Choosing a Curriculum for Your Child.
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of homeschooling is choosing a curriculum for your child. One that works for their learning type. The internet is filled with companies offering online curriculum, some very affordable and others pretty pricy. We will be going over some of these in the weeks to come.
While online curriculum might be the best type to use since we now live in a computerized world and the laptop makes learning from anywhere a possibility, there are still those who like the text books of old. A physical book that you can reference for notes, study, or if the internet is down.
No matter what material you choose, focus on the basics in the beginning: Math, English, Reading, and Motor skills for younger students. Then for older children you integrate those with Science, History, Social Studies and others.
Use Things They Love to Teach Them.
An important thing to think about before you start is how your child reacts to school. If a child doesn’t like school, it will be hard to keep him interested in a lot of book work and lectures, so don’t waste your money on a course like that. You may need to come up with hands on projects, using things they love to teach them, or maybe even reading to them in the beginning.
I used Pokemon to teach my son Joe to read and do math. He wanted to play the video games so he needed to be able to read the screens. We started there. Then when he started playing the card game and wanting to enter tournaments, he needed to learn math to keep score. He learned it very quickly, because it was important to him. It allowed him to do the things he enjoyed doing.
Later, when he wanted a horse, we researched it on the internet. What would be involved, how much it would cost, etc. In the end, he decided he didn’t want one. It had nothing to do with the astronomical cost of getting the animal, all of the equipment and a place to store the animal, because he had no concept of money at the time. But rather it was because he didn’t want to get up early and take care of it before going to school. That was something he could relate to. Therefore he could make a rational decision based on what he found out.
Things to Consider When Buying Curriculum.
Here are a few other things to watch out for when buying curriculum. First take into consideration your schedule. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on detailed and extensive teaching, don’t buy a curriculum that takes a lot of preparation and teaching time. Try to find a teaching tool or resource that is easy to use so you and the child can enjoy the program and not become frustrated.
It’s totally okay and probably smart to get different kinds of curriculum and blend them. That way you can keep the child invested and interested. If you use the same curriculum all the time your child will get bored. Use different learning styles to keep the class stimulating.
Free Resources Found near home
If you don’t have the budget for the fancy curriculums offered, don’t worry. There are cheaper ones out there. The great thing about home teaching is you have a whole slew of free resources at your fingertips all the time. For math, travel to the grocery store. Have the child help you choose the foods you need and yet stay within the budget. Introduce them to coupons. At the cash register or at home before you go, teach them about money so they can handle the transaction. In this way you’re teaching them real life skills which is what they actually need, and hey, you get your grocery shopping done to boot.
Going to the park is ideal to study trees, flowers and the outdoors. Have a scavenger hunt based on the lesson. Make it fun.
Other Sources of Learning at Home
With smaller children you can also focus on chores, manners, politeness or any of the many other life skills you want them to learn. With older children you can do the same in a different way. Give them some elective classes like cooking, babysitting, playing an instrument, dancing, managing the allowance for the smaller kids. If you can insert things you and your child enjoy throughout your day, you have a better chance of reaching your child and instilling in them the things they need to learn. And if you can get some of your chores done as a training exercise, it’s a win, win situation.
For those of you who have hardly no budget at all. There’s a lot of free information on the internet. Some sights have free downloadable worksheets and lesson plans. There are hundreds of self-help videos, classes, and information out there to use, so use your budget wisely. Focus on the things you need, especially the basic subjects, not on buying curriculum the child doesn’t need or something you can get for free.
One Final Thought
Kids need to interact with other kids. Make sure to give your children time to play with the neighbor kids or join a home school group where they can learn to play and work with others. Relating to others in a positive way is important and prepares your child to face the world.