Too many choices
Whether you choose to unschool, homeschool, public school or private school we all want the same thing. We want what is best for our children. Choosing the curriculum in public and private school is done for you. Homeschooling means you have endless options in front of you. For some having so many choices can be daunting. It is easier than you think.
First, what type of learner is your child? Do they learn best from a book, from hands-on activities or from watching others in action? Seems like it should be an easy choice. That isn’t always the case. You may have one child that learns differently from your other children. That is ok, every child is different. Your child may learn different ways in different subjects. As homeschool parents, it is our job to decipher what works and what doesn’t.
What are my options?
Second, know your options. Being a homeschool parent is the same as being a detective. We need to watch for the clues in our children’s learning style. There are many options in stores, online and also simply looking around us. Every day we are offered learning opportunities.
A trip to the grocery store teaches budgeting, food pyramid, colors, shapes and so much more. Be creative, think outside the box. If your child is a visual learner, create more games and learning field trips that they can write reports on after. If you have a kid that loves to take pics, a photo journal or report with creative captions is an option. Better still, if you have a teen with a smartphone, they can make a video report to go with a written one.
Finally, the best tip I can give is simple. Have fun with it. Let your kids help choose their classes. There are set things they need to learn from each subject at each grade level, how they learn that is up to you. You do not need to use standard school books. You pick what you are most comfortable with and what will work for your family. Keep in mind that math core basics can be learned in many ways, same with spelling and grammar. As for art, well that is filled with endless options from clay, paint, or even photography. Science is another wonderfully variety filled subject from natural science with animals and nature all around us. History, our country is chock full of it! Just about anywhere you go in any state you can find a piece of history to share.
You chose to homeschool, have fun with it. Enjoy when they cross those milestones and take pride in knowing that you did it together. You will make mistakes, that is life. That is ok. Your kids know you aren’t perfect and seeing you admit when something isn’t working and shifting to find what does is a great life lesson. Just don’t give up, try another method. In the end, it isn’t just about what works but also about finding what doesn’t and how we move forward with it.
Now, what works for me may not necessarily work for you but, I will give you some benefit from what I have learned worked the best for us. For elementary school level curriculum, we have a great website we loved. http://www.education.com The pricing is great for what you are able to get from the site. There are great educational games that can help track any problems and help to get past them. If you choose to be a paid member, you can download entire workbooks at a time. They have great art and even science fair tips and ideas. It was a site that we love, it has almost everything you can want in one place at a great price.
For middle school, I have found some great curriculum on amazon. http://www.amazon.com I have a series of books that I love and they come in different levels from Middle School to High School. The first series is called “Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook”. It comes in all the core subjects as well. I love the entire series. Helps me keep myself on my toes as to what we need to cover. Also, there is a book, “100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know”. It also comes in a high school version. They are handy when formulating spelling lists and come with little bits of extra knowledge. Also, basic survival tips, first aid and even essential oils knowledge count toward health class.
Finally, my favorite math aid aside from M&M’s for math basics is a book, “Painless Pre-Algebra” by Amy Stahl. It is a great guide to get past a sometimes confusing subject and is great for both middle and high school.
It is good to get your core skills for each grade level from your school system so you can use it as your main guide in what must be covered but, how you cover it is up to you.
High school is a loaded option for many homeschool families. Some homeschool up to high school then transition into public school. Others keep going or switch to a community college for their high school courses. If your child is ready for the challenge, the community college is a great option for those that want to progress to a 4-year college. Many community colleges even have special rates for high school ages kids taking classes. Again, this choice comes down to what is a better fit for your family.
As for us, we did college classes at home from a wonderful website we found. http://www.thegreatcourses.com We get their catalog and use the discount code to stock up on the courses we like while they are 70% off. We have gotten Oceanography, Photography, Mental Math, The Art of Storytelling, Hieroglyphics, and so many others. Keep in mind, your child needs certain core subjects, how you teach those subjects is up to you. World history doesn’t need to be boring! Math doesn’t need to be boring and there are so many ways to fulfill a high school English credit. As for Art or languages, the options are huge! Look through the courses, find what appeals to your kids. Everyone learns better when the subject can pull them in and keep their attention. Have fun with your curriculum.
Disclaimer: I am not paid to promote any of these sites or products, these are simply what we have chosen and are offering based on our experiences.