Read these 21 Homeschool Resources Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home School tips and hundreds of other topics.
There are many businesses and governmental agencies that provide educational workshops for children of all ages; these are often specific to the company or service that is offering the training. Local city agencies often offer science fairs or learning sessions that highlight the different programs within the government. In our local area, the city government offers a "Science Saturday" that highlights and implements a curriculum that deals with energy efficiency, recycling, native plants and animals and other concepts that teach children scientific concepts and practices that improve the world around them. These activities are age appropriate to the young learner but are also easy enough that older siblings can participate with the young and still enjoy the afternoon.
Home Depot is another resource that provides a free workshop one Saturday per month for children to build or create a project. This workshop is ideal for young children but again has many advantages for the older sibling to assist and learn alongside the younger child. It is a good idea to contact your neighborhood Home Depot to determine when the program is offered in your area. The opportunities for workshops are not limited to these two examples, a quick look in community resource magazines, yellow pages, community colleges, local schools and preschools or web sites will often reveal many different social and learning opportunities in your area. Don't hesitate to try as many different activities as you are able to locate, as each one will offer a different social activity for your homeschool student as well as open up the world for your entire family into new and exciting activities.
The Internet is full of free homeschool resources and materials that can be used within your classroom. For many homeschool parents, the adopted homeschool curriculum includes both the formally purchased academic curriculum used in association with the many different units that are created at home. As you seek out homeschool lesson plan resources for your homeschool classroom, remember that the Internet is rich with ideas, lesson plans, thematic units and research resources that are available at little or no expense. There are many homeschooler's research guides available that provide in-depth information on how to access free teaching aids. These guides are often filled with web sites that offer detailed information on almost any subject you can teach to a child. While many different ideas and topics can be located just by using the different search engines, it is often nice to have the homeschool guide to help shed a light on the easiest path to the best information. Don't be afraid to approach specific web sites and ask for supplemental resources guides. If you are studying computer technology; seek out computer companies for various resource materials about their specific company. If you are teaching nutrition, seek out national nutrition programs, fast food companies and other food production resources to supplement the program provided within your curriculum. It is best if you can have your children/students actively participate in the search, allowing them to learn the research skills you implement, modeling is a key educational tool for any student.
As you continue to seek out homeschooling materials to provide for your classroom, don't overlook neighborhood businesses. It is often cost effective for a business to donate items to your homeschool classroom rather than pay to dispose of them. Don't be afraid to ask for donations, as you are never sure who might be willing to help you out. However, when gathering donations, be sure to only take what you need for your personal classroom and to use all that you are given. It is also a very good idea to write a letter of appreciation and to have your children sign the note of thanks as well. As you begin to seek out local businesses for donations, don't overlook copy shops as a source for discarded paper scraps, empty boxes and other office supplies. Craft stores may have extra crafting supplies, used art supplies; clearance items and other items eligible for donation. Decorating stores are a great place to get wallpaper books, carpet and linoleum samples and upholstery swatches that are perfect for a wide variety of crafting and creative projects. Doctor and dentists offices are often happy to donate used magazines that can be used within your classroom for different art and language art projects. Local contractors often have a wide variety of wood scraps that they might donate, which work wonderfully for wood projects, building blocks and other artistic needs. The most important thing in seeking out new or used materials for your home school resources is to keep your eyes open and ask.
A great way to keep up with your children's homeschool materials and to monitor their learning is to have them create portfolios. A homeschool portfolio should be created for each child and contain the information the child has learned. This is demonstrated through poetry, reports, book lists, summaries, semester tests, art work and more. Having your child create a homeschool portfolio is much like making a scrapbook. The child will enjoy doing it and the parent will find it a useful way of demonstrating to others what the child has been doing during school time.
If your student is receiving credit for a class (such as Physical Education) which does not require homeschool books, have documentation on hand for the class. For instance, if your child receives a certificate for completeing a P.E. program, place a copy of it with your child's homeschooling records. That way you are covered if anyone should ever question you about your child's education.
Grade cards are an important part of a student's life. Homeschoolers can also greatly benefit from receiving grade cards. Not only does receiving a grade card make them feel important, but it is also a good way for you to keep track of your children's progress. You can download grade cards for homeschoolers for free at: www.donnayoung.org. Not only does this website have grade cards, but it also has many other homeschool materials that you might find useful such as planners, calendars, letters of intent and more.
It is nice to wake up on a homeschool morning knowing what you are to accomplish with your children that day. A homeschool resource that every homeschooling parent should make use of is lesson plans. It cuts down on stress, especially if you are teaching multiple children. You can download copies of lesson plans at: www.donnayoung.org. These lesson plans will work for both standard and non-standard curriculum.
If you haven't tapped into your public library you are truly missing out on a wonderful homeschooling resource. Not only can the library save you money with books, but the library offers many services to children throughout the year. Your children can attend story time, watch puppet shows, listen to special guests, learn to do sign language and more all for free. While your children are taking part in their activity you can browse through the adult books and curl up in a corner somewhere to read.
A transcript should be kept of your child's grades starting in the 9th grade. To download a free transcript to use for your homeschooler visit www.donnayoung.org. When you are filling out your child's transcript it is important to do it correctly. Science should be labeled by its title. Instead of putting “science” you would put “biology” or “physical science.” The same goes for all subjects. If you are not sure what course name you should list, simply look at the titles of your child's homeschooling books.
The homeschooling materials and records that you will have to keep will be dependent upon which state you are enrolled in as a homeschooler. No matter what your requirements, it is important to keep your child's homeschooling records up to date. You can simply use a journal to track your child's progress or you can use an elaborate computer program which will track and record the information for you. Keeping your child's homeschooling materials and records up to date will keep you from scrambling around at the last minute if you were ever called upon to verify your homeschooling activities.
Discipline, focus, self-esteem, and kindness are just a few of the non-academic skills our home schooled students need to acquire. Teaching by example is paramount but, to augment this are many
Programs like Hide or Seek, Life Skills for Kids, and Open Heart, Open Homes teach invaluable life skills to children of all ages.
For those homeschooling parents who don't feel the need to completely segregate their children from public school contact, there are some activities that your child can still partake in.
Many public schools will allow homeschooled children access to certain programs within the district. So, if your student likes team sports, playing in a band, or belonging to the Honor Society, check and see if your district will allow your participation. Especially if you are a secular homeschool family, the need to draw a complete segregation may not be necessary or productive.
If you're looking for quality news and information from a source you can trust, look no further. World magazine and God's World News are two invaluable homeschool resources for both parents and students.
To help students not only stay informed, but learn to understand today's events, schedule time to not only read these magazines, but to discuss their content as well.
If you find the task of assessing and providing feedback for your children's written assignments daunting, you do have a choice. Let an outside expert evaluate written assignments.
‘My Access' is an online writing development homeschool resource that gives your child age-appropriate feedback to help you teach and track their writing skills. You also get a CD that shows you how to maximize the benefits of ‘My Access'.
There are just some subjects which you will not truly require homeschool books. For these you will have to look for outside resources. Physical Education is one of those requirements which can be confusing for a parent. A quick way for your child to get his or her P.E. credit is to enroll them in a class at your local college. Many colleges offer classes throughout the year just for homeschoolers. Many of these classes are taught by college students who are working on their physical education degrees.
It's pretty obvious that everyone's own home town has valuable home school resources you can take advantage of. The library, town hall, a local museum, a historic site, and the courthouse are all home education resource.
Did you know that most local colleges will open their teacher's library to any educator, including homeschoolers? You may need to show proof that you homeschool, and can use your annual intent to homeschool letter.
Public resources and private businesses will often open their doors to the homeschool family, especially if you call ahead and explain that your interest is in offering your children a look at the different careers and services within their own neighborhood. Fireman, police, paramedics, teachers, dentists, public service offices and other local businesses enjoy showing children the day-to-day details of their work place. For many public services, such as police, fire and paramedics, the children are less likely to be frightened should they ever need such emergency services. A simple telephone call can often lead to educational field trips and tours through your local emergency services and businesses. A visit to the grocery store bakery, butcher shop, machine shop, newspaper print shop, and other businesses within your own community will provide a valid and understandable way for your homeschool student to discover their own place within the society in which they live. As children learn more about the world around themselves, they begin to learn and appreciate their own place of importance. Facilitating a sense of familiarity with the world will enhance your child's appreciation of it as well. Don't overlook the many valuable homeschool resources that exist within your own neighborhood simply because you have never seen them as one.
When you are purchasing your homeschooling books, do not forget to purchase any special editions. If it has been many years since you actively worked out a long division problem -- or worked with the periodic table -- another edition book will be helpful. It can go far in helping you feel confident when you teach your children.
Homeschooling materials can be purchased which are not solely based on grade or age level. These materials and curricula can be purchased for children who have different grade levels for different subjects. For instance, your child may be reading on a third grade level but do math at fourth grade level. Mix and match your children's curriculum to suit their individual needs.
When you are shopping around for a curriculum, look for ones which are actually a viable homeschool resource. These will come with lesson plans already laid out for the teacher. With less than five minutes a day set aside for planning, you can spend more time actually teaching.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|