Preschool Education: Review of Busy Bee Preschool


If you have a three- or four-year-old, you're probably thinking about preschool. While you're little tyke may be ready to learn his letters and numbers, you may not feel he is ready socially. Or you may not be able to afford the cost of preschool. Home preschool may be a good option for you. This is an important time in their development, as they have a natural curiosity to learn at this age. Did you know that, according to scientists, a 3-year-old toddler's brain is twice as active as an adult's brain?

Magnet letters and words on a fridge

As I've mentioned before, I have done and am doing a home preschool for my two children starting in the fall of their third year. I used Letter Works as my curriculum, a simple workbook curriculum, as well as my own hodge podge of activities, crafts, flashcards, and workbooks. I focused on teaching letter recognition, mainly because I didn't know there were other options. But recently I discovered another option that will definitely come in handy as I teach my three-year-old: Busy Bee Lessons.

Busy Bee is an entire preschool curriculum designed for moms like me teaching their own kids or small groups of neighborhood kids ages three and four in a Joy School setting. It is available entirely online, and is a comprehensive approach to preschool education. Everything is provided for an entire school year from mid-September to end-of-May, twice-a-week for 38 weeks, for the price of $72 a year, or about $1.26 a lesson.

Specifically, "everything" includes:

  • A lesson schedule for each month
  • A guide to tell you how to best prepare a space in your home for a preschool
  • A multitude of general preparation materials, like letter and number flash cards, colored shapes illustrations, number recognition charts, etc.
  • Six or seven lessons per month, each lesson consisting of step-by-step instructions, worksheets for each child, the paper supplies needed for a craft, a recommended book to accompany the lesson, and a take-home sheet

Each month's lessons are structured around a character theme, like "I can be creative" or "I can be giving." Each month comes with a lesson schedule, pre-recorded music in .mp3 files, and a helper chart for assigning simple tasks to kids if you're doing the Joy School thing. Busy Bee offers two curriculums, one for three-year-olds and one for four-year-olds.

The lessons teach shape and color recognition, letter recognition of both upper- and lower-case letters; number recognition up to 15; counting up to 50 for 3-year-olds and up to 100 for 4-year-olds; various pre-math concepts such as sequencing, measurement, comparisons, sorting, matching, and patterns; and various life skills, such as how to share, how to be creative, etc. Parents need to be able to provide the supplemental materials, like glue sticks and scissors, on their own and at their discretion.

Here's what I think ...

The bottom line is you get what you pay for when it comes to home preschool resources. It is worth it to pay more, I think, to have everything planned out for you and all the materials. The Letter Works manual, which originally cost me $24.99 but now can be purchased used for about $4, provides 26 weeks of instruction, all centered around a letter per week, not distinguishing between upper- or lower-case. Each lesson teaches letter recognition through various math, art, science, and social studies modules for each letter, and is meant to work for either three- or four-year-olds. I feel that, too enough, it is either too advanced or too simplistic for my kids at three years of age.

Each Busy Bee lesson, on the other hand, is developmentally appropriate, well-thought-out, detailed, and based on sound educational principles of modeling, tactile involvement, etc. I'm excited to add it to my repertoire of tools to encourage my sons' growth.

Do you or have you done at-home preschool? What are your favorite resources?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
Both years of Busy Bee curriculum were provided to me free-of-charge for purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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