Homeschooling has come a long way since it first started as a fringe movement. Today, millions of families take part in homeschooling their children, and that number is only expected to grow. The homeschooling resources available to parents today are diverse, affordable and easy to find. However, when parents first decide to teach their children from home, the abundance of homeschool resources can feel overwhelming. Like most big chunks of information, it’s easier to maneuver if it’s broken into manageable categories.
Below is a list of general homeschool resources. Most of them are useful no matter your child’s age.
Before diving into a sea of available homeschool resources, here’s a tip. Set up some bookmarks based on the number of kids you have, their ages and the subjects you are trying to cover. For example: Bob – Math 1, Janey – Math 4, Mark – Pre Algebra. Go ahead and set up these bookmarks as you’re planning your school year and bookmark anything you think might be useful. You’ll avoid wasting time and, in the case of multiple children, you’ll have bookmarks all set for the younger kids – just change the name with each new year.
1. Homeschool Resources For Beginners;
If you’ve made the decision to homeschool or you’ve already started, it’s okay if you do not have a clue. The homeschool resources listed in this section will get you thinking. They might not be your final answer, few packaged resources are, but you have to start somewhere!
- Rainbow Resource – This is the homeschool phone book of catalogs/websites. Sign up to receive their giant catalog if you digest information on paper more readily than you do online. Most products come with a detailed description by someone who has actually used it. This catalog filled with valuable homeschool resources does come from a Christian family, and many of the reviews reflect their beliefs. Still, the enormity of the content is worth it whether you agree with their beliefs or not.
- The Well Trained Mind – Start with the book, The Well Trained Mind. For many people it makes sense and clears up a tremendous amount of confusion regarding how to proceed, as it will take you from pre-k through high school. If you are committed to homeschooling, the price of the hardback edition is well worth it. You will come back to this book time after time and year after year.
2. The Next Step In Homeschool Resources;
Finding support for yourself is big. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. You will have great days. You will have terrible days. Finding a community with which to share these experiences is key to your mental health.
- Real, live people. There is nothing like knowing that once a month or so you will get out by yourself and meet with other homeschooling parents for coffee or drinks or whatever the group decides. You won’t agree with them all but you will find that you all struggle with the same types of issues (based on your kids’ ages). In this instance, a search engine is your friend. Check out Yahoo groups, Meet Up as well as just searching for your city + homeschooling. You only need to find one or two families who share your perspective to have a great support network. The more you search, the more homeschool resources you’ll find.
- Virtual Reality. There are times where having a virtual support group can come in handy. There are tons of message boards for parents who homeschool. Use a search engine if you have something specific in mind. One of the oldest and most inclusive homeschool message board is VegSource. The best part about this specific site, is their extensive archives that allow you to research specific issues. Also, you can post a problem and receive advice, sympathy or both within minutes. Having an online source to find new homeschool resources or just to find a few people who know how you feel is priceless. Jump in, be active. If you think you have a solution to someone else’s issue, go ahead and post it. You’ll soon figure out who to follow on each site and who to avoid. If you’re lucky, you’ll form a long lasting friendship.
3. Selecting Homeschool Resources;
Like most of life, selecting your homeschool resources often comes down to cost. How are you to afford the books and other homeschool resources needed? Take a deep breath and relax. There is nothing, no matter the age of your child, about homeschooling that involves rocket surgery. Math is math. History is history. Science is (mostly) science (Pluto was, was not, is again a planet.) You do not need the newest, fanciest program to educate your children. It’s more important that you’re as engaged as your kids. Use the internet. Teach your children how to research and how to distinguish good/bad/biased sources of information. If your child has special needs, simply searching for special education resources is a good start. (See related article; Special Education Resources Fill A Void)
4. List Of General Homeschool Resources;
- Online Booksellers And Homeschool Companies
- Used/Trade/Sale Homeschooling Boards – Well Trained Mind, Homeschool Classifieds, VegSource
- Local School District Resources And Sales
- Local Homeschool Group Sales
- Library Book Sales
- Rainbow Resource – Catalog And Sales
- Homeschool Legal Defense Association – great resource for all homeschoolers whether you are a member or not.
- Homeschool World Forum – A message board for homeschoolers with a nice archive of information. Jump in and get your feet wet!
- Webinar – This webinar from Sonlight discusses strategies for various learning styles
- Special Education Tutoring – For children with special needs that would benefit greatly from a little extra support
If you have a child with special needs, most of the homeschool resources above will still provide value and most will work perfectly. Remember, a child with special needs most often learns a little different, processes information in a unique way and sometimes requires additional assistance depending on the subject. Special education tutoring is an option which has grown considerably in recent years. Having the assistance of a special education expert can truly make a significant impact in your child’s life!
Using the homeschool resources listed above will help you create network for support, supplies and ideas. When you are first starting out it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Keep a narrow focus your first year. Your children are not the only one who will be constantly learning!