The Homegrown Preschooler & Why We Need It!

When we started doing school with Sophie, she was three years old. I didn’t realize we were homeschooling, we were just working on numbers, letters, shapes, colors – and admittedly watching Sesame Street for some fun dance music :)  By the time we were seriously considering homeschool, Bella was 2 and it was harder to teach Sophie because Bella wanted to be right there in the middle.  Last year I felt like I was losing my mind – I was running between the girls and I was winging it with Bella, since I didn’t have a preschool plan. Sigh.

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I was asked to review The Homegrown Preschooler by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards, and it couldn’t have come at a better time since Sophie will be doing K-1 work in the fall, and Bella is a full fledged preschooler. {help} I needed something to help me combat the chaos that we had last year, and after reading The Homegrown Preschooler I have a better idea on how to plan for this coming year.

The Homegrown Preschooler is a handbook on the preschool age.  It touches on social skills, motor skills, fine motor skills, eating, sleeping, outside activities – you name it and it’s in the book.  Since I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, I ended up skimming through the entire book and making notes in the margins on chapters that I really wanted to look more at.

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Since Bella is our second preschooler, I did find some of the information redundant, since we *already* went through that stage with Sophie. But I think that is true for many manuscripts – it’s difficult to find new information on every single page.  By skimming through the chapters that didn’t really pertain to us, I feel that I got a better overview of The Homegrown Preschooler.

What I loved about The Homegrown Preschooler:

The pictures in this book are lovely.  Many pictures are half a page, and all of them are full color and lively! It’s wonderful to actually SEE children working on the activities that the authors are talking about, instead of getting a mental picture in my head.  Bella read parts of this book with me.  She climbed into my lap as I was reading it and she was captivated by the pictures and images of the children having fun.  It was great to see the book through her eyes as we were going through it.

There are pages of hands on activities to do with your child using simple methods with materials that you would have at home. I’m a big fan of hands on learning, but not creative enough to figure out how to go from reading or seeing something to being hands on so your child to figure out how/why something works.  Since my Bella likes to get messy and be very hands on, I can safely say this was her favorite part of the book! Even Sophie got in on the act with some of them –  and we finally have a sensory bin.  I only wish I had figured out some of these last year.

I loved the Special Circumstances chapter.  Included were adoption {near to my heart!}, children with chronic illness, and children with special needs.  The authors take great pains to encourage families to take time when faced with different home circumstances.  They encourage that it’s okay to step back, tweak, let go and just love on your family during a transition time, which is something that I think is SO important, and something that we all tend to just plow through, instead of living in the moment.  I would buy the book just for this section!

The Homegrown Preschooler is packed with recipes {some gluten free!}, tips, tricks, activities, practical advice and everyday wisdom from moms who have been {or are still there} in the trenches of preschool.  If you have a preschool age child, I highly recommend this book, even if you AREN’T planning on homeschooling your child.  There is so much information packed into this book that I feel it is a valuable resource for every parent.

You can purchase The Homegrown Preschooler at Gryphon House for $29.95.  I’m already planning on purchasing two as gifts for some overwhelmed preschool mommas that I know!

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