Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sometimes Overlooked Homeschool Resources

While textbooks make up the key portion of conventional schools’ learning materials, when compiling the best homeschool curriculum it’s important to not forget that there are other useful homeschool resources. Workbooks can add a very effective tool to your homeschooling arsenal. Whether used as a direct teaching resource, a teaching supplement, or for review, they provide a more kinesthetic/tactile approach to teaching your child, and they should seriously be considered as one of your homeschool resources parents that want to deliver the most effective education as possible.


Traditional textbooks are a great source of information, but they are only one of the many potential resources available. They also deliver information extremely well to visual learners, but they may not be the best delivery system for auditory or kinesthetic learners. Workbooks can be great homeschool resources to the parents of those who learn better through listening or writing, and for those who are easily put off by traditional textbooks.

 A key aspect of many workbooks is writing. For young learners, there are usually many simple activities that require circling correct answers or matching exercises. More advanced learners often must compete short answer activities, or answer open-ended questions and write longer essay style replies. All of the writing may help them remember and therefore recall the targeted material better than simply reading it. A hidden advantage of adding workbooks to your homeschool resources is that they also provide more opportunity for students to ask questions, which can be an invaluable bonus.

Some workbooks may also come with an audio CD, or with access to online audio files. Anytime an auditory learner gets the chance to listen to material instead of only read it, the potential for retention increases. Audio files can also act as a great reinforcement tool for visual or kinesthetic learners. For the extremely motivated parent-teachers, you can also create your own audio files as a supplement and additional homeschool resources to the standard textbooks or workbooks that you use.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to add workbooks or other homeschool resources to your homeschool supplies, supplementing some form of auditory teaching can have substantial positive effects. Besides catering towards the strength of auditory learners, listening activities and exercises can help change the pace of a lesson, or regain the interest of a bored child. They can also act as well-deserved break for parents that need a short rest due to fatigue or have the need to manage another household activity that is unavoidable during a lesson. You can never have too many homeschool resources.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family

As you most likely already know, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Each state however has its own laws governing what is required of families that decide to homeschool. Some states, like Ohio, have many requirements and dictate which subjects must be part of the homeschool curriculum. Others, like Oklahoma and Mississippi do not make such demands. Ohio and Pennsylvania tend to have to most restrictive laws, like criminal background checks for households in PA that wish to educate at home. So how do you know how to get the best homeschool curriculum for your child? The laissez-faire states open up the choosing of the curriculum to the parent-teachers, while the stricter states still maintain some control of what is taught. They do so by either having subject requirements, annual standardized testing, or both. By forcing homeschooled children to pass state standardized testing, they force the homeschool curriculum to adhere, at least partially, to state dictated content. 

Anyone can Create the Best Homeschool Curriculum

Regardless of whether or not your state enforces some type of control over what you teach, with careful thought and research, it’s possible to put together the best homeschool curriculum that meets your personal philosophy and goals. There are many informational databases pointing parents to the newest or the best system, but it’s important to remember that you should find a series of learning tools that meet both your beliefs and your child’s learning style. The newest trendy homeschooling system may help some children, but does it fit into your core beliefs and play into your child’s strengths? Another important part of selecting proper books is to not put all of the weight of choice onto your own shoulders. The more considerate and thoughtful you are, the more you will end up second guessing yourself. There is nothing wrong with asking for advice from people that you respect intellectually. Your spouse or a brother or sister may offer a viewpoint that you did not previously consider. If you are a religious person, you may want to confide with your family’s priest, minister, or respective religious leader. It's always a good idea to take plenty of time and do a lot of research while putting together the best homeschool curriculum. You may also want to seek the advice of other parents with more experience than yourself. If you do not have any friends with home education experience, finding a support group could be useful. You can search for groups by state on this website. Another compilation of groups can be found here, but be aware that these groups are geared towards families of the Christian faith. If you have trouble finding a local group via the Internet, inquiring at your local community center could pay dividends. While building the best homeschool curriculum for your goals, no matter which homeschool supplies you choose, whether a shiny new complete series, or a used patchwork program, purchased books and supplements are only a portion of your education. Homemade materials can be equally effective, and make excellent supplemental aids. Another one of the wonderful advantages of teaching in an intimate setting is having the ability to alter and mold the teaching process to best suit your child. Your patience and creativity are just as important as the books you buy, so take your time and research all of your options when choosing a homeschool curriculum for your family.

What You Need to Know in Order to Choose the Best Homeschool Supplies

When teaching your child or children at home, choosing the correct homeschool supplies can be just as important as the initial choice of choosing to homeschool over choosing conventional school. The quality of your homeschool supplies not only directly affects the information available for your child’s learning, but it also provides you with confidence in your ability to serve as the prime source of education for your loved one. Searching only for discount homeschool supplies may seem like the most financially reasonable approach, especially since many homeschooling households are single-income households, but make sure to adequately research all available material to make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Various Types of Homeschool Supplies

Supplementary homeschool supplies and materials such as homeschool workbooks are often overlooked, but can be just as beneficial as the core books and material. It’s also important to provide a stable and comfortable learning atmosphere that is free from distractions. The comforts of home, and the easy access to a plethora of personal items, like toys, magazines and electronic gadgets, such as phones and mp3 players, are more of a problem for homeschoolers than conventional schoolers. Having everything prepared before each lesson can help limit the damage that these distractions can cause.

Proper preparation means to not only have all of the books and supplements organized, but to also make sure there are plenty of ready-to-use pens, pencils, erasers, and other homeschool supplies. One special supplement that many parents have available to them that is incredibly more convenient to access and use at home than in a conventional schooling environment is the Internet. With websites like youtube and PBS, you can support lessons with on-topic video. Other sites like Khan Academy provide another source for instruction, which is very useful for reinforcement. Just be sure to not rely on the Internet too much, as it could easily become a crutch, or an unwanted distraction.

Once you have your homeschool supplies picked out, and you have set up a distraction free yet comfortable learning environment, it will be much easier to focus on the delivery of information. You will be able to learn the best and most effective methods of transferring information to your child instead of worry about whether or not they have a pencil, or if the material you are using is of a high enough quality, as those problems will have already been dealt with beforehand.

Another important idea about the homeschool supplies you use is that while you can prepare for most situations and lessons beforehand, it’s still good to keep a running homeschool supplies’ list. You should keep track of what works well and what doesn’t, so you can properly adjust the material and your lesson delivery as time goes on. Sometimes material or lessons aren’t working the way you originally intended. Maybe you want to pick and choose information from both non-secular and secular homeschool curriculums. Keeping a clean and organized record can help you with future choices and organization. But never forget, no matter which homeschool supplies you use, you are still your child’s most important resource in life, and even more so while homeschooling.