If you are new to home schooling and haven’t a clue as to what to do about curriculum other than buying a set out of a catalog, there is a wealth of learning possibilities available to you. Many are free or low-cost. You just have to dig a little!
There are advantages to using boxed curriculum, if you have the money they require. If time is short or you really dislike planning, then a boxed set may be the way to go. On the other hand, if your budget is tight, there are many alternatives:
1. Your child is the one being home schooled so start here. What does he love to do? Read mysteries, skateboard, collect seashells, play with his dog, and draw? For each of his interests you will be able to find books to read, documentaries, clubs, lessons, web pages, or activities. Build a unit study or theme around one of those interests. You may be amazed at what your child will learn if it starts with something he is truly interested in.
2. Check with your home schooling support group to see if a lending library is available. Some groups keep books about the different styles of home schooling while others may have unit study kits or materials arranged by learning subject.
3. Use the public library. Every library system is different; you will have to investigate to see what your library offers. If your library is in a city or county system, you may be able to request items from other libraries to be delivered to your own branch for you to pick up. Some libraries offer science learning kits, toys or musical instruments, or have hired or volunteer guests do experiments or magic or present plays, etc. You will find DVDs of movies, lessons and documentaries, audio books, foreign language CD sets, etc. Most libraries sponsor book clubs.
4. Use the Internet. I love having our computer nearby as it is wonderful to be able to look something up as we are discussing a subject and a question arises. You will find tons of learning resources such as worksheets, coloring pages, online dictionary, thesaurus and calculators, lesson plans, educational games and skill practice. Moreover, so much of it is free! Your kids will be able to take classes online as well.
5. What resources will you find in your own community? Look for Girl or Boy Scouts, 4-H, YMCA sports, community classes, the Civil Air Patrol, government student council, Toastmasters, community gardens, Parks and Rec events and sports, extracurricular activities at your local school. There are clubs for aviation, writing, horses, the arts, radio-control racing, bird watching, dog sports, etc. Do you attend a church, synagogue or temple? Is anything available for your kids there?
6. Take a second look at the people in your life. Grandpa fishes and is a top-notch cook. Grandma plays lively music on her piano. Uncle Joe is an avid bird watcher, and Mrs. Garcia next door loves talking about Shakespeare. See what potential you may find!
7. Keep a daily journal about the activities your kids do, such as science experiments, buying their own meal at a fast-food restaurant, exchanging a roll of dimes at the bank or building a model of Stonehenge in the backyard. All of these involve learning!
Learning occurs anywhere in so many variations that you can create your own curriculum for your own home schooling kids.
To learn more about home schooling and the many options available to you, please visit our website at http://www.homeschooltheater.com. You can follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/homeschoolart.