curriculum reviews

The Homegrown Preschooler Review

This summer we were given the opportunity to review The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching your Kids in the Places they Live from Gryphon House. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was “what a nice looking book!”  Not only does it have a full color glossy cover, it’s pages are also that nice.  This 224 page paperback book is $29.95.

The suggested age is PreK.  It is definitely a book about what to do with preschoolers, but it includes so much more! This book is all about teaching your children wherever you are.  That’s our philosophy for homeschooling.  We want to have our children grow and develop a love for learning. To be curious, to learn about the things around them.  Text books have their place, but this is the fun hands-on stuff that I love! My preschoolers get a lot out of these activities, but so do my older children.  They learn to serve and teach (also a little patience here and there).

Here’s what the Table of Contents says:

  • Introduction: Our Journeys to Growing Out Children at Home
  • Chapter 1: Homeschooling- Harvesting a Bountiful Life
  • Chapter 2: Learning Through Play
  • Chapter 3: Sowing the Seeds- Preschool Learning
  • Chapter 4: Setting the Stage
  • Chapter 5: Home Life- Learning- Slow Down and Teach
  • Chapter 6: Who has Time for This?
  • Chapter 7: Organizing it All
  • Chapter 8: Days and Seasons that Don’t fit in the Box
  • Chapter 9: Special Circumstances
  • Activities (Home Life, Science, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Math, Language and Emergent Literacy, Art, Social-Emotional
  • Appendix
  • Index

Each of of these sections is chock full of information, ideas, creative solutions and even recipes!  I loved it’s “realness”.  The authors, Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards are not perfect, their children are not perfect and their houses are not perfect, they are REAL.  Between the two authors they have 12 children and more than 20 years of early childhood and homeschooling experience.  This book gives me permission for the busyness in my home.  It encourages me to keep on and make each life activity intentional.  To take the time and let the kids do some things that it’s easier for me to do, to slow down and teach them about normal, every day things.  I know all this, but need to be reminded every few years.  This book is a great resource to keep handy, to get encouragement from and glean new ideas from old concepts.

One of the things that I’m really excited about is the plans in the back of the book!  There are plans for making a plexiglass easel, a light table and a sensory/sand and water table! I have always wanted these, but have been too cheap to buy them. We can get pretty creative with building materials around here, maybe this will make the project list soon!

Another neat thing in the Appendix is forms!  I love forms!  There is an Activity Checklist to keep track or plan different activities for a week, a Getting Started Checklist to take note of some items you may want to locate in your house or put on the shopping list.  These are everyday items like blocks, rulers, weather chart, glue, drop cloth, magazine, tea set, table and chairs and many, many more things to make you starting thinking in that direction.  They also include many of their favorite resources to purchase new items.

I am using this book now to plan activities for my preschoolers for the fall and to use everyday, now and in the fall, to slow down and teach and train my children, little and big.  I have done with recently with my little garden.  Instead of me running out and doing what needed to be done quickly (without children), I took the little ones out with me.  We looked at what was growing and talked about growing food, bugs, seasons, parts of a plant, weather and lots more.  In reality, it didn’t take me too much longer, we spent some great time together and they learned things that they didn’t know (and really enjoyed it).  Next- cleaning!!! Lol!


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