Why Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle! Part 5

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Welcome to Part 5 of a 5 Part series on
Why Homeschool is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle.

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

In this series you will learn how to sort all your straight pieces (the frame or outline) of your homeschool puzzle so you can start laying down your foundation and ease into the big beautiful picture that is homeschooling. There is so much to learn and absorb about homeschooling that you may feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. I am hoping to encourage you and get you through the start process with a bit of ease. That’s my goal at least. Once you get started it isn’t so bad – just like creating a puzzle.

Welcome to Part 5 of the Jigsaw Puzzle Homeschool Series.
 Be sure not to miss any of the posts in this series.

  1. Sorting your Puzzle Pieces and your Laws and Choices.
  2. Finding your Homeschool Style.
  3. Finding out what Type of Homeschooler you are.
  4. Creating a Schedule.
  5. Curriculum    <<<you are here

 

By now you have completed steps 1-4 and hopefully have a better understanding of where to start and possibly even the style of homeschooler you want to be. Homeschooling has come a long way over the years and where as we now have way more freedom and choices, we also have far too many decisions to make to along with it. By simple process of elimination, making those decisions should become a bit easier for you.

Still, if you are confused and feel like you haven’t figured it out yet, please don’t fret. Just keep creating your list by eliminating what you feel definitely won’t work for you and keep doing your research on your ‘maybe’s’.

Like I have said in previous posts and you will often hear throughout this blog – what works for you now may not work at a later time. Just be open to change what isn’t working. Even if you have purchased curriculum that isn’t working like you thought. Yes, you have spent money on it and you feel like it will be a huge waste if you don’t use it. However, if it isn’t working and your child isn’t absorbing the lessons or it doesn’t fit your teaching style, you are wasting more than money. You are wasting precious time! Sell it, try to recoup some of your money and move on. Forcing something that isn’t working causes far more damage to your homeschool than you might think. An entire school year can pass and you will feel as if it was all for nothing. Not a warm and fuzzy feeling to have.

This leads me to Step5:  {this is where you start filling in the center of your homeschool jigsaw puzzle – the big picture}

  • Choosing Curriculum –

This step can be a bit of a toughy, even for those who have been homeschooling for some time. The reason this is, there are so many choices out there. So many curriculum suppliers and publishers. I once heard this saying and it has stuck with me since the beginning of our homeschool journey.

The Homeschool Curriculum Industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and they are all vying for your money

You will find that there are a ton of really great curriculums our there and often times it’s hard to make a choice. You may need to narrow it down to what type of learner your child or children are and even the affordability of the curriculum. Often times full curriculum is quite costly. The cost may keep you from being able to purchase what you want. If this is the case you can always search for used curriculum. Amazon, eBay, and Homeschool Classifieds are a good start to searching for the curriculum on your wish list.

This is where your previous steps come in to play. Grab your list and review some of the decisions you have made. This will help you in deciding what type of curriculum is good for you.

Here are the options you have for choosing curriculum:

*{{There are so many companies that provide ample curriculum that I cannot possibly list them all without this post becoming a mile long. And I am very well aware that if I was to make this post that long none of you would read it all.  So, to spare you the misery of such a long read I am going to only list a few popular homeschool curriculums under each subject. Please know that there are many – you will just need to do the research.}}*

1. Full – Boxed Curriculum:

All subjects will be purchased in one curriculum and generally for a specific school year. Although there are some options that cover a few years at a time. The majority of the planning, if not all,  is done for you and most likely the tests are laid out as well.

Here is a list of some Full – Boxed Curriculum Publishers:

  • Abeka
  • Sonlight
  • LifePack by Alpha Omega
  • A.C.E
  • Bob Jones
  • My Father’s World

This is just a few of the publishers that offer full curriculum. This will be a good start if you are interested in Full-Boxed Curriculum.

2. Online Curriculum:

There are online ‘schools’ if you prefer to do all the studies online. Some will be free while others there is a charge.

  • K-12   {free}
  • Time4Learning
  • Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool   {free}
  • Calvert
  • Bob Jones University Press
  • Monarch by Alpha Omega

There is also computer based (cd-rom) homeschool curriculum that uses software for your computer. You do not need internet access.

  • Switched on Schoolhouse by Alpha Omega
  • Amazon – you can search Amazon for subjects on cd-rom

Homeschool is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

3. Piecing Together Curriculum:

Some curriculum creators do not offer complete curriculum for all subjects. Some create just a Math curriculum. While others may specialize in Language Arts and Grammar. Such as Vocabulary or Writing. Still, others just create a Science or History Curriculum. Many of these creators are wonderful because they specialize in a particular subject.

Choosing different curriculum from different publishers and creators for different subjects will be considered ‘piecing your curriculum together’.

 

Math

Math U See
Life of Fred
Math Mammoth
Teaching Textbooks

Grammar

Growing with Grammar
Winston Grammar
First Language Lessons

Spelling/Vocabulary

A Reason for Spelling
All About Spelling
Wordly Wise

Writing

Writing With Ease
Easy Writing
Four Square Writing

Phonics

ABeka
Horizons
Explode the Code

History

Mystery of History
Story of the World
Sonlight History
Abeka History

Science

Apologia
Rod & Staff
ACE Science

Handwriting

A Reason for Handwriting
Handwriting without Tears
ABeka Handwriting

As I mentioned, there are so many more that you can choose from. You can search the form of curriculum you are interested in and find information about each of them on their websites. Another good deciding factor is to do a curriculum review search.  Just keep in mind that you are reading other’s opinions and often they with not reflect our needs. You can get a general idea of how a particular curriculum works if everyone’s opinions are the same as far as the type of curriculum it is. Example: some curriculum is spiral; meaning that it does not master a concept in one lesson but rather review and come back to it often. This may or may not work for your learner. If you see that the curriculum you are interested in is a spiral and you are looking for a mastery, than you simply move on.

There are also curriculum out there that are based on unit studies.

Some of those options are:

Weaver by Alpha Omega
Amanda Bennett Unit Studies
KONOS
Tapestry of Grace

Homeschoolreviews.com is a good tool for getting a list of curriculum to research.

 4. Creating Curriculum from Free Resources –

With the vast amount of resources today via the world wide web, it has become quite easy to put together your own curriculum using low cost resources and even a huge array of free resources. While this takes a little patience and getting yourself used to doing it – it can be very satisfying and is very manageable. Once you begin creating your own curriculum you will find out how easy it is. With time you will find yourself easing through the process with great speed.

There are a few reasons why one might consider creating their own curriculum using low cost and free resources.

Reason #1:

There might be the cost issue. Some curriculum can cost a pretty penny. A pretty penny that some of us don’t have. This is especially true if you are homeschooling a large family. Buying curriculum for multiply ages, at multiple levels can get very pricey.

Reason #2:

Another reason might be that a child needs to work on specific areas for a longer length of time. Longer than most curriculum allots for. For instance: if your child isn’t understanding a certain concept and there isn’t enough lessons in a purchased curriculum than you may feel the need to add in more lessons until the child understands.
*I personally create most of our own curriculum this way. This allows me the freedom to move past a concept quickly if my child understands it quicker than expected. On the contrary, sometimes there are areas within a subject that my child just simply needs work on. Maybe they are not fully understanding the concept and need more studies on that area. I love having the freedom to move on or work more on specific areas.

Reason #3:

A child might be grade levels ahead or grade levels behind within subjects. You can cater to your child’s needs by teaching them what they need to know rather than repeating concepts they already know and understand. You will find some purchased curriculum repeat lessons your child may already know.

Some of us don’t pay much attention to “grade levels”, so to speak. I do say that our children are in grades 2nd, 4th, & 6th – just for names sake when someone asks. However, I pay more attention to concepts to be learned rather than grade level. I discovered this pretty early on when I was reviewing some brands scope and sequence and I noticed a bunch of repeated concepts over and over rather than waiting until the child was ready to understand the concept fully. This has saved us a fair amount of repeated studies. Please don’t misunderstand that to be that children don’t need repetition because they do. I just simply mean that sometimes if a concept is taught when they can conceive it better, it’s better for everyone.

Reason #4:

Some children learn better by creating and using their hands. They retain better with movement and creativity. You might not find enough stimulation in purchased curriculum to fulfill your learner. Lapbooks and Notebooking are great for this kind of learner.

No matter what reason you have, if you find that creating your own curriculum interests you keep in mind that you can do it. It takes a bit of time to get used to doing it but once you get the hang of it it’s smooth sailing.

I will be putting together a post on where to get some of the best free or nearly free curriculum and resources. This will help you greatly if you are considering putting together your own curriculum. Additionally, I will be creating a post on how to create and organize your own curriculum. This is vital to creating your own curriculum. You don’t want anything to get lost in the mix.
If you don’t want to miss these posts – subscribe to Our Thrifty Home and you will be one of the first to receive it. You won’t want to miss it. Who doesn’t like free, right?

Creating a Homeschool Plan

 

[This is what my list looks like after I have completed all 5 steps.]

Congratulations!
You have completed all 5 steps.
You should have a better understanding of where to start in your homeschool journey.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me your
question in the comment section or contact me via email.
I will do my best to answer any questions you have.

Happy Homeschooling!

Knowledge Is Power!

Blessings,
Brandy

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