Friday, October 25, 2013



Unless you run on batteries and don't need any sleep, its going to be just about impossible to create a  full curriculum from scratch every year (I mean creating all your own worksheets and hand-making every visual aid...) Nobody has that kind of free time, so I don't even try! I just use as many resources as I can (especially the free ones) and modify them to work for us. Most of the resources I use are free. As my daughter has gotten older (especially this year, with high school!) I've had to transition to using some purchased materials (ie, French class & Algebra). Even then, its very easy to find used materials online (Ebay!).

A lot of homeschooling parents use a set of pre-packaged curriculum. There are many ready-made curriculum packages (or stand-alone textbooks and/or workbooks) that you can buy online, from catalogs, etc. I'm a big cheapskate though, so my first thought is "I can do it for cheaper!" It takes a little more work because I'm responsible for making sure I cover everything, instead of relying on a specific set of text/workbooks to automatically cover what the local schools are teaching. 

I do use some workbooks and also worksheets that I've printed off of the internet, but I've never needed to spend a lot of money on that sort of thing. Sometimes I find an unused (or barely used) workbooks at a garage sale or thrift store and I buy those if they look like they aren't too "dumbed down". The best ones are usually topic-specific, instead of all-in-one workbooks (which are usually mostly fluff). Its good to have worksheets for some subjects (like multiplication, handwriting, grammar) because the more practice, the better. I like to keep things like that on hand, too, in case I get stuck on the phone or something and Kendall needs something to do while she's waiting for me. I just don't want to rely on workbooks to do the teaching.

I have actually broken down and bought new workbooks a few times (online or at the Learning Palace), like last year, when Kendall was learning about the 50 states we bought a workbook with a page or two for each state that had trivia and little activities. It was a lot easier to buy that workbook than try to make up my own lesson for all 50 states! I guess I just "pick my battles".

As for textbooks, I've never purchased them (until recently when I had to because the subject matter was out of my 'wheelhouse'). I almost always find whatever I need online for free, or if I really need a book (or video) I find something appropriate at the library or online. 

Strangely, a LOT of info covered in grade school can be easily explained in only a few minutes. For example, when Kendall was in 4th grade, I explained to her what the difference is between rural, suburban, and urban areas. It isn't that complicated, but she was expected to know that concept for 4th grade (and it WAS on the CAT5 test that year!). Simply explaining the concept took me less than 5 minutes, including giving her examples, and asking her questions to make sure she understood. No textbook needed! :)

One of my "things" (quirks?) is that I have a prejudice against pre-packaged curriculum. I'm probably over-paranoid about it, but I don't like unnecessary busy- work and the curriculum sets I've seen are full of it! I remember being bored to death in school because the students who were behind got most of the instruction and the rest of us got a lot of pointless busy work. Silly, pointless things (like connect-the-dots coloring pages, which are great for younger kids, but not exactly appropriate schoolwork for 5th graders!). One of the reasons I wanted to homeschool was that I could cut out that sort of thing and stick to the topics that matter. That way I can supplement additional info if I want, or move ahead to new material as soon as the student is ready

No comments:

Post a Comment