Low-Prep Pre-K/K Curriculum

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The last few posts have been about the basics of Pre-K/K curriculum and why you might want to use one as well as a list of resources that we enjoy. A couple of moms have mentioned to me their desire for an “open and go” curriculum. I had a few ideas, but I thought I’d do some looking and asking around to compile a list.

Why Use an “Open and Go” Curriculum?
A curriculum that has it all laid out for you with little to no running around for special supplies or books has a great appeal to many. They require less planning and preparation on the parent’s part, and can be especially helpful for the following situations.

  • Families busy with many ages to teach
  • Families whose littles just want to to “do school”
  • New homeschoolers 
  • Moms who’d rather follow a program than modify/create one
  • Moms who simply want to do less prep work


Challenges
I set about to find curriculum that would fit the bill. Here are some challenges I found while searching:

  • Hands-On. Preschool and Kindergarten are hands-on stages. So some prep is usually needed. 
  • Less work, higher cost. The more prep work is done for you (materials, books, instructions, etc.) generally the more expensive the program is. Since these are the early stages, it is hard to swallow paying a lot for a pre-K/K curriculum
  • Printing. Some people still consider a curriculum “open and go” if it involves printing. I do not. I like to avoid printing whenever possible! However, I included the less printer-intensive ones here (like Easy Peasy) anyway. 

Here are some options that you can do alone or mix and match with each other. Have fun exploring!
  • Easy Peasy All-In-One Curriculum – This is becoming a very popular free curriculum for all ages. I don’t really agree with her philosophy on teaching reading, but that doesn’t really play out in the pre-K level anyway. And you can always use this as a base and supplement with other reading and math programs, which is what most people seem to do. 
  • Starfall – Also a very popular online activity site for preschoolers. Much of it is free but you can also pay to unlock more advanced games and activities. 
  • Lesson Pathways – This is something we use on occasion for K-level work. Free and links out to other resources. 
  • Kids of Integrity – I LOVE this free online character curriculum from the Canada Focus on the Family. We often do the lessons without extra prep, but sometimes grab one of the suggested crafts when I’m feeling crafty. 🙂
  • Heart of Dakota – This is the curriculum suggestion that pops up EVERY TIME someone asks about an “open and go” homeschool curriculum. It is one I pined over when I first thought of homeschooling, but didn’t take the plunge. If you have some money to spend but want a more affordable option than some of the big names out there, this could be the one!
  • ABC Mouse and Time 4 Learning – Paid online options that provide simple preschool curriculums. I think both of them provide a free trial if you want to test it first. 
  • BFIAR/FIARThis really is more prep work than is in the scope of this post, but I REALLY like it and suggest you consider it anyway. It is literature-based, which means you’ll have to get the books from the library or online. But as long as you don’t get carried away with add-on activities or the printable people have created out there, you can just stick to the activities in the book and pull it off with fairly low prep. That’s what I’ve been doing!  
  • Pre-K or K workbooks from CostcoYup! Many times the materials in the fancy workbooks you can buy are covered in basic workbooks you can pick up at Target, Costco, the Dollar Store, etc. We have a few from Costco that are pretty thorough and keep all the kids entertained! Then again, my kids LIKE workbooks. 🙂 
  • Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) – Someone suggested this to me. However, for parts of the web site only the IE browser is supported, so I couldn’t check it out
  • Hewitt Homeschool Preschool Plus – Curriculum with all the materials available for purchase other than books to check out from the library or purchase separately. Lots of good reading!
  • Carol’s Affordable Curriculum – An interesting option that includes all the copies and most of the craft materials you will need. The site is a little difficult to navigate, but example pricing would be about $12 for 1 child for 1 month of Jumping Kangaroo (the 2-5yo curriculum) or about $177 for 9 months. 
  • Worth a Read: post on Simple Homeschool about low-prep pre-K curriculum and the writer’s curriculum choice


NOTE on Reading and Math: At K level I would add a phonics/reading program and a math program in addition to these. Right now we’re using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Horizons Math for K and it’s working well. But I have also had my eye on All About Reading and Life of Fred or the Math U See primer.

ALSO NOTE that there is no curriculum that replaces the value of lots of outdoor play, a big tub of art supplies and manipulative, and a selection of good toys and games!


Did you find anything here that might work for you? What other tips or suggestions do you have for “open and go” curriculum? 


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. The dollar store has workbooks of all kinds for different levels. They also have resource books for science, history and other topics. We stock up when they get new goodies in which I think my kids will be interested. Also, a great resource for craft supplies and manipulatives.

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