When is the Right Time for Curriculum?

Every child has a unique developmental time table – when he or she will develop – set from birth.  Some get their teeth early.  Some get them late.  Some walk early.  Some walk late.  But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter when it happened, as long as it does happen!  Do we really know how old we were when we first walked, got our first tooth, or even learned to read?  And does it really matter?

However, we all generally go through the same steps as we progress.  For instance, a baby learns to roll over before he learns to sit.  And a preschooler learns that words hold meaning before he learns to read.  Although it can give us bragging fodder if our three year old can count to 1000, if those number words are meaningless to him, he lacks the foundation necessary for later mathematics. That’s why we could not more heavily recommend our Everyday Learning for Littles page for building a solid foundation.

Children also vary in learning style.  One child’s attention to book learning may be substantial at age four while another child needs action and immersion to learn.  One size does not fit all – which means that one four-year-old may flourish with workbooks while another will be stifled.  You as the parent will know your child best and be able to determine if and when “textbooks” or “workbooks” are necessary in these early years. The secret is responding when your child is ready, but not panicking or pushing when he or she is not.

If you have a young child who seems to flourish with “seat work,” we have asked some homeschool moms, teachers, and learning experts for recommendations:  

Explode the Code

Explode the Code
Fun, consumable workbooks that teach pre-literacy and reading decoding, Explode the Code is recommended by teacher and homeschool consultant, Rhonda Wotring. Kelsie, homeschool graduate remembers: "I loved Explode the Code when I was little!"

Kumon, My First Book of...

Kumon, My First Book of...
Also recommended by Rhonda, this colorful series includes number and letter writing, drawing, tracing, cutting, and sticker books. Books are divided by age and are "just fun!" Children don't think they're doing "book work."

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady
Get Me Ready
A full readiness curriculum including 260 weekly activities arranged developmentally. Provides an introduction for each age followed by appropriate educational activities. Can also be valuable for special needs children to determine where they are developmentally.

Ruth Beechick

Ruth Beechick
If you're looking for more academic development and instruction, Ruth Beechick's The Three R's and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully are classics. Not a curriculum, these books are rather manuals for what and how to teach in the early years. Labeled K-3rd, some of the skills are now taught in K4 programs.

Leapfrog

Leapfrog
From homeschool mom Cassidi Berry: "We use the TAG Reader. I love it and it is super easy to use! You can download the audio for the books, flash cards and other educational activities onto one Tag pen. Both my kids love it and can easily use it. Kyler (age 5) is at the right age for using it with the books, flash cards and the Solar System activity without any help. Braelyn (age 3) loves using it to read along in the books. I let them use it on their own to help them build their independent reading time or during their quiet time."

ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse
Online educational activities covering several subjects like reading, math and social science. Homeschool mom of preschoolers, Cassidi, reviews these websites: "ABC Mouse has been great for us and I like that I can customize it for each child. I looked at Starfall and I really like it too! It is cheaper than ABCMouse so that is a plus. Both have great qualities." Disclaimer: the worldview of this or any website resource does not necessarily represent CHEWV's values. Parents should carefully assess all resources for their children.

Starfall

Starfall
Free website (basic is free) and downloadables provide a phonics-based reading foundation. Fun and interactive educational games also cover some basic math.

Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug
Recommended by teacher and homeschool consultant Rhonda Wotring and homeschool mom, Cassidi Berry: "Our family loves Melissa & Doug products! They always have the most creative puzzles and toys."

One more thing...


There are a growing number of wonderful educational resources online, and we've listed two of them above. But perhaps there is truth in the old saying that you can have too much of a good thing. For more information, check out this article as well as this one.