My mom’s (Melanie) latest post here on Blessings, Bliss, and Bedlam! She’s a (very experienced) homeschooling mama of nine children and is sharing a bunch of her favorite resources for homeschooling today! Enjoy!
I am looking forward to starting my 14th year of homeschooling this September, and for the last several years have been keeping a running list of favorite homeschool resources. I send this list to friends and others I come across who want to begin homeschooling, are considering the idea, or are even just looking for fresh ideas for their already established homeschool library. Each of the below resources are things that I have relied on in our homeschool at some point or another. As with many homeschools, I do switch things up at least yearly, if not more often, as our needs change.
Part of the beauty of homeschooling is the freedom to adjust schedules, routines, curriculum, and even how we use curriculum to better suit the needs of our family. It is a freedom I cherish. However, I would also like to share that at one point I realized that I was probably using that freedom, well, too freely. I realized I had Grass Is Greener Syndrome and was looking for the “perfect” curriculum. While I have come across many that I heartily recommend, there is no such thing as the perfect curriculum. I realized that I needed to learn self discipline and contentment. At that point, I set a rule for myself to complete a book before switching to something else. I have relaxed on that rule since then, but it was good for me to set that boundary for a little while.
Here is my running list of favorite homeschool resources – thus far. :)
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Actually, anything by the Moores would be great to read as far as homeschooling or parenting in general.
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson
Anything by Ruth Beechick
Anything by Clay and/or Sally Clarkson
http://www.homeschooltracker.com/ (FREE software download for tracking everything homeschool – from grades to study time, field trips to reading logs)
http://www.currclick.com/ (I go back to this over and over and over again. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you can get some great freebies each week!)
http://www.christianbook.com/ (I buy most of my curriculum here. They have a catalog specifically for homeschoolers, so make sure you sign up to receive that!)
http://www.starfall.com/ (Let your pre-readers play on this website to review their letters. Great site!)
http://edhelper.com/ (This site does offer some free materials, but for the majority of its pre-8th grade offerings, you’ll need to purchase a yearly subscription of $20. For high school level worksheets, the $40 yearly membership is required.)
facebook.com/Endeavor2Encourage – my own page for mothers, military families, homeschoolers or those thinking about it, and anyone interested in healthy living
Scrapbook Max – (I like to use lapbooking with my younger students. Digital Scrapbooking is a popular middle/high school version.)
*D.I.V.E. CDs with Saxon (grades 4 and up)
* BJU Press English
*Learning Language Arts Through Literature
*Heart of Wisdom (for History, Science and Bible)
*Mystery of History
*Christ Centered Curriculum – For phonics. I do not recommend the math program. This program is for someone looking for a thorough curriculum that will give the student a firm language arts foundation. It IS time intensive for such young students. Sing, Spell, Read, and Write may be a secular alternative.
*Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – This curriculum is great for the homeschool mom on the go. It is just ONE book. It takes only minutes a day to a confident reader.
*Rod and Staff ABC Preschool Series
*Apologia Science Curriculum
*In the Hands of a Child – Unit studies in the form of lapbooks, notepacks and type-it-ins. These are great unit studies with a planning guide that makes life easier. Throw in a read-aloud book and some enrichment activities, or just do it as is. Your kids will love these.
*Institute for Excellence in Writing – I can’t say enough about what a great writing curriculum this is. On the pricey side but worth every penny.
*All About Reading
*Character Quality Language Arts – The content of this curriculum is superb, however, as a visual person myself, I do not like how it is set up. It looks cluttered and overwhelming to me. I do not give the entire workbook to my children for them to work on. I present only pieces at a time. This might work well for someone who enjoys a workbox system.
What I have learned about homeschooling:
RELAX. Guess what? Every student has gaps in their education. Every student. Your job as teacher is NOT to fill your child’s head with all the facts you can, but to teach them to LOVE TO LEARN.
Don’t feel guilty at not being able to write your own curriculum. Start out with whatever you need to feel comfortable and your family will grow from there.
Don’t be afraid to “waste” money on your child’s education. No one wants to be wasteful, but keep in mind that this is an investment and it will cost you – a lot. It will cost you money, it will cost you even more time, and at times it will cost your sanity. The rewards are worth it. Give it your all (plus some) and wait patiently to see the fruit.
Don’t spend a ton of money on preschool. You could give a preschooler a quality education for free, if you wanted to.
Your home comes first. A child who does not know how to WORK will be a terrible student. Have your children finish their chores before they start their schoolwork. They will have a better attitude and learn more.