Beginning Homeschooling

I’ve been asked, due to Questions I Get About Homeschooling My Kids, at Scary Mommy, what curricula I use for my Minions, and *how* to homeschool.

Now, while I’ve been at this homeschooling gig for over seven years now, that *almost* makes me an expert on homeschooling *my* minions. So, while I can explain what I do for them, it may or may not be a good fit for your family.

Beginning Homeschooling

The number one resource I recommend for anyone thinking about beginning homeschooling is Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks For Homeschooling. (Canadian link here) You can buy it, or better still, grab it at the library for starters. Using it, you can figure out both your teaching style, and your child’s learning style, and it then rates curricula accordingly. There is simply so much curricula out on the market that choosing the right one for your child can be one of the most overwhelming tasks. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

The other mainstay of our homeschool is a history spine. we do a four year history cycle. Basically, what that means is, first year, we study the Ancients. Then Middle Ages to Colonial period is year two. 1800s, year 3. 1900s to present day, year 4. And then we wash, rinse, repeat the cycle until the kids either graduate, or, like Diva, decide to do an online program that will provide a provincial high school diploma. Of course, as a Canadian, I mess with the history a bit, and swap out US history for Canadian. This year, we’re using Story Of The World as I mentioned in Gearing Up. Personally, while I love and adore Tapestry of Grace, its a pretty intensive program, and one that my kids just aren’t quite ready for. Next year, we’re taking another run at it, though. I love TOG because once they’re in it, they’re in it. You use the same curricula with different books as they get older, but never have to buy another, since it provides all levels of learning.

Using a history spine is referred to as the ‘Classical Education’ method. Which, to me, can either sound impressive, or intimidating.

Reading and spelling, we use All About Reading and All About Spelling from All About Learning Press. Love, love, LOVE those two programs. I’ve mentioned before that Tazzie was a ‘reluctant reader’. Thanks to All About Reading, that’s no longer the case. I’m actually planning on doing an in-depth review of their two programs, but holy old cheezits, do I adore AAR and AAS.

For math, we use Singapore Standards. There is both ‘Standards’ and ‘US’ available. The difference being, US focuses more on Imperial units of measure, whereas Standards does Metric. And we’re Canadian, eh?

Science I keep a bit loose. I do have curricula, but we also tend to go off on rabbit trails more than stick to any one thing. I have several books of experiments for children by Janice VanCleave: this, this, and this, and I’m also going to get her specific science books for the kids as well. Science at this age, I find it’s better to follow their interest of the day/week/month than to necessarily insist on a particular curricula of study. And yes, I use Magic School Bus videos, and anything else I can find that relates to their current interest. Use the Media, I say. I want them interested in science, passionate about learning, curious, and sometimes following the next chapter in the book doesn’t do it. Again, different things for different families.

Phys Ed, and health? That’s where skiing, swimming lessons, bike riding, etc comes in. Health, we cover nutrition by teaching them to cook, help plan meals, and whatever else may come up.

Also, use the Web. There are soooooo many sites out there, full of free resources. Tonnes and tonnes and tonnes out there. One of my personal faves is To The Moon And Back. She offers free printables and other resources for early elementary kidlets. Another fave is Sceleraus Classical Academy, who also has ‘how to’ stuff that rocks.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Public school isn’t for everyone. Doing what you believe to be best for your family is always the name of the game.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or go to my Contact Imp page, and send me a message!


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