We have been contacted by many of you who find yourselves unexpectedly homeschooling and are looking for help to come up with an academic plan for your child.
Before we dive into this question, don't forget that there are a ton of free resources out there, especially right now. Your child may be best served by treating this as a summer break or moving to informal learning for a season. (For instance, he could keep his math skills fresh by doing copious amounts of baking and playing monopoly every evening.)
Since you landed on our website, we're guessing you are looking for a more systematic or thorough approach to this time. Still, some of you don't actually need a whole year's worth of curriculum, and we'd love to help you find a better and less expensive option than purchasing an entire curriculum kit to use for only two or three months!
First, determine what you do and don't need right now. Do you want to fill in gaps to set your child up for more success next year, or primarily make use of this unexpected time productively? Perhaps the school sent a math program that is going great, but you could use some help with literature while the libraries are closed. Or you may need to get your child off the computer and want a program that's less screen-dependent during this crazy season. You may have a child who thrives on structure, so you'd like to add fun learning projects to fill up his day. Some of you may even want to start from scratch, and that's fine too!
The most critical subjects to consider are:
If you have the time and energy, these also are valuable:
- Word Roots (while technically part of language arts, word roots can be considered an elective)
- Foreign Languages
If you have a child who needs significant math help, Math-U-See is hard to beat! You'll have a video component and hands-on blocks to help him grasp concepts fully and become a math expert. Do make sure he takes the free placement test - you don't want him bored or overwhelmed!
On the other hand, perhaps your child has been cruising on math and only needs practice to keep his brain engaged and skills sharp. In that case, we'd suggest Mathematical Reasoning, which is available for preschool through 6th grade. The colorful pages will keep him interested, and if you don't finish every one this year, you can easily use the rest as a summer supplement.
Language arts comprises many elements: reading/literature, grammar, writing, spelling, word roots, and more. Unless you're working to address a particular deficit, we suggest finding the most appropriate literature program (available for grades 3-12) and using that as the backbone for these months. Each includes many assignment options, but we would assign those rarely and instead focus on enjoying the stories and building reading competency and appreciation.
It's no overstatement to say that learning how to think is critical any day, how much more right now? We'd start with the appropriate Building Thinking Skills course or a similar complete course. If time and budget allow, adding logic games and puzzles is a fantastic investment. Still, even without adding logic games, you will have covered the essentials!
Test prep isn't inherently critical; after all, many annual tests have been canceled at this point. However, we'd still recommend a Test Prep book, because it gives you a unique look at your child's strengths and weaknesses, helping you know what to target in the weeks ahead.
Has your child been bored? STEM is a great time-filler to give purpose to the restless, and what a worthwhile purpose it is! Build a robot, learn to fly an airplane, construct a working hydraulic model, and more! Art is likewise a fabulous combination of education and fun.
That's really all you need. History, science, and geography are not critical for these few months, though you can certainly include them if your student would appreciate it. (This is also an area where the free online resources so readily available could shine.)
Does that help? If we may help you find items that would be a good fit for your specific child, send us an email, and we'll be in touch with you ASAP. Many of these recommendations were written with an elementary student in mind, but are easily modified for any grade. And as always, we'd love to help! Most of our office staff are working remotely, but while there may be a short delay, we will do our best to get you answers as quickly as we can.
Also, if you find that the items you are considering are a significant portion of a curriculum kit, please let us know, and we will see if you qualify for a free handbook, scheduler, and the discounted prices and free shipping of a customized kit. If it looks like homeschooling will be your family's new normal, a curriculum kit may in fact be the most practical solution.
One last note:
Keep in mind that your child doesn't need 6+ hours a day of academics. Outdoor activities, hobbies of all sorts, acts of service he can do from home, and so many more things can fill in the gaps of the day.
Our team of bloggers also jumped in to share their advice and perspectives. We hope you find their posts as interesting and helpful as we did!