We are beginning our third year of homeschooling! We started in 2021 with Preschool and fell in love with it. I never planned to homeschool yet when I started to think about school options for my daughter, I was not pleased with the options we had based on where we live and that includes the quality of schools nearby, pricing of private schools, driving distance to schools and more. Deep in my heart I knew that homeschool sounded like a great option for us yet I was overwhelmed and honestly a little nervous about taking on the role of “teacher” in addition to the other time consuming and very important hats I already wore of mother and business owner. I prayed about it and felt peace from God that I did not have to have my daughter’s entire educational future figured out at that moment. Instead, we could just begin homeschooling with the year in front of us and take it one year at a time. Well.. we are now starting our 3rd year of homeschool and we love it!! I’ll be homeschooling BOTH my kids in the 2023 / 2034 homeschool year with a very gentle approach to preschool for my son will be almost 4 in the Fall and then kindergarten for my daughter who will be 5 and a half in the Fall of this year.
Why We Homeschool
The decision to homeschool is a personal one! I do not believe there is a right or wrong way to educate your child, only the right way for you and your family. There are many reasons why we homeschool and here are just a few!
Curated Curriculum: I love having the ability to curate the curriculum and education that fits my children based on their academic level and interests.
Faith Inclusion: The ability to integrate faith-based learning into our education.
SLOW mornings: I have worked from home for 13 years. The idea of rushing out the door early and commuting to school every weekday was not appealing to me. Based on where we live the only private school we considered would require 2 hours of total driving a day. I worked so hard to build a business where I don’t have to commute so that was really unappealing to me. Plus instead of driving for 2 hours, we could complete so much school at home during that time! Then we could move on to playing, reading and more.
Flexibility: With homeschool we complete our lessons at any time in the day or weekday that works for our family. However, typically we prefer to complete our main lessons in the morning, such as language arts and math. In the morning I notice both my daughter and my mental capacity is at it’s best! Then we save other learning elements like reading, art, music, nature study for the afternoon. However, I love knowing there is flexibility! Somedays we’ve done school in the afternoon or even after dinner – it can be fun to mix it up! We can also take time off anytime we need for visitors in town, when someone is under the weather or we just need a break and time to refresh. We can also school through the summer if we prefer! There is so much flexibility in creating an educational environment that really encourages a passion for life-long learning and learning together as a family.
Efficient: With homeschool, we can complete our academic work in a much shorter duration of time than a traditional school day. This opens up the day for more play, reading, time outside and more!
No Homework! We are already doing work at home, and then we are done!
Life Skills: A lot of our learning takes place through life skills! For example, baking together is a great way to learn about math, science and patience plus learning how to bake! I love being able to integrate cooking, baking, taking care of the home, gardening, talking about money and finances and other life skills into our learning.
Community: We’ve built some really beautiful friendships with other homeschool families!
My Gut and Heart Says It’s Right For Us: This is the most important reason why we homeschool. I could make a big long list of pros and cons but the truth of it is, I know in my gut and heart that this is what God has called me to do in this season of my life and really that is all that matters. You can’t go wrong as a mom listening to your heart and your gut when it comes that what YOU know is best for you and your family!
My personal opinion is that you do not need to know your homeschool style before you get started. Just get started and as you go you’ll learn what works best for you, your family and your child. You can start a program and if you don’t love it, try something else! Or you can always adapt the program you’ve purchased fit you and your child’s preferences versus following the program exactly as it’s laid out. For example, the preschool program I started with Ella was designed to be done Monday-Friday but I felt that was too much and too repetitive for us, so we condensed the days / doubled up on the days and would do our preschool 2-3 times a week!
Why knowing your homeschool style matters for some people is that it can help guide what type of curriculum you buy as well help you select additional learning resources, homeschool groups, educational books and more that fit your style.
If you are interested in learning more about homeschooling and the different homeschool styles, I highly recommend reading this book which includes a great overview of the various homeschool styles along with great insight and encouragement into the homeschool journey.
Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
The early years are a really special time where so much learning can happen through play, reading, conversations and simply exploring and enjoying the world around us! According to Charlotte Mason, formal education should not begin until the age of 6. In Sweden, formal education begins at the age of 7! There are many benefits to delayed formal education including ensuring that a child is developmentally ready for the tasks set before them.
While we started preschool with my daughter at the age of 3.5, our preschool consisted of a gentle approach to learning. As a mom, you also know when your child is ready or not for something. My daughter has always been very interested in the world around her, obsessed with books and I felt that a gentle program would be fun for her! My main goal when we started school is just to make learning fun and enjoyable!
Busy Toddler Playing Preschool
This is the first home learning program I bought. What I love about this program is that is is very organized! I LOVE organization and this program clearly maps out what the parent and child will be doing each day. This program includes 190 days of learning with a Monday-Friday schedule. We personally did not follow this program exactly as it’s laid out – another beauty of homeschool is adapting the curriculum to meet your child’s needs and interests! Some days we would do 2-3 days of school at once and some days we wouldn’t do school (the program) at at all and instead we’d read, bake, play and just do life together! I also love that this program has themes that last 2 weeks such as community helpers and weather along with a book list for each unit. I love a good homeschool learning theme and this was a fun way to introduce new concepts and have a book list to compliment. While we didn’t do every activity in this program, we worked our way through most of it and I’ll be using again a gentle guide for preschool with my son when we starts preschool.
The Good And The Beautiful Preschool
This preschool program is more advanced than Busy Toddler. While Busy Toddler is more play-based learning, this program is more of a true open and go workbook. I absolutely LOVED this program and credit it to helping us build a really solid foundation for letter sounds, letter recognition and learning to read! This Preschool Program covers phonics, letters, numbers, math, colors, and more!
This program really checks the boxes for a great language arts and math program and also includes an activity pack with fun hands-on learning games and bonus practice learning sheets.
Preschool Morning Binder
We LOVE this preschool morning binder to start our school day where we can talk about our feelings, the weather, the day of the week, the month, the date and focus on letter recognition, number recognition and more.
The Gentle and Classical Press Preschool Program
For those who love a Charlotte Mason approach to learning – we love The Gentle and Classical Press Preschool and Kinder programs!! This program integrates an artist study, nature study, a list of living books, simple handicrafts, memory statement cards that cover scripture, character, manners + hygiene, wonder tales, poetry and nursery rhymes along with storyboards with paper play to encourage play narration and engagement from the stories we read. This program can really span over the course of years and be enjoyed at any pace that works for your family! Did I say we love this program? We do!
Preschool Busy Books
Busy books are essentially educational books that keep a little one busy and engagement with Here are some of our favorites
Nutrition Schoolhouse: Construction Site Busy Book. Perfect for kids for love construction sites!
Montessori Busy Book: This book includes velcro pieces for hands on learning!
Educating Amy: This cloth quiet books are beautiful and a fun way to learn
Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
The following is a list of resources and programs for both pre-k (or kindergarten prep) and kindergarten. Remember, that just because a program is labeled kindergarten you do not have to only use that program during the kindergarten years. Some children may be ready for a kindergarten program early or later than what a traditional school age defines as kindergarten. As a parent, you know your child best and what they are ready for academically so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and start a program whenever it fits your child best!
The Good and The Beautiful Kindergarten Prep Program
We love this short (31 lesson) kindergarten prep program from The Good and The Beautiful. I highly recommend ensuring the information in this program is mastered before starting the kindergarten program. Mastering this course first simply ensures that you child is ready for the kindergarten program and not frustrated by it. I do find the Good and The Beautiful Programs to be a bit advanced. If you’re curious what program is right for your child their website includes free PDF sample pages of each program to review! The Good and The Beautiful also offers their curriculum for FREE in PDF form for grade K and above. This is a wonderful option to download and test out a few pages before buying the full hard copy program.
The Good and The Beautiful Kindergarten Program
This school year 2023 / 2024 we will be starting The Good and the Beautiful Kindergarten Program and it looks so wonderful!
The Gentle and Classical Press Primer (Kindergarten) Program
This program is designed for kindergarten and beyond. Having used this program for a few years, I truly love it for the beautiful subjects such as art, nature, poetry, nursery rhymes and more. While it does include some letter and number introduction it is not a complete language arts or math program so I would recommend adding a language arts program and math program as well!
This is a wonderful program to introduce art, music and composer study, nature study, nursery rhymes, bible verses, poetry, character and more! This program follows a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy and is a really great program that we continue to use for years (not just one year and then we are done). We started this program for our Pre-k year and are continuing to work our way through and will continue to do so all through early elementary!
Kindergarten Morning Binder
This kindergarten morning binder is very similar to the preschool morning binder, yet with small adjustments on the pages and some new additional learning pages to meet the educational level of a kindergartener. You can order the menu covers from the Gentle and Classical Press website too!
Kindergarten Phonics Program and Early Readers
This is the phonics program and early readers we use and love! Dash Into Learning was created by a homeschool mama and the program, art and stories are so beautiful and enjoyable. Use code HGG15 to save 15% off anything from the Dash Into Learning website.
We do own a few Bob Book’s and also checkout some out from the library. While we have integrated Bob Books into our education as simply another book for my daughter to practice reading, you’ll notice that the art and storyline are not as quality as Dash Into Learning. As mentioned, we own some Bob Book’s and they are very popular! Yet if quality image and beautiful stories are important to you, definitely checkout Dash Into Learning!
We are loving The Good and The Beautiful Math! Visually it’s beautiful to look at, I love the hands on learning and math activities / games and bonus – it’s free!! Well the digital version is! You can download and print out the Kindergarten math program for free, which is what we did at first to try out some lessons! We loved it so much we bought the full printed and bound program from The Good and The Beautiful! This program you can add on a math box but we already had these math counting sticks (as you can see in the image over) so just used what we already had on hand!
We LOVE this handwriting program from Dash Into Learning! It includes a great mix of tracing letters, drawing, mazes, games and so much more to really engage a child all while improving hand writing skills! Use code HGG15 for 15% off the Dash Into Learning Handwriting Program.
Social Studies Unit Study
This program called “Me on the Map” is new to us this year! It’s a wonderful social studies and geography unit study to learn all about a child’s place in their world! This program includes a book list and activities as you learn about your home, street, city, town, state, country, planet and more! We are also excited to begin the Human Body and Space unit study through our early education years from Little School of Smiths.
Emotional Resilience Program
We are integrating this Emotional Resilience Program into our 2023 / 2024 school year from Dash Into Learning! It’s a great program that teaches the importance of social emotional skills. Each story is designed to emphasize the thoughts and emotions of the characters so that the child can learn to connect with his or her own emotions! See more here and use code HGG15 for 15% off.
I created both of these unit studies above, which are wonderful for the Fall season to learn about apples, pumpkins, their nutrition and health benefits, hands-on activities and recipes!
Below is a list of additional hands on learning resources we use and love!
Daily Rhythm Cards – Visually organize your day!
Here is a big list of discount codes for homeschool companies we love!
Dash Into Learning (Phonics Program & Early Readers) – Use code HGG15 for 15% off
Nutrition Schoolhouse (Educational Programs That Inspire A Love of Fruits and Veggies) – Use code HGG10 for 10% off
Educating Amy (Quiet Books) – Use code: HEALTHYGROCERYGIRL for 15% off
Sarah’s Silks – Use code: HGG10 for 10% off
The Library Is An Awesome Resource for Homeschoolers!
Another AMAZING way to save money with homeschooling is the library! Most of the books that our programs have on their book lists, we can checkout for free from the library! Reading together and reading aloud is one of our FAVORITE ways to learn and spend quality time together as a family. I highly recommend getting a library card and utilizing the amazing resource that is your local library!!
Let’s Chat Homeschool!
If you ever want to ask me a homeschooling question, I’d love to chat! You can e-mail me here!!