Preschool Homeschool: Plan for a Free DIY Curriculum, Age 3

Preschool Curriculum Guidelines - Mud Hut Mama

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to get started with our preschool homeschool – age three to four. I’ve been reading preschool blogs, homeschool blogs, and packaged curriculum websites. I’ve talked with my mother who worked in a preschool for twenty years, my cousin who owns a preschool, and my sister-in-law who has a child in preschool.

Based on this, I’ve complied the following list of skills and activities that will be the basis of our free preschool homeschool curriculum. It might look like a long list at first but there is a lot of overlap and things that we already do naturally (like reading, counting, and nature walks) or Boo does completely on her own (imaginative play is huge at the moment as well as drawing and climbing). Our planned activities will focus mostly on literacy, math, and science because the rest just happens in the life of a three year old. I’ve listed the others more as a reminder to myself that even if we do nothing extra in a day, Boo is still learning.

The most important thing I want to accomplish this year is for her to love school and crave learning. I’m going to start small with one or two planned activities a day. As soon as she starts to lose interest, we’ll stop and move on. I’m hoping to leave her hungry for more!

Literacy and Language Arts:

  • Read a lot: ask questions during and after the story
  • Start learning letters: uppercase, lowercase, and letter sounds
  • Practice drawing and writing with a variety of tools: pencils, fingers, paintbrushes, chalk, crayons, sticks, etc
  • Ask to tell a story from memory
  • Sing songs and read rhymes for phonemic awareness
  • Make books: picture books or write the words while she dictates her story

Cognitive Skills and Math:

  • Identify colors, shapes, sizes, and weights
  • Count everything and put numbers to use (put four plates on the table)
  • Recognize numbers and use objects to represent numbers
  • Practice grouping, sequencing, completing patterns, and graphing
  • Compare and classify (more/less, bigger/smaller, same/different, long/short, light/heavy, holds more/holds less)
  • Match pictures or objects that are alike, opposite, or that go together
  • Encourage problem solving skills: both working it out for herself and helping me come up with solutions
  • Talk about positions (inside/outside, left/right/middle, above/below, top/bottom, under/over, in front/behind)
  • Make a play clock and talk about time
  • Play with puzzles, do mazes and dot to dots

Science and Nature Studies:

  • Use science experiments to learn about cause and effect
  • Learn the difference between living and non-living things
  • Plant seeds, watch them grow, identify parts of plants and what they need to thrive
  • Develop data collection, record-keeping, and classification skills through nature walks and a nature journal
  • Participate as much as possible in Dada’s work with wildlife conservation, plan some activities around the upcoming lion reintroduction


  • Encourage unstructured imaginative play
  • Lots of arts and crafts to develop fine motor skills: include stringing, tracing, cutting, and pasting
  • Lots of outdoor play to develop gross motor skills: climbing, jumping, running, balancing, rolling, throwing, kicking
  • Music: singing, dancing, rhythm instruments, songs with motion
  • Build with blocks and legos

Life Skills:

  • Learn about the body and self care: move towards independence with getting dressed, brushing teeth, using the toilet, washing hands
  • Learn to clean up after self and basic table manners
  • Learn about emotions and how to deal with them

Computer Skills:

  • Use the computer for educational games
  • Develop ability with mouse

What do you think? Have I missed anything? We plan to start homeschooling more formally in May and I’ll be posting regularly with details of how we turn this list of skills into fun activities.

For more information on how to introduce letters and begin a reading program see “Thoughts on how to Teach Reading to my Kids”


About Jody Tilbury

35 Responses to “Preschool Homeschool: Plan for a Free DIY Curriculum, Age 3”

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  1. MarjorieDaw says:

    This is amazing! I hope other people can benefit from this–I have no idea how you managed it!

    The only think I could possibly add to your fantastically exhaustive list here would be understanding maps. Just basic things, like knowing that a map represents an area, and maybe drawing a map of a room in the house or of a nearby street.

  2. Anne says:

    I have doubts whether to enroll my child at preschool or just apply the homeschooling. Your post had just answered all that I have in mind. Thanks!

  3. Best of luck to you as you begin your homeschooling endeavor. It’s not always easy but so amazingly rewarding; I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I bookmarked your site because I look forward to reading about your progress.

  4. Cicily says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! 🙂

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      So glad it’s helpful! The trick now is finding fun activities that fit into these areas. I’d love to hear about anything that works for you.

  5. Christina says:

    Thank you so very much for this! I was told my son was accepted to a small preschool and then when I went by to confirm the start datem the director looked at the roster & said he was not on the list… In other words, now my son will not be attending preschool and I have to scramble to get him into other activities like music classes and gymnastics… Not to mention start teaching him at home! I was totally bewildered and stressed and then I came by your site. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  6. Teresa G says:

    My son and I do “Google Earth Dates.” I look ahead of time for fun world landmarks (like the Vatican or the Eifel Tower) and then we take a look at pictures and you can even just walk down the street in street view, so that is really fun for us!

  7. Stefanie says:

    Love, love, love your site! So excited I found it! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

  8. Angela says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing this to us and keep posting. This is really helpful.

  9. Stacy Jones says:

    I began addressing some preschool issues with my dear toddler 20mths old. Who fluently count numbers 1-10 alphabet, shapes, colours/colors, loves reading books, nursery rhymes, music and dance. My toddler starts nursery at 3yrs so I want to ensure a general introduction is addressed. So far so good. However your website is absolutely fantastic and it has allowed me to explore other areas in my dear toddler’s development so thank you very very much.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you Stacy – I’m so glad you’ve found this useful. It sounds like your child will be well prepared for nursery!

  10. Rumours says:

    Hi Jody, I am so excited stuff like this exists (for free for that matter). I am sure my 3 year old daughter will benefit from the ideas you share with us. May be more relevant for me from the mighty African bushes, 😉
    Thank you for being a sharing parent!

  11. Lakshmi says:

    Hi Jody,
    I came across your site through pinterest. My son is about 3 yrs and 4 months old now and is in prek, but teachers there are telling me he lacks focus and attention to go through any particular activity. I noticed you have lot of detailed tasks such as color and shape sorting etc. Do your kids really follow on thoroughly with you….i am trying to work with him at home but can barely get him to concentreate even for a few minutes. Any techniques on how how to get the kids to focus would be the way love love love…your leson plans… I will defenitely use them for home to get my kid to focus…
    Thank you,

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Hi Lakshmi – Thanks so much for your comment. I think it’s perfectly normal for 3 year olds to lack focus & attention! My girls are hit and miss with attention span. Some activities they get really into and will spend a good amount of time on and others they loose interest after a few minutes. When that happens I usually just put it away and try again later. The first time we tried sequencing with pattern blocks it lasted just a couple of minutes and then turned into free play making pattern block soup – the next time I brought it out my oldest (who was three at the time) really enjoyed it and spent longer (maybe ten minutes?) on it. Now that she is 4 she will focus on a task for much longer than that. A year has really made a difference. Have you tried color sorting? That was a big winner with my girls when we first started and they still love it. They especially like sorting a huge collection of plastic cookie cutters I have or colored pom poms. When we started our homeschool I think that was what they were best able to focus on. I gave them the items and colored containers to sort into and they stayed busy with it for quite a while (maybe 30 minutes). I tried hard to keep it fun and not push. I’m sure your one on one attention will pay off but if your son is anything like my girls it will happen on his terms:) Wishing you well – and thank you for reading!

  12. Kelsey says:

    So fun! I just compiled a similar list for my almost-3 year old on my own blog. We have a lot of the same things!


  13. Brittany says:

    Wow, this is fantastic. We live in a remote town in the middle of Northern Arizona desert. I have wanted to home school my twin girls since they were in the belly. I just feel it’s the right way to go. I’ve exhausted myself looking for tactile, nature based curriculum’s and was just about to give up when I looked one last time, to my grateful surprise I found your curriculum! While we won’t be able to participate in lion reintroduction, which is AMAZING FOR YOUR GIRLS, the whole concept has inspired me quite a bit. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I feel a little more confident in building my own curriculum!!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Hi Brittany – I’m so glad you found me and that this list is useful for you. I’ll be so interested to hear about your homeschool in the Arizona desert!

  14. Brittany L says:

    This is fantastic! I love how organized your list is, and how fun the activities are. I see you posted this exactly 1 year ago for 3-4 year olds, so I’m wondering if you’ll be posting your coming school year for 4-5 year olds? I have a 4.5 year old who I’m trying to set up a prek curriculum for. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  15. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am a mum of a three year old and we live in a very remote part of Australia. I too have been looking and searching for a basic list of skills for kids this age just to make sure we are heading in the right direction. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us all.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for your comment Kim! I hope this information is useful and I’m wishing you well with your homeschool in Australia – I love how the internet has made the world so much smaller and that even in remote areas it is so much easier to connect with other mothers around the world than it used to be.

  16. I love your blog, keep up the good work. 🙂 I’m going to read more posts.

  17. Brindula Karol says:

    Excellent information. I want to know more as I am running a school.I have passion to make my school children the best.

  18. Bonnie says:

    This is an amazing resource!! Thank you so much for sharing! My daughter just turned 3 and I can’t wait to jump in this with her.

  19. I delight in, cause I found just what I was looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

  20. Fee says:

    Hi. I love this page. I am looking for a similar thing. My son will turn 3 this month and I don’t really know how and where to start schooling him, all I have are tons of ideas on what to do. My son has very short attention span too. I could have use this content without you knowing but I just really wanted to thank you for posting this. Thank you so much!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! Wishing you and your son all the best with your homeschool!

  21. Yirelis says:

    Am I still in time to catch up with my 4 year old son to follow your curriculum? I still didn’t hear anything back from his public school program so that he can start Pre-K so I want to teach him from home since it seems to be our only resources.

  22. Jody Tilbury says:

    Of course! One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can jump in at anytime and make it your own. We did 36 weeks for this first year so there is plenty of time to get that in. You might also want to look at our pre-k guidelines – – wishing you all the best!


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