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. 

Chances are that your child will do best with kinesthetic learning during these valuable, foundational years. However, if you have a child who seems ready for some limited “seat work,” we have asked some homeschool moms, teachers, and learning experts for recommendations (most of which can be found at christianbook.com):  

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...

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

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

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.


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.”

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. 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.