From what I am seeing online, there are even more new homeschooling parents this year than last year. Also again this year I am seeing parents doubt their ability to homeschool, questioning if they can do so if they don’t have a teaching degree. As a parent who just started her fourth year of homeschooling, I can tell you that one, you don’t need a teaching degree, and two, yes you can do it. It might have challenges, but, yes, you can do it. I am saying this even after having a mini breakdown this morning as I worried I am not doing enough or doing it right.
Last year I wrote a couple of blog posts aimed at helping new homeschooling parents connect with some resources to help them. My posts were aimed more at “traditional” homeschooling parents — those who choose their curriculum and teach their children themselves — versus those who sign their children up to a cyber charter school or online school.
With cyber/online schools, your children are given their assignments and lessons exclusively online. In traditional homeschooling, which is what I am doing with my children, the schedule is a little more flexible and what you teach can be changed, adjusted, or updated, even if you are using a set curriculum.
Neither way is superior to the other, but one way or the other can be superior to a family based on their personal situation.
For us, our option for schooling had to move away from the stricter educational process due to the fact my son had lost all love for learning at his past school. He needed a more relaxed, flexible approach to help encourage an interest in learning again. It hasn’t totally worked because school is still school and kids don’t always love school, but he can explore topics further at his own pace if he wants to, versus waiting for his class members to catch up.
Because my experience comes from a place of “traditional” homeschooling, my post today will mainly offer advice to parents who have chosen to educate their children this way.
As an aside, related to online school, my neighbors’ daughter is currently doing her classes at home through the local school district and she is able to have a flexible schedule similar to ours. Not all online schools keep a child or parent from being flexible, though some do.
The flexibility for my neighbor’s daughter has benefited her because she can work at her own pace, work a job, and also have a schedule where she can visit more with family. It benefits her parents because all of her assignments are on the computer for her and she does them on her own and at her own pace, as long as all assignments are handed in by the end of the week.
For our family, I like the flexibility of being able to give my children assignments and even changing them if need be so we can study an aspect of a subject less or longer or take field trips, outings, etc. I like being able to use different curriculum and maybe even changing it in the future or in the middle of the school year if it isn’t suiting my child’s learning style.
Most parents I see jumping into homeschooling this year are completely lost, just like I was three years ago. I see them in groups asking, “Where do I even start?”
That’s a good, scary question, but it doesn’t have to be scary at all. Online searching is your friend. You will find that homeschooling parents love to help other homeschooling parents by sharing resources on their blogs, sites, or social media. Here are a few I pulled offline after a quick search.
This list will also not be the most definitive list. There are so many options out there for homeschooling and so much information that it literally makes my head spin. Looking it all up gives me hot flashes and makes me dizzy so I search only so much.
One of the main aspects of homeschooling that a new homeschooling parent is worried about is, of course, curriculum. It was my first concern as well.
There are literally hundreds of curriculum options available for the homeschooling parent. Some are online, some are in textbook form, and some are a mix. I found a couple of sites/blogs with curriculum ideas and a couple with actual reviews. One of the most popular sites for curriculum reviews is Cathy Duffy’s Homeschooling Reviews https://cathyduffyreviews.com/. She reviews a variety of curriculum, much of it, but not all, faith-based.
A quick internet search also brought up a couple of other blogs with curriculum suggestions:
For us, we are currently using the following curriculum (but this could change in the future, which is a tip I give to new homeschooling parents: don’t be afraid to switch up the curriculum when it isn’t serving your child.):
For the first grader
Math: CTC Math (online program) and The Good and the Beautiful (finishing the K-level and will start the level one later in the year.)
History/Literature: Notgrass Our Star-Spangled Story
Science: Right now we are using School Zone Big Science 2-3, but I am searching for a set curriculum and hope to purchase one later this month.
Art: various lessons
Music: None yet. Searching.
For the Ninth Grader:
Math: CTC Math (online)
History/Literature/English: Notgrass World Geography (comes with a set of books for the literature/writing/English component so it can be used for social studies and English credit), Apologia Literature.
Social Studies: Notgrass World Geography
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology 2nd edition (there is now a third edition, which we chose not to use after the author of the second edition pointed out some major areas in the textbook).
Economics: Notgrass Exploring Economics (also can be used for a half an English credit)
Grammar: Fix-It Grammar (our first year using this. May be a little too simple for a ninth grader. We will see how it goes.)
Art: various lessons
Music: none yet. Searching.
Books on our lists to read this year (or try to) through the Notgrass curriculum include:
First grader (I am reading them to her):
- Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry
- Toliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady
- Freedom Crossing by Margaret Goff Clark
- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates
- Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
- The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill
- Katy by Mary Evelyn Notgrass
- Know Why You Believe by Paul Little
- Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour with David Hazard
- Patricia St. John Tells Her Own Story by Patricia St. John
- A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
- The Day the World Stopped Turning by Michael Morpurgo
- Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat
- Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth
- Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine
- Ann Judson: A Missionary Life for Burma by Sharon James
- The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
- Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
We may not get through all these books, but they are part of the curriculum so we will see how we do.
Tomorrow I’ll offer some additional homeschooling tips, especially if you are homeschooling outside of an online school setting.
Until then, here is a link to a few other posts I wrote about homeschool in 2020 and a couple I shared about how own homeschooling journey recently. Some of these post may have links that have since expired.