Jan 22

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Homeschooling Essentials – Day 3 – Curriculum, or not?

curricula or not

affiliate links included in this post

Once you have prepared your heart and made a plan you are ready to consider curriculum. There are those that rely solely on the library for free educational material, those that create wonderful printables, worksheets and unit studies totally on their own,  those who choose to use a boxed curriculum that sends you everything you need for a particular grade level, and many more options. With all the choices out there how is a mom to know what to do? Do you use traditional curriculum, or not?

Start small

When I began homeschooling my firstborn eight years ago, I assessed his skill level and then went to a huge curriculum fair that offered a used book sale and a vendor hall full of fancy, shiny new curriculum with all the bells and whistles. I was a homeschooling graduate and had attended small-scale sales with my mom as a student, but nothing prepared me for the large-scale convention atmosphere. Thankfully, I had my husband along as a voice of reason, but I was totally blown away by all the options. I second guessed myself as I stopped at each booth, changing my mind about what would be right for my son several times. I ended up choosing a phonics curriculum that I had used as a child. I knew that my son was similar in personality to myself and I was hoping that his learning style would match my own and this would be a good fit. It was a rather old school approach to teaching, but it ended up working beautifully and I was so glad I didn’t go for  a flashy new program that I would have had to learn how to use. I bought WAY more used items than I could ever use, just because it was a good price. I learned a lot that first year, especially about how much we can realistically accomplish in one year. Sometimes new homeschoolers with do better with a very structured approach the first year as they learn how to teach and how to manage the academics of their kids. It can be very intimidating the first few years. My advice is to start small and focus on the three R’s in the early years, reading, writing and arithmetic.

Branch out as you gain footing

As your comfort level with homeschooling increases you can start to broaden your scope of learning. Adding in unit studies or field trips might be just the ticket to breathe new life into your homeschool. Taking electives such as music or sports can be helpful. Participating in a local homeschool co-op can give you a chance to build life-long friendships and learn about community. We have found that computer-based learning solved a problem I had trying to juggle three kids at once. Moving two of my kids to a computer-based math program allowed me to have more time to spend with the newest addition to our homeschool. Remember the reason you are homeschooling and be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to be HOME.

The Path We Have Chosen

While each of the curriculum choices and educational styles have their merits, we have found that an eclectic mix of curriculum meets our needs as a family.  As a curriculum reviewer for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I am able to try different educational books, games, videos and software. If you are looking for reviews on material you are considering, stop by here first and search for the title. If the curriculum you are looking for has been reviewed by the Crew, you will find a wealth of opinions to peruse. By doing this, I find new things to add interest to our homeschool throughout the year. I have bought new curricula, purchased only used and swapped with friends in the past. We like to use lots of living books for history and I daresay that you could school for free with all the resources found on the internet these days. Whichever path you chose, traditional textbooks, living books, lapbooking, unschooling, delight-directed learning or something else, keep Christ at the forefront of your kid’s education and He will lead you in the way that is right for your family. I will leave you with some links to resources that I have found a blessing to our homeschool.

Resource List

Sonlight – we love their history and literature books. Request a catalog and take a look at the reading lists. We have found some all-time favorites as we have traversed through their Core D and Core E American history.

All In One Homeschool (Easy Peasy Homeschool) – This mother has provided a wealth of FREE resources/links that are all computer-based. They offer a full curriculum for pre-K to 8th grade. She created this curriculum for her kids and has offered it to homeschoolers for free. We have been using this as a supplement for our nearly four-year old and she loves the preschool video links and craft ideas. There is a new sister site called All in One High School where there is a full year of high school courses ready for use with more in the works.

Currclick – This site has been a fun place to find lapbooks, free e-books, flashcards, etc for our kids. They have great prices and all of their products are downloadable. Check out theirfree e-books and free clubs. We are big fans of the free Lego club.

Big IQ Kids – We have used this site for spelling and vocabulary in the past. The boys loved it.

Schoolhouse Teachers – This website is a treasure trove of great resources. We like the spelling, keyboarding and everyday copywork. There is so much to peruse here.

What’s in the Bible – We have enjoyed some of the DVD’s for Bible and the Christmas Advent resources on this site.

Teaching Textbooks – This math program has been a lifesaver for this mom. It has been a long time since I did middle school math and I love the lectures and automated grading provided in this software. I have learned along with my oldest son.

I could go on and on, but I will have to compile some more on another day or this post will never be published. LOL!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Check out the other great posts today from my fellow crewmates and make sure to check out these blogs below.

Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling

Karen @ My Harbor Lights

Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings

Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Tara @ This Sweet Life

Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool

Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos

Karen @ Tots and Me

Beth @ Weavings

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