How Do You Know What to Teach the Kids? Finding a Homeschool Curriculum
I’ve been asked fairly regularly, “How do you know what to teach the kids?” That is definitely a daunting task, especially if you are pulling your child out of public/private school mid-year. Homeschool does not have to look like traditional school and there’s no rule saying that learning has to come from books or a certain set of books. There are a lot of homeschool curriculum options out there… and I will be sharing list after list of these options with you this next week… but I want to be clear that learning can occur anytime, anywhere and in ways that don’t “look” like the traditional model of “school.” You could decide to just travel and explore your local area at first. You could jump into units that interest your child. You can spend a month (or more) on one subject & topic before delving intensely into another. You don’t have to cover every subject every day… or you can. It’s completely up to you!!
Our family happens to homeschool in a more traditional fashion (some of the time!) — and so the information and options I’ll be sharing comes from that lens.
If you are panicked and just want to start somewhere here are a couple options. Later this week, I will look more closely at each subject and share lists of the available homeschool curriculums out there:
- History – Start at the beginning of time and work your way forward, dabbling and looking more into the topics that thrill and inspire your child.
- Science – Ask your child what they’re especially interested in… the human body, Earth science, astronomy, chemistry, biology… Choose a unit, check books out from the library and start learning together. Here is a post I did about Creating a Homeschool Science Curriculum (Elementary).[If your child is in kindergarten, you might want to read this post: Creating a Preschool Science Curriculum (note: a new updated preschool curriculum is being posted in January 2016) because many of those activities & unit are suitable for ages 3-6 or 7.) And as I said, I’ll share a list of some of the science curriculums that you can purchase.
- Math – Start with a $10 workbook (like the Spectrum books; we’ve used those for years) and then start researching the homeschool math curriculums that might work for your child. Again, I’ll have a list of some of those options in a few days.
- Language Arts – Reading, writing, grammar and spelling: Grab some Caldecott or Newbery Award winning books and start reading. Read aloud together and have the kids read independently. The best way to learn what good writing looks like and to build vocabulary is to read books written by skilled authors.
Companies that offer complete curriculum packages. If you are interested in a full curriculum, you might look into:
- Oak Meadow
- Moving Beyond the Page
- Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason, Free Homeschooling Curriculum)
- Living Book Curriculum (Charlotte Mason style curriculum)
- Timerdoodle Core Curriculum Packages (they assemble a comprehensive curriculum based on some of the best resources “out there)
- My Father’s World
- Tapestry of Grace
- Time 4 Learning
Co-ops: You may want to look into co-ops in your area. This is a wonderful way for your child to learn from other parent/experts. The options in our area are endless… from history and math classes to art, science and foreign languages.
Classical Conversations is another very popular co-op. Brandy from Half a Hundred Acre Woods participates and educates her kids in the classical model. You might be interested in this 2-part interview I did with her a couple of years ago: An Interview with a Classical Christian Educator.
Local School District: You can also contact your local school district and see if they sell their curriculum. I know someone locally who bought the school district’s curriculum, but it was pricey (around $750). Your child may also be able to take one or two classes from you’re local school.
Remember no one learns everything! One of the biggest stresses of homeschooling is the thought that we might not teach our children everything they “need” to know. We might somehow “fail” our children. Let me put your mind at rest. Every child will have gaps… They might not have studied the Middle Ages or the Krebs Cycle or know three foreign languages fluently… Our job is not to fill the minds of our kids with knowledge, but to give them tools so they can find their passions and learn the things they are excited about. We help them foster a love of learning, while helping them develop essential skills, tools and habits of learning. This happens because of (or in spite of) the material that is covered in our homeschool.
You Might Be Interested in These Related Posts: (Will fix these links soon!)
- How to Start Homeschooling
- How Do You Know What to Teach the Kids: Finding a Homeschool Curriculum
- How and Why Did We Get Started Homeschooling?
- How Long Will We Keep Homeschooling? (Homeschooling Through High School)
- Back to (Home)School Shopping List
- What Happens in a Homeschool Day — Our Week or 2 in Review (K, Gr. 3, Gr. 5) — A glimpse into our homeschool (last November) that helps give you a flavor of what our homeschool routine looks like.
- Math Curriculums & Going Beyond the Text – This post includes 15+ ideas for making math engaging and fun!
- Math Worksheets, Game Boards, Lapbook and More – Various worksheets and resources I’ve made for my kids that include themes (that my kids like) such as Pokemon, Pete the Cat, etc.
- Homeschool Science Curriculum Options
- Creating a Homeschool Science Curriculum – Elementary
- Creating a Homeschool Science Curriculum – Ages 4-6
- Science Activities for Ages 4-6
- Choosing or Creating a History Curriculum
- Hands On Geography Activities for Ages 4-10
- Long List of Free Homeschool and Teaching Resources
- Long List of Free Homeschool and Teaching Resources