did enough letter-learning activities and I felt that this book was not adding anything of value. 

Other Letter Learning Supplies: Printables & Resources

Numbers & Counting

  • Sandpaper numbers
  • The Peaceful Preschool number cards (with purchased curriculum)
  • The Peaceful Preschool hundreds chart (with purchased curriculum)
  • Manipulatives for counting. Here are some options:
    • Natural materials: acorns, sticks, cut wood discs, rocks, shells
    • Beads, marbles, popsicle sticks, buttons, pom poms
  • Trays / compartments for counting (you can even write numbers in these):
    • Egg cartons
    • Muffin tins
    • Ice cube trays

Note: Preschool Math is a category where I feel like it is easy to get creative, see what is already in your house, or explore a thrift store. In my opinion, there is very little spending that needs to be done here for preschool. Recycle your egg cartons or thrift some trays and tins!

Also, I feel a lot of counting for this age can be done simply by reading books and through the regular day-in day-out play. If I do a pre-planned math activity, I try to keep it playful.

Other Supplies: Printables & Resources

Fine Motor Skills


Again, a lot of things here can be found around your house or thrifted!

Sensory Play

Generally I prefer the great outdoors for this type of play: playing in dirt or mud or water. But, we have winters and rainy days in Indiana and it’s nice to have a few fun options for indoor sensory play:

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Water Beads (I just don’t care for the waste and environmental impact of these)

Large Motor Skills

Practical Life

For us, this mainly means including my children in our regular daily rhythm.

We have daily chore tasks which I discussed on our Daily Rhythm blog post.

We try to give the kids independence in self-care as appropriate.

Here are a few things I have found useful to have around:

Arts & Crafts

This category can get CRAZY real fast. My main recommendation for those first starting out: do not feel like you need EVERY SINGLE art supply available to your children right off the bat! Pick just a couple, see how they like it, and as budget allows try to slowly incorporate some others. We have a wide variety of supplies right now but my children love crayons and watercolor the most. If I was on a super tight budget I would start with those. I’m putting a wide variety in my “must-haves” list but know I do not think you need ALL of these things.

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
Seen on other lists I’ve never bought:
  • Contact paper

Color Recognition

For color sorting there are a lot of cheap and DIY options:

  • I hand-painted our wood jewelry sorting tray (with 12 spots), and we use this a lot.
  • You could also make your own version of something like this using an old cupcake tin & construction paper.
  • We have also used our colored bowls from IKEA or I just make something simple with construction paper.
  • You could also make something simple out of felt if you are that kind of crafty.

I also love Grimm’s rainbow peg dolls that could double as a toy and used for color sorting preschool activities.

Lastly, I love these FREE Color Nomenclature Cards to introduce color names.

Shapes Recognition

I mainly use this shape sorting printable set I created to go along with our Melissa and Doug Wood Shape Sorter — we had the shape sorter already so I went with that. You can find the free printable on this page.

I also love these free shape flashcards from tinyn3rds.

Outdoor Play & Nature Study


See the following blog posts for more detailed information for this category:

Here is what I use for a nature journal for my kids:

Geography & Culture

See this blog post on our Preschool Cultural Studies supplies.

Art & Music Appreciation

Bible & Spirituality


See this blog post on our Bible Lesson supplies and units.

Games & Puzzles

Do not underestimate the value of games & puzzles! I think this doesn’t get labelled as “school” but for preschool-aged: it totally counts.

Here are some favorite games:

And some favorite puzzles:

Calendar & Clock

We update our hanging wall calendar. You can also make a free version of a perpetual calendar using The Peaceful Press Calendar Bundle or find a different version.

At the beginning of a new month we read a monthly from Around The Year (Elsa Beskow). There is also a days of the week poem in here that’s fun.

There are clocks that can be purchased but I felt at this point for preschool-age I just wanted something simple that my son could manipulate so I made one using a wood circle and numbered rocks, with two sticks for hands.

What I Wish I Would Have Thought About Last Year Before Stocking Up On Supplies

Lessons I’ve learned after doing through preschool at home for one year:

  1. Use natural materials whenever possible! Sensorial experience with natural materials is a huge bonus, PLUS items from nature don’t cost anything and don’t create excess trash in landfills. Hooray!
  2. Thrift it. Pretty much all of my baskets and trays came from a thrift store. If it’s thrifted, then you don’t have to get mad if it gets ruined.
  3. Find things around your house before you purchase something new and cool. Seriously, you probably have a drawer of random buttons somewhere that can be used for math or sorting or even letter formation.
  4. Think of ways to use materials in multiple ways. For example, wood beads with holes can be (1) laced as a fine motor skill, (2) used for a transfer tray, (3) counted up for simple math lessons, (4) added to play dough for some letter formation fun, or (5) used for arts and crafts. You do not need marbles AND beads AND pom poms AND buttons. Pick one. Simplify.
  5. Printables that make for good Instagram photos are not always worth it. Save that printer ink!! Seriously, the more I do this the more grumpy I get about printables with full-color pages.
  6. If you are going to print something that takes a lot of ink (like 3-Part Cards), make sure you get a lot of use out of them! We use our 3-Part Cards every week in multiple ways, and I have seen so much wonderful learning happening with their use. Also, I save my 3-Part Cards for repeat lessons since we are going through the alphabet A-Z all over again.
  7. Before you buy something, try to plan in your mind exactly where you will store it. If you don’t have a great option for storing it, try to skip buying it.
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most of my kid’s art projects I later turn in to scissor cutting exercises, so we get 2 uses out of the paper … and then we recycle the cut up pieces if we are able.

CONGRATS on Your Homeschooling Journey!

If you have questions, please feel free to email me our DM me on Instagram.


















Geography & Culture Studies


How We Do Culture Studies

UPDATE JULY 2019: I originally wrote this post for Preschool but everything here still fits perfectly for Kindergarten.

We explore countries other than our own using the following resources and activities, which I will detail below:

  • Living Books
  • Letters From Afar
  • Map Work (Geography)
  • Age-Appropriate Nonfiction Resources
  • Classic Stories & Folktales
  • Animal & Biome Study
  • Flag-Making
  • Landmark Study
  • Videos
  • Cultural Food

Living Books

If nothing else, we usually START with stories set in different countries. This, to me, is the easiest and most natural place to start for my kids. So, instead of setting out a globe on the table and announcing, “We’re going to learn about France today,” we read Madeline! We first read living books — and if that story is set in a different country that ours, it provides a natural opportunity to locate that country on a map and explore it further.

Here are just a couple examples:

What Do We Do All Day? has a great list of books by country that may be of interest!

Letters From Afar

We recently signed up for a subscription from Letters From Afar and I am totally blown away at how wonderful and simple this is! I was honestly worried the letters would be too much for my kids at their ages, but they loved it! They are so excited for the next letter to come in the mail, to see where Isabelle might go next. Covered in the letters are famous landmarks, cultural events, climate, food, animals, and some history. It’s wonderful. For only $6 a month, this is absolutely worth it.

Map Work (Geography)


As stated above, we typically do not study maps in isolation of literary connections. That said, I’ll share some of the resources I have been using lately:

We do not have a globe at this point that that’s next on my wishlist! I would also love to find a high quality wood puzzle of the whole world with every country as its own piece, so if you know of one, please do share.

More could be done for Preschool Geography in terms of terminology, landforms, and even compass work, but for this blog post I wanted to keep the focus on the connection of map work to cultural studies. Montessori-inspired continent boxes are also a wonderful tool.

Age-Appropriate Nonfiction Resources


We read and explore the above-listed books enough where my son can actually make connections between the books. Sometimes it may take my effort but I never try to force the learning but instead follow the lead of my kids.

If it works out and interest is there, we search these books together to make connections between our Letters From Afar letter or a picture book we are reading.

Classic Stories & Folktales


There are lots of great folktales from a variety of countries in these two books:

The Table of Contents to both of these books has the stories listed and the country of origin. I just scan the lists and find a story from the specific country we are currently studying. We usually read these types of stories during our afternoon tea time.

Note that I do not use these books with every country we study. I do at most one story from these books a week.

Animal & Biome Study


We often look at our MAPS book and find animals on those pages. My kids LOVE animals and it’s fun to explore the natural world around the globe in this way. We play with small animal figurines from Safari TOOBs, explore the Atlas of Animal Adventures, read poems from Wild World, and watch scenes from Planet Earth.


Above is a picture of a Tiger study that also included a culture study of India. Connecting animals to places across the globe is such a fun way to make geography have some depth beyond “this is where India is on the map.”


This can be so simple and so fun! Flags are a great way to bring in some arts & crafts to the culture studies.

My kids have done the following to make flags:

  • Cut construction paper and glue together pieces
  • Color or watercolor paint a basic printed coloring page (found through Google)
  • Build a flag out of LEGO pieces

We reference flags from our MAPS book or from this printable from Playful Learning.

Landmark Study


For our Madeline and France study, we also focused on The Eiffel Tower. We looked up real photos and pictures, and then I had the kids do a special art piece featuring the Eiffel Tower.

My kids also love building with blocks and LEGOs, so when we were learning about England we built Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. Safari also has a World Landmark TOOB and Around the World TOOB with a variety of famous landmarks—these are all miniature and my kids enjoy this type of thing, but you certainly can skip buying stuff like this!


I also enjoy having these illustrated World Landmark Nomenclature Cards from Montessori Nature.


If you have the ability to hop on a plane and go experience the actual country you are studying, by all means! Next best thing? Videos! The internet can certainly be terrible (in my humble opinion), BUT it also gives us the ability to enjoy some people, places, and customs from around the world in our small home in rural Indiana. Not a bad thing!

We simply watch a variety of videos for our cultural studies. I already mentioned we like to watch Planet Earth for some features of specific animals and habitats, but we also may watch videos of a specific cultural celebration like Chinese lantern festivals or Andalusian Horse Dance shows. I usually wait to see what type of thing my kids are showing interest in from our stories and discussions, and then look up videos. I do not typically pre-plan this out.

Cultural Food

What’s a culture study without international food!?

Here are some examples of foods we have made recently to celebrate another country:

  • Crepes for France
  • Samosas for India
  • Churros for Spain

Don’t put pressure on yourself to make the best ever “authentic” fare — just find an easy version of a popular dish that you can make & enjoy with your child(ren).

Other Options

World music — Celebrate some music from your country of focus. For preschoolers this needs no elaborate explanation or introduction–simply play the music while you cook or clean or play.

Dance styles — Look up a culturally relevant dance and try it out with your kids. We have even visited some local performances to enjoy a variety of types of dance and music.

Artist study — Is there a famous artist from your country of focus you want to explore further? I wanted to do Picasso for Spain recently, but we spent so much time exploring other things that I thought adding in an artist study that week would be too much. Really for preschoolers you could introduce the artist with one famous work of art — don’t feel like you need a huge history lesson and to explore his/her full body of work! Keep it fun.

Art projects — Is there a culturally-specific art technique or style you could try out in a preschool-friendly-version? Brush & ink calligraphy painting is used in China, for example, and could be done with a DIY ink version with preschoolers.

Additional Resources

Every Star is Different has several helpful Continent Packs for all 7 Continents (plus The Arctic) with a lot of free printables. Go check it out here.

Little Global Citizens is a fun, thoughtful, and engaging subscription box for learning about a different country. There is a book included as well as numerous crafts and activities.



A Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Daily Rhythm


Our Preschool Curriculum

In May 2017 we started our preschool at home with The Peaceful Preschool plus additional activities based on my children’s interests and seasonal changes in the natural world. I have mainly been “doing school” with my now-4 1/2-year-old and including my youngest (just now 3) to the degree that she is interested. It’s actually amazing what she has been able to pick up without direct schooling efforts on my part, just by participating and watching her older brother!

Looking ahead, I plan to finish the curriculum through Letter Z, and then start over again with The Peaceful Preschool Letter A with both of my kids (adding a few additional reading and writing lessons for my son as he continues to show signs of readiness). My son (4 1/2) checks off all the boxes on the lists of “Kindergarten Readiness” but I do not wish to start a kindergarten curriculum just yet with him. Why?? Because of Charlotte Mason…

A Quiet Growing Time


“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part out in the fresh air.” (Charlotte Mason)

Charlotte Mason believed no formal schooling should be done until a child reached the age of 6. Now, I’m obviously not in that exact same frame of mind but I do love and appreciate the heart behind that.

Recently I wrote down my ideal focuses for my children’s days right now:

  • Read Alouds
  • Outdoor Play & Exploration
  • Knowledge of God
  • Habits & Character
  • Gentle Preschool Academics
  • Appreciation of Beauty

—Since my children have been tiny tots Read Alouds and Outdoor Play & Exploration have been the easiest and most natural for me to include in our days. Even on the rough days where I feel like I’m running on empty, we still do these two things. At the heart, these things inspire our deepest connections and incite my fondest memories.

—Knowledge of God includes: Bible stories, memory verses, and prayer.

—Habits & Character includes: daily and weekly chores, manners, self-care, and then the top three habits for Charlotte Mason in the early years are attention, obedience, and truthfulness. 

Appreciation of Beauty includes: poetry, art, music, and handcrafts.

Gentle Preschool Academics can be a harder thing to “nail down.” I will admit over the last year not all of my preschool activities for my kids have fit in to the “gentle” category.  Over the last year I have done a lot of add-on letter-of-the-week activities as we moved through each letter of the alphabet. I plan to still do some of these things, but definitely will be doing a lot less extra the second time through.

I have come to realize through my own efforts and by comparing curriculums, that The Peaceful Preschool absolutely fits the bill when it comes to a gentle academic guide in the early years, in line with Charlotte Mason’s “quiet growing time.” I plan to stick to The Peaceful Preschool moving forward.

Additional Charlotte Mason Resources on The Early Years

The Importance of Rhythm: A Platform for Growth

I highly recommend reading Simplicity Parenting for inspiration as to why having a daily rhythm matters!! Overall this book is so inspiring, but there is one particular chapter devoted especially to rhythm that I revisit every couple of months.

“Children depend on the rhythmic structure of the day–on its predictability, its regularity, its pulse…. By surrounding a young child with a sense of rhythm and ritual, you can help them order their physical, emotional, and intellectual view of the world. As little ones come to understand, with regularity, that ‘this is what we do,’ they feel solid earth under their feet, a platform for growth. Such a stable foundation can facilitate their mapmaking: the connectedness that they are charting in their brains, in relation to other people, and in their emerging worldview.” (Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne)

Our Daily Rhythm: At A Glance

Below is a scan of our Daily Rhythm sheet I hand illustrated for my kids, and we keep it hung on our fridge.

This is for those of you who are super busy and do not have time to read this entire blog post. I see you. I hear you. Here is the condensed version of this post:

Daily Rhythm!.jpg

Our Daily Rhythm: In Detail

7:00 – 8:00 AM | Breakfast and Self Care

We have one hour between when my kids wake up and when my husband goes to work.

Most days my husband and I are awake for an hour or more before the kids. I like to read or paint or workout before the craze of the day begins.

All four of us eat breakfast together and then get ready for the day. Sometimes there is a decent chance for the the kids to get some just-dad-time in before he goes to work: lately they have been having him read books to them or play a short game.

7:00 – 8:00 AM | Chores OR Physical Play

“As has been well said, ‘Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.’ And a great function of the educator is to secure that acts shall be so regularly, purposefully, and methodically sown that the child shall reap the habits of the good life, in thinking and doing, with the minimum of conscious effort.” (Charlotte Mason)


I used the chore cards from The Peaceful Press as a guide to create our personalized weekly chore plan you see above. There are daily chores listed at the bottom just as a little visual reminder of what we are already doing on a daily basis (e.g. dishes or toy clean-up) but do not need to happen at a designated “chore time.”

Each day I have 3 things listed and there’s at least one thing the kids can do mostly independent of me (except for Sunday: those tasks are for me). Usually I am able to give them a choice on which task they want to do. I expect their participation and I make it fun: lately we have been playing some Mary Poppins songs while we work.

We mark off the chore with an “X” when completed. “We entertain the idea which gives birth to the act and the act repeated again and again becomes the habit” (Charlotte Mason). I do not do stickers or rewards — chores are for responsibility, not reward: when the task is complete, the kids feel capable for completing the work and responsible for taking care of the home they live in.

With chores there is obviously some flexibility: we can decide something can be done a later time, or maybe we need to do a little extra on a given day if we have guests coming over.

Physical work AND play

My kids wake up with a lot of energy so I like to let them get some of it out before requesting that they sit down at a table for 30 minutes for morning time or preschool activities. Luckily, doing chores is a GREAT way to get the blood circulating and do some physical work. If there aren’t many chores to do we may also have some physical play, a living room dance party, or do their yoga workout DVD, or a song & movement game from Games Children Sing & Play.

8:30 – 9:30 AM | Morning Time OR Preschool OR Unstructured Play

I see three different options for our time together in the morning:

  1. Morning Time
  2. Preschool
  3. Unstructured Play

Remember my kids are 4 1/2 and 3 so there is not an intensive amount of academics to get done in the course of a week!

I separated out “Morning Time” from “Preschool Activities” below and hopefully it will make sense why after I describe the differences below:

(1) Morning Time

“But let the imaginations of children be stored with the pictures, their minds nourished upon the words, of the gradually unfolding story of the Scriptures, and they will come to look out upon a wide horizon within which persons and events take shape in their due place and due proportion.” (Charlotte Mason)


If we have a “morning time” this will include some but not all of the following in one day:

I will not have a morning time like this every day of the week. More than likely this will be once a week. The important part for me is that I plan for it. I must plan for my children to have contact with God’s Truth–if I leave it to chance, it won’t happen.

As for the habits / character lesson — in Laying Down the Rails For Children they really suggest ONLY once for a habits lesson per week. And, they suggest spending 6-8 weeks on just one habit! We will first go through Charlotte Mason’s three core habits for the early years: attention, obedience, and truthfulness. Added bonus: many of these require habit-training for parents, not just the kids! For us — fun, age-appropriate games are involved: for example, for our Obedience lesson last week we played “Simon Says.”

An important point to add, in keeping with a “gentle” structure to our days: I will not do a morning time like this AND do a bunch preschool activities on the same day! Quality over quantity is my goal, and Charlotte Mason even advocated for short lessons to develop the habit of attention. When we move towards Kindergarten, I should be able to extend our morning time to include Bible time AND school. 

That said, if we do Preschool as detailed below, we will still do a prayer and brief review of our memory verse…

(2) Preschool


For days in which we do preschool, we will continue to follow The Peaceful Preschool through Letter Z, and then we will begin again with Letter A. The aspects of The Peaceful Preschool we will do are:

  • Read Alouds (Here’s my blog post detailing how I select books for Preschool)
  • Phonics & Letter Formation (for my oldest I have begun to include some more advanced reading and writing activities (Montessori-based) and my daughter will follow the curriculum as-is)
  • Counting Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills

I often skip the Large Motor Skills from The Peaceful Preschool because I feel that our outdoor play & exploration time covers this pretty well. For more on that topic, I highly recommend reading Balanced and Barefoot!

I often will save the following activities from The Peaceful Preschool for later on in the day:

  • Practical Life Skills (baking / cooking project)
  • Art Skills (unless it directly relates to the Read Aloud)
(3) Unstructured Play

There currently are and will continue to be days where I have zero things pre-planned for my kids in terms of lessons. We play a lot. And: I leave plenty space for my children to be bored and figure out what to do with their time on their own.

Again, I recommend reading Simplicity Parenting if you are looking for ideas on how to create an inviting play environment at home with a minimalist approach: having fewer, high quality open-ended toys actually enhances children’s ability to have longer stretches of imaginative play.

During this time, even if I have no pre-planned learning activities, we often read stories too. See this post for book lists I reference to find read alouds!

Also, I want to point out: so much learning in the preschool years can happen naturally through play! In fact, often the best “teaching moments” happen with prompting from the kids through their play, not through something I pre-planned.

9:30 – 11:00 AM | Outdoor Time OR Errands OR Fun Outings


The transition from the above time to going outside is made by having a snack break. If we are going outside we may just bring some snacks in the yard or on our walk with us. If we run errands or go out of the house, we may bring a snack in the car. The bottom line: morning snack is essential for my children’s happiness.

(1) Outdoor Time

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without” (Charlotte Mason).


Often in the mornings, our outdoor time involves movement: we are walking or hiking or off exploring. We live on a camp property so there are lots of options of places for us to explore. After a walk we stay outside and play in the yard until lunch.

I also LOVE using the outdoors as our natural learning environment because it requires zero pre-planning on my part. We use all of our senses. We pay attention to seasonal changes. We observe, we collect, we treasure. We nature journal. We share stories of our experiences.

Additional Resources on Outdoor Time:

(2) Errands

I am a morning errand-runner because I feel that it avoids crowds and traffic. I try to keep errand I do with the kids to once per week.

(3) Fun Outings

A children’s museum, playground, nature walk with friends, the zoo, the library are some options for us. We typically have something like about once a week.

11:30 AM | Lunch

After lunch my kids clean up the common space: all toys and books and art supplies go away other than what my son wants to keep out in the kids’ room for his quiet time.

12:30 – 2:30 PM | Quiet Time

The kids typically get 30 minutes of screen time after lunch. I like having a set expected time that the screen time happens, because then they aren’t requesting (or demanding) it all throughout the day. Weekends we may watch an extra show in the evening or a movie as a family.

My daughter naps in our bed (since the kids share a room). I always read her a book first.

My son has his quiet time in the kids’ room. I read him a book and he either looks at books or plays with toys and puzzles.

The time they are actually in their separate rooms & the time I get in solitude to myself usually is about 1 hour 20 minutes. I usually read or do something creative or catch up on computer stuff.

2:30 – 3:00 PM | Tea Time OR Additional Preschool Activities

Generally speaking the focus during our afternoon together time will be beauty and togetherness: sharing tea, poetry, stories, art, music, baking, etc. I really enjoy this time because we all come together at the table for some arts and culture (and sweet treats) after our separate quiet times.

(1) Tea Time

“Poetry is, perhaps, the most searching and intimate of our teachers…Poetry supplies us with tools for the modeling of our lives, and the use of these we must get at ourselves” (Charlotte Mason).


For tea time, we make either cinnamon or peppermint tea (because the kids actually drink it), and either:

(a) Read a few poems. As of now we do not work on memorizing any poems, but on Charlotte Mason’s Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six she has listed “to recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns,” so I would like to start doing this.

Here are our favorite poetry books:


(b) Read short stories that aren’t poetry but we enjoy reading during this tea time:


(c) Read from chapter books. I find that this afternoon tea time is a great time to read chapter books which do not hold my 3 year old’s attention as well at other points in the day. If she’s sitting at the table with us and has a snack, she’ll stay and listen.

Lately we have been enjoying Beatrix Potter and Thornton Burgess Animal Stories.

(2) Additional Preschool Activities


At this time we might do any ONE of the following additional fun Preschool Activities. I never feel like these following things have to happen; but, our afternoon time at the kitchen table where we come together after our quiet times has proven to be a nice time to explore some poetry or art or culture together. This is an example of our natural daily rhythm existing before adding in activities. These activities are built in to our natural daily rhythm, and not some academic agenda or checklist:

  • A baking project from The Peaceful Preschool
  • An art project from The Peaceful Preschool
  • A Picture Study from the Ambleside Online schedule (to incorporate art into our days in an informal way, as opposed to doing a true academic Picture Study the Charlotte Mason way (for a child greater than 6))
  • A Music Study from Ambleside Online schedule (again, keeping this more informal, I plan to select one classical composition at a time to listen to, naming the composer for my kids — we are not doing a detailed academic study of a composer as you would with older children but I thought it would be fun to coincide with the Ambleside schedule)
  • An Arts & Culture study from The Habitat Schoolhouse
    • This may involve looking at art, learning about artists, musicians, or other countries and cultures (likely using our MAPS book)
  • An Animal & Plant study from The Habitat Schoolhouse

Note: I would never do several of these at once! And, further: I will not hit all of these categories in a given week. I see this not a checklist, but more of an opportunity.

3:00 – 5:30 PM | Outside Time

“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things” (Charlotte Mason).

This may include unstructured play, a hike or walk, maybe a specific nature study, or maybe even a trip to a close playground.

There may be some outdoor play and learning activities that I have for us to do as well.

A Note About Nature Study:

For our “nature studies” — to me this mostly means that we are present to the natural world around us, taking everything in with all of our senses. We observe, we discuss, sometimes the kids add to their nature journals.

I do not do anything super extensive by way of academics here. I like to keep it fun and playful, but mostly just keeping in step with the season we are in and knowing fully the place in which we live.

I have looked through Exploring Nature With Children and this curriculum is an absolutely wonderful resource! Right now I do not plan to use this week-by-week, but I may reference it as-needed if there’s some aspect of the natural world my kids seem to want to explore further.

Additional Resources on Outdoor Time:

5:30 PM | Dinner

We eat food. Together. Light candles. Pray for the meal. Share about our days.

A Note About Dinner Prep:

Often I prep dinner once my husband gets home shortly after 5 PM. He can play with the kids outside or inside and I can do dinner. Often, though, we have leftovers or do really simple meals that I can even prep during the day. If I do pre-prep I likely do that during lunch time since we are all in the kitchen anyway.

6:00 – 7:30 PM | Family Together Time

Outdoor adventures, board games, books, puzzles, animal shows, random trips out for ice cream, coloring, playing with Dad-as-a-jungle-gym, etc.

7:30 PM | Bedtime Routine

Bath, PJs and brush teeth, and then either my husband or I read to the kids for about 30 minutes before lights out.

Bedtime stories has always been a favorite time of day for me. We read for a long time! We read books we own, but I also keep a shelf of library books that I pull from a variety of sources. These are often seasonally appropriate or related to our preschool curriculum in some way.

8:00 PM | Bedtime

Phew. We made it!! Likely not without some messes and failures and fights and tears.

A Sample Week: Letter V

Putting ALL of this together I decided to share a sample week of what I planned out for our Letter V week (click here for the PDF version of what is below). Mostly I think it’s important to see how many categories are left blank on any given day. I’m not trying to check off ALL the boxes on every day. And the truth is: this week was a fuller than an average week in terms of my planning because we just did not have any scheduled outings. Normally one of these days would be left totally empty in terms of my planning.

V Week.png

Just for a frame of reference, each day this week the morning block of activities where we sit together and read and do some preschool actives took maybe 20-35 minutes, except for Tuesday when we spent a lot of time learning a variety of orchestra instruments and did extra learning with videos and music and supplemental materials–that was probably more like a hour. Afternoon tea time & projects range from 20-40 minutes before we head outside.


Obviously there are days where NONE of what I just mentioned is happening. We’re sick. We’re off our groove. We’re traveling. I just want to have a “break day” for no particular reason. Please do not read this and think I’m a perfect human and totally nailing it every day. There are good reasons and not-so-good reasons why our days sometimes are not fully perfect and flowing nicely. The truth is, though, I am glad it’s that way because it means we are normal.

Another thing I want to be clear about: I have 2 children, but in a way school right now is like schooling only 1 child. We have 1 curriculum, and basically my 2 kids are doing the same things with the exception of my son doing some more advanced language arts. This will change. Our daily rhythm will change. I am happy to shift things around when it is appropriate to do so!

EVERY SINGLE FAMILY is unique and different and what works for me will not work for you in the same way. It’s just a fact. But — I know that when I first started out this homeschool journey it was so so helpful for me to read other mom’s daily rhythms just to have somewhere to start! I understand it can feel overwhelming to start.

If I have any advice it’s this: dive in, and expect to fail. Sometimes the only way you’ll find your “groove” is to find out what doesn’t work through failure. When I started out Letter A with The Peaceful Preschool in May 2017 I did an INSANE amount of activities in a 2 week period! I cringe a little. But, here’s the thing — I don’t regret it. I had to know what was “too much” in order to know what was “just right.” And I had to learn that checking off all of the boxes on my to-do list did not inherently make our day a good day. And then I had to go back and re-read Teaching From Rest because clearly it didn’t sink in enough the first time!

Additional Resources on Rhythm

Small Beginnings: A Homeschool Starter Guide

This ebook is an EXCELLENT starting point for homeschooling with themes from Charlotte Mason. There is a whole section in here on rhythms. Rachael Alsbury & Kate Heinemeyer share their daily rhythms as well as so many more additional resources.

The Peaceful Preschool Curriculum

The introduction pages of this curriculum have SO MUCH guidance and wisdom for creating a Family Vision and ideas for establishing a daily rhythm. Included is a sample daily schedule. If you buy this curriculum do not skip these pages! For those following The Peaceful Preschool, I also recommend reading Kaitlyn from Simply Learning‘s daily rhythm here as well as Lyndsey from Treehouse Schoolhouse‘s daily rhythm here.

Simplicity Parenting

I mentioned this book already above but the chapter on rhythm in particular of this book is so good, aimed at simplifying our home environment and lifestyle.

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace

This is not directly about “rhythm” per se but this serves as an excellent invitation to approach the daily grind with a peaceful heart. Sarah Mackenzie beautifully encourages us how to have reasonable expectations for our homeschooling days and how to simplify our goals to get at what really matters to us. Daily rhythms are always evolving and we, the homeschooler, set the tone. We are the atmosphere. The biggest take-home for me after reading this book was the fact that how we interact with our children matters more than getting through the curriculum material.

Encouragement for the Little Years (Cloistered Away)

This blog post was so lovely and encouraging to me last year before I began our homeschooling adventure. I re-read it whenever I am feeling crazy.

The Life Giving Home

Sally Clarkson has a lot of wonderful books on homeschooling and mothering, but this one in particular considers the rhythms of the home, and gives month-by-month ideas for creating a rich home environment full of intention. Charlotte Mason said that “education is an atmosphere” and our daily rhythms can be enhanced by cultivating a meaningful home atmosphere full of beauty, life, and order.





Letter Unit Activities · Uncategorized

Letter T Preschool Unit

Letter T Unit.JPG


We spent 2 weeks on The Letter T because I wanted to spend a significant amount of time studying trees. At the end of this post you’ll also find a few non-tree related Letter T stuff we did!

T is for Tree


Nonfiction Books Used:

*From The Peaceful Preschool book list

Phonics & Letter Formation


As usual, here are my go-to resources & activities for every Letter Unit for phonics & letter formation:

This list is LONG! I never feel like this is a checklist where I have to complete all of this or somehow I’ve failed OR that my son isn’t learning enough. It’s OKAY if we don’t do it all.


We also used the Parts of a Tree nomenclature cards from The Helpful Garden and my son used our movable alphabet to make the parts-of-a-tree words.

We turned our Letter T printout from The Peaceful Preschool into a tree.

Also seen here is “Tree Anatomy” from Tanglewood Hollow’s tree bundle.

Counting & Sorting

Tree Part Sorting and Counting


For this activity the kids each would randomly draw a number card (from The Peaceful Preschool), then count out that many pinecones and that many acorns. Then I asked them to count how many total pinecones + acorns there were.

Tree Leaf Sorting and Counting


Together we collected a variety of leaves from trees. Then, they sorted and counted them on to this lacing stand I made. I wanted to to some leaf rubbings on paper but our leaves are still too early and fragile and I thought they would rip apart too easily.

Matching Games

Tree Buds Matching Game


For this activity I collected TWO of each type of tree bud that I was seeing. The goal of the activity was to find the matching pair looking at shape, size, texture, color, and arrangement.

Woodcut Matching Game


This woodcut matching game was fun to play with — they just found all the pairs with all the cards face up. Then, I pulled out 10 pairs of cards and we played a memory game.

Fine Motor Skills

Tree Slice Lacing


I made this tree part lacing stand by putting dowel rods in to a large tree slice base (I drilled a hole the same size as the dowel rod and it pushed in without the need for any glue!). Then, I drilled slightly larger holes in to tree branch slices. The idea here is that there are a variety of sizes so they can make patterns (large, small, large, small, etc.) or they can count how many it takes to fill up the whole dowel rod. Or, they can put the same amount of branch slices on to each rod.

Pine Branch Threading


We randomly found a downed pine branch this week so I took it home, cut it up and my daughter threaded the branches in to this holed utensil holder. This is the equivalent of kids making a floral arrangement (or using pipe cleaners) in a colander.

Tree Cutting Practice & Matching


This is a free printout from Pinay Homeschooler. The kids cut their own trees out and glued each piece to the matching tree on the control sheet.


How to Draw A Tree

We watched the How to Draw a Tree instructional video from Art for Kids Hub a couple times and the kids and I drew trees along with the video. This was really fun!

Tree Bud Collection & Floral Arrangement

We also collected spring flowering branches and branches with spring buds and my son made a fun floral arrangement. This lasted a couple weeks on our kitchen table!

Trees by Season Coloring Page


We colored in this free Seasons and Trees activity from Teachers Pay Teachers paired with The Four Seasons control chart from The Helpful Garden.

Nature Study: Trees

Observe Real Trees

It was spring during our Tree study so we looked at flowering trees. After a rain storm we were able to collect a bunch of tree flowers and fruits that had fallen to the ground. We looked them up in The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups.

We also found some pollen cones of a Red Pine to take a closer look at.


We also observed a variety of tree bark. But, really we mainly focused on ONE TREE. It’s too much and too hard to try to identify several trees by bark alone (for a 4 and 2 year old), so I just picked a really easy tree to focus in on for the week: Shagbark Hickory. I started pointing them out every time we would come across one. Then, we got to the point where the kids would start pointing them out on their own.


Compare Trees


We explored the difference between conifers and deciduous trees quite loosely, just by gathering a few tree parts, and then read our books to match what we were seeing to what we had collected. This was not a long drawn out nature study—I just explored it with books as much as it held their interest and then we moved on.

We only have White Pine and Red Pine here so we also counted the number of needles to compare (White Pine has 5, Red Pine has 2). If you have more conifers in your area, simply counting & comparing needles is a fun and easy thing to do for preschoolers (you don’t have to correctly ID the trees, just have fun and explore).

Tree Ring Rubbings


This activity consisted of two parts:

  1. We did a simple paper & crayon rubbing of a tree slice (this one is sanded and finished), then tried to count how old that tree was.
  2. Then, I had the kids draw their own tree slice with rings–I scanned and printed a page from Hello, Nature–they got to pick how old their tree was. My daughter’s (on the left) is “a million years old.”

A Tree Home Out of Play Dough


We made a large scale tree out of play dough and added animals that live in trees, find food from trees, or move through trees.

Making small worlds out of play dough is such a key and regular way in which my kids interact with their small toy animals. We do this so much! It’s a wonderful way to combine play and learning.

Tree Nature Study Resources

T is for Tiger


T is for Tiger Tea Time with The Habitat Schoolhouse.

I supplemented a few things to our Tiger study over the course of 2 weeks. As we read and learned about tigers, we also read “The Tyger” poem by William Blake each day during our tea time. A couple days we explored India further (since the greatest density of Bengel tigers can be found in the mangrove forests there) — we used our MAPS book, did some India themed coloring pages, and cooked Indian food for dinner. We also discovered that one of the children in This is How We Do It is from India, so we followed a day in the life of Anu. We read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (an all time family favorite) as well as The Tiger Who Came to Tea (which was suggested by The Habitat Schoolhouse and my kids adore). We also watched some BBC videos of tigers online which prompted lots of pretend-tiger play: my daughter started carrying her baby doll around with her teeth like a mama tiger.

Other Letter T Activities

T is for Train Tracing


Anyone have the game Ticket to Ride?? My kids like playing with the little trains from this game sometimes so I thought I would just use them for a pattern-making and tracing activity — they traced some shapes and letters. You could also do something similar with toy wood trains.

Bible Lesson: T is for Treasure


We read the story “Treasure Hunt” from The Jesus Storybook Bible, then hid some treasure (we have a cute little chest with some fun rocks) around the house for a treasure hunt game.

Please see this page for all our A-Z Bible Lessons.


Spring Preschool Activities


The Plan for Spring

My plan for this spring is to:

  1. be outside as much as humanly possible, and
  2. not plan ahead for any official “school days” but have a mix of fun activities on-hand to do together

Spring is a great season for us to enjoy the woods where we live since the weather is ideal and new spring wildflowers are blooming every week.

That said: I do not want to ignore all the school things we enjoy like reading books, counting games, play and just expanding our nature-learning. We also have been switching our letter-learning to more of a Montessori approach and I would like to continue with that. I just mean that for several weeks I would like to have a more relaxed, spontaneous approach to our days.

SO: my idea for this spring was to do a lot of up-front preparation and planning and just make a list of OPTIONS of activities for us to do through the next several weeks, and we may or may not do them as my kids show interest.

Any given day we may do 3-4 things off of that list, or nothing at all!


To start: in order to gather ideas for seasonal activities I looked to the following three books for inspiration, drawing ideas from the natural world:

The spring themes I’m centering the activities around are:

  • Easter
  • Flowers
  • Insects
  • Bird Nesting
  • Spring Weather
  • Gardening
  • Pond Life

This is A LOT!!

Again, I more want to just have activities related to spring available. I also see this going on for likely 4-5 weeks (or possibly longer) before I move on to something different.

Below I’ve detailed what I’ve prepped for each theme and will continue to add what we do to my Pinterest boards.

Before I lay out the details for each theme, I wanted to first provide my free printable Spring Life Cycle photo cards because this set crosses several themes including flowers, gardening, birds, insects, and frogs.

Life Cycles


I recently created this free Spring Life Cycle card set (and a Life Cycle control mat). I laminated each set and cut each card out so the kids can place the cards on to the blank mat, depending on which life cycle we are looking at.


Obviously we will cover the real story of Easter, but we will also include some fun bunny & egg themed activities.

  • Alphabet egg uppercase and lowercase matching (free printable via Teach Mama)
  • Easter count and clip cards (free printable via Fun with Mama)
  • Paper plate bunny craft
  • Easter mini eraser math, sorting, patterns (I found my mini erasers at a local Meijer dollar spot) — The kids will transfer the mini erasers with tweezers
  • Dye Easter eggs
  • Easter egg hunt
  • Easter egg scissor skills practice
  • Easter themed “color volcanoes” fine motor skills activity: baking soda + a few drops of food coloring inside the Easter eggs, then the kids add vinegar with eyedroppers
  • “Five Little Bunnies” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play

See my Spring: Easter Pinterest Board for more details


We naturally are in love with our local Indiana spring woodland wildflowers, but this year I wanted to include some more common garden flowers in our springtime fun.


  • Hunt for our favorite spring wildflowers in the woods & use the home-tailored scavenger hunt I made!
  • Match our flowers from the Safari Ltd Flowers TOOB to 3-Part Cards (free printable via Treehouse Schoolhouse)
  • My Number Garden counting activity (see below for free printable)
  • Play with our Flowers Families Game
  • Life cycle of a flower (daffodil and sunflower)
  • Parts of the Plant nomenclature cards printable (via The Helpful Garden)
  • Cork stamped flower art project
  • Paper plate flower art project
  • Flower garden sensory bin invitation to play
  • Dissect flowers and sort parts
  • Visit our local daffodil garden

See my Spring: Flowers Pinterest Board for more details



I created this My Number Garden printable with the idea that the kids would add pom poms to each flower, and count the total number for each card, then write the numeral with a dry erase marker. This activity combines counting with number-to-numeral matching and some fine motor skills. You could also skip the numeral writing part and cut that off the card, leaving just the flowers to transfer pom poms. The kids could transfer pom poms with their fingers or with tweezers.


ALL THE BUGS. I have really enjoyed celebrating insects in a number of ways with my kids since we have begun our homeschooling adventure. It feels like we don’t let a month go by without doing some sort of insect related activity.

  • Beehive Counting Cards (see below for free printable & details)
  • Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle (see below for free printable & details)
  • Invitation to Build an Insect with Natural Materials and Insect Silhouette Cards (see below for free printable & details)
  • Insect Life Cycles (butterflies, bees, ants, ladybugs)
  • Pattern-making with our hand-painted rock bugs
  • Sensory bin to play with our hand-painted rock bugs (play/pretend ant hills, bee hives, etc.)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities from Simply Learning
  • Insect Symmetry Coloring Pages (via Art For Kids Hub)
  • Visit a Botanical Garden to view butterflies
  • Visit our local Honey Bee Farm
  • Plant native plants for pollinators in our garden
  • “Caterpillar Crawls Along” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play

I’m still debating about purchasing the Safari Ltd Insect TOOB, and if I do we will pair it with the Insect 3-Part Cards via Treehouse Schoolhouse.

See my Spring: Insects Pinterest Board for more details


Back for our Letter B Unit, I made these Beehive Counting Cards. We used our rock bees that I had painted, and also Honeycomb cereal to count and fill the cards. I printed them on yellow card stock paper and laminated them. You could also use bee mini erasers or bee stamps.



For this activity I printed our Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle on to white card stock, laminated the page then cut out the squares of each butterfly. Then, I cut each butterfly in half, and glued the left half of the butterfly to a yellow piece of card stock. I then provided a basket of the right side of the butterflies to match to the sheet. A fun way to explore insect symmetry.



This is a favorite activity! We have built ants, bees, butterflies, and spiders using only natural materials. For this spring I decided to create a whole set of Insect & Spider Silhouette Cards, which I’m sharing with you. So, this way the kids can select which insect they would like to try and create rather than me saying “we’re making bees today.”

If you do not have natural materials on-hand, you could use craft sticks and toothpicks and wood circles, or just cut circles, ovals, and lines for legs out of construction paper!

Birds Nesting

My husband is an avid birder & nature photographer, so we are pretty in to birds on a regular basis (we did a whole B is for Bird unit last summer), but I thought it would be fun to celebrate nesting birds in the spring. There are about 20 bird houses for nesting birds on the camp property where we live, and we will try to keep track of the nests, eggs, and baby birds in them throughout the spring.


See my Spring: Nests Pinterest Board for more details

Spring Weather

Rain, rainbows, wind, clouds, splashing in puddles, flying kites. LOVE.

  • Cloud art with cotton balls
  • Rain in a jar
  • Rainbow art and/or rainbow play dough
  • Count raindrops with blue play dough
  • Outdoor rain art
  • Measure amount of rain outside
  • Wind sock or wind chime craft
  • Origami boats to float in puddles or the creek
  • “Here is a Tree With Leaves So Green” singing game from Games Children Sing and Play
  • Fly a kite, blow dandelions, play with pinwheels!!

See my Spring: Weather Pinterest Board for more details


We did a lot of fun gardening activities last spring, and I’m all for repeating exactly what we did. Why not?



See my Spring: Gardening Pinterest Board for more details

Pond Life

We’ve been hearing frogs already and I’m so excited to spot some turtles on property (my favorite animal). Last May we encountered a snapping turtle the size of a small child, no joke.

  • Life Cycle of a Frog
  • Build a pond Invitation to Play with play dough & natural materials (pictured above)
  • Frog craft
  • Turtle craft
  • Frog & Toad coloring pages
  • Find frogs & turtles in nature!

See my Spring: Pond Life Pinterest Board for more details

One Last Note

I know this seems like a ton of work … but because I did up-front prep work, I’m honestly feeling very relaxed about spring and hope to be able to enjoy the outdoors and free play as much as possible. On a stormy day or a day where we all need a little indoor boost, I’ll just go to my little arsenal of fun activities and grab something to do! Or, I’ll let the kids decide based on what’s available on our learning shelves.

Happy Spring!