Raise your hand if you have a library card. I thought so. Most homeschoolers do, of course. However, are you using your library card to its full potential? Most card-holders aren’t. Library card benefits include borrowing wagon-fulls of books and other media every few weeks, …
If you’re new to homeschooling and you are already looking at resources and curriculum, but haven’t figured out your child’s learning style or how you imagine your homeschooling style….STOP! GO BACK! You MUST do these steps in order, or you’ll end up with a bunch of books and activities that won’t suit you or your children.
If you’ve gone through the previous steps, then please, read on!
Here are some things you’ll need to ask yourself when looking at curriculum….
- What subjects will we be covering? – There’s a LOT of topics you could cover. What do you, as a family, feel is important? Is there anything that your child is interested in studying?
- Does this resource fall into my child’s style of learning? – It’s great if you think a resource is perfect and had the right amount of depth and visuals and color and fun activities. But if if comes with 500 worksheets and your child is going to be bored to tears and not retaining anything because they need more activities or visuals, then it’s a waste of money. Remember: You aren’t the one learning, your child is.
- How much time do I need to put into this resource? – How many children are you schooling? What other commitments do you have on your plate? If the resource is too teacher intensive, or requires too much prep work, it’s only going to get put on the back shelf – again, waste of money. This includes curriculum for older children that may be able to work more independently.
- How much will this cost? – And is that cost prohibitive? Will you be able to use it with more than one child? How will it resale? Curriculum shouldn’t put you in debt. And when you finally decide you’re ready to buy, used curriculum can be a huge money saver.
- What do other families have to say about it? – READ REVIEWS! Google “[curriculum name] review” and see what you get. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a few blog posts from various homeschoolers that include more photos of the program and valuable insight as to if it may work for you. Cathy Duffy is also the ultimate in homeschool reviews.
A note about history
Abundant Freedom doesn’t currently recommend any of the widely available history programs for homeschoolers when it comes to Black children. Most do not accurately portray the history of our people or speak to the greatness of our accomplishments, and many were written from a heavily biased perspective. If you need history curriculum, I suggest heading over to the curriculum page and checking out what is out there for your students.
I hope you’re not burnt out after taking in all the information you’ve read so far… Are you taking notes, at least? Good! Let’s move on. Anyone with kids knows that you need a support network. Someone, ANYONE that’s going to be able to understand …
So now you know your child’s learning style. Great! Now how are you going to use the ways in which they learn best, in order to facilitate learning? There are a bunch of homeschooling styles that you could use. Look over them, I’m sure you’ ll find an approach that stands out to you.
Charlotte Mason Approach – This method of homeschooling was founded by Charlotte Mason, a teacher in Victorian England who guided learning gently, with daily observations of nature, exposure to fine music and art, and the use of living books, as opposed to textbooks, and other high-quality activities that provide the child with an appreciation for the life that is all around him/her.
Ambleside Online is a free, Charlotte Mason, online curriculum.
Classical Method – This method aims to teach children in the three stages of learning based on the “liberal arts” of the medieval university in Europe. The stages are: Grammar (elementary), Logic (middle grades), and Rhetoric (high school). The Grammar stage involves learning facts, memorization, and gathering knowledge. Logic is when reasoning and logic begin to be applied to the knowledge previously learned. And during Rhetoric is when students learns the skills of wisdom and judgment. The Classical Method is very popular among Christian homeschoolers and often includes the practice of having children learn Latin or Greek.
Moore Formula – Started by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, as a result of their childhood development studies, their “formula” says that work and community service, along with study from books, provides a balanced education. The Moore Formula also advocates not forcing academics until the child is mature, which is not before the age of 8.
You can read about the Moore Formula here.
Unit Study – Method of study by which an entire program, with a unifying theme, is created to study diverse topics across all subjects. Students can spend days, weeks, or full semesters centered on a single topic (example: The Harlem Renaissance), while also studying math, reading, spelling, grammar, history, geography, government, sociology, etc . . . all centered around that time period. The Unit Study approach can be a very rich one, because it captures and holds the child’s interest and offers real-life applications for academic skills.
KONOS is a popular unit study curriculum and is considered the very first homeschool curriculum.
Eclectic Approach – This method uses materials from any and all sources, rather than following a pre-set program or curriculum and can even include a variety of other homeschool styles. Eclectic homeschoolers may use home made materials, library books, textbooks, unit studies, classical education books in some subjects, and unschooling methods for others.
Unschooling – With this method, students are encouraged to pursue their own interests without the backing of formal curriculum and texts and are left to explore the every day learning opportunities that present themselves.
Worldschooling – Is a fairly recent term that you may come across as well. Worldschoolers often travel heavily and let their travels serve as their educational guides. Like with unschooling, children learn at their own pace from the world around them.
Public school at home – This is exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes families just find it better to pull their children from the classroom, but want to maintain the connection to the public school system. In these cases, the child can still participate in school activities, has a dedicated teacher, and completes the same work their peers are doing, while at home on the computer.
K-12 and Connections Academy are public school from home programs
Here’s the deal with homeschooling. If you’re going to turn your back on the traditional style of schooling, you’ll need to make it worth while. How do you do that? You make sure that your child has the best possible chance of getting the best …
One of the first questions people used to ask when we were first starting out was “is that legal”? It is absolutely legal in all 50 states for you to homeschool your own children. Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government, which …