My son is 3 1/2 and I recently began homeschooling. My advice is to read read read, all about early childhood teaching methods, learning styles, types of curriculum, cognitive development etc. so that you know what you can expect from your child at each stage :) we started about three months ago when my son was 3 and 5 months. We started with learning uppercase letters, 1-10 and shapes. Now he has those down (he knows them fully from memory) and we are focusing mostly on colors, numbers 11-20 and patterns, opposites, manners, "go-togethers" (like a paint can and a paint brush), citizenship (volunteer work), life cycles of plants and animals (we volunteer at the humane society every day and plant flowers and watch them grow) and random science.
Also, free play is vital until around age seven. I try to keep fun educational stuff available to him all the time. He has a "sensory tray" that I fill with random things like mini marshmallows, wheat germ, flour, jello, pudding, etc. along with measuring utensils and small containers. I try to do several simple art projects each week but almost daily I will set out random art supplies and he will just go at it. We talk a lot about why's and how's and what do you think will happen next etc. I encourage handwriting/fine motor skills practice using different art mediums. For example, I will give him window markers and ask him to write some letters and draw some pictures on a window or I will ask him to make me a pentagon on a geo board etc.
Play, play, play and follow their lead. My 3 year old is currently interested in reading and plants so that's what we are doing. I'm not a fan of workbooks at this age but she loves them so we are using explode the code get ready for the code. We are also making an alphabet book with handprint animals and the letter of the week. So like last week we did crayon rubbings on the letter k to go with our handprint koala bear. She can read the first 3 Bob books and she's so proud of that.
She does like patterns. Sorting, counting, stuff like that. She has no desire to formally learn numbers or shapes so we don't do them. She enjoys learning Spanish on speekee with her brother too.
I find a ton of ideas on pintrest and try to make what she is learning coordinate with what we are doing in life.
I started with some unofficial things with DD at 2.5/3 and at 4 we started more formal HS.
I REALLY love Handwriting Without Tears, it's a great program.
RightStart Math is great too lots of hands on stuff.
We did lots of apps on the Ipad, checked out things from the library like Little Pim French DVDs, Countries Around the World DVDs.
She did Ooka Island and Reading Eggs on the computer.
Shows like Super Why are awesome.
Lots and lots of reading. I started reading Magic Tree House when she was 3.5 when putting her down for bed and naps. We also did Mouse and the Motorcycle.
We just started All About Spelling but honestly, I could have started it a whole year ago now that I see how she's doing.
It really depends on your kid. I know many moms will say play and I know that's important but when your kid starts reading at 2.5 and LOVES to read you also have to go with that flow and encourage their natural interests/talents, etc.
She was really into the human body so we did lots of Magic School bus DVDs, books, experiment kits. Apologia Science astronomy and human anatomy too.
Lesson links for 4-5year old