For Beginners

This section is for those that have decided to homeschool and are wondering where to begin.  I recommend you begin by understanding your legal obligation at  https://hemetsonshine.wordpress.com/guide-to-homeschooling/your-legal-obligation.    After that, I recommend you understand learning styles.

LEARNING STYLES

Before you start shopping for educational materials, you should consider your child’s learning style, your teaching style, and amount of time you have.   This can help you avoid overspending.

The following are articles about learning styles and curriculum choices:

The following learning style resources are available at our local library:

  • 100 top picks for homeschool curriculum by Cathy Duffy (If you only have time to read one book from this list, then read this book and visit her website.)
  • Homeschooling Methods by general editors, Paul & Gena Suarez
  • The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
  • So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
  • Mary Pride’s Complete Guide To Getting Started in Homeschooling
  • Every Child Has a Thinking Style: A guide to recognizing and fostering each child’s natural gifts and preferences to help them learn, thrive, and achieve by Lanna Nakone

HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM

After you have considered learning styles, you need to decide if you want to buy or create your own curricula.  I do both.    The following are my favorite FREE guides and resources for creating my own curriculum:

  • http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/Teaching-History-Spine-book.html –  This explains how to create your own history curriculum.   I applied this idea in order to personalize my son’s curriculum to meet his educational goals.
  • http://www.truthquesthistory.com/spine.php – Here is another fine example of a homemade history curriculum via spine.
  • http://rivlib.info/riverside-county-library-system – You can easily and conveniently cobble together your own curriculum by using the “list” feature available online at our local library.  To do this for social studies, I created a list for each chapter of the spine book.  Then listed biographies, documentaries, historical fiction, cultural, political and geographical information per country or historical figure referred to that specific chapter.  The library has far more resources than I had time to cover in a school year so I choose only those with the best reviews for accuracy.  The library will retrieve media from outside their system for a whooping $1.
  • http://www.colapublib.org/aboutus/librarycard.html – After you go to the Los Angeles County library in person to get your library card, you can access their fabulous online resources.  This is well worth the drive.

The following are FREE ready-made curriculum resources:

The following are reviews of complete curriculum packages for purchase:

When faced with more than one great resource, I learned that looking up the quality and quantity of FREE digital flashcards is my favorite way to choice between great curriculum.  We rely heavy on digital flashcards, but they are so time-consuming to make that I am grateful to the person who shares hers.  I discuss what I like about various FREE digital flashcard sites at https://hemetsonshine.wordpress.com/learning-links/all-academics-flashcards.

I am a value shopper.  A product has to be pretty wonderful before I will buy new rather than work with a hand-me-down.   In the early years I was homeschooling a child who needed lots of activities to grasp concepts.   I planned to spend a significant amount on gas to drive to many field trips.    Working with popular used curriculum has kept home kept my homeschooling expenses very low and it is easy to find many FREE resources to go with the popular brands.  For thrifty shopping options, visit https://hemetsonshine.wordpress.com/sales-events/products-and-services-related-to-curriculum.

STATE STANDARDS

As a homeschooler you have the freedom to teach subjects in whatever order you choose.  If you choose to teach subjects in the same order as public schools, our state’s standards are listed at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss.  If you prefer a k-12 guidebook written by a homeschooler, visit http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html.   If you want to get started right away, but need more time to plan your school year, I suggest requesting a free trial membership with www.time4learning.com/education/curriculum_overview.shtml.

If you begin homeschooling after 5th grade, then I strongly recommend you get your curriculum, and scope and sequence ideas from Setting the Records Straight by Lee Binz.   This book is about crafting your child’s high school transcript.   I read it at the beginning of my son’s 8th grade school year in 2014.    I now wish I would have made a draft of my son’s high school transcript before my son started 6th grade.  He is more motivated and inspired when he sees the “big picture” aka the end of high school.    For us, it was very encouraging to see he was and still is on track in some subjects and ahead in others for completing his college-bound educational goals.

For further motivation, I arranged my son’s 9th through 12th curriculum by grade.   He is very happy with this set up.    He likes that he can pull a book of the bookshelf anytime to preview what’s next and/or decide if he wants to work ahead.

Another reason I wished I would made his transcript earlier is because I have been accepting and storing hand-me-down curriculum for several years.  It was easy to clear curriculum for grades we finished.  Now I don’t need to wait on clearing out the 9th through 12th grade curriculum I don’t need.   I used give away my extras, but this time I will sell off the leftovers to raise funds for other homeschool activities.

* * *

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Albert Einstein

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