by Marianne Sunderland, 34th Annual Convention Speaker

In the past, I have not been a proponent of a highly structured preschool for my homeschooled kids.  Our curriculum consisted of Play-Doh, read- alouds and lots of freedom to play.

My educational philosophy about preschool has changed some in the past few years in large part because of all the research about the impact of early intervention on the academic success of dyslexic kids.

Our 4-year old, the 8th of 8 children, has many of the early signs of dyslexia.

I now know that by being intentional in a few key areas of his preschool years can make a big difference in how well and how quickly he learns to read.

Our Homeschool Preschool Plan

We have always strived to provide a language rich environment for our kids.  Our house is full of books, books on tape and educational games, puzzles and toys.

Teaching Phonemic Awareness

The main area of focus for our 4-year old this year will be to build his level of phonemic awareness.  Skill with phonemic awareness is one of the key indicators of reading success. In fact, the two best predictors of reading success are alphabet recognition and phonemic awareness.  To learn more about phonemic awareness, read this post.

teach phonemic awareness

The best curriculum that I have ever used to teach solid phonemic awareness and alphabet recognition to my young kids is the All About Reading Pre-Level 1 

All about Reading is fun and engaging for the child and super easy for the parent to use.  We have been using All About Reading for so long, I am considering having my 11-year old teach him!

Pocket Phonics App

Pocket Phonics teaches letter sounds and has kids sounding out words right away.  It also teaches how to write each letter.  Very engaging and really seems to work!

Leap Frog DVDs

All the old-time homeschool moms know about this secret treasure!  My last 4 kids have easily learned their letter names and sounds almost exclusively by watching these learning DVDs put out by Leap Frog.

Leap Frog

Teaching Preschool Math

Because learning to recognize numbers can be difficult for kids with dyslexia, I will gently start the Math U See Primer level this year.  This program is very hands on with manipulatives for him to play with.  My little guy loves to do anything and everything with his 2nd grade brother so I will endeavor to teach them both at the same time at the kitchen table;  the preschooler at Pre-Primer level and the 2nd grader at the Beta level.

Five in a Row


Teaching Preschool Language Arts

In true homeschool style, we will teach our 7-year old and 4-year old together for language arts using the Five in a Row program.  Five in a Row consists of reading the same book each day for a week followed by different hands on enrichment activities that relate to the story from the areas of geography, social studies, language arts, applied math, science and art.  We have loved this program since the beginning of our homeschool (notice the 20-year-old version in the image above!) for laying a solid educational foundation and to inspire a love of learning.

Other Preschool Resources

We still have PlayDoh on our list of curriculum. <grin>

Plenty of educational toys, including our top 10 open ended toys.

How about you?  What are your favorites for doing preschool at home?

For more ideas on homeschooling the preschooler:

Homeschooling the Preschooler

Homeschooling the Large Family:  What About the Preschoolers

For more information on Homeschooling kids of all ages with dyslexia, visit our new web site:

homeschool dyslexia


Marianne is a homeschooling mother of 8 with a passion for those who learn differently. A follower of Jesus, lover of family and seeker of abundant life. This was originally published on her Abundant Life blog. At the CHEA Convention, Marianne will speak on Homeschooling with Dyslexia, Getting Started Teaching Kids with Learning Disabilities, and Thriving Not Surviving: Homeschooling Through the Teen Years.