It is Back to School time for a lot people, if your child isn’t already in school! I still can’t believe that my friends’ kids back in Indianapolis are already in school. Most started July 30! That’s crazy to me because it is still very much summer! I grew up in Wisconsin where we didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day. I love summer and think it’s important for kids.
But, I digress.
This post is about what I will be doing with my twin preschoolers this coming school year. We are again planning on doing a homeschool preschool. Whether we are joined by any others is yet to be determined, but I hope so. I greatly enjoyed my group preschool last year, even if by the end it was just me and one other mom.
Last year’s preschool group met once a week, switching off who taught each week. We based our lessons on a letter of the alphabet, as well as a number, and then a shape, or a color. It worked pretty well as we were coming up with the lessons ourselves to have a loose framework. All of our kids were 3 years old too and were still just learning letters and their sounds, so it was perfect.
But, this year my kids are technically Pre-K. They are four, and supposed to be getting ready for kindergarten. I want to have preschool be more than once a week. I want to take their creativity and their thirst for education and knowledge and let it soar during the upcoming school year, because my twins are bright.
They already know their alphabet, write their names, Mom, Dad, and random words like up. They know how to spell STOP and ask constantly how things are spelled. They are curious. They are ready to learn. And I want to teach them.
However, I really didn’t want to spend all of my evenings planning preschool lessons for the next day. So, I looked around for a great preschool curriculum to follow for this next school year. I mean, why should I have to do all the work planning when someone else has already done it for me (i.e. a curriculum/plan).
But, I’m picky in what I want. I want something that won’t cost a lot, will be easy to adapt, is Christian-based and includes scriptures, doesn’t do a lot of worksheets or crafts, and focuses on life skills too. Oh, and I didn’t want it to be online.
So, I was thrilled when I found the perfect At-Home Preschool curriculum for the 2014-2015 school year from Motherhood on a Dime‘s Stacie Nelson – God’s Little Explorers: A-Z Adventures in God’s Word and World for Preschoolers.
God’s Little Explorers: What I Love About It
There are so many things I love about this curriculum plan. First off, I love that each week is based upon a story from the Bible, and a related story letter (A is for Apple, K is for Kings, J is for Jesus, and so on). The curriculum takes you (skipping some stories) through the Bible, from Genesis to the Book of Revelations. By doing this it means that the alphabet is not be presented in alphabetical order. As my daughters already know the alphabet, this doesn’t bother me at all. She framed her curriculum this way because she would rather a child grasp the idea that the Bible is a connected story from beginning to end.
I also like that she focuses on teaching lowercase letters first! I did not start off teaching my daughters this way, and lowercase letters are still not their strong suit, so I am glad for the extra practice during the upcoming year. The materials needed are simple and usually found around the house, except for a few projects. There are also very few worksheets; instead most of the lessons are hands-on and active! Perfect for preschoolers!
God’s Little Explorers: The Structure
There are four main parts to the program:
- Bible Adventure – Read the Bible story, sing some songs, and do a related craft/project.
- Theme Adventure – Explore the theme with crafts, science projects, cooking projects, and so forth
- ABC & 123 – Introduce letters, colors, shapes, and numbers.
- Life Skills – Review self-help skills, learn to complete chores correctly, practice manners, and do a service project.
This God’s Little Explorers Preschool is set up for small lessons and activities for four days a week beginning the first or second week of September so that you’ll hit J is for Jesus in December (for two weeks).
Each day you will cover the above four parts of the program, with activities and lessons, as well as other ideas and add-ons (see below for more details). If you do everything in the plans, you will spend approximately 20-40 minutes per day on focused instruction, which sounds like just the right amount of time for preschoolers to focus and learn!
It is 28 weeks of studying the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and learning a lot along the way.
I really love that life skills are a big part of her preschool curriculum, because I definitely believe, as Stacie does, that preparing a preschooler for life is much more important than teaching them the ABC’s! I also love that scripture study, hands on learning, and service are a big part of the curriculum too.
God’s Little Explorers: Optional Ideas and Add-Ons
She’s also included a list of books to go along with the lessons (which can be picked up from your local library) and learning bags, or busy bags, perfect for any other little ones you may have at home with you too (like my son), or give your preschooler an independent activity to do later in the day.
Oh, and along with the weekly lesson plans there are optional ideas for a hymn study (one a week), composer study using a LibriVox story (one a month), and an artist study (one a month).
Plus, you can find photos of the activities, links to resources, and more on Motherhood on a Dime’s website, so you can know ahead of time what things (should) look like, and any new comments or insights into the lessons ahead of time.
God’s Little Explorers: Flexibility
I like that it’s a flexible curriculum and I can adjust it to our family and to my individual daughters. The lessons easily adapted for older or younger children and time restraints.
And, even though this preschool curriculum doesn’t work much on handwriting and learning how to read, she has still included some books and resources for me to look into if I want to add that in to my lesson plans (which I plan on doing soon).
She recommends reading from a children’s bible (and references two different ones), but I plan on reading from my regular KJV Bible. And I’ll add in some related songs from my church as well.
And, if you are in charge of a preschool group, there is even the option of buying a version for groups!
God’s Little Explorers: Only $20!
One of the big selling points to me for this home preschool plan was that it was just $20! A full 28 weeks of preschool lessons and activities with lots of resources and everything already all planned out for you for only $20?! That’s just $0.71 per weekly lesson plan!
So, while you can technically find much of the contained information of her website – Motherhood on a Dime – who wants to search through it every day, every week? I’d rather just pull up the PDF for easy reference, and be able to quickly look ahead for the week and what I’ll need.
I can even print it out and put it into a binder. Plus, the for sale version has updated printables, graphics, and covers.
And, all of the proceeds go to build an orphanage in India. Honestly, she deserves more than what she’s asking as she’s already put all the hard work into creating and planning this, which means I don’t have to! That’s saving me hours of my life!
So, I encourage you to buy it and do it with me this year! I am planning on sharing a weekly recap of our homeschool preschool adventures and how we used and adapted the lessons in God’s Little Explorers as well as what songs and scriptures we are memorizing and much more. I will try to take pictures, but it can be hard when I am the one teaching the lessons!
Click here to view more details.
And because I really do want one of you to join me, I am doing a giveaway so you can win your very own copy of God’s Little Explorers: A-Z Adventures in God’s Word and World for Preschoolers! Enter in the rafflecopter box below or click HERE.a Rafflecopter giveaway
What are you doing for preschool this fall?
Denise Wilson says
I am starting to homeschool my just-turned-4 daughter. This looks like a fun curriculum to use for her. She would love it!
Elizabeth Kelsey says
Would love to get this as a resource for our daughter!
Kara Marks says
I’m wanting to homeschool my 3 y/o grandson and this would be perfect–I’d love to win it!
Christy S says
This looks really flexible. Would love it for my three year old!
Crystal Green says
I’m using the FREE Preschool system online that I got to review a while back for Zeva. (It’s on my site under preschool.) It’s a wonderful little program that covers all the major subjects. I do have to say that I love the fact that this one includes teaching them about the Bible.
I would that it teaches preschool which would be great for my child
I like that there are busy bag ideas as well as ideas for service.
Dandi D says
I really like that it is a Biblical preschool curriculum. It’s great that the little ones can learn about the Bible while doing preschool activities.
I’m starting a homeschool for my 4 yr old son, and I’ve been doing a research on homeshool programs for a while. I found this one perfect, not only for the academic content but it involves the Bible too in a brilliant and interesting way
This looks great! It looks pretty flexible. Would it work to pick and choose if we only want to do 2 days?
Katelyn Fagan says
Great question April! I really think you could. All the ideas for the week are all there, so you could easily pick and choose your two favorite days and activities and suit them to your kid.
I just came across this post. Can you tell me how the year went? I am interested in getting it for my twins. Were you able to do it with both of them?
Katelyn Fagan says
I posted a follow-up post after a few months in here: http://homecleaningfamily.com/2014/11/preschool-home-isnt-going-according-plan/ I really did like how everything was planned. I do think it was a little young for my kids, and I don’t really love doing a lot of crafts, so we kind of stopped doing that after awhile. But, it’s very easy to do with twins, and add what you want and drop what you don’t. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Thanks! So what age group do you think would be the best more like 2 or 3?
Katelyn Fagan says
It will depend on what your kids already know, but yes, it could be great for 2-3 year olds! It’s a great introduction to letters, basic life skills, scriptures, and lots of basic knowledge. It can work for 4 year olds, just depending on what your kids need at that point, and how well.