Here's What's Worked for Us: Toys, Tools, and Curriculum That Have Held Up in Our Home



In the six years that Preschoolers and Peace has been online, I've reviewed many resources and written plenty of posts about curriculum and other tools for learning and raising children. 

But what has stood the test of time in our home? We've had kids underfoot for nearly 19 years, and some things have just worked for everyone here.  In no particular order, here's the cream of the crop. But if you're reading in a reader, please click through or you might just miss the links!


Calculadder Master Pac and Ready Writer  Calculadder is simply math drill worksheets, all on one CD. I have used them off and on over the years when a child needed extra practice. What I really love, though, and what every child in our home has used, is Ready Writer. Printable worksheets that allow for early handwriting practice, Ready Writer makes practicing the simple strokes required to form letters fun. Students "cut" brownies into squares, bubble in the sheep eyes, and saw the barn roof, amongst other things. Each sheet includes a Bible verse, just to keep it sanctified ;D Ready Writer and Calculadder are included on one Master Pak CD.


570006: MasterPak 1 on CD-ROM MasterPak 1 on CD-ROM
By The Providence Project

MasterPak 1 on CD-ROM: Ready Writer &#174 and Calculadder&#174 1-3 in Printable PDF format! MasterPak 1 contains every drill from books 1 thru 3 of Calculadder&#174, plus all the drills from ReadyWriter&#174, our popular penmanship course. Complete Instructor's Guides, Achievement Records, and full grading keys are also included. Use daily to promote excellence in skills for educational growth and wise stewardship in God's world. Use on WIndows and MacOS&#174 systems.


Draw Write Now  The Draw Write Now series is indispensable. Our kids have pulled these books off the shelf for years, learning to draw everything from farm animals to the Statue of Liberty. Even if you can only purchase one book at a time, you won't regret the investment for kids who like to draw and fill their free time with something valuable. Each subject includes copywork, too, if you're wanting a little older student to practice their handwriting. Currently, our five-year-old up to our 7th grader use these.




Creativity Express  I really don't have enough good to say about the Creativity Express product. We have owned this one for a number of years, and my kids are captivated by it. You know an educational product is worth the time and money when a child later references something they learned with it, and that happens regularly with Creativity Express.

I reviewed it in its CD format four years ago, but Creativity Express is now entirely online. From my original review, "  I learned so much just sitting by the kids as they explored its many levels with all kinds of art history facts, artist profiles, masterpieces, and even hands-on projects that allow the student to explore concepts of color, spacial relationships, and other art concepts that are a bit beyond me to pull off. The animation is excellent, done by former Disney animators."



Wikki Stix  To those of you with great artistic ability, you can just move along now. But for those of you who are like me and without a creative bone in your body, Wikki Stix are the answer! Great for quiet play, church, the doctor's office, or for writing notes to dad on the front door. I buy new ones every year, and when they've lost their stickiness, everyone must wait for next year. Oh, the anticipation!



Legos  A no-brainer, right? We've got a bajillion Legos in our home, and while they took about a two-year hiatus between the older boys and the little boys, they have recently made their reappearance. I really don't think there will ever be a time when we don't own Legos in our home, because they really do cross gender lines and abilities. A great investment for our children and grandchildren.



Rod and Staff Preschool  Every one of our older preschoolers have worked through this series of affordable, thorough workbooks. They have a nice variety of activities, from printing to early logic problems to phonics to coloring to cutting and pasting. By the end of the series, our kids are ready for first grade work. Rod and Staff calls them preschool workbooks because they don't have kindergarten, but they really are meant to be for kindergarteners, or kids around five years of age.


If you're looking for school supplies, check out this post I wrote about the pencils, pencil sharpener, scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, and page protectors that have stood up to 15 years of homeschool abuse.