Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tips for Beginning

Once you have made your decision to homeschool, and then delved into the wide world of curriculum options, how do you set up? There are a few things that every homeschooler needs to do to be successful.

1) Choose a curriculum that matches your children's learning style. Allow them to express themselves in how they learn, and encourage their strengths...let them fly!
2) Enroll in a homeschool program or enroll with your state as an independent homeschooler.
3) Keep good records. I like to keep my children's test papers or portfolios for several years, after that it is up to them if they want to keep them or not.
4) Keep attendance records. - You can count your field trip days!!!
5) Don't be afraid to change something that just isn't working for your family. It's better to waste a little bit of money, than to be totally frustrated all year because of a curriculum that isn't working!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Types of Curriculum

There are many great curriculum options out there for homeschoolers. As I mentioned in our last post there is so much out there, that it may just be overwhelming for you. I hope to help you simplify a few of the main types of homeschooling materials available.

Text Based Materials
These materials are often workbook style books, or they may be similar to regular text books that a student would use in school. There are several great homeschooling curriculum companies that have organized a comprehensive approach to homeschooling. They have developed everything that you would need to educate your child - from the text to the teacher book to the tests/quizzes. We often refer to this type of curriculum as "out of the box" curriculum, simply because the material is ready to go right out of the box. A few examples of these would be ABEKA, BJU Press, and Alpha/Omega.

Computer Based Materials
This type of curriculum uses the computer to educate the child. The education presented in this manner is usually available through software. The student reads or studies the lesson via the software, and then answers questions or completes activities that are presented via the software. There are typically record keeping options for this type of material. Examples of this include Switched on Schoolhouse, Rosetta stone, etc.

DVD/ prerecorded sessions
This type of material uses prerecorded sessions to teach the child. The teacher is recorded while actually teaching the course to a group of students. This method works, and has been used for many years in private schools and public schools. Many parents like it because the student feels like they are in a class. Others don't like it because the material is presented with no way for the child to ask questions. Examples include ABEKA, Bob Jones, some Apologia press, and some Saxon math.

Online Curriculum
This type of curriculum allows the student to use the web to access a web site that then teaches the student. Often this type of curriculum will use cartoon characters to present the information and then interactive responses to test the students retention of the information. Examples of this curriculum include Time4Learning and Monarch.