Review by Casey Somerville
The second my daughter Violet turned two, suddenly it seemed like the word “preschool” was on everyone’s lips. The wisdom of many homeschooling moms convinced me that I was doing fine as long as Vi was being read to, learning her colors & shapes, and being instructed on how to sit cross cross applesauce (okay I added that last part). So I wasn’t stressed about preschool (at least not out loud) and as Violet got older and started on the road to official schooling, I was content to incorporate daily common sense learning in my now 4-year-old’s life.
When my sister-in-laws started raving about Homegrown Preschooler, I was skeptical. How necessary was an actual preschool curriculum? What if it just proves that I actually haven’t been teaching Violet all she needs to know before she hits Kindergarten? What if my way of sitting cross-cross-applesauce was all wrong? So it was with gritted teeth and slight heart palpitations that I began leafing through Homegrown Preschooler’s teaching manual.
But. As I flipped the pages and read through their philosophy and activity suggestions, I breathed a sigh of relief. And then I started to glow with encouragement. And then I was inspired. Not only did Homegrown Preschooler complement what I’d already been working on (albeit unscheduled and unofficially) with Vi, but they creatively expanded on topics and ideas I wanted to incorporate anyway.
I appreciated how the plans are monthly, giving you free reign as to how you want to divvy up the projects you choose to do. Note, I said choose! It’s a no-guilt curriculum. You choose what works for your time, budget, and children.
The monthly topics and activities provide light structure to your preschool, and I was blessed to see how many things we were already doing–Homegrown Preschooler’s suggestions simply sharpened and rounded out our focus.
The topics are well chosen and matched up beautifully with my 4-year-old and my 2-year-old, meeting them where they are developmentally, socially, and in terms of their interests. The fact that it spans several ages is wonderful–Beatrice (age 2) was thrilled to be included in “school.”
It took about an hour to read through the month plan (we started in January) and decide which activities I would include. While they do provide a printed space to plan your month, honestly I just used my laptop. The folks at Homegrown Preschooler also include a helpful, comprehensive list of supplies you’ll need and most of the printables for each month. (However, I did have to spend a little time looking for a weather wheel template.)
As I read through the suggestions, it was easy to latch on to the ones my daughters would love and discard the ones I knew wouldn’t work for us this month. Again, I didn’t feel guilty about it. Score!
I also found that the activities are open-ended just enough that it was intuitive to change them here and there to better fit our life and resources. Plus, for some of the more nuanced activities, Homegrown Preschooler includes specific resources in their curriculum package (i.e. water beads, fake snow, Arctic animals…) which made it easy to say yes to those particular ideas!
Overall, we really enjoyed our month of Homegrown Preschooler. As an “unofficial preschool” type of mom, I was impressed at how well it worked for us and I’m looking forward to February!
(Disclosure: I received this curriculum in exchange for an honest review.)