As the last week of July begins, I have noticed a trend in all my homeschool groups and on many of the blogs I follow. They are all started to look for, buy, and plan their curricula for the fall. I checked my calendar and realized that we have a little less than a month till school starts. Of course, traditional home schoolers don’t have a set date. They get to decide on their own when they want start their new school year. Some of them do school year around, so there isn’t a definitive start and finish to their school year. For those of us who chose the online public school option, the state still decides that for us. My son’s school starts August 16th and for our daughter, she starts September 4th.
Recently, I had someone tell me that I took the lazy way out when it comes to doing school at home. Their reasoning was that I get a curriculum all put together and sent to me. I pointed out that many home schoolers buy an entire curriculum for one source and it is pretty much laid out for them as well. Trust me when I say, that if you are truly committed to schooling your children at home, regardless of the style of home schooling you choose, there is no lazy way. Even with the virtual schools sending my children’s curriculum to us and having the online applications that help us stay on track, there is still plenty of planning, organizing and work to be done in order to be ready.
This year we are adding another challenge to our plate; home schooling two different ages/grade levels and using two different curricula to do it. Our son’s 6th grade curriculum has been with us since last February. So we are pretty much ready to start with him. Our daughter’s school still has not shipped anything to us, and their online program has little to no information updated either. So I am literally sitting in the dark with her program and it is completely different from our son’s. So this is truly a lesson in patience for me! I am generally a very organized person and I hate waiting till the last minute to do anything related to my children’s education. Alas, I am at the mercy of the schools and there is nothing I can do to speed the process up at all.
There are tons of things to think about when choosing your curriculum. The key is to remember that it is ok to pick something different than your friends. Every family is different. Every child is different. You may have one child that a math curriculum works great for, but then the next child needs something different because they learn differently. That is ok! That is one of the things about home schooling that is so great for everyone! Flexibility! There are many things to consider when you are choosing a curriculum.
- What subjects do you want to use or do not want to use?
- Do you want religion in your curriculum?
- How does your child learn? Are they hands on? Visual learners? Auditory learners?
- How old are your children?
- What is your budget?
- Do you want any sort of online subjects used?
- What resources do you have in your area to help your support your lessons?
Even within in the K12 curriculum that we use for my son, they offer several variations to each lesson! They all have an online part that works well for most kids who need a visual or auditory based lesson, but many of them have a hands on way to help as well. Whether it be drawing graphs themselves, tracing and cutting out some shapes to help with geometry, using a ruler or tape measure to measure specific items all over the house or in the yard—they can do for themselves and see for themselves how all these things can work together. In science, we have lots of experiments and case studies in order to help the children really learn about the topics they are studying!
I really like our curriculum for our son, but I still find ways to supplement it whenever he shows an interest in something or does not quite understand something. We work together to find other resources to help make sense of a topic or find more information on something that he is asking a lot questions about. The internet, the library, local museums, and even our family and friends are all wonderful resources that we utilized when we need help or just want a change of scenery!
What are some resources that you have used or are using to help make your child’s learning fun and interactive? I love sharing information, so I would love to hear about the websites you have found or places you have gone to make learning fun!