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Curriculum Archives

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Mid-Year Homeschooling: Connection, Not Curriculum

Mid-Year Homeschooling: Connection, Not Curriculum

Did you or someone you know just start homeschooling “after the holidays” – right in the middle of the school year? “What curriculum should I use?” Even among experienced homeschoolers, January ruminations run toward assessing the curriculum and whether it is working. I know you don’t want to hear this – but your homeschool priority should be connection, not curriculum. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Deschooling - The School Rules You Need to Break

Deschooling: The School Rules You Need to Break

If you’re new to homeschooling, you’re going to have to think differently. Yes, you’re going to have to be willing to break the unwritten “rules of school” and forge your own, often uncharted, path. And although this can be nerve-wracking and downright terrifying at first, it is the key to an effective, individualized, fulfilling homeschool experience. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

Recently on TheHomeSchoolMom’s Facebook page someone asked for recommendations for her soon to be 4 year old. It took me back to when I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old and had recently decided to homeschool.

I. Was. So. Excited. What curriculum should I use? Continue reading »

What I learned about homeschooling from Saxon Math

What I Learned about Homeschooling from Saxon Math

As you may have read over on my personal blog, I’m thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it’s an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.

Saxon didn’t work for us. In fact, it didn’t work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »

Instead of Curriculum: Hands-on Math

Learning Multiplication by Hand: Manipulating Math

In Instead of Curriculum: Math Games, I described some of the games I played with my sons to help them learn and practice their multiplication facts. Today, I’ll tell about some of the hands-on tools homeschoolers use to help their kids make sense of the basic concept of multiplication as well as related multiplication facts. Continue reading »

Homeschool High School Composition

Homeschool High School Composition: The Assignments

Part I of Homeschool High School Composition gives an overview of how to approach teaching homeschool composition. It is important to read it before using the assignments below, since it is a different perspective for teaching composition. Below are the assignments for composition using this part-to-whole process. The assignments use the UNC Writing Center’s free online resources.

If you would like to download the assignments, we have them as a PDF download here: Homeschool High School Composition Continue reading »

Homeschool High School Composition

Homeschool High School Composition

The Writing Center at UNC has put together a large collection of writing resources for college writing that are excellent tools for teaching homeschool high school composition. The center’s downloads and videos offer detailed explanations about research, sourcing, organization, editing and proofreading, voice, fallacies, thesis statements, and dozens of other writing topics. The resources are arranged alphabetically, making them easy to find by topic but not offering much in the way of an orderly progression for teaching. The following is a suggested order of study for using the resources for composition for a homeschooled high school student. In our case, we used this for a literature composition, but literature compositions can be the most difficult type to write. It might be more effective to initially use the process with a topic of choice instead of an essay on a particular book. Continue reading »

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan

Homeschool High School: Our 10th Grade Plan

From the feedback and questions that we get on our Facebook page, there is a great deal of interest in how to homeschool high school. This year my daughter is a sophomore in high school, and I thought it might be helpful to share our 10th grade plan with you. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling high school is often easier than homeschooling younger grades. Students are older, more mature, and better able to manage their own academics. When they need assistance, the material is more difficult, but between teacher guides, online resources, and friends with a knowledge of the subject matter, we have not found this to be a problem. Continue reading »

Handwriting: What to use instead of curriculum

Instead of Curriculum: Handwriting Practice

As regular readers know, I’m a big advocate of using accessible learning methods instead of curriculum. For some homeschoolers, this is in addition to their regular curriculum, and for others it’s truly instead of any packaged formal curriculum.

I’m used to hearing that you can’t learn math this way — that’s a common chorus among homeschoolers — but I was in a recent conversation with a homeschool mom who was all for the “instead-of-curriculum” approach except for handwriting. And by handwriting, she meant printing–learning to print. Continue reading »

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past — studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international — studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.

Both of these girls (who did not know each other — they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Delayed Academics - It's all about learning

Delayed Academics: It’s All About Learning

Many experienced homeschoolers have long valued the ability to delay formal academics to create a more holistic early childhood education for their young children, with the understanding that this creates a rich foundation for later academic and life success. Today, parents new to homeschooling are embarking on homeschooling at a time when public schools are emphasizing early formal academics and implementing standardized testing of very young children, despite lack of evidence that these practices enhance educational outcomes for the children.

As David Elkind (author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally) writes in “Much Too Early” for the website EducationNext, “Why, when we know what is good for young children, do we persist in miseducating them, in putting them at risk for no purpose?” Continue reading »

Instead of Curriculum: The Great Courses

Instead of Curriculum: The Great Courses

Our family has greatly enjoyed using The Great Courses audio and video recorded classes. The first of The Great Courses we used was The Story of Human Language, presented by leading linguist John McWhorter, who gives 36 lectures about the development of human language, why languages change or become extinct, dialects, how languages and their grammars affect thinking, and what the study of language can tell us about history and interconnectedness of early peoples.

From there, we began listening to every Great Courses CD set the library had. They offer courses in science, math, fine arts, music, religion, philosophy, history, literature, living, language, business, and economics. But it’s the course titles that are really intriguing — such as Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, Writing Creative Nonfiction, How to Listen to and Understand Opera, and nearly 400 more.

Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: What To Use Instead of Curriculum

Instead of Curriculum

Everyone has a comment on the increasing popularity of homeschooling. When I talk to people about homeschooling, they frequently mention the availability of “so much curriculum these days,” as if that is the single most important factor in being able to homeschool. Non-homeschoolers, prospective homeschoolers, and new homeschoolers seem surprised that many homeschoolers use learning materials that are not, strictly speaking, part of a homeschool curriculum. There are many reasons why people use other learning resources instead of curriculum. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom.com- Post Homeschool Convention Stress Disorder: Tips for reentering the real world

Post-Convention Stress Disorder

You may not find it in the DSM-5 list of psychological disorders, but I promise you it exists. You’ve heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Yeah, just call this PCSD.

Post-Convention Stress Disorder.

Have you experienced it? The “Where am I going to put all this stuff” mind racing, the “How can I incorporate these ideas” insomnia, the “What did she say about managing toddlers while you’re teaching” memory lapses, and the “There is no way I can do all of this” headaches. Continue reading »

Benefits of Homeschooling: Flexibility When a Curriculum Doesn't Work

Benefits of Homeschooling: Changing Curriculum, Again

I am going to be a math curriculum expert before this whole homeschooling thing is over.

Yep, we are now on our third math program in four years.

This isn’t how I planned it, but then, does anything in homeschooling go according to plan? I would have liked to have begun a math program in Kindergarten and stuck with it, at least through the sixth grade. That would have helped me be able to avoid repetition, progress more efficiently, and be able to keep a more accurate assessment of exactly what she was mastering. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Creating Calendars With Kids

Creating a Calendar with Children

A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I’m talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom - Instead of Curriculum: Living Math

Instead of Curriculum: Living Math

Why do some homeschoolers choose not to use one of the many complete math curricula available today? And what do they do instead? To many homeschooling parents, math feels like the one thing that must be taught and learned in a systematic way even for very young children. Even many people who are otherwise attracted to or influenced by a version of interest-based learning or unschooling often say– “except for math.”

Continue reading »

The Open Textbook Challenge

As college tuition and costs continue to rise, many students are finding it difficult to foot the bill. Fortunately, some are investigating ways to save students money by creating low cost and cost-free alternatives to traditional college textbooks. Continue reading »

Homeschool Curriculum: When you need more than one curriculum for a subject

When You Need More Than One Curriculum For the Same Subject

One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the ability to tailor educational materials to each individual child. Rather than fitting the child to the curriculum, homeschooling enables a parent to fit the curriculum to the child. It is not uncommon to find different children in the same family working in completely different materials for the same subject, because they have different learning styles and strengths. And while some homeschoolers use an all-in-one curriculum approach, which offers all subjects through the same curriculum/publisher (such as Sonlight or Abeka), others use a variety of different publishers and curricula for different subjects. Regardless of the approach you choose, there may come a time when a single curriculum for a particular subject does not seem to meet your needs. Continue reading »

Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

How Did Your Curriculum Work For You?

You have probably either finished the year or are winding up the year. It’s a good time to reflect on how your curriculum worked for you in each subject (if you use curriculum). Did you find yourself dreading a particular subject? Did your children complain about the curriculum? Did they accomplish the goals that you had set for the year? Continue reading »