The decision to homeschool is unique to each family. Some do it for religious reasons. Others find that their children have behavior problems that simply can’t be addressed in a normal classroom. Whatever led to that decision, however, families who homeschool have a number of unique challenges and situations. Being at home with the kids all day every day, teaching them as much as they would learn at school, is one of the most challenging, rewarding activities a parent will ever experience.
With the ever-advancing age of technology, homeschooling is becoming even more accessible to the masses of parents looking to educate their children. There are so many more resources available in person and also online, and these available materials help both parents and students. The extra material allows the parents to feel more confident in what they are teaching and the children are thankful for the variety of new activities.
Free Curriculum
Curriculums in and of themselves can be very overwhelming because of the sheer number of curriculums available to you. There are curriculums available for individual subjects and ones available that include every subject you want to teach. The cost of purchasing an entire curriculum can be very expensive or relatively inexpensive depending on what you are looking for.
However, with the introduction of more and more homeschooling materials being made available online, there are a lot of free sample curriculums. This may not be a curriculum for an entire year, but it is at least a start to determine whether or not you want to commit to teaching in this particular style for the entire school year.
There are websites like online cooperative programs that offer different curriculums that you can look into. It can range from a certain subject, a specific lesson, or even an entire year. The material may have already been used, but if it was not a fillable workbook and just a textbook or other reading material it is an awesome opportunity to score material at the best price: FREE! Even if you aren’t looking for a whole lesson plan, there are supplemental materials available on a lot of educational websites.
Educational Websites
There are resources available for teachers and homeschoolers on the internet. Some are free while others are available for a small fee. You can find free coloring worksheets for your younger students, fun math and English games for your elementary students, and flashcards for the oldest students. You can use these websites for just about everything you can imagine.
If you need a handout to solidify addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts you can find it on an educational website somewhere. If you are not quite sure how to teach a certain event in history, you could find an awesome video about it. It could be an informational, documentary type video or even a PBS special in an online version.
The fun thing about homeschooling is being able to center your lessons about events happening at that time. For instance, if gas prices rise, you can make it into a lesson about supply and demand. During Thanksgiving, you can theme your lessons around the pilgrims and the Native Americans or Plymouth Rock. The possibilities are really endless.
Homeschooling involves a lot of freedom in choosing what your children learn and when they learn it. There are obviously specific guidelines about what kids should learn during the grade level they are in, but how you do it is totally up to you. The other awesome thing about the increase in educational websites and the internet is that you do not have to be particularly crafty or creative. There are countless numbers of families who have gone before you to teach their kids the same principles and objectives, and have lived to write about it online! There are suggestions for just about everything you can imagine and you can tailor them to fit your teaching style.
Test Questions, Quizzes and Homework
Another online resource is the readily available test questions on educational websites so you do not have to start from scratch. You can use the test questions and flashcards available for quizzes and homework as well. You can search for these or also find a tutoring website that offers resources for their students.
Most of the time you do not have to be a client of the tutoring company to access their free resources. They use it as a selling point for their tutors to either showcase the resources they have available or to convince you that you should hire one of their tutors to help your child master the subject. Regardless, their websites are free to use and contain a lot of helpful information that you can use in whatever way you would like. The best part about them is that they often explain the answer in case there are any questions.
As if the internet did not supply enough useful tools for the homeschooling family, developers have also designed applications for iPhones, Android phones and tablets. The apps can encourage learning through games or other means of memorization. It is a break from the pencil and paper method or the online learning platform. This is still learning but disguised as a video game in a sense. You could even utilize brain teaser games during a break time in your school day. It allows learning to be a competition for any of your children that like to compete against others or a chance to beat their own fastest time or highest score.
This has been mentioned meanwhile in relation to other tips, but it is worthy of being mentioned again. Some topics are more difficult than others to grasp for various subjects. There are numerous free supplemental worksheets that you can use to either reinforce the current topic or as extra practice for the underdeveloped skills you want your child to master.
It applies to subjects other than just math and science. You can use worksheets for English, history, foreign languages and other miscellaneous subjects. Some worksheets also offer answer keys so you don’t have to do the extra work to come up with an answer sheet. There are diagrams for health class, outline examples for reading comprehension, short answer questions about history topics and experiments that have already been designed for science.
Online Textbooks and Books
Another wonderful resource for homeschool families that may not have an excellent library in their town is the development of books available through mobile devices. You can read books and use textbooks on a phone, tablet, or a computer. For families that live in a more rural area or cannot get to the library on a regular basis, the availability of thousands of books and textbooks on a mobile device is a game changer. You can also rent these books so you do not have to purchase them. The wide range of books available makes this a fun alternative to paperback books. It also makes it more convenient to read these on the go, so your child can continue to read even if you aren’t at home.
Online Classes
Perhaps one of the greatest advancements in the online world of education are the multiple online platforms that facilitate entire classes for students to participate in from the comfort of their own home. This can be especially beneficial if there is a subject you feel is out of your comfort zone or you just don’t feel confident with the subject matter. There is obviously an expense that goes along with this, but in some cases the benefits outweigh the costs.
These courses are an online equivalent to a coop depending on which program you choose to go with. Your student will still need to do some reading and complete homework assignments. Instead of you monitoring the workload and grading all of the material, the online teacher will do it for you. High school students can also get college credit for some of these classes. It can put them ahead for when they join an undergraduate program.
The online resources found through educational websites is transforming the homeschool world little by little. There are opportunities for people who live in a rural area and resources for parents who are still working to still educate their children at home. The material available on the web makes homeschooling a possibility for everyone, not just the wealthy or former teachers. You do not have to be a genius to homeschool your children or even have an advanced degree. With all of the help available, you will be able to successfully educate your children for as long as you desire.