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15 Favorite Preschool and Kindergarten Resources — Part 2

If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 here.

6. BOB Books – I love these beginning readers – and so do the girls! Some early reading books can be frustrating, but not the BOB books. They introduce new phonetic sounds so engagingly and at a pace that wasn’t overwhelming so Kathrynne rarely even noticed she was adding a new concept.

7. Homeschool Share – This free website has tons of great printables, educational resources and lapbooks. When planning our homeschool for the week, I often search for extra printables or fun activities we can supplement with which go along with our unit themes and have found all sorts of free goodies on this site.

8. Signing Time DVDs – Hands down, these are the one educational DVDs we’ve pretty much worn to a pulp. We got one as a demo a long time ago and enjoyed it so much that we asked Grandma and Grandpa if they’d buy the set for the girls for Christmas. Not only do I believe it is valuable to introduce your children to the deaf culture, but we’ve found that our children’s vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds as a result of teaching them ASL.

If you have a baby, I’d also highly recommend Baby Signing Time. Being able to communicate with your child at a young age makes life so much easier!

9. Everyday News Network – If your youngsters haven’t been introduced to the Everyday News Network, they’ve been missing out. Our girls love to watch the free online episodes and have picked up lots of great educational tidbits and fun ideas from ENN.

10. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name — Read my review of this book here.

The final installment of this series is coming next Monday.

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  • Deb H. in Wisconsin says:

    We LOVED the BOB books. They were great! All three of my kids used them as beginner readers. We enjoyed passing them on to a family with young children once our kids were all too old for them! That’s a great pick!

  • Angela says:

    We love as well! If I need materials for a unit study for my children, that’s the first place I look. Well, either there or the library!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Could not agree on the Signing Time more. I think it should be required viewing for parents and kids… seriously, why is Yo Gabba Gabba on 23 hours a day and this never is?!?!

  • Maria says:

    We LOVE the Bob books and Signing Time too!

    Costco sells the Bob books really cheaply, about half the price as Barnes and Nobles.

  • Leigh says:

    We lived in Las Vegas when our oldest was itty-bitty and Signing Time was on PBS……absolutely wonderful. AWESOME, we LOVE it. Fun music, great information and the boost in vocabulary is phenomenal…..I even love learning from it 🙂

  • Stacie says:

    I love, love, love Homeschool Share! Thanks for doing this! It’s great to get some new ideas!

  • Lori says:

    BOB Books were recommended to me by my oldest sons preschool teacher (he’s now 16). I used it to teach my oldest four to read. Love these simple little books! They really do the job =)

  • Lori says:

    My youngest child is autistic and Baby Signing Time is what we’ve used to teach him to communicate. They have been an amazing tool for him! I’m sure most folks who use them for babies love them too, but they are very helpful for special needs kids =)

  • Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I have a 2-yr-old and an almost 1-yr-old, and I plan on starting a homeschooling preschool for them this fall. I’m looking forward to finding out more with these resources. I’m at a bit of a loss with how to get started. Thanks again!

  • The BOB books are amazing! They had my 4 year old reading within weeks!

  • Beth says:

    We recently started the BOB books with our 5 year old and we are all loving them. He is so excited with his new independence and we are thrilled with his new love of reading.

  • Laura says:

    We used the BOB books 11 years ago with my daughter. They had no color inside. There are really cute (some are joke or riddle books or books about animals), colorful, and fun beginning readers from Scholastic. Even though we home school, I was able to purchase these very reasonably through a Scholastic book order from a local school (no shipping). They might be available on Scholastic’s website. They come in leveled sets and if you’re able to get them, you’ll see why they are just tons and tons better than the Bob books.

  • Dawn says:

    I rarely post comments, but wanted to say that the BOB books are built for children learning to read to experience nearly instant success. If you are a teacher, make sure to get a Educator Discount card from Barnes & Noble; you can save money on all purchases. I have no idea if it works for homeschool teachers.

    Teaching your baby/child to sign is wonderful. When we adopted our
    1 1/2 year old old daughter from China, we started signing immediately. Not only did it lessen her frustration at not being able to communicate, but it actually increased her communication and verbal skills!

    As a foreign language teacher, let me put in my 2 cents about early childhood language exposure. Kids respond VERY well to foreign languages. Dora and Ni hao Kai lan are great and, although it isn’t cheap, Muzzy is a great language program for children. Children do not get confused with languages and are much more receptive to learning. You can even go to websites and learn a word a day that you can incorporate into your everyday vocabulary. For example, my now soon to be 7 year old has never used the English word for ladybug in our home. It was an easy thing to do.

    My last word on the subject…read to and involve your children in everyday things; they will be better people for having done this!

  • Jill says:

    We love the Jesus Storybook Bible. Hands down the best kids Bible around…the way in strings Jesus’s coming and redeeming us throughout the whole book!

    I can’t wait to check out your other resources and I LOVE YOUR SITE! It has helped us out so much. Thanks for being such a blessing!

  • Ashley says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting these resources. I am homeschooling 3 this year with the youngest starting Kindergarten. I am so excited about the new school year and look forward to checking out some of the things you have mentioned. Thanks again!

  • Laura says:

    My brother bought our daughter The Jesus Storybook Bible for Christmas and she LOVES it! She’s almost 2 and that’s the first book she picks to read every time she lays down. My husband and I love it because it presents the Bible in more of a story format with colorful illustrations; he and I have learned a few things ourselves.

  • Rebecca Zuzula says:

    You can snag great deals at Signing Time on their products on Black Friday…the dvds are usually 1/2 off! We built our Signing Time library this way.

  • Lauren says:

    Thank you for sharing these resources. I am familiar with some but you have shared a few that we had no idea existed! We love The Jesus Story Book Bible!

  • As a mom to a hearing impaired 4 year old son, I totally agree with you all on the Signing Time Videos. He LOVES them and has learned so much. These are a great tool for developing language and I highly recommend them for hearing and non hearing children alike. My son did get to the stage where he didn’t want to sign as much as he wanted to talk so he started saying the words. He actually learned to count and say his ABC’s on his own while watching these videos too 🙂 Well, I’ll have to say that Sesame Street helped with that as well 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these great resources!!

  • Amanda says:

    Are the BOB books a good resource even if your child goes to public school? What is the begining age level at which you can start using them?

    Also, does anyone know if the Signing Time videos are closed captioned? It’d be ironic if they aren’t, but I am a deaf parent (although because a hearing aid works for me, I don’t use more than basic sign) and interested in teaching my children (and myself) sign language for easier communication. I cannot understand my own children half the time!!! Anyway… it’d be hard to learn it, I would think, if I couldn’t understand what the video was saying…

    Thanks for any information…

    • Crystal says:

      Yes the DVDs are close-captioned and I think they’d be great for your children. You can likely check them out from your local library to see how they work before buying.

      I think the BOB books would work for any child who is learning to read — regardless of whether or not they are homeschooled.

    • Ln says:

      @Amanda, Some public schools do use BOB books. I was a 2nd grade teacher before staying home with the kids and all of the kindergarten teachers had them in their rooms. They did not use them exclusively to teach reading, but more as a supplement to what they were using. I agree with others that the books make it easy to be successful. To my knowledge, they weren’t specifically made for homeschooling families. As far as a beginning age to start using them, I would say whenever your child is showing signs of reading readiness. Every child is different on this one. Reading is a huge part of our family and so our children are ready earlier because it’s just what they’ve always known. For my daughter I started using things to teach reading literally before she was two because I could tell this was going to be a gift for her. (believe me there was a lot of eye rolling on the part of my family for starting so young with her…but I know my child better than anyone and they’re not rolling their eyes anymore) Sure enough, at 6, she’s capable of reading pretty much whatever she wants that we deem age appropriate. (just because she can read on higher levels doesn’t mean we always let her…kind of like a child seeing a movie that’s too mature for them…we have to choose higher levels where the content is acceptable….very hard!) My son, is 3 and a half and is just now showing signs of reading readiness and asking me to teach him to read so we are just now starting with him. I am not using BOB books though. As far as my youngest son, 2, who knows…he will probably be completely different than my first two, as they were. My point is every child is different and what works with one may not work with another. My advice is these books are a great resource just don’t make it your only resource. I hope this helps you!

  • Stephanie says:

    I think you’ve been raiding my bookshelf, lol! I could have practically written these same posts, we have such similar taste in the resources we use for our kids! I’ve found a few new things, though, which is valuable considering we do have such similar taste. 🙂

  • Tiffany says:

    Where are the online episodes from the ENN? Are they those short videos?

  • Erin H says:

    My 2 1/2 year old LOVES Signing Time and Baby Signing Time. The songs and signs are great for having fun and building vocabulary (both ASL and English). Can’t recommend them enough. We’ll be getting the Jesus Storybook Bible soon. Just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks for your review on it, Crystal!

  • Katherine says:

    Thanks so much for your post about Signing Time, my daughter is deaf and has a cochlear implant and I really appreciate you teaching understanding to your children and enjoying part of deaf culture. They are great DVDs, we rent them from the library!

    • Crystal says:

      You are most welcome! We went to church with a number of deaf people when we lived in Kansas City and it was our first real opportunity to interact with the deaf culture. We learned so much (including lots of ASL!) and our lives have been forever improved as a result of befriending those who are deaf. And we miss all those wonderful deaf friends!

  • Amy says:

    Just in case it matters to anyone, the family that makes the Signing Time videos are Mormon, however I’ve never seen any Mormon content in their DVDs. I found out after going to Rachel’s blog and seeing they live in Utah. Not everyone who lives in Utah is a Mormon, but I thought I’d double check after some past experiences I’ve had, and I Googled her name and found an article on her in Wikipedia.

  • Nicole says:

    I bought our son The Jesus Storybook Bible four years ago. I spent over an hour sitting on the floor of the Christian Book Store looking for just the right Bible for our son for Christmas. This one by far surpassed them all. He was four at the time and my husband would read it to him every night. He has an amazing love and understanding of God’s Word. Now he reads a regular Bible, but is excited to share the old one with his younger sister because he knows the value of that precious Book. I tell everyone looking for a good children’s Bible that this is the one!

  • My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Which Signing Time video is best to start with? Do they go in a specific order?

  • Elizabeth says:

    For awhile, they were showing the complete Signing Time series on our local PBS in Houston every Sunday morning. This summer we started to check them out of the library. Finally, we bought the whole set from a wholesaler and paid a fraction of the cost. Woohoo! My 3 year old started to sing the ABCs after watching the ABC Dvd a couple of times. He loves the Zoo train one, too. It is great for language development because they articulate the words clearly and show pictures. If only he would watch it more.

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