Choosing Preschool Curriculum

Sonlight Preschool

We’ve made our very first homeschool curriculum decision and are looking forward to starting our first year of preschool at home. We found a curriculum that fits in beautifully with our philosophy about preschool education and are excited to begin learning with a little bit of structure.

Last summer, a Sonlight catalog arrived in our mailbox. I started reading a little about their approach to learning and was immediately impressed.

‘We believe most children respond more positively to great literature than they do to textbooks.’ -Sonlight

I love books. In my own education, I’ve learned so much more from reading interesting books than I ever learned from textbooks.

Paxton loves books. I started reading to him from birth and he has an insatiable appetite for being read to. And, he’s learned so much from reading storybooks.

I was feeling like Sonlight just might be the perfect fit for us! I excitedly turned to the page that had a picture of their preschool curriculum and was immediately excited. There were several books on their preschool lists that we already owned.

The thing about these books, they were the books that were Paxton’s favorites and my favorites to read to him. This immediately convinced me that they have high standards when it comes to children’s literature and choose quality books that both parents and children love.

Now, remember this was over a year ago. Believe me, I was so excited about finding a curriculum that I loved the philosophy behind. I was ready to order the Preschool 3/4 curriculum and dive in.

Instead, I decided to squelch my excitement and slow down. We have years and years of homeschool ahead of us but the laid back days of just playing and reading leisurely are fleeting.

I talked to experienced homeschool mamas who encouraged me to slow down, enjoy my time as a mama of a baby and 2-year-old and do a little more research on options. (I did more research and kept coming back to Sonlight. It fits perfectly in with what I want for preschool, not sure beyond that because I’m not at that stage just yet.)

My husband and I talked about budgeting for the curriculum and since we already owned several of the books. He suggested that I start piecing together the Preschool 3/4 curriculum as I found books at used book stores and thrift stores. Once we were ready to start, we would purchase the remaining books from Sonlight.

At the beginning of this year, I started acquiring books that were on the list. Each book that we purchased quickly became a new favorite and reinforced my decision to use Sonlight.

Sonlight P3:4

The thing I love the most about Sonlight’s Preschool 3/4 curriculum is that it really isn’t a curriculum. There isn’t a schedule to follow. The instructor guide comes with a checklist of books to read and activities to do with your child. It’s a very laid back approach with the emphasis being on spending time reading and making memories with lots of free time for preschoolers to play.

I like that as a parent, I have a guide to follow that gives me ideas and will allow me check off the books we’ve read and activities we’ve done. I feel like this is a wonderful fit for me as a first time homeschool mama to start easing into the lifestyle of structured learning at home.

We’re planning on beginning our preschool at home in September. I’m looking forward to reading a lot of wonderful books, enjoying fun activities centered on those books, and creating memories with Paxton.

Our very favorite Sonlight Preschool 3/4 Books:

Sonlight CurriculumThis post includes affiliate links that help support this site. 


Teaching Preschoolers About Money

Teaching Preschoolers about Money

In the past few months, our 2.5 year old, Paxton, has become interested in money.

One of his favorite things to do at the grocery store is to “help me buy” when we use the self-checkout. I sometimes allow him to help me scan things {mainly if there’s nobody behind us} and boy does it make him happy! He also pretends to have a store at home and he scans things and pays for them.

With his interest in money, we’ve started talking to him about how we use money to exchange for things we need or want.

His grandparents will send him a letter with a dollar in it or put some change in his piggy bank when they’re visiting so he has some of his own spending money. He received a wallet for Christmas and we put his piggy bank money into the wallet.

A few weeks ago, he wanted a train game on the iPad so his daddy asked if he wanted to spend his money to buy it. He said yes and went to get his wallet. He paid for the new app and was excited to be spending his own money.

This past weekend, we went to Guitar Center {one of his favorite places, he loves drums and guitars}. After he played almost every drum there, we asked him if he wanted to spend some of his money on small drum sticks {he only had tiny sticks and adult sized sticks}. Of course he wanted new sticks! I gave him his wallet and helped him count out his money and give it to the associate. Paxton proudly carried his out new sticks and receipt and played with the sticks all the way home.

We know he’s young but he knows what money is and he knows you can purchase things. While we may be criticized for allowing him to spend his own money, we think it’s wise to guide our children in regards to their finances.

A preschooler who is learning the basics of money will grow into a child who learns about financial responsibility and then into an adult who is financially independent! One of our goals, as parents, is to raise our children to become independent adults.

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links that help support this site.

Choosing to Homeschool


Homeschool, public school or private school? These three schooling options often make parents defensive and is a topic of heated discussion.

I’ve mentioned planning to homeschool a time or two and a few months back received this question:

“Will you share why you’re choosing to homeschool over sending your child to traditional public school?”

I’ll start with my background. I went to public school K-12 and then went on to a public university. I’m very much so a product of the public school system.

All through school, I wished my mama would homeschool me, it seemed like such a wonderful way to learn. I was an avid reader but during the school years never had time to read for pleasure because I was always reading boring textbooks, doing endless homework, studying for tests, working on ‘group projects’ or writing papers. I rarely had free time to pursue my passions.

Once I graduated from college, I finally was free to pursue my interests! I’ve turned into more of a learner in the past 4 years since graduating college than I did all through school.

Since I had a wish to be homeschooled as a child, I naturally was interested in becoming a homeschooling parent. While I was pregnant with Paxton, I started researching homeschooling. I began reading homeschool books, blogs and talking to other homeschool mamas. In the years since his birth, my husband and I have a pretty good understanding of different methods of homeschooling and at this point are undecided exactly which method(s) we’ll be using but we do know we’ll be homeschooling. {I really think the method we use will depend on the child and their learning interests.}

Our driving force behind our decision to homeschool is simply education.

  • We believe children are born ready to learn and that school thwarts some of that learning.
  • We also know that boys learn differently than girls and most public elementary school settings are more geared towards learning styles of girls.
  • We don’t want the passion for learning to be squelched by school which was the case for both of us.
  • We like the flexibility that homeschooling offers. No worrying about getting out of the house on time every morning, no carpool lines and no dealing with makeup work for absences.
  • And, I really like spending time with my children and look forward to teaching and learning alongside them daily for years to come!

To us, there are numerous benefits in homeschooling.

Paxton isn’t even 3 yet and we’re not officially homeschooling but the reality is we’ve been homeschooling all along.

Babies are born ready to learn. Both of our boys are like sponges so we’ve read to them, talked to them, exposed them to different genres of music and believe in following their interests.

Little Drummer

At 2.5, Paxton loves music. He received his first guitar and drum with mini drumsticks at 20 months. He adores the worship leaders at church, he even knows the guitars they play! He loves going to music stores {he’ll pick a guitar store over a toy store!} At the age of two, he was creating his own drum set with his toy drum and metal buckets. A few months after turning two, he had his own mini drum kit. And, it’s played with all the time.

Right now, we’re following an unschooling approach by fostering his love for music and instruments. He has a drum kit, an acoustic guitar and a Paper Jamz guitar with an amp. John David takes him to local guitar/music stores to expose him to different instruments and we listen to a lot of music. He is soaking up knowledge about music due to his interest in it.

And, we’re excited about following this same approach with Weston as his little personality is emerging more and more!

That’s a summary of why we’re choosing to homeschool. We simply think it’s the best fit for our family.

Recommended books:

Related Posts: Choosing Preschool Curriculum

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Applying the Montessori Method at Home


A few weeks back, I came across How We Montessori. It’s a blog about incorporating the Montessori Method at home. I had heard of the Montessori Method and basically thought of it as allowing children to play by imitating things in real life (like play sweeping, cooking, etc.) However, it’s much more than that!

As I was reading through the blog and learning more about this method of education, I realized that it’s right in line with our parenting philosophy.

Montessori supports adapting the environment to match children’s interests and needs. When Paxton was very young we noticed that he had a love for music. We decided to purposely foster this love by making sure he had musical instruments as toys, exposing him to real instruments and to different genres of music.

Young children also have a need for order. A Montessori approach is making sure you have a ‘place for everything and everything in its place.’ We’ve always kept Paxton’s room neat and tidy and all of his toys have a specific place that they go. When he turned 1, we started involving him in the process of cleaning his room and putting everything back where it belongs. Now, he definitely knows where each and everything goes and most nights he picks up his toys by himself when we ask him to. (Of course he is a 21-month-old and many nights we deal with his strong will and a few tantrums during clean up!)

We started researching more about Montessori and are convinced it’s an excellent approach, we want to make learning constant, practical and fun for our children!

Here are some ways we’ve started applying the Montessori Method at home:

  • We purchased a wooden kitchen for Paxton. (It was $18.99 at our local resale store, purchased with store credit!) We’re storing his dishes in his kitchen and of course he’s playing like he’s cooking and washing dishes!
  • We moved his clothes to the bottom two dresser drawers so he can be more involved in picking his clothes out.
  • We’re paying more attention to his desire to help. When he drags a stool over the the sink while I’m washing dishes, I’m allowing him to ‘help’ even though it means more time and more work for mama!
  • We’re beginning to let him help with some cooking. Right now that’s just been stirring {tea, brownie/cornbread batter, etc.} and washing potatoes.

As of right now, we’re still researching more and finding small ways to incorporate this lifestyle of learning into our lives. We’re making small changes as we find things we want to apply in our home.

Have you heard of Montessori? Do you agree with the philosophy? Have you or your children attended Montessori School?