4 Tools You Need to Make the Most of Homeschooling
Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. While you may have some experience teaching your child the alphabet or helping them with their math homework, homeschooling is a whole other ball game. On top of the significant time commitment, you will need to research curriculums and learning resources, find ways to help your child build social-emotional skills, and learn how to comply with your state’s homeschooling laws.
Here are four types of tools you will need to give your child the best possible homeschool education:
Homeschool Curriculum Tools
One of the unique aspects of homeschooling is that parents get to decide which curriculum to use. Sometimes parents create their own curriculum, but this is generally a very time-consuming and difficult process, and most homeschoolers opt to use at least a few pre existing curriculum resources.
Many families combine curriculums and learning modules from multiple sources, such as:
Healing Roots Online School. This online K-8 school provides curriculum tools for homeschool families as well as enrolled students. The project-based curriculum emphasizes the natural environment, agriculture, and community impact in addition to classical academics. We teach to the child’s unique learning style and interests. Contact us today for more information about homeschool curriculum resources from Healing Roots.
Oak Meadow. Oak Meadow delivers academics for preschool through high school with an emphasis on the creative arts: drawing, painting, music, and handwork. The curriculum is based on rigorous academic standards as well as personalized, student-led education.
Moving Beyond the Page. This set of curriculum packages for ages 5 through 12 is designed to meet or exceed state and national standards. The curriculum is based on literature and focuses on critical thinking and comprehension.
These are just a few of the many curriculum options out there. You may want to explore these and other options and consider combining tools to create your ideal homeschooling curriculum. For more curriculum and activity ideas, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our home page.
Supplemental Learning Tools
You will likely need more than just a curriculum to effectively teach any one subject. Most curriculums will have some gaps or fail to explain some concepts in a way that reaches your child.
Both traditional school teachers and homeschooling parents typically supplement their curriculum with videos, activities, and reading assignments from sources like:
Khan Academy. This free online resource provides short videos teaching math, physics, biology, chemistry, finance, history, and more. Many students find these videos engaging and easier to learn from than their textbooks.
Project Gutenberg. This resource provides over 60,000 free eBooks, including many classics. You might be able to save some money or extra trips to the library by using these eBooks for homeschool reading material, especially if your child is older.
Time4Learning. Sometimes there’s nothing like a computer game to keep kids engaged in learning! For a fee, you can give your child access to learning games that will help them improve their skills in core subjects such as math, science, and reading.
Duolingo. While the Duolingo app is not a true substitute for a foreign language curriculum, it can be a great way to help your child practice a language from home. The free app can help you learn a wide variety of languages, including Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Arabic, and many more.
Legal Information Resources
Many homeschooling parents are nervous about understanding and complying with the law as they educate their children. While homeschooling is legal in all 50 U.S. states, each state has its own set of regulations that families must follow. Road schoolers must follow the laws in the state where they have their driver’s license or vehicle registration.
Depending on your state, you may be required to:
Participate in state testing to ensure your child is progressing academically at an appropriate rate.
Teach required subjects.
File notice of intent to home school at or before the beginning of the school year.
Submit a description of the curriculum plan.
Meet minimum qualifications to be a homeschool instructor, such as possessing a high school diploma or completing a course in home-based instruction.
As a homeschooling parent, you will need to educate yourself about local laws and find resources to help with your legal questions. Here are a couple of resources you may want to check out:
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education. This organization’s website lets you search for information by state with an easy-to-use map and learn about local homeschooling policies.
Home School Legal Defense Association. HSLDA is a nonprofit that provides information on current laws, both in the U.S. and abroad, and represents homeschoolers who have legal challenges.
A Homeschool Community
Homeschooling can be incredibly lonely at times. There’s no built-in socialization outside of your household, so you need to go out of your way to find or build a community and give your child opportunities to practice social-emotional skills. Thankfully, there are many great homeschool communities already out there!
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find supplemental in-person classes geared toward homeschoolers in your community. Alternatively, you can create your own meetup group with other homeschool families.
Social media can also be a good way to find and connect with other homeschool families. A lot of parents join Facebook communities, subreddits, and other online communities to find and share ideas. Likeminded homeschoolers often find each other online, and sometimes online friendships turn into lasting offline ones.
Want More Homeschool Curriculum and Activity Ideas?
Healing Roots Online School provides curriculum resources for homeschool families as well as our own students. For more homeschool resources and ideas, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our home page.