Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Selecting a Curriculum for Homeschooling

Armed with the freedom to pave my own way I was able to decide what to teach. Even better, I was able to ask D.D. What she wanted to learn. In Missouri we are required to log 1,000 hours of schooling, with 600 of those hours being in the core subjects. I made it clear that the core subjects were not optional, but that there was some wiggle room within the subjects. I did hours and hours of internet research and found the tools we would need.

6th Grade

In social studies, she chose to begin in ancient history since she had spent most of her education in U.S. History. We chose the Mystery of History curriculum because it tied Bible history into the timeline and made a seamless picture. For math we used Middle School Advantage which provided a visual, interactive format. We did spelling and grammar using free resources that I pulled together online. Reading and poetry came out of books on the shelf (we have a ton!). A dear friend gifted me with Rosetta Stone as our language program and we started on Spanish. Science proved to be the hardest subject and after a bit of trial and error we started using pre-made kits from The Young Scientist Club.

All told, we pieced together a very effective curriculum for under $300 the first year. (Not including the Rosetta Stone programs… I honestly could not have afforded that if it weren’t a gift.)

7th Grade

This year was much easier to pull together since I had already done this once before. D.D. Is very interested in world religions so I ordered the Handy Religion Answer Book from Amazon for Social Studies. We supplement that with free documentaries online and lots of research. She started algebra for math this year using an algebra book that was donated to the center. (Thank you to whoever donated that!)

For Language Arts we chose the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum, mainly because D.D. begged for it. She also does pages from Words on the Vine. We are big readers in our house so we don’t have trouble coming up with materials for that.

As usual, science was the subject that I was clueless in. I asked for a recommendation from a girl who is a few years ahead of D.D. And she said she loved Apologia General Science. I bought the book and the test packet for a very satisfying price at a used curriculum sale. An internet search led me to these very handy (and time saving) lesson plans from Donna Young.

We still use Rosetta Stone for Spanish and this year we are supplementing that with these great lessons that I found for free online from D.D. Has a once a week debate class that is taught by a lovely lady here in the area. We also bought a viola this year, but have yet to begin serious study with it.

In all, 7th grade cost me about $400. I got everything I needed from used curriculum sales, internet searches for free material and, except for the One Year Adventure Novel package (which I bought direct from the website), and the debate class.

Other Schtuff

One other thing that was important to me when it came to homeschooling was social interaction. D.D. Is like me in that she tends to be a little introverted and I wanted to make sure we didn’t shut ourselves in the office and block out the world. I told her that she needed to pick a team or a club to be a part of to satisfy this requirement.

She is a science kid all the way so she chose robotics as her “thing”. We joined Metro Homeschool Robotics the first year we started homeschooling and have enjoyed two seasons of B.E.S.T Robotics competitions. If you have a team in your area I definitely recommend that you check it out.

Once all the materials were gathered, it was time to do some scheduling.

Links to all of the materials and curriculums listed can be found on the Homeschool Resources Page. I didn’t include a lot of them in the post because that would be a crazy amount of links :)

Thought for the Day: Homeschool Curriculum often carries a choice between convenience and price.

This post is part 3 of the Why We Homeschool Series. Watch for new posts in this series every week on Searching for Serenity.

Read Part 1: How We Decided to Homeschool
Read Part 2: Figuring Out How to Homeschool

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