by Peggy Ployhar, SPED Homeschool Founder & CEO

 

As we continue focusing on free resources for families homeschooling children with unique learning challenges, we wanted to share some or our top picks of free homeschool curriculum samples and trials. We hope that these resources from our amazing curriculum partners will empower you as you home educate your unique learner.

 

From our partners at ShillerLearning:

 

From our partners at Demme Learning:

 

From our partners at BookShark:

 

From our partners at Sonlight:

 

From our partners at 7SistersHomeschool.com:

 

From our partners at Homeschool Boost:

 

From our partners at Vooks:

 

From our partners at Clear Water Press:

 

From our partners at BiblioPlan:

 

From our partners at Homeschool History:

 

From our partners at Nancy Larson Science:

 

From our partners at Skill Trek:

 

From our partners at Signing Online:

 

From our partners at Accent Music School:

 

From our partners at Mr. C’s Homeschool Music Academy:

 

For more help finding homeschool curriculum and service providers, head over to our review page where you will find curriculum and service reviews by the SPED Homeschool Review Crew.

 

 

 


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by Peggy Ployhar, SPED Homeschool Founder & CEO

 

This month, as we are focusing on free resources for families homeschooling children with unique learning challenges, we wanted to share some or our top picks of helpful free homeschool resources. We hope that these resources from our amazing consulting partners will empower you as you home educate your unique learner.

 

From our partners at Inside Our Normal:

 

From our partners at Canary Academy Online:

 

From our partners at Goodschooling:

 

From our partners at Austin & Lily:

 

From our partners at Your Parent Help – Decoding Learning Differences:

 

From our partners at HomeLife Academy:

 

From our partners at Personalized Learning Solutions:

 

From our partners at Art of Special Needs Parenting:

 

For more helpful homeschool resources, check out our Free Downloads page. Here you will find a lot more, downloadable, content to help you homeschool your unique learner.

 

 

 


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By Stephanie Buckwalter from Art of Special Needs Parenting

 

I love homeschooling because I get to learn right alongside my kids. I’m also a researcher at heart, so as I’ve wandered the interwebs for the last 17 years of homeschooling, I’ve had the chance to sniff out a lot of really cool, free stuff. Here I have a sampling, for a variety of subjects. 

 

Math

  •  Free Math Games–  Plenty of variety in types of games to play to capture interest. My boys loved Fruit Shoot. There are more than math games available here.
  • Places to get free math worksheets: 
    •  Math-drills.com – My favorite for simple pages. You can limit the number of problems per page.
    •  MathisFun.com – My favorite for picture-based worksheets. These can be done online or printed. Includes a link at the bottom to their sister site Mathopolis.com where you can create your own worksheets.
    • Kidzone.ws – Worksheets for the early grades have black and white illustrations. You can use as a coloring page, too. They have multiplication table worksheets in a farm theme or jungle theme, in color or black and white, blank or filled in.
    • EducationWorld.com worksheets list – In case you need more, here is a list of websites that offer worksheets in multiple areas. Have fun!
    • You can find many more options by searching free math worksheets. However, a warning that many sites that provide worksheets are filled with ads. They are not really education sites. They are money-making machines for the owner of the site. The links above are subtle in their ad presence and you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get to the worksheets.
  • LD Online Article on Math – Helpful website overall. This article talks in depth about math struggles.

 

Reading and Comprehension

  • Reading Plus offers downloadable worksheets for reading and reading comprehension. 
  •  Read Naturally is a highly-recommended resource for fluency. You can try it out with a free trial for 60 days. 
  • I really like ReadWorks  for special needs. It is a completely free resource. The books are illustrated and offer the option of having the books read to the student by a real human voice, not a computer-generated one. You can do one page at a time or the whole book. You can create a library of books for your child to read. It includes some supplemental material such as worksheets and comprehension questions on some lessons.
  • If you want to get lost in the world of reading remediation, I recommend hopping on to  My Three Readers, a blog from a mom of three girls with reading problems. They share a lot of links and printables.

 

Social Studies & History

  •  Ducksters.com – Easy to read history, biography, geography, and science articles including activities, videos, quizzes, and worksheets. A great resource for helping you organize a lesson. You could take the information in each lesson and turn it into a lapbook or foldables project.
  •  Shmoop.com – The site material is written by high school teachers and college professors. There are multiple topics, not just history. Go to Free Stuff, then Study Guides to find a variety of topics. For special needs, the most helpful thing is the way it is organized. For history, you can trace themes through a time period. For historical literature, you can look up the themes or historical characters.
  • Geoguessr free Mapillary version– Teach deductive reasoning with a fun geography game. I like the classic version. You are plopped down somewhere in the world and have to guess where you are relying on things like the style of buildings, the landscape, which side of the road cars are driving on, language on signs and so on. Great for a group activity, too. To play unlimited free on a world map, you have to scroll to the bottom of the home page and choose MAPILLARY VERSION. 

 

Science

 

Life Skills and Communication

  • Smart Steps app – For building independence in older kids. It allows you to set up a decision tree for when things go differently than expected. For example, if your child is out and they need a ride, you can program choices, including contacts, to call for help. If your child is waiting for a ride, you can add comments like: “Stay where you agreed to be picked up. If you move around, you may miss your ride.” It could also be set up for if you have a car accident or a medical emergency. Any situation can be added like what to do when: having a meltdown, you don’t know what to do, the store is closed, you are lost, and so on. The possibilities are endless, but the key is your child can gain independence through decision-making support.
  • ASL Nook  – Context-sensitive ASL signs. Videos use young children, so you get a realistic view of what a sign may look like from a child as opposed to an adult.
  •  AAC Language Lab – (PRC – LAMP Words for Life creator) Resources for teaching your child to use an AAC device to communicate. 
  •  Quick Communication Boards – (AssistiveWare – ProLoQuo2Go creator) is using an AAC device too overwhelming for you? A download with these 4 pages of words that you can print and laminate. Put in convenient spots around the house and teach your child to point to words as needed. Look around the AssistiveWare site for more help with AAC. Communication boards are a great prelude to using an AAC device, Soma Rapid Prompting Method or touch to spell.

 

You can get an expanded version of these lists that include paid resources and teaching tips by signing up to receive How to Teach Your Special Needs Child at Home on my website.

 

BIO

Stephanie Buckwalter is a homeschooling mom, writer, researcher, and curriculum developer. She helps homeschooling parents and specializes in children who are nonverbal and those with intellectual disabilities. You can follow her work at ArtofSpecialNeedsParenting.com 

 

 

 


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By Heather Walton from A+ Education Solutions

 

The search for the right curriculum can be overwhelming, given the sheer amount of choices available. Not only are there various vendors, but there are also many philosophical and methodological differences. If you’re like me, you might feel pressured to find the perfect curriculum; you may even worry that your children’s entire education is contingent on your quest. I have some refreshing news for you. There is no perfect curriculum, nor ideal method, for homeschooling your children, apart from that which is laid out in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

According to this model, we are to diligently teach our children to love God, obey His commands, serve their fellow man, and pass this knowledge to the next generation. That is the content we are to teach. The curriculum, delivery method, is life itself. Parents are commanded to disciple the next generation “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV). With that in mind, here are some tips for crafting your family’s curriculum:

  1. Foster relationships: The Biblical model laid out in Deuteronomy 6 and practiced by Jesus during His ministry clearly demonstrated relational discipleship. Generations passed God’s Word through conversations and everyday life. Until recently, people were present with one another, engaging in conversation and going deep into relatively few relationships. Discipleship happens best through proximity, conversation, and example.
  2. Academics are only part of your children’s education: God created humans as His image bearers; as such, we are multifaceted beings with various talents and intelligences. Our culture emphasizes academic and athletic intelligence, to the point of excluding: pursuits in trades, arts, and the hospitality business. We tend to neglect life skills and self-sufficiency tasks, instead raising students equipped for college but not for life, and possibly not for eternity.
  3. Worldview matters: My top goal, aside from raising children who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is that they embrace a Biblical worldview. I spend more time and energy on this than any other facet of their education. We begin our day with my husband leading us in prayer and Scripture reading. Then I read from a text or two that emphasizes Biblical character. We also read aloud and discuss material written by Biblically-minded writers. When it comes to selecting curriculum, this is my number one prerequisite. I choose well-written real books over traditional textbooks whenever practical, because they are generally more interesting and provide higher quality learning. There are excellent homeschool texts, written from subject-matter experts that combine a textbook format with the narrative quality of a novel. Biblical worldview needs to be presented with the utmost respect and highest quality.
  4. Curriculum is your servant, not your master: Many people stress about finishing the curriculum. Others use the curriculum even if it clearly doesn’t suit the child. I know from experience that professional educators rarely finish books, and when they do, they often haven’t gone into enough depth to have thoroughly taught the material. If you give the curriculum a fair chance and you aren’t satisfied with the results, or it’s like pulling teeth daily to get your student to complete it, I urge you to prayerfully consider switching, or taking a break and coming back to it once your student gains more maturity or ability. 
  5. Not every method or curriculum suits every family: Just because an educational method or curriculum works great for a friend or has a compelling presentation at a conference, doesn’t mean it will be perfect for your family. Even if it worked for one child in the family, that doesn’t guarantee success with their siblings. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to tailor your children’s education to their needs and to your family’s needs. Don’t feel boxed in by other’s appraisals. Study your children, and do what works for your family situation without feeling pressured to conform to someone else’s standards.
  6. Aim your arrows toward the right target: Each child is uniquely created with his own talents, abilities, and challenges. If your child shines in an area, allow them the latitude to pursue that interest more intently than others, even if it’s not academic. If your child needs extra focus in an area, you may need to remediate that area and let others go for a season. It’s a mistake to try to focus on everything at once. Our gracious God doesn’t do that with us, and we need to allow our children the same grace.

Ultimately, I want to equip my children for life and eternity. I used to pour over curriculum catalogs and research my choices. After 8 years of professionally educating and 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve realized that I’m not going to cover everything I’d like to, and I’m not going to choose the “best” curriculum all the time. If I diligently disciple my children to love God, follow his commands, and love their fellow man, I will have reached the goals the Lord set for parents in educating their children.

 

Heather Walton lives in Taylorsville, Kentucky, where she and her husband homeschool four children and she operates A+ Education Solutions, LLC, through which she performs educational assessment, consulting, and tutoring services in person or online. You can follow her at apluseducationalsolutions.com.

 

 

 

 

 


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 by Susan Leckband from Help Elevate Learning Processing

 

A great many homeschool parents come to our facility with these questions, “Why doesn’t my kid remember this? We went over this yesterday, and he had it and now it is like he never saw or heard it before. Am I not a good teacher?”  

 

I had the same questions. Why did my bright boy not retain things? How did 5 + 4 not relate to 4 + 5? Why was spelling so difficult? If he just read the word dog, why didn’t he recognize it when it was surrounded by different words in a new sentence?  

 

After having my son’s information processing evaluated, I found out that my son had extremely low visual and auditory processing. That explained why I could tell him the same thing over and over, but he just did not retain it and why he had so much trouble retaining and recalling visual information. I finally understood why reading and writing were extremely difficult and frustrating and why those tricky, timed math facts tests were all but impossible to master. I discovered he was a very kinesthetic learner. If we got his hands involved, things stuck. We learned how to develop the immature areas of processing and I learned how to teach him things more kinesthetically. Shaving cream on the counter or wet sand became surfaces to practice writing and spelling. Jumping rope became a way to learn to skip count. 

 

Many students who struggle with auditory processing but do well visually benefit from a curriculum that is more written, picture and diagram based, rather than lecture based. A primarily auditory learner who has low visual processing might learn with audio books rather than getting frustrated by reading the same passage with dismal results. 

 

 A child who has trouble with temporal-spatial concepts may have trouble with place values, understanding time and calendars. Their handwriting and math may be messy, unorganized, and hard to read. Every parent who has tried to teach their child to keep nice, neat columns in multiplication or division knows how frustrating math can be for the child whose columns wander around like snakes.  

 

Most of the students we see tend to be very right-brained, creative, non-linear thinkers. Their creativity is astounding! However, this creative right-side often has trouble showing their work and may solve a math puzzle several different ways in their head. They have a challenging time showing their work because of the unique way they figured it out each time. Sometimes manipulatives and a more visual, hands-on approach can allow the student to understand the more left-brain concepts of place values in math, time, and space, as well as correct auditory and visual sequencing. 

 

Finding out whether taking notes benefits or impedes your child is also an important thing to determine. Some students with auditory challenges are focusing so hard on writing down what they have heard that they lose all of what is currently being said. Likewise, students with visual processing challenges may struggle with taking notes from visual presentations and reading because they cannot retain what they are trying to remember to write down. Looking back and forth from the visually presented material to their notes can be exhausting.

 

There are three very individual aspects of both auditory and visual processing that are important. The first is understanding. Is your child able to correctly understand presented auditory and visual information? Second is sequencing. Can they keep what they have seen or heard in order? Third, can they remember what has been said or seen? Often, someone may remember an incorrect version of what was presented much like a saved corrupt file in your computer. This, of course, can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings and discord. What may seem like inattention or lack of attention to detail can be due to an underlying, but correctable processing weakness.   

 

While having several types of curricula may not seem to not be a logical thing as a homeschool teacher, understanding that a one size does not fit all approach will aid you in providing the best way to communicate concepts and ideas to your diverse learning style children. Flexibility and patience are key in developing lesson plans for a child with a less conventional learning style. Do not be afraid to try something new. Be intuitive. You probably know by now what does not work for a particular child, so mix it up. Add music, manipulatives, and movement for the kinesthetic learner. Add colored pencils, pens, and pictures for the visual learner. Use interesting accents, rhymes, and poems to tickle the auditory learner’s interest. Make learning interesting and fun! Try not to project any disappointment or make the child feel he is not measuring up. Children really want to please their parents and their perception, accurate or not, of whether they are disappointing you can hinder their learning and growth. 

 

Determining and understanding how EACH of your children learns will make picking out curriculum for and teaching to that child’s strengths so much easier and less frustrating for everyone. A curriculum that focuses on auditory lessons could be disastrous for a non-auditory learner. A visual based curriculum could make a non-visual learner feel unsuccessful and harm their self-esteem. Your children may each have different learning strengths and learning what they are, getting a supportive curriculum for each child and teaching to their individual learning style will provide each child with a more positive, successful, and less stressful homeschool experience. That will make your job as their teacher more enjoyable and fulfilling. 

 

About the author: Susan Leckband is the Executive Director of Help Elevate Learning Processing and has been with HELP for nearly 20 years.  

 

 

 


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by the SPED Homeschool Team

 

Have you ever considered creating your own unit study to teach all your children at the same time? Below is a list of subjects you can teach multiple ages/learning levels with resources you can easily find at your local library and/or on the internet.

 

Once you pick your topic, use this article from our website on How to Create a Hands-On Unit Study to pull everything together for your unit.

 

Science

Magic school bus science

Nature 

Circuits

Weather 

Animals 

Geology

Biology- marine or regular

Systems of the body

Bugs

Gardening

Chemistry of baking

Fermentation

Habitats 

Ecosystems

 

History/Social Studies 

Geography 

Early America 

Famous people in history 

Native Americans 

States and local governments

Landmarks 

Seven wonders of the world

Famous scientists

Foreign studies (history, culture, food, traditions, holidays)

U.S. presidents

National parks

Film study

Christmas around the world

 

Art 

Step-by-step drawing 

Color wheels

Famous artists 

Mixed media art 

Sculptures of clay 

Water color

Digital art

Chalk art

Tie dying

Woodworking

Interior design

Cake decorating

Jewelry making

Metal design

Needlework

Bible journaling 

 

Music

Composer study

Genre study

Cultural music study

Physics of instruments

Scales

Vocalization/singing

Making instruments

 

Math

Fractions 

Cooking with measurements 

Measuring water

Dice games

Yard games, darts, archery, nerf targets (cumulative points)

Skip counting hopscotch

Minecraft 

Helping with family budget/grocery shopping

 

Language arts 

Readalouds

Book studies for particular topics

Mad Libs 

Analogies 

Vocabulary in cartoons, comic books, public signs, etc.

Foreign language 

Sign language

 

Health

First aid

Nutrition

Fitness

CPR 

 

Home Economics

Garment care

Auto repair

Home maintenance

Landscaping

Kitchen basics

Prepping meals 

 

Do you have any additional subjects to add to this list? Contact us with your suggestions and we will add them to the list.

 

 

 


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by Melodie Sontag, SPED Homeschool community member

 

My first year of homeschooling was initiated by the public school’s response to COVID. My son was in 3rd grade and, following spring break, we started virtual learning through his elementary school. The assignments sent for the remainder of the year were simple homework suggestions. Grades 1 to 3 received the same assignments. We started supplementing with weekly science and math projects at home. Thinking this would be temporary, we finished 3rd grade this way. 

When we learned that the next fall would be virtual learning again, my husband and I knew something had to change if we wanted our son to get a decent 4th-grade education. Luckily, I have had contact with many homeschool families throughout my life. My youngest sister was homeschooled through middle and high school. My other sister has special needs children that she homeschools. In high school, I babysat for a family that homeschooled five children. My eldest son’s best friend homeschooled from 1st grade through graduation. I was able to ask these friends and family members many questions about the choices they made and get good advice on a variety of homeschool options. Some chose to buy textbooks and create their own syllabus and schedules. Some chose homeschool co-ops or pre-recorded classrooms with independent lessons that offered a classroom feel. Since my husband and I both work, we selected an online program that provided quick pre-recorded lessons and grading alongside independent projects. It turned out to be a great fit for our family. 

We started our days early with breakfast by 7:00 am and sat down for schoolwork by 7:30 or 8:00 am. This gave us almost two hours of school time before I went to work at 10. We tried to tackle the more challenging subjects first. If my son was with me at work, reading and free writing were encouraged. If he went to the grandparents’ or cousins’ houses, the focus was on physical or imaginative play. My husband completed his workday midafternoon and followed up on any uncompleted assignments.  Early on, we decided to limit TV time, gaming, video chats, and biking the neighborhood with friends until his daily work was done.  This was terrific motivation for my son.

We really enjoyed the variety of classes. In addition to core classes, our son had the option to take STEM classes such as engineering and coding, which were of great interest to him and not offered at his public school. He took his laptop with him to our work offices, on vacations and trips, and during time spent at the grandparents. The lessons were thorough and challenging without being frustrating. The projects were fun to do together. He will tell you the best part was that he did not have to sit through hours and hours of school. Overall, we completely enjoyed this opportunity to spend more time with him in a brand-new aspect of his life. Being a part of his educational journey at this level is priceless and we cannot imagine giving it up in the future.

 

 

 

 

 


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curriculum options 

 

 

By the SPED Homeschool Team

Other than choosing to homeschool, the biggest decision we have to make is choosing homeschool curriculum. This decision is filled with a lot of stress as we decide what curriculum is “perfect” for our child. Here are some thoughts from the SPED Homeschool team to help make that decision a little bit easier for you!

Cammie Arn

Initially when I started homeschooling I loved the idea of using living books such as Sonlight, but after several years and more children I needed some things that were more independent.

After that I tried everything with my first child trying to figure out what worked best for both us. It took me several years of learning about learning styles, teaching styles, state requirements, and the freedom of choice that goes with those things. Walking into my first vendor hall was completely overwhelming. The options are endless.

However, after 20+ years of homeschooling, I now choose homeschool curriculum based on the biblical worldview that will work for all of my students at the same time, such as Mystery of History. Or I like options that cover multiple subjects at the same time like Notgrass. Efficiency is my goal now as we have life to live and ministry to do as well.

Dawn Spence

The journey of how I picked homeschool curriculum has changed over the years. In Pre-K for my girls, I did self-made units. Even through Kindergarten and when my son joined homeschool, I went to more group-type work for science, history and Bible studies. We have enjoyed My Father’s World for that. The thing that I love most about it is that it is easy to modify in order to accommodate my child’s needs. It is structured, but also classical. I have in recent years made it my own and added and subtracted as I felt. I add videos and audio books and hands on activities. For individual work, we use all kinds of curriculum. My kids are hands-on and visual for the most part. We use Math-U-See, Spelling-U-See, Touch Math, Handwriting without Tears,  Memoria Press, Little Giant Steps, Diana Craft, and Equipping Minds. My three kiddos are very individual and need their own way. No one child fits in a box, and neither does their curriculum.

A lot of choosing homeschool curriculum is a matter of trial and error, experimenting with what works and doesn’t work. There is no perfect curriculum, and there isn’t any curriculum that is a complete failure; you learn something from each choice you make.

Tracy Glockle

Choosing homeschool curriculum can be daunting with so many choices available. What I have found really helps me is when I start with my child rather than the curriculum options. My first step is to look at my child’s skills and ask “what is the next step?” I then look at my specific goals and vision for my family and for that particular child. By asking these questions first, it narrows the choices. Each year, I start that process over again because I’ve learned that my kids change: their needs and skills change, their interests change, and their learning preferences have even changed over the years.

Some curriculum options have passed the test year after year, while other curriculum is constantly changing. For instance, we have loved Tapestry of Grace from the very beginning because it allows everyone to be learning the same material, it fits our worldview, and it provides a lot of flexibility since it is designed to provide you options for customizing your own study. It also allows for certain subjects to be integrated into the history studies and provides ideas for all learning styles. The flexibility of the curriculum has made it a great fit for us, though each year I may tweak how we use it or the choices I make within the curriculum. Language arts, however, has been an area where I’ve supplemented and changed quite a bit, even disregarding grade level as I look at what specifically needs to be tackled next and what curriculum choice tends to deal with a specific area best.

A lot of choosing homeschool curriculum is a matter of trial and error, experimenting with what works and doesn’t work. There is no perfect curriculum, and there isn’t any curriculum that is a complete failure; you learn something from each choice you make.

 

As you can see, there is no “right” answer when choosing homeschool curriculum, but don’t let that overwhelm you! You are never going to “fall behind” if a curriculum doesn’t work out. It is okay to pick a curriculum and find that it is not a great fit. That just means that you have learned something about your child, and that is part of homeschooling! Take your time, try different approaches, and don’t be afraid to jump right in!

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar

Many parents who homeschool children with special educational needs jump into homeschooling without much preparation.  Unfortunately many times school situations, health conditions, or other factors must be given precedence over deciding on curriculum and preparing everything needed to start homeschooling like many well-meaning bloggers suggest.

I was one of those parents.

Deschooling Before Deciding on Curriculum

We dove into homeschooling without much preparation because my oldest was sinking into a deep depression in kindergarten with yet a few months left before the end of the school year. I had to figure out what to do right away, and so I quickly decided I would use those months before summer as a testing ground to see what teaching techniques worked best for my son and his younger brother, as well as myself.

Nowadays we would term what I did as “deschooling,” but I found it was an instinctual route I took that not only allowed me to understand how to chart our homeschooling course moving forward, but also regroup as a family so we could deal with my son’s depression and help him move out of that place of despair.

Experimenting Before Deciding on Curriculum

Considering this was 17 years ago, there weren’t a lot of homeschool curriculum options, but what I could find I narrowed down into three categories.  The first category was a classical/literature approach, the second was a textbook approach, and the third was a unit study approach. I then decided in order to make it a fair experiment, I needed to eliminate bias and other factors that may sway the results (yes, that is my inner physicist coming out), so we stuck to a specific theme and time period as we tried out these three approaches.Pirates and seafaring around the time of the 16th and 17th centuries was what I finally settled on.

Over the next few months we read historical fiction, had discussions, acted out what we were studying, did workbook pages, read textbooks excerpts, built structures, created costumes, watched movies, went on field trips, and even tried out some recipes and learned how to tie quite a few different types of knots.  And, it was the knot tying exercise that sealed my choice on how were were going to proceed in our homeschooling the following year—and eventually all the way through my oldest son’s graduation.

“…it was the knot tying exercise that sealed my choice on how were were going to proceed in our homeschooling the following year.”

The day we were learning to tie knots I noticed how my children didn’t mind listening to the book and looking at the examples of how to tie the knots as they were explained one by one (a textbook approach). I also noticed that my kids found it interesting when they were given rope and allowed to tie the knots that the book walked them through (a more classical approach). But when I gave them 20 feet of rope and told them they were allowed to tie me up as long as they used proper knots (unit study approach), their energy and enthusiasm for the task escalated by 10-fold.  Thus, we started our homeschooling using unit studies the following year.

I am so grateful I look the time to explore our options with my children before deciding on curriculum. No matter what other things we had to tweak in our instruction to help my children overcome other learning obstacles, we always had a base curriculum that worked for all of us.

What about you?  How did you decide on the curriculum you are now using in your homeschool?  Share with us on our social media sites.  Haven’t decided on a curriculum yet?  Check out all the articles and broadcasts in this quick guide focused on helping you make the best choice for your student and your homeschool.

 

 


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By Tracy Glockle

When my mom began homeschooling me, there were only a handful of homeschool curriculum choices available. Now, 30+ years later as I’m homeschooling my own three kids, homeschool curriculum choices fill huge convention centers and flood the internet. While all those choices provide a fantastic opportunity for customized learning, those same choices also lead to a lot of anxiety. What if I make the “wrong choice”? Where do I even begin? What if my homeschool curriculum choice makes our learning challenges even worse? Though there may be no way to eliminate all of our fears, there are a few tips for conquering our fears about homeschool curriculum.

 

 

Tips for Conquering Your Fears About Homeschool Curriculum

1. Start somewhere. If you are just getting started, there is something to be said for just jumping in. Realistically, you won’t know what you like or don’t like, what you need or don’t need until you’ve been homeschooling for awhile. Most homeschool curriculum choices will cover what needs to be covered. Just choose one and jump in. If it helps, plan for your first year to be a year of experimenting: trying out different approaches, teaching styles, and learning methods. Take notes. Keep a journal of what you like and don’t like.

2. Remember there is no perfect curriculum. Most of our fears about homeschool curriculum stem from this one myth: that the perfect curriculum is out there somewhere, and it’s our job to find it. Like a needle in haystack we try different products, always hoping for that elusive “perfect one” that will meet all of our needs and expectations. It doesn’t exist. Every homeschool curriculum choice has pros and cons. Instead, find a curriculum that has most of what you love and make adjustments along the way when things aren’t ideal.

3. Approach curriculum choices with a growth mindset. A fixed mindset sees failure as the end, but a growth mindset sees failure as a single step in the learning process. Even the “wrong” curriculum teaches us something. If you’ve purchased a homeschool curriculum that is absolutely the wrong fit for you and your family, you’ve learned something about yourself, about your child, about your family, about what your priorities and most urgent needs are. Every decision you make, for better or for worse, teaches you something about yourself and about your child. Learning these things is not a failure; it’s an important part of growth.

4. View curriculum as a tool, not a master. You teach your child, not a curriculum. You lead, and the curriculum follows. You create the IEP goals and select the best tools to help you meet those goals. Curriculum is simply one tool in your homeschool toolbox.

5. Don’t expect a curriculum to solve your problems. Your homeschool curriculum choice may help you to create some fun learning memories with your child. It may lead you on great adventures and help your child to overcome some of her challenges. But we can’t expect one product, one therapy, or one person to be the final solution. Only God can meet our needs in that way, and He is sovereign over every choice and circumstance, capable of using it all for our good and His glory. Your homeschool curriculum decision cannot thwart His plan for your child or for your family. But He will use both the best and the worst of your homeschool year to shape you and your child into His image.

How do we conquer our fears about homeschool curriculum choices? We realize that no decision is final, no failure is permanent, no choice can overturn God’s good plan. When we trust Him for the outcome, any homeschool curriculum can be the right one. We’ve just got to take the first step and keep moving forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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