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Homeschooling a preschooler with A Year of Playing Skillfully!

This fall begins my second time around homeschooling a preschooler! I am beyond excited about the new curriculum I’m using from The Homegrown Preschooler!

When I stumbled into The Homegrown Preschooler’s booth at a homeschooling conference last spring, I knew I’d struck gold! Their teaching materials are beautiful, inviting, and engaging, so FIND THEM if you’re ever at a convention!

Homeschooling a preschooler with A Year of Playing Skillfully!

Right away, I knew you, my dear readers, would adore their hands-on preschool curriculum, A Year of Playing Skillfully, designed by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards. Veteran homeschoolers and educators, they’ve created a detailed preschool curriculum program that is so downright gorgeous!!! Everything they have to say about learning through play resonates so deeply with me, and I’ve become pretty passionate about sharing this curriculum (and yes, I have used affiliate links in this post!).

homeschooling a preschooler

Homeschooling a preschooler…without workbooks!

homeschooling a preschooler

What makes A Year of Playing Skillfully stand out is how it is based on discovery learning and natural play, or as the authors like to say, “wonder based.” And it’s tech-free. So no worksheets or videos! That’s MY kind of learning and teaching style!

For the child, they won’t even know you’re “doing a curriculum” – they are just going to be in absolute awe at the delightful play opportunities you present each day.

For the parent, A Year of Playing Skillfully is more than just a pretty face, more than just a list of activities. Let me show you!

Wonderful features of A Year of Playing Skillfully:homeschooling a preschooler

God-directed: The Homegrown Preschooler materials all point children to God as the Creator and center of our world. Each month of the preschool curriculum features a Bible verse to support the theme and character trait of the month.

Thematic and Seasonal: The curriculum follows the natural flow of the seasons, making it relevant as the year goes by. Each month develops a Central Theme and Character Trait. October focuses on Autumn & Apples and the trait of Orderliness – so appropriate for preschoolers.

homeschooling a preschoolerMultiple Intelligences based: The various activities fall into categories loosely related to the 7 multiple intelligences: Social-Emotional, Language/Literacy, Math/Manipulative, Science/Sensory, Outdoor/Gross Motor, Art/Music. I love that the activities cover a range of learning styles and modalities, with several options throughout the month to visit and revisit each one!

Flexible Planning: All the activities for the month are described in text and stunning photography (by Leslie!), by learning category. There isn’t any strict “do this before that” rule – you as the parent pick and choose what activities your child is ready for, and plan them into your month. Repeat activities if your child enjoys them! You adjust the curriculum to fit your life, schedule and teaching style!

homeschooling a preschooler

Planning Tools: Each month includes a calendar worksheet and a detailed supply list. I slipped those both into page protectors, so I can write on them with my Vis-a-Vis wet erase markers to plan our year, then reuse these sheets again next year. This way, I’m able to mark off days we’re already busy doing other work, or weekends. And, I can check off supplies we already have in-house before shopping.

Wide Age Range:A Year of Playing Skillfully was designed for children ages 3-7. Yes, that’s a big span, but that’s because we’re used to traditional schooling with kids sitting in seats most of the day at age five! Research has found the decline of play among grade school children leading to deficits in emotional and academic growth! Although my oldest is five and we’re technically starting kindergarten this year, he will join us in our Playing Skillfully activities, because I think it is JUST as important for him to have sensory-rich experiences as for my three year old!

A sensory rich learning environment leads to growth!

homeschooling a preschoolerhomeschooling a preschoolerhomeschooling a preschoolerhomeschooling a preschooler

Last weekend, the kids and I enjoyed a learning kit put together by Kathy and Leslie, creators of The Homegrown Preschooler. Included were mini figurines of the life cycle of frogs, and green and blue water beads. The slippery, smooth water beads had the boys riveted for the better part of an hour as they “played frogs” together.

I didn’t do anything beforehand to prep them, and yet, simply interacting with the materials had them asking questions about frogs. They learned the various stages because they wanted to know about the pieces they were playing with. We cut nasturtium leaves from our garden to scatter about like lily pads, but as they weren’t quite large enough, we also cut out foam lilypads the frog could sit on.

From one simple play activity, my three year old learned five new vocab words (frog eggs, tadpole, pollywog, bullfrog, and lilypad)… and more importantly, he learned them while immersed in play, so he immediately began using the vocabulary words correctly and with purpose!

A Year of Playing Skillfully is jam-packed with this kind of simple start-up activities that spark a child’s curiosity and keep them coming back for more (you can smile because you know they are LEARNING!).

(Oh, see my cute new T-shirt from them!? It’s all about how to #sayyes to these creative learning moments for our kids!).

homeschooling a preschooler

Bundle and Save on A Year of Playing Skillfully

homeschooling a preschooler

A Year of Playing Skillfully is more than just a curriculum – it’s a resource to encourage and inspire parents to create a learning-rich environment right in their homes. 

This guide is perfect for parents who are actively homeschooling their children. However, I think it’s also ideal for parents who send their kids to traditional preschool, but still want learning to happen during the child’s at-home hours. You don’t need an entire day to complete a few of the activities, so you could easily use this book for afternoons and weekends.

The Homegrown Preschooler often bundles several of their items together for a well-rounded homeschooling package. You can create your own bundle with this suggested list:

  • A Year of Playing Skillfully Curriculum – Printed and Ebook
  • The Homegrown Preschooler – Kathy & Leslie’s book on Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live
  • 101 Easy Wacky Crazy Activities for Young Children – by Kathy H. Lee and Carole Dibble, this book uses simple household materials and gives tons of ideas for easy fun!
  • 1 pack of Hand Sewn Books
  • 1 Color Mixing Kit, 1 Arctic Kit
  • 1 Life Cycle Pond Kit,
  • 2 Packs of  Water Beads

Usually this bundle retails for around $285! These resources, along with some everyday household items and craft supplies will be everything you need to get started on a truly beautiful adventure in learning with your preschooler!

homeschooling a preschooler

What aspects of homeschooling a preschooler are you most concerned with? This hands-on preschool curriculum can support you as you teach your child!

This post was sponsored by The Homegrown Preschooler and I was sent a curriculum package to facilitate my review. Affiliate links have been used. All opinions are my own.


Monday 8th of July 2019

Hi! Great info here! Thnx! I'm about to purchase this curriculum and I'm excited to get started! Where can I purchase that T-shirt? I love it!

A weaving activity for little hands - Lasso the Moon

Friday 28th of October 2016

[…] My teacher-sense kicked in and whispered, “Now! This is the time for the weaving activity!” (which is in our preschool curriculum) […]


Saturday 27th of August 2016

I'm wondering on age levels- do you think it would be appropriate for a young three year old? Or is it something, based on your experience, that works best with a slightly older child?



Friday 11th of September 2015

From what I've seen of this curriculum, it looks amazing! My little guy is still a bit young for it, but it's definitely on my list for later. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Have an awesome weekend!

Julie Kieras

Thursday 13th of August 2015

Their stuff is absolutely riveting! I also wanted to mention that the ebook only is on sale currently for $99 if that helps? Or consider buying the curriculum with a few friends and using it as a co-op material? There are always SO many products I want for my homeschooling, I wish I could afford them all!!