Friday, April 10, 2009

Homeschooling Resources I Use

The rules for homeschooling vary by the state you live in. Here I don't have to send a letter until my child is turning 7 (about 1st grade), but you need to know your state's laws.

I have two sons, 4 & 6yo. My eldest son is just finishing his "first" year of homeschooling... Kindergarten. I've been at home with them though since they were born. I think someone told me that you don't "really" need "curriculum" for this age. I agree for the most part, but have found I need to spend more time writing, and worksheets seem to be a big help for this.

Here are some of my favorite materials resources I've used this year:
  • Scope and Sequence - This is what my state requires me to tell them about at the beginning of the year. I found that World Book offers a great overview by grade.
  • Library - I get on their online catalog and request books for upcoming events / topics of study, then they pull them from the shelves and hold them up front for me. This helps too for getting materials transferred from other small town libraries nearby (by county shares their books among all the little branches). At home, we have a special place in the Living Room for library books. We often sit and look at them on the couch. Reading is a BIG part of our learning program. I check out PILES of books according to seasons / holidays / events (my son recently had surgery, so we had hospital and surgery books).
  • Calendar (desk style) dedicated to each child. I picked these up on a school sale at the beginning of the year. I jot down what we are doing each day. Can also write comments / questions / concerns / observations, etc. These will be GREAT down the road to document what we've done! A simple, quick "journal" of school.
  • "30 minute a day learning system" from Brighter Minds. They have books for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, etc. What I REALLY like about these is that they cover all different topics, but mix them up. So it's not a whole book or even a whole section of one topic (math or writting), it's mixed into something that keeps this young age's attention better. Also, very colorful.
  • Handwriting without tears. I think we'd be doing better with handwriting if I'd been more diligent with this program. Still, I like it and will be using it more as we've been integrating more bookwork into our days.
  • - free online phonics games / program. My boys LOVE to "play" on the computer with Starfall!
  • Dolche Word List. I wanted my boys to learn phonics, but I've finally come to understand that it IS important for them to learn some site words... very common words and or ones that don't obey normal rules of phonics. So, just search for a Dolche sight word list online and start using them. One easy thing to do is make your own flashcards (print on card stock and cut apart or just hand write on 3"x5" cards).
  • WinterPromise - My HSing neighbor bought this system in December. I've borrowed some of her Scholastic books of reproducilbles and made copies of worksheets. My son is LOVING these. I'm going to be looking into starting this system for our next schoolyear (1st grade and Pre-K)
  • Scholastic - WOW! I JUST discovered this online resource. Oh so easy to click and pick worksheets by age and topic. Looks like LOTS of online resources I can use. :D
  • Staples / Bookman's - I've found both of these retail stores offer discounts for teachers. When I ask about being a Homeschooling Teacher, they've signed me up for 10-20% discounts. Check your local vendors and ask about programs to give discounts to teachers.
  • Lakeshore Learning - Stores / Catalogs / Online - My family is supporting our Homeschooling choice. On a recent visit, my FIL took us to Lakeshore Learning. He said he wanders around and doesn't know what to buy... well I did! We walked out with two armfuls of books and materials. I'm going to start giving my family wish lists of school books / materials and or asking for gift cards to Lakeshore Learning. :D
Mostly, I follow my boys lead while keeping in mind the Scope and Sequence for their age. Many of these resources can help all children, not just those being Homeschooled. Let me know if any of these ideas help you... it's helped me just writing them all down in one place!


Heather said...

Have you looked at ? A loves this site because of the digi rewards and I like that she can pick what she wants, addition or subtractions, measurements... I found it is a great option when she is begging for computer time and gives her a chance to try new concepts (multiplication is her new favorite)
I also use to make the word searches for A's class using that week's spelling words and the kids love it. There are lots of worksheets there too.
Hope these are useful

David said...

You may also want to take a look at this web site:

They have all sorts of discount resources that can be invaluable to homeschooling families.