Okay, I'll be the first to admit it... I buy lots of school materials. If I have a weakness for anything, it's books! I am definitely a teacher at heart! Through trial and error, these are the materials, in order, I have used with the kids. I have stacks of materials I purchased that were just too advanced to be of any practical use. Additionally, although the kids have been through whole workbooks, they still don't know colors or numbers! It will be a matter of repetition, repetition, repetition!
As a side note, when Blanca first came home over two years ago, I did not attempt any formal schooling until she was fluent in English. Yet, with these new kiddos--- just out of sheer desperation to fill the day and to make an attempt to prevent the house from getting destroyed-- I started some sort of schooling after just 2 weeks of being home.
"The Jesus Film" in Amharic (thejesusfilmstore.com)
"Tsehai Loves Learning," Vol. 1 and 2 (http://www.tsehai.com) This is a preschool video in Amharic
Oral recitation: ABC's, Counting, Colors
Califone Card Reading System: (http://www.califone.com/products/mcfrc.php)
Puzzles: started with easy 24 piece puzzles and worked up to 100 piece puzzles
Games: (very important, as kids have difficulty losing gracefully)
"ABC Letter Game"
"Shoots and Ladders"
"Dominoes" (matching patterns; difficult for two of the kids)
Flashcards (ABCs, numbers, first words, colors, etc.)
Critical Thinking Curriculum: (criticalthinking.com)
"Visual Perception Skill Building, Book 1 Pre-K to 1"
"Hands On Thinking Skills, K-1" with manipulatives (attribute blocks, interlocking cubes, pattern blocks)
"Half 'n Half Animals, A1"
Kumon Books (amazon.com)
"My Book of Easy Mazes" (very simple, but built kids' confidence"
"My Book of Mazes--- Animals"
"My Book of Alphabet Games"
"My Book of Mazes--- Around the World" (only one of the boys could manage)
"My Book of Simple Addition"
"My Book of Easy Crafts" (really fun; Blanca enjoys this, too)
I also use small white boards to practice letters and shapes. The kids seem to enjoy being able to wipe off their work.
You may notice that reading is not on the list. Yes, I make an effort to read to the kids... but honestly, they are just so wiggly that they have very short attention spans. Their favorite books have been "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," "Chicka Chicka 1-2-3", and anything Spiderman or Peter Pan!
What the kids absolutely enjoy--- more than most things-- is singing! We sing the ABCs, 123s, Bible songs, etc.
Hope this helps someone! I will add to the list as things "work."