DIY Homeschool: Pre-K Curriculum Guidelines

Pre-K Curriculum Guidelines - Mud Hut Mama

I’m having a hard time believing that we are about to jump into our second year of homeschool but I have a lot of fun activities planned and I’m really excited to get started! I’m all ready to begin next week and I’m looking forward to the routine it will help us build at our new home. Apparently pre-k can mean different things in different places but I’m just using it here to differentiate between age 3 and age 4. When we started our homeschool preschool last year I came up with a list of skills that I wanted to work on and I found it really helpful to post that list near my desk and have it to build our weekly lessons around.

There is a lot of overlap with preschool and pre-k so instead of rewriting everything on our preschool curriculum guidelines list, I’ve made this list of additional skills for our pre-k curriculum that I want to work on with Boo. We will still be doing a lot of activities to reinforce the skills we learned last year so this new list is meant to be used in conjunction with last year’s list. The vast majority of the skills and activities here are pretty standard pre-k fare but I did add the geography and world culture section simply because those are skills that I want my girls to be working on from a young age.

Literacy and Language Arts:

  • Read a lot: point out author & illustrator, ask for predictions of what will happen next
  • Retell story through acting, puppets, sequencing activities or small world play
  • Clap syllables in words and combine syllables into words
  • Point out rhymes, make up own rhymes, match rhyming words
  • Begin a reading program
  • Work on drawing shapes and printing letters and numbers – write first name.

 Cognitive Skills and Math:

  • Recognize number of objects up to five without counting
  • Work on number recognition and creating collections (goal to 20) and counting (goal to 100)
  • Learn about time through calendars and clocks
  • Recall items that have been removed from a group
  • Compare numbers – equal, more or less
  • Practice grouping, sequencing, completing patterns, and graphing
  • Identify coins

Science and Nature Studies:

  • Understand that science is a way of learning about the world by watching, wondering, forming ideas and testing those ideas.

Art & Music:

  • Use art and music as a form of self expression
  • Experiment with a variety of art supplies and techniques
  • Draw people with body parts (head, body, arms, legs, eyes, nose & mouth)
  • Listen, move to and learn about a variety of music types and instruments
  • Make our own music


  • Play a lot: unstructured play to develop imagination and problem solving skills as well as activities to improve fine and gross motor skills

Life Skills:

  • Recite full name, age, address and phone number
  • Develop personal hygiene practices
  • Complete chores to contribute to family
  • Take care of own and other people’s property
  • Learn about different jobs people have and how they contribute to their community
  • Make and follow simple maps

Computer Skills:

  • Develop computer skills through educational games and programs

Geography and World Culture:

  • Identify all continents on a map and learn some facts about each
  • Learn about other cultures through books and friendships
  • Learn Chinyanja – the local language

I’m also planning to make our weekly lessons based around a children’s book and a theme related to the book. My girls are really into reading the same story over and over and over again at the moment so I’m hoping that will work in my favor and they will love doing a variety of activities centered around a book each week.

Is there anything else you would add for age four that you don’t see here or on our preschool curriculum guidelines list?

About Jody Tilbury

38 Responses to “DIY Homeschool: Pre-K Curriculum Guidelines”

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  1. Love your list! I am such a list person myself – I love seeing everyone else’s! 🙂 Looking forward to reading more about your upcoming preschool/pre-k year.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you Shanrell! I’m also looking forward to hearing more about what you get up to!

  2. Heather says:

    Great that you have a list, looks like you are ready to go go go!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      I hope we are ready – I’m still feeling pretty disorganized from the move but I think getting started will be a big help with feeling settled.

  3. Looks like you have a great year ahead! The only thing I can think of adding would be possibly some patterning under math?

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you MaryAnne! We did a lot of patterning last year and I meant to include that (along with grouping, sequencing and graphing) on this list. Thanks for catching it – I’ve updated it now.

  4. Jordan says:

    Thanks for the list of goals! I am just about to make the same move with my four-year old. I thought I would contribute a success from this past year during out preschool year.

    My daughter loves, loves, loves the scientific method. For our home school this is the process of coming up with a research question, make a hypothesis, and come up with some sort of research plan for finding out the answer, and pretending to record our conclusions. In practice, this is just a constant dialogue regarding the world around us. I think fundamentally she is enamored with the idea that she is capable of finding answers to all questions. She enjoys the questions that have not yet been answered the most.

    I look forward to using the Charlotte Mason nature journals with her in the future, but as her skills for writing and drawing still develop, it has been so fun to get her really engaged in science.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Jordan – I love that your daughter likes the questions that she has not yet answered the most! They are such natural little scientists at this age aren’t they? We are also really excited to spend more time on the scientific method this year.

  5. Mary says:

    Hi! I’m glad to hear you are settled in and ready for the new school year! I like your list I find myself making a list then
    we start going and someone gets a new idea where they think the list should go so we call it a turn in the road of
    knowledge. It usually takes a while to get back to what we were doing..but the side adventure usually is worth the
    trip… we call it open ended explorers that’s who we are… So may the new school year bring many fun adventures and many turns in the road! mary

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Ha ha – I think it will be the same for us and I agree that the side adventures generally the most fun!

  6. Lisa Nelson says:

    Awesome and ambitious list! You guys should have so much fun this year! Homeschooling is an adventure, isn’t it? It can be whatever you want it to be!

    Your list looks really great! It will be nice getting settled in and into a routine.

    How are you liking your new place now?

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      We are starting to settle in – thank you Lisa! I’m hoping that school will help with the routine – we’ve definitely been lacking in that area.

  7. Brandi says:

    I am officially starting to homeschool my 4 year old. I have been using many different sites to help her learn a variety of things. She can read some words, write the alphabet (upper and lowercase), count to 100, knows colors, counts to 20 in spanish, and a few other things. I would love any input on other important things she may need to learn. I’m new to this, but I didn’t have faith in our local school to teach her, I see it more as daycare. Thank you for this page, lots of ggod stuff here!!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for your comment Brandi – it sounds to me like your and your daughter are doing a great job. I put up another list last year – – and I feel that when my kids have the skills on these two lists down they will be prepared for kindergarten but I think one of the most special things about homeschooling is that you can put your own slant on it and focus on areas that are important to you and your family or on areas that your children are particularly interested in. Wishing you all the best (and lots of fun) with your homeschool.

  8. Magen says:

    I loved the list you have made. I’m starting my first year of homeschooling and this was just what I needed.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you so much Magen – wishing you lots of fun and success with your homeschool!

  9. Inge says:

    Hi Jody,
    I happened to find your blog while looking for educational activities for Robin. She’s turning three next week… Great to read about how you worked with your little ones, it will help me for sure!
    ps I remember that waterhole – great place you had – but for now: welcome back to Zambia!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thanks for the welcome back! I hope we can see you guys soon – we really want to come see the bats this year and it will be so much fun to see the girls all together again. Happy birthday to Robin – they grow so fast!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I have nothing to add since I don’t homeschool, except to share that we bought the kids magnifying glasses yesterday i preparation for a field trip they’re doing with their preschool, and it was the most awesome thing ever – both the 3yo and 5yo loved them and were using them on anything and everything around the house.

    I was very interested in the “life skills” list you put up since that’s what I tend to work with them on more at home. Right now I’m feeling like social rituals are going to be a big focus for us in the next few months, and raising kids cross-culturally makes this a big challenge – especially rituals around food as I’m sure you know. I remember as a kid being raised cross-culturally I found differences in greeting adults in different cultural contexts to be SO confusing, I never knew what I was supposed to say. I feel like at this age kids are extended a lot of grace especially when people know they’re new to the context, but it’s also a great time for them to learn polite greetings and phrases because people are so charmed when little ones use them.

    Oh, and here’s a fun game my kids invented that is a conceptual thing as well – they like to play “Differences,” so I’ll call out (e.g.) “One is sitting, and one is standing” and they’ll act this out. Or they’ll just mess around doing whatever and I’ll point out the differences as they go, or else they’ll decide themselves what the differences are going to be (e.g. “Bug, you be upside down and I’ll be right-side up”). It’s fun for me to think of things for them to do, and they engage their whole bodies.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      I love your differences game! You are so right about the social rituals – I didn’t even think about that but we are doing the same. My girls are learning to greet in the local language where we are but they are also figuring out that there are a lot of different languages in this country – and that greetings change from place to place. Greeting is such a huge part of the culture here so it definitely belongs under life skills. Thanks for the reminder! My girls are also big fans of magnifying glasses – I have to get some more as they have loved the ones we had to death!

  11. Shilpa says:


    I really admire your efforts at homeschooling the kids and letting them learn in a natural way. I will be starting homeschooling for the first time for my 4 year daughter this year and hoping to include my 2 year boy too. So I guess there is going to be lot of playing and goofing around. I will be definitely checking your site for inspiration and ideas. 🙂

  12. Keisha Hanvy says:

    Love the list! I also love how you planned imaginative play activities, music, and art! It really bothers me when I hear about homeschooling parents who get frustrated because all their kids want to do is play. I always tell them but kids learn through play not from writing 6 or 7 hours a day in a workbook! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and link up at The Homeschool Linky Party. Hope to see you again next week!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for hosting the linky party Keisha and thank you for your comment. I agree that play is where kids learn the most so we should work with it rather than against it.

  13. Yirelis says:

    Wow O_0 you are an absolutely awesome woman 🙂 thanks for answering so promptly! Your home place is an amazingly ferocious world! And I could dream of one day visiting. And you have two beautiful “Littles” God Bless. I also call my son Noah; my “Lilo” which is close to that. Once again thank you so much for creating this great website and sharing with us a piece of your world. I love the picture you took of your daughters with the elephants as a background!!! Amazing! I use to get excited if I saw a deer in my backyard, but elephants? Most would say they saw a nutty squirrel by their NJ window, and maybe just maybe, then they fed them, then after a while they also probably named it, or just simply paid it no mind, and kept drinking their morning coffee along with bloggin’ their story about how they replied to Jody. But ELEPHANTS!!! Living that special dream 🙂 and it makes me genuinely happy for you. Cheers to living a beautiful life. I’m so glad that I came across your page. I’m enthusiastically excited to start spending some great quality time with my shinning star as we teach and learn from one another.
    Please check out the video below:

  14. Pri says:


    I’m curious how you are working in your younger daughter’s need to develop the skills that your older has already mastered. I notice that you all do the activities together. Do you make special time to work on letter sounds and more basic work with your younger one? I have a 7 and 3 yr old. My 7 yr old is in the local first grade full time but we work on English at home and am just starting working on learning the alphabet with my 3 yr old. I do notice that my older one often gets interested in the stuff I set up for my little guy, but the stuff I do with my older one of course flies over the head of my younger. I know he is picking some things up, but I do have to make special time to address his more basic needs.

    Thanks from Tokyo.


    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Hi Pri, Thank you for your comment. We are doing all of our activities (except for reading) together at the moment. My younger daughter technically started to homeschool this year but since she participated in so much that we did last year she’s not that far behind my oldest – they are very close in age (just 14 months apart). We are all repeating the Webbing into Literacy activities we did last year but they are mainly for my younger daughter’s benefit- I have my younger one draw shapes while I work on letter formation with my oldest and so far we’ve been able to do math together but I might have to separate that out soon. When my youngest loses interest in what we are doing or if something feels to advanced for her, I try to give her something she can do independently like a puzzle or patterning or sorting while I work with my oldest. I don’t have a perfect system for this and homeschooling two and adjusting to the dynamics of two different ages, attention spans and interests is definitely a challenge. Have you tried the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD with your youngest? My girls love it and it helped them learn their letter sounds much more than all the letter activities I came up with.

  15. Cordelia says:

    Jody, wow! I wish I had seen this a few months ago. So inspiring and so informative. Can I ask how you put this together? I am trying to do the same thing for P 5.5 so technically kindergarten and Claude just 3.

    On my side, I’ve definitely found it a challenge to sort out individual time for each.
    You are such an inspiration. Also do you have any posts or recommendations for games activities to practice some of the match skills you mention like making sets, etc?


  16. Ann says:

    Hi jody

    Just wondering do you have a list of the items you used in your curriculum that you would recommend? I love all your activities and each little puzzle or flash card you incorporate …sorry if this has been asked before.


  17. Meghan says:

    Is it too soon for I love yous? I’m beyond ecstatic to have stumbled upon this page!! My son will be 4 next month & we started homeschooling 3 weeks ago. I’ve been paroozing-no endlessly searching for lesson plans for the next few weeks that would work for my son. Seriously all I’ve been able to find is letter recognition activities & counting to 10.
    Letter recognition?? My son knows all the letter sounds & can write almost all of them upper & lower case. And these sites I’m finding expect me to be teaching my kid “a is for apple”?? Lol
    Anyway thank you for the fantastic, challenging ideas. And for reassuring me that my kid isn’t a freak. Lol 🙂

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you Meghan – I’m so glad you like the list and I hope it helps with your homeschool! No your son isn’t a freak but I do think it’s pretty impressive that he can write most of his letters at almost 4. That’s something we didn’t spend much time on last year and are working on quite a bit now.

  18. Ashley says:

    Ok….I love your list. After looking into preschools in my area and not finding exactly what I want, I am seriously considering homeschooling my soon-to-be 4 year old….is there anything I *need* to know to get started? She knows letters, colors, numbers, many shapes, etc., just has trouble with fine motor. So, do we just take the skills we have and go from there? I guess there doesn’t have to be anything official for preschool, right? Thank you <3

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thanks for your comment and yes – exactly! Take where you are and go from there – it most definitely does not need to be anything official. I did do a list for age 3 if you want to take a look at that too and check off anything she already has down but there are so many different options for working on these skills. I have our week by week documented on this blog but there are so many different ways that you can work on all of these skills. If you aren’t already on pinterest – I highly recommend it. It’s where I find a lot of our activities and I’ve seen a lot of fun fine motor activities there. Wishing you all the best with your homeschool!

  19. Ellen K. says:

    After deciding to homeschool my son, the next question was how to do it. I’ve searched the net for various pre-k and kinder curriculum and they mostly present ideas but not as concrete as how you were able to present it. Thank you so much for these insights on how to go about the inputs and for the suggested activities. I really appreciate your taking the time to share these. More power to your homeschool efforts. I am now looking forward to applying most of these to my son’s homeschooling as well. Thanks!


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