Homeschool Curriculum – Tips For Choosing Books Or Curriculum – Is This What I Should Buy?

By Heidi Johnson

Knowing what home school curriculum books or resources to purchase can be an overwhelming task. There are so many things to choose. How do you know which one to choose and whether it will be right for your family? Here are some questions you can ask yourself when looking at different home school resources:

1. What is my child’s learning style? Does this book or curriculum fit in with how my child learns?

2. Is this resource a formal textbook, workbook or unit-study support material?

3. Do I know anyone else that is using this book or curriculum? What do they have to say about it? What positive and negative comments do they have about this book or curriculum?

4. Does this resource look like it’s easy to use? Can I just pick it up and teach from it or do I have to spend some time reading through the manual to prepare?

5. Can I view this curriculum at a bookstore or homeschool conference?

6. What does my child say about it after they have looked over it? You don’t have to put as much stock in this answer as the others, but sometimes your child has some insight into whether you should use this or not. Children tend to want to have the easiest work possible, so you will need to use your judgement about whether your child should ultimately use this curriculum or not.

7. Is this book or resource secular or Christian? Is this fact important to you or not?

8. If you get confused or frustrated with this resource, is there parent support available?

Once you answer all these questions, you will have a better idea of whether this book or resource will fit in with your educational and family goals or not. You will invariably purchase some things that you don’t need. Every veteran home schooler has purchased books or resources that they didn’t like or need at some point over the years, no matter how closely they looked at what they were buying. You just move on and learn from those purchases. But, for the most part, these questions should help you make an informed decision of what you should purchase for homeschooling this year.

For more tips on homeschooling, grab your free report “How to Home school using the Best Resources” at http://www.homeschool-how-to.com Heidi Johnson specializes in helping families find resources to simplify and improve their lives.

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Homeschool Classroom Checklist

By John Finnigan

Now that you have decided that you are going to homeschool your children, you are going to need a classroom, or at least, a reasonable facsimile. I don’t want to suggest that you use the spare bedroom or empty out the garage. Most folks use the kitchen or dining room table as a desk for both the teacher and their children. What I do suggest is that you get some sort of portable wagon so that you can store your often use materials in one place. Space is usually at a premium in the homeschool classroom so you will need something convenient and easily portable. When you are ready to set up your materials for the day it will be a lot easier if you have everything in one place. When school is over you can put everything back in the cart and move it out of the kitchen.

You probably won’t want your company sitting in the middle of your classroom. You’ll also need a portable blackboard or a whiteboard to illustrate lessons and demonstrate demonstrate difficult concepts. Personally, I would not recommend a blackboard. The chalk dust is too messy for your house. A whiteboard is much cleaner and easier to use. You can get a small folding white board at any good stationary store.

First of all forget lunch boxes and backpacks. That is unless you plan on going on spending a lot of your time on field trips with your children, and you probably won?t even need the backpacks.

Here is a checklist, in no particular order, of some of the things you may need on your “first day” of homeschool. I know you may have most of them around the house somewhere, but get them all in one place so you won’t have to interrupt your lessons to go find them.

A waste basket, cheap enough and you can always hide your mistakes :)

Separate work tables for you and your children. This is the ideal but you can just use your kitchen table.

A file cabinet – you will need to keep records, file lesson plans, test papers, your curriculum, report cards and health records. You will also need a bookcase.

A computer with DSL internet access or a dial up connection if DSL is not available in your area.

Have a wall calendar to schedule your monthly activities, holiday events, and group activities with your homeschool association and other homeschool parents..

Pens, pencils, and erasers.

Children in grades 4th thru 8th will need composition notebooks and spiral notebooks or a three ring binder. Get some pocket folders, too.

Elmer?s glue, crayons and colored pencils.

Organizers, such as small bins for crayons, rubber bands, and paperclips for separating everything and keeping things handy and in order.

Get a milk crate for each of your homeschoolers so they will have their own space to store their schoolwork.

Two highlighters, one light and one dark

Index cards, and a 12 inch ruler.

A good handheld pencil sharpener with two different size holes. You will be using it all the time.

Wide leaf loose-leaf paper for writing lesson materials and compositions.

You should have your own homeschool stationary. Select a name for your school such as “Smithfield School”, “Homeschool Preperatory School”, or use your own name or street name with ?academy? or ?preparatory school? tacked onto the end. Use your imagination and let the kids help, too.

Once you have your school name, you can make your own homeschool letterhead on your word processor. Then save it to your hard drive so you can use it on all of your correspondence. Put it on your letterhead and make identification cards for your kids. Do a good job in preparing these items and include photographs for a photo id.. You will want them to look their best, so get some help from family and friends if you need it. Buy some laminating materials and laminate your ID cards with your homeschooler?s photo to give them some legitimacy. Don?t forget to make one for yourself. They may need identification cards for admittance to school basketball and soccer games, maybe even the library. Many of the school supply stores you shop will ask you for a schoool ID for store discounts and freebies.

Most major stationary stores have special deals for teachers, usually in August at the end of the Summer vacation.

Staple’s Teacher Appreciation Day is an annual event. that can save you some money. They also have a teacher’s Awards program that will give you up to 5% off on purchases and free delivery. This can be a good savings and the free delivery is certainly a benefit to save you time.

These are recommended items you should consider having. If you live in a log cabin as Abe Lincoln did then you may have to make do with what you have. But Abe did OK didn’t he?

Lincoln was one of the original homeschoolers.

Jack Finnigan is a part-time writer-publisher and Webmaster at http://www.best-homeschool-resources.com providing important homeschooling advice, tips and focused information for homeschool curriculum that can really help parents improve their homeschoolers.

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Homeschool Writing – 6 Ideas For Getting Your Kids to Write

By Heidi Johnson

Getting homeschool students to write can be quite a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. Usually getting started is the hardest part. Here are some ideas that can spark your child to write and maybe even enjoy writing:

1. Make an album – Find some old or new pictures and have your child paste them on a page and write a caption or description for each picture so they don’t forget who the person is or what they did when they look at it years later. Sometimes baby or toddler pictures can spark your child even more to want to write about what they did.

2. Write letters – Your children can draw pictures and/or write letters to friends or relatives. If they are very reluctant you can write a letter and let the child add a sentence or two or a drawing. These letters can also be to imaginary figures like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

3. Retell a popular story – Use your child’s favorite fairy tale and have the retell the story from a different perspective. If they like little red riding hood, have them tell the story from the point of the wolf.

4. Make Lists (lots of them!) – When you’re in the car, ask a child to write down your grocery list as you dictate it to them. When you are going on vacation, have your child make lists of what they need to bring. Make Birthday lists, Christmas lists, favorite book lists, what they want to do this summer lists, and many more.

5. Take Turns Telling a Story – Have each person in the group write a paragraph of a story. One person can start and then pass it on to the next person to add another paragraph until you have gone around the group a couple of times or until you think your story is done. This could provide some hilarious entertainment.

6. Take Turns Writing a Poem – Along the same line, you can adapt the previous example for writing poetry. Each person writes a line of a poem and you keep passing it around until you feel your poem is complete.

Homeschool students can enjoy writing. You might need to be a little more creative with some students than others. Learning to express their ideas can aid them tremendously, especially as they become a teen and then an adult.

For more tips on homeschooling, grab your free report “How to Homeschool using the Best Resources” at http://www.homeschool-how-to.com Heidi Johnson specializes in helping families find resources to simplify and improve their lives.

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