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Homeschooling is full of choices, you choose why you homeschool, you choose how you are going to homeschool, choose a schedule, and then you choose a curriculum. The curriculum choice is one that many second guess themselves on. It is such a HUGE choice to make.
We have looked at curriculum choices here before, but today I want to take a look at boxed curriculums. In some homeschooling circles, boxed curriculum gets a bad rap, in other circles people love it, and that’s how it goes. Most LOVE it or HATE it.
I have been on both sides of the fence, and after taking 2 years off, am back to a boxed curriculum. I have found there are many benefits of a boxed curriculum, and you may too!
Ease of Use
Boxed curriculums are literally open and go. There is little to no prep work required by mom. Some planning may be needed depending on which option you choose. However, most boxed curriculums include teachers guides’ with lessons planned out for you. They also include all five subjects and in some cases even your electives.
Choices are made for you
Not sure what math to use? Boxed curriculums tend to come with a math. Does grammar have you down? Don’t worry! Boxed curriculums can choose that for you as well. If you are on the fence and overwhelmed at all the choices out there, a boxed curriculum can help make the decision for you. So, you don’t have to!
Many boxed curriculums are still flexible, so while they may recommend a certain math or grammar, you can easily substitute your own. This means that if you choose a boxed curriculum and a particular subject doesn’t fit your child, you can swap it out for something else. You aren’t necessarily “tied” to the box.
Teaches to multi ages
Boxed curriculums tend to teach to multi-ages. Some may span all the ages of your children, some may allow you to combine one or two of your children. Regardless, most boxed curricula DOES allow you to teach to multi-ages. This makes it easier for mom because all children can be taught together regardless of their ages.
When you use a boxed curriculum you get your entire curriculum in one spot. This means one purchase, one “box day” and less stress as to whether or not you have ordered everything you need. With a boxed curriculum gone are the days of shopping multiple curriculum suppliers and scanning retailers for sales and discounts. One purchase. One curriculum company. Your shopping is done!
Boxed curriculums can be a huge benefit to new homeschoolers. The ease of it being open and go and having everything in one place makes it super easy for a new homeschooler who is overwhelmed. As a work at home mom, I have also found it to ease my mind as I have little to no time for planning ahead.
Boxed curriculums aren’t for everyone, but if you are considering one, I encourage you to check out these companies.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
Its curriculum shopping season and as you are browsing catalogs, hitting up conventions, and scouring the web, you may ask yourself what the perfect curriculum is. Well, the truth of the matter is there is none. However, we can break it down and help you find a great curriculum that works for your family.
Today we are going to take a look at some of the top Science Curriculums out there.
This curriculum is a top pick for many homeschoolers. It offers studies on Zoology, Anatomy, General Science, Astronomy and more. One of the best things about it is the notebooking journals that add a hands-on concept to the textbook approach. See some of the guides on video and read more about Apologia Science, here.
This is a creation-based curriculum for grades 1-8. So you can teach your children together if they fit within this range of grade levels. It includes multiple topics like life, physical world, chemistry & ecology. The beginning of each textbook includes brief teaching instructions and hands-on experiments and activities are built into every lesson. You can read Cathy Duffy’s review of the program here.
Specifically designed for homeschoolers, R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey from Pandia Press is a unique approach to science. It includes three different subjects: Life, Earth & Space, and Chemistry. Each option is designed for one year of teaching. It includes a reading lesson and hands-on experiments. It also offers a supplemental reading list. R.E.A.L. Science was written for home and small classroom use and is a perfect mixture of serious science and fun. Each lesson builds on itself and was created with the science novice in mind. Read Cathy Duffy’s review of the program here.
This curriculum offers a wide variety of material including curriculum for preschoolers, unit studies, living books and more. Elemental Science leans towards the classical approach but also draws upon Charlotte Mason methodology. It uses narration and sketching along with hands-on learning through science experiments.
This program offers experiments and labs for all grades and has very reasonable prices.It allows you to pick a topic, and then teach it, with items you already have around your home. Experiments and topics are divided up by grade level and the site itself if very easy to navigate. A great resource for learning science if you do not want a traditional curriculum.
These are just a few of the best homeschool science curriculums out there! Many of these publishers will also be at our homeschool expo in July. So register now if you want to see them in person!
When my oldest daughter was four, she attended our local public preschool. That first year was our only REAL experience with public school. I remember NOT being very impressed. One reason was because every quarter the kids were out of school for a random day. The reason? Teacher in-service days. I rolled my eyes when I first saw it. To me, it seemed like a wasted day and a pain for parents who worked outside the home.
What is a Teacher In-Service Day?
In public schools, it is a day where the teachers come to school, WITHOUT students. They may attend education seminars, be trained on new equipment or technology, have time allotted for planning out lessons and field trips for the next quarter, or collaborate with fellow teachers on projects.
How Can a Homeschool Mom Use a Teacher In-Service Day?
Now that I have been homeschooling for a few years, I totally SEE the reason behind Teacher In-Service Days, AND I even think we as homeschool parents can utilize these days a few times a year. What can a homeschool mom do on these days? Oh, the possibilities!
Further Education and Training
- Attend a homeschool conference (digital OR in person)
- Take a class at a local college or library
- Train yourself on a program your children will be using for school
- Familiarize yourself with a new curriculum
Teacher Planning and Organizing
- Plan out your lesson plans for the next quarter
- Contact businesses and arrange field trips
- Clean and organize your school room
- Record attendance and catch up on grading papers
- Fill out homeschool paperwork for the next year
- Prepare in advance for crafts, art projects, and science experiments
- Organize your craft closet
- Laminate needed items for school
- Meet with other moms in your homeschool group and plan out your year
- Prepare for homeschool co-op classes with fellow homeschool moms
- Have a curriculum share day where moms bring in curriculum they love
Any of the above ideas would fit the definition of a teacher in-service day. And, chances are you do each and every one of these things in addition to your normal homeschool day/week. I used to spend a Saturday once a month doing many of these items. OR, I would meet with the other homeschool moms in our group and THEN go home and do school. Now, I count this time as teacher in-service.
How to Plan a Teacher In-Service Day
So, now you know what a teacher in-service day is, and you know what to do on a teacher in-service day. But, how do you actually plan to have one?
Swap with a Friend
If you have a homeschool friend locally who could use a day to complete some of the tasks above, take her kids for a day. Then, the next week or month, she could take your kids for a day. This is a great way to give yourself, and your friend a much-needed break.
Utilize Your Partner
Does your spouse have government holidays off? A day like President’s Day? Labor Day? Or another day when many offices give their employees a day off? If so, use that day as a teacher in-service day. If they have vacation time, ask them to take one day off a school year to give you a teacher in-service day.
Let the Kids Netflix and Chill
Okay, as a LAST resort, you could always just let the kids have at the TV and do what you need to do. There are TONS of educational shows on Netflix that will allow your kids to learn AND allow you to complete the needed tasks. Again, this isn’t ideal, but for many of us, it is a reality. I won’t judge. Promise!
Teacher In-Service days for the homeschool mom NEED to happen. They are a great way for us to complete tasks that too often times take up our evenings and weekends. They allow us to train ourselves to become better homeschool parents. They allow us to familiarize ourselves with new equipment, technology, and curriculum. They allow ourselves to organize and clean those areas that too often times get left unattended and in turn, items get unused and forgotten about.
Teacher In-Service days are NOT just for public school teachers. Plan ahead to allow yourselves at least 2-3 each school year. You will be better prepared to start each semester and will have more time for the things that matter most.
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares everyday tips and encouragement for the homeschool mom on her blog Joy in the Journey.