My heart sank when I began to look through this preschool curriculum. It would not have been a good fit with our family in our preschool years. It seems more suited to someone running a preschool program than for an individual family.
A lot of our early learning was interest-based. Thus, when the girls were interested in a topic (say, insects), we’d go to the library and check out a stack of picture books. We talked about math concepts in the course of a day (setting the table, counting blocks and half-blocks while walking to the park). We read aloud together and acted out stories. They told me stories and I wrote them down. This informal approach, with lots of time for play, does not seem to have done our girls any harm. They each learned to read when ready (Eldest at 7, Middlest at 3, and Youngest at 9), and all are now avid readers. They have had an eclectic education, picking up an astonishing variety of facts about the world we live in, and all this with a relatively unstructured academic format, until about age 10 for each of them.
This program is very structured. There are assessments and forms, exercises and activities with step-by-step directions for teachers to follow. There’s some good advice here: Children are individuals. Teachers are individuals. Movement and music help children to learn and remember concepts. There are cute songs with catchy tunes (our girls didn’t care for the music, actually, a little too syncopated for their taste, but then we raised them on folk and classical music rather than the rock music we grew up with), games, and colorful workbook pages.
The curriculum is designed in monthly thematic units: transportation, color, weather, “About Me,” “A Healthy Life,” Animals, “People in Our Community,” “Traditions in our Country,” and “The World Around Us.” Lessons are designed based on the latest research. Teacher lesson plans are provided for literacy, math, and science. Thus your students will be learning in Month 1 about lines, letters and sounds, counting, numbers, wheels and axles. Each month is available in downloadable form for $30, or in print form for $55.
If you need structure for your peace of mind, or if you’re teaching a number of preschoolers together, this might be a good program for you. The program is carefully thought out and attractively put together. However, I have a hard time enthusiastically recommending this curriculum for the homeschool. When Middlest and Youngest were little, I was heavily influenced by the writings of Ruth Beechick and Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Their writings advocated delaying formal academics, and I have to say that our girls have not suffered from this approach.
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Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were given a free Month 1 download with all the files for the Transportation unit from Ideal Curriculum. No monetary compensation was involved. Opinions reflect our family’s experiences.