Often buying resources is done too early in the process and results in buyer's remorse. After you have thought about your child's learning style and what your homeschooling will look like, it's time to think about resources. Choose whether or not to use curriculum or which curriculum will work for you.
Only after working through steps 1-3 should you think about curriculum and research which curriculum fits the style your family is most comfortable with. You may find that you are more comfortable with a lifestyle of learning than a set curriculum. If so, you are not alone. Many families have found this to be the best way to learn. Whether you choose radical unschooling or simply let your child's interests lead his learning, know that curriculum is not a must-have.
When/if you are ready to buy, check out sources for used curriculum to save money.
Parents of preschoolers, Kindergartners, and first graders, please read this post about the best curriculum for these ages.
In much of the U.S., the spring and summer seasons also bring yard sale season. Where you live, it might be known as a garage sale, rummage sale, or tag sale, but whatever the name, buying used items from families who are ready to let them go can be a boon for your homeschool budget. Here are some great homeschool supplies to search for at yard sales. Read More »
Our twins, now 13, are in eighth grade. When we started the academic year, I sat down with each twin (a boy and a girl) to discuss what they wanted to learn about this homeschool year and to share what I had planned for them as well. Homeschooling middle school is a fluid, flexible few years. I have an older son, now in high school, and he was my test subject and helped me loosen up my rigid thoughts and fears that middle school had to JUST be a launching pad to high school. We're interest-led with a dollop of ... Read More »
As home educators, we have the flexibility to craft learning experiences for our kids that don't have to follow the traditional school path to a tee. But, what about other skills and topics beyond math, language arts, and science? I remember taking Home Economics in school (back in the 1980s), shop class, study habit classes, health classes, etc. When we choose to homeschool our kids, we need to cover these topics as well. I've put together a list below of classes and subjects to consider, especially with your teens. Read More »
As families turn to homeschooling due to lack of information (or what they see as unacceptable policies) from public school systems about what fall may bring, they have questions. One of the most common questions we are seeing is whether a certain curriculum is accredited. Read More »
When I decided to tackle a blog post about our 7th grade plans for my twins, I had to pause and catch my breath. How are they already in 7th grade? Why are they taller than me? Will they notice if we do Five In A Row again for old time’s sake? My oldest, a rising high schooler, made his way through middle school homeschool. Sometimes, his learning looked super structured, but often it looked more unschool-ish than I had anticipated. Here are my three key insights about homeschooling middle school . . . Read More »
Has your family recently made a decision to switch gears and begin homeschooling or use a new curriculum? Either way, embarking on a different educational path takes courage and faith, and it may take time to find your rhythm. Here are ten suggestions to ease the way. Read More »
What’s the capital of Montana? How many teaspoons are in a quarter cup? How long do rhinoceroses live? If your homeschool student asked you one of these questions, you’d most likely answer, “look it up.” Your student would probably sit down at their computer or pull out their tablet or phone to do so. In today’s day and age, the thirst for knowledge is almost unquenchable and going online to learn is as natural as breathing. That’s why it’s a wonder that families balk at the idea of using online curriculum in their homeschool. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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? How should we schedule our days? (I bought Managers of Their Homes and carefully scheduled every moment of our days and then proceeded to never once use the schedule.) I made lesson plans and felt organized and believed that my kids were going to get the best education ever. And honestly, ... Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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 printables 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, ... Read More »
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 ... Read More »
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. Read More »
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 ... Read More »
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 ... Read More »
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, ... Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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." Read More »
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. ... Read More »
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? Read More »
What does a homeschool language arts curriculum need to have to make it useful, interesting and comprehensive? Are there language arts lesson plans which I can use over a number of ages? Well, firstly we need to consider what language arts lessons makes a language arts curriculum. It would need to include reading, writing, speaking and listening. Getting to finer details, it would need to teach writing skills from handwriting to written sentences, paragraphs, essays and writing in a wide variety of forms. It should teach interesting use of words, sentence grammar and the use of a variety of sentence ... Read More »
For homeschool moms and other teachers who are able to choose their own history curriculum, selecting the book(s) that will keep you energized all year long is a crucial decision. Whether you call them spines, source books, core books, or textbooks, you can’t ignore the importance of having one all-encompassing history guide to keep you grounded and make sure you leave no obvious gaps. This book will reinforce the flow of events, even if your extended reading is chronologically a little before or behind it in time sequence. Read More »