Finding Curriculum Can Be Tough
Today I am joining my friends at the Homeschool Review Crew in kicking off a 5-day Back To Homeschool Series.
Many homeschoolers take a break over the summer, or even just slow down the pace a bit through the summer months. So the start of fall means, for many of us, our children are in new grade levels and have new subjects to study.
Throughout this week I will post about a different topic each day and today is all about Curriculum.
Is Curriculum A Scary Word In Your House?
Curriculum can be a scary word for a lot of homeschooling moms. How do you choose a curriculum that will work for you and also for your children? What if you go out and purchase a pile of new books and materials, get them home, start to use them, and discover a week into the new year that they looked really great in the catalog or the store but now that your child is working through them, things aren’t working. You usually cannot get your money back and now you have to purchase another whole set of something different in the hopes that this new material will work better.
Well, don’t fret Homeschool Mom.
First Read Through Reviews Written By Moms Who Used The Curriculum With Their Kids For Over A Month
The Homeschool Review Crew is a group of homeschooling moms that spend over a month using and testing great curricula with their own kids and then writing up their experiences. These reviews (here are mine) can be a lifesaver if you are trying to get a feeling for a possible purchase. The other place you can find reviews of homeschooling materials that a homeschool mom used for six to eight weeks with her kids and then reviewed is the Old Schoolhouse Magazine website. There is a section in the site filled with hundreds and hundreds of reviews written by homeschooling moms like you.
Print Samples & Use Them With Your Own Kids To See How It Works For You
You can also print the samples available for nearly all homeschool curricula and try it out on your kids. I usually do this since seeing what they will do with a new book really is the acid test for us. Then if things look good and everyone is happy, you can purchase the curriculum and your kids can forge on through the material. But if it is not a good fit, then all you have lost is a few days instead of a lot of cash.
Free Books Can Be Great Too
Free can be good sometimes. I have found that perusing The Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, and Google Books online I can find free downloadable books (as PDFs or ebooks) of nearly any history or english or math or science or art subject you could think of. In total, I have amassed a library of more than 1,500 books this way for my kids. I know that they will probably never read them all, but I am happy that they have all these available to them. Another spot I look for free books is the Amazon Kindle list that makes some ebooks free for a limited time.
We all have Kindle Fire tablets and using the Kindle Unlimited feature, my kids and I have access to thousands of additional books.
Free Curriculum Made By Moms Who Homeschool
Many moms end up making their own curriculum and then they make it available free to download and use on their blogs. I happen to be one of these kinds of homeschool moms.
If you happen to live in California and have 4th graders and are planning to study California history, I have a freely available California history curriculum I designed for my own children that uses maps, art, and stories to teach all the history of the state that they need to satisfy the state standards.
Download – California Map-based History Curriculum Guide
Also if you use the Well-Trained Mind methods of Susan Wise Bauer, I have a download of Logic-stage forms that I make free for anyone who wants to use them in their home.
Download – Logic Stage Binder Forms, Helper Printouts, and Timeline Template for Well-Trained Mind Method
… you can find more downloads HERE on my Curriculum Download page
Many Homeschool Moms Publish Fabulous Home-made Curriculum
Geography and Art
I love everything Ellen Mchenry publishes, but most especially a book called “Mapping The World With Art“.
My kids and I were first introduced to Stacy Farrell through a review we did of her new curriculum, “Walking with the Waodani” (you can sign up for her newsletter and get the first lesson free)
She also currently has a 40% off coupon code for digital download purchases that pops up on her website when you browse through the products.
My area is math and science. And so when my kids started algebra, we tried Saxon and a host of other options and discovered that nothing worked for them. My kids were younger than most are who start algebra and so the texts were not designed for a younger child’s way of learning (yes it really does change).
I discovered that the math taught in the old days in our country (pre-1860’s) was really fabulous and designed for younger kids. The only problem is the language is archaic… and my kids loved coloring their worksheets and being creative while learning math.
And so I wrote a series of algebra books for homeschooled children: Doodles Do Algebra. I have published three volumes in the series so far and have two more coming soon.
I have found that all ages enjoy these books. There are moms using them with children as young as 9 or 10, and adults who are using them to finally understand algebra. They are available in paperback and ebook format and are heavily focused on walking moms through various ways of explaining and teaching all the parts of algebra.
High School Biology
Ok, so strictly speaking this is not a homeschool mom – but he might as well be; he was a medical doctor and a college professor and when he explains things on his videos it is absolutely fantastic! (and fascinating)
Dr. Margulies at Fascinating Education is a fantastic teacher (he reminds me a lot of John Gatto – whose books you would probably really like if you homeschool, or are thinking of homeschooling, or even if you just have children) who has designed a biology course that goes into the level of detail I did not learn until I got to graduate school. My kids used his biology course as part of a review we did.
Fascinating Education is currently offering a 50% off coupon for any purchase of their courses (they have biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine) which expires on September 15, 2017. Here is the code: REVCREW2017
An Online Schoolhouse
SchoolhouseTeachers.com has an online schoolhouse filled with 340 full courses, access to the World Book Encyclopedia and all its features, parent planning, schedule builders, and recordkeeping tools and printouts, and much more. We use courses from this resource all the time. They are all fantastic and well worth the price, especially with the current sale going on.
I think that is probably enough, don’t you?
What Are Some Of Your Favorite Curricula?
I will see you all tomorrow for the next day in our series: School Supplies!