Five Great Language Arts Curriculums!

Great language arts curriculums

Its curriculum shopping season and as you are browsing catalogs, hitting up conventions, and scouring the web, you may ask yourself what the BEST curriculum is. Well, the truth of the matter is there is NO perfect curriculum. However, we can break it down and help you find a great curriculum that works for your family.

Here are five of the many great Language Arts curriculums out there!

  1. Rod and Staff– This is what we use and I love it! It is simple, it is thorough and it is inexpensive. Published by Mennonites it has terms that some kids may not recognize, but overall would fit most families. It is religious based, and uses scripture throughout the books. The teacher’s manuals are essential for full use of the curriculum.
  2. Sonlight– This curriculum is known as one of the top literature based programs out there. It is full of great books, fantastic grammar and spelling programs, and is all inclusive. It is religious based, however, they now have a program called BookShark that has the same format and lesson plans without the religious content.
  3. Veritas Press– Based on the classical approach to education; Veritas Press is a comprehensive Christian curriculum. Their grammar program gets great reviews!
  4. Essentials in Writing- This program contains DVD’s that teach writing skills for 1st-12th graders. Also includes worksheets to go along with the lessons. One of the top picks from homeschool moms on this post.
  5. Abeka– Abeka is known for its comprehensive curriculum and is used in various private schools around the country. You can buy a full language arts kit, or just certain parts of it. Another top pick from homeschool moms

These are just a few of the many great Language Arts curriculums out there. You can see some of these and many more at the Southeast Homeschool Expo!

Misty Bailey is a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Homeschool for Free

Homeschooling for free

A common question many new homeschoolers ask is how expensive is homeschooling? The short answer is that homeschooling is as expensive as you allow it to be. There is curriculum out there that can fit any budget, from a substantial amount, all the way down to free. Yes, that’s right you can homeschool for free!

Here are just a few of many free websites out there offering free curriculum.

Khan Academy: Free math website complete with videos and tutorials for a variety of different areas in math.

Classical House of Learning : A place for FREE classical literature guides following a 4-year history cycle.

Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool: A free comprehensive homeschool program for student’s preschool through 8th grade.

Homeschool Share: Free Lapbooks for the Little Ones J

Ambleside Online: Ambleside Online is a free curriculum using the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education.

ABC Jesus Loves Me: is a complete preschool Bible themed curriculum.

Bible Road Trip: A free three Year Bible program for children and adults.

Starfall.com: Phonics site perfect for those who are learning to read.

Spelling City: Free spelling games and activities for kids.

Scott Foresman Reading: Free printable grammar and writing sheets for students in grades 1-6.

In addition to these great sites there are many other resources available right at your local library. Rebecca Rupp offers a book titled Home Learning Year by Year. This book includes recommendations for numerous resources that are available to create your own homeschool curriculum. Many of these are probably located in your town’s library. I have used this book for years and have found it invaluable.

Also, many libraries offer teachers kits. These kits are available on a variety of subjects. They may include crafts, books, audio, and many other resources. Check and see if your library has any to offer.

You tube and Netflix have many educational videos for kids.  One show that my children love to watch on Netflix is the Magic School Bus.  Another great one that is on You Tube is Liberty Kids. It is all about American History during the Revolutionary War.

These are just a few resources that I have used or found that are free and great homeschooling resources. If your budget is tight, and you’re not sure how you can fit homeschool curriculum into the budget, I encourage you to check out these resources. Even if your budget isn’t tight, we all love things that are free, right?

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

To Test or Not to Test?

to test or not to test

If you live in a state where standardized testing is optional you may have asked yourself whether to test or not to test your children. I live in Ohio, we have two options for assessment each year we can give our children a standardized test, or opt for a teacher evaluated portfolio review. I have done both, and we honestly prefer testing. I know some cringe at that word, and that’s fine, but if you are on the fence here are some things to consider when wondering if you should test or not.

Your Child: Some kids are great testers, some stress out over the idea of taking a test. Some children have no problems with tests; they consider them fun, or a challenge. Some children are laid back, and don’t mind either way. When deciding whether you should test, your children consider your child.

Your Schedule: If you test, how many children will you be testing? Do you have the time to take a week and focus on testing your children? Do you have a new baby or a demanding toddler? Are your children independent and can they manage testing on their own? Consider your schedule before you decide to test.

Are You Okay With the Results?: Overall homeschooled children do outstanding on standardized testing. However, are you okay if they don’t? We have tested numerous times, and overall my children do great. However, one year one of my children scored a lot lower than I thought she would in one subject. I was crushed. I blamed myself, and we revaluated our whole curriculum in that subject. The next time we tested, she still scored low in that area. I had to realize that out of the nine areas she tested in it was okay that she scored lower in one. She is allowed to struggle with something. Make sure you are okay with the results no matter which way they go.

If you are still on the fence about testing let me give you some pros and cons I have found from standardized testing.  The biggest pro in my opinion is validation. I like knowing my children test well, and when someone questions me about homeschooling, I can say, “Well, they score very well on their tests each year, so I am pretty sure they are ok”. Now, I know how they are doing without a test, but some people really consider a standardized test the gold standard of academic assessment, so for me the validation is nice. I also like knowing how they are doing overall, and testing is a lot easier than keeping a portfolio all year. I also like that they will be used to tests before they take the ACT, or another college entrance exam.

There are two big cons in my opinion on testing. One is the price, and the other is time. We order our tests through family learning organization and considering I have multiple children to test, the price is a little high. I also don’t like taking a whole week just to stay home and test.

If you have been asking yourself whether you should test, just remember that testing is not for every family. Yes, there are pros, but there are also cons. Consider your schedule, your child and whether or not you are okay with the results. Whether or not you test, you will know how your child is learning, but for some testing is another good assessment option.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Reasons Not to Homeschool

Reasons Not to Homeschool

As a homeschooler, I am sure you have heard many excuses as to why people can’t homeschool.  Many times these reasons are honestly just excuses, and that is fine. Despite the many advantages of homeschooling, I understand that it is NOT for everyone. However, I have had to ask myself through the years, are there legitimate reasons not to homeschool? And, I have found that there actually are!

  1. Money will sometimes be nonexistent. Most homeschool families live on one income. If this will be your family, you may find that sometimes, the budget will be tight. What does this mean? It means that the pay for all your hard work will be hugs and kisses, and that things like fancy clothes, new minivans, or six figure homes will probably not happen! If you like these things and don’t want to tighten your budget….don’t homeschool!
  2. You are the only one responsible for your child’s education. You cannot blame the teacher, principal, school, or anyone else if your child is not learning. If you don’t want this responsibility, don’t homeschool!
  3. Because everyone else is doing it. Just because all your friends are homeschooling doesn’t mean that you should. If you are considering homeschooling to follow the crowd, I encourage you to fully weigh your decision. Homeschooling is hard, and you will need encouragement, and the desire to continue on the homeschooling journey. If you are homeschooling just to follow the crowd…don’t homeschool!
  4. Your spouse is not in agreement. In order for homeschooling to work you must be in agreement with your spouse. Otherwise, it will never work. Homeschooling requires a united front. If one wants to homeschool, and the other doesn’t then take the time to pray about the decision, research, and fully understand the concerns your spouse may have. If an agreement is not made then don’t homeschool!
  5. You will absolutely fall in love with homeschooling! Homeschooling will probably take over your house J You will have messes, books everywhere, and freedom to educate your children in the way you see fit. You will know your child’s friends, and you will know what they are learning. You will be the one teaching them to read, which is an amazing feeling. You will also get to show them the real world not the walls of a classroom. This is fun! And once you start there is NO turning back, you won’t want to. If you don’t want to chance falling in love with homeschooling then…don’t homeschool!

 

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

Finding a Homeschool Group

finding a homeschool group

Homeschool groups can offer homeschoolers numerous benefits. A homeschool group can offer friendships for parents and kids, field trips, co-op classes and even sports groups. Being a part of a homeschool group can also help answer the “What about Socialization?” question.

But, how do you find a homeschool group? I know of a few different ways. I hope that one of these will work for you!

  • Find another homeschooler. This is the easiest way to find a homeschool group. If you don’t know anyone who homeschools, start asking around at the library, family events and talking to your friends. Just about everyone knows someone who homeschools.
  • Check Yahoo or Facebook. Yahoo offers group pages where you can search your area and see what comes up. You can also do a search on Facebook.
  • Go through your statewide support group. Many states offer some sort of statewide support group for homeschoolers. This page has a variety of different groups listed across Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. If you see a group listed that is not real close to you, but you know where the area is contact the support group leader. They may be able to put you in touch with homeschoolers in your area.
  • If all else fails start one yourself!   I have actually had to do this, and promise you that it can be done! When I first began homeschooling I knew only one other homeschooler. They introduced me to another one, I met another at the park, another at the library and before I knew it we had enough people to have our first field trip. In four years, our group has grown to include over 50 families. And, we live in a fairly rural area J.

What are some benefits to finding a homeschool group? If you are a new homeschooler, those in your group can help you navigate the process. They can help you by letting you “see” curriculum first hand, and telling you what works and hasn’t worked for them. Friendships are also very important to our children; they need to know they are not the only ones out there who are not getting on that big yellow bus.

I truly believe finding a homeschool group is essential to homeschool success. When you have bad homeschool days (which we all have!), it is so helpful to know there is another mom out there having one too. The friendships that you can make with other homeschoolers are priceless. No one else truly understands what it is like to homeschool except homeschoolers.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.