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A Non-Curriculum Approach to the Early Years

Here at the farm, homeschooling is a big part of our days during a large chunk of the year.  As of right now, I have one son in 5th grade, and my twin boys are in 2nd grade.Up to this point, I’ve not used any particular curriculum, mostly just because I haven’t found it necessary at these ages.  That’s not to say that a curriculum wouldn’t be wonderful later down the line, as the kids get older and further along in their studies.  That’s one of the beauties of homeschooling!  You can decide what works best for your family, and the ages your children are at, and do it!  It’s a beautiful thing!

I just wanted to share what we’ve done with our children so far, simply to put it out there as a possible method you may want to consider, and then to share some of my favorite online resources.  Sometimes it’s comforting to remember there is no bad method of teaching your children, so long as you’re doing it!  I’m hoping that reading this makes homeschooling seem even more oriented around personal needs/goals; then again, you could read it and think it sounds awful, and it may make you feel even better about what you’ve already got going on!  Either way, I hope it makes you feel confident!

What I’ve done so far for our schooling is this:  First, I decide what topics I want to cover in the upcoming school year, and then I pick and choose individually what school books, if any, I’ll incorporate.  I also search the internet for any worksheets we’ll do.  I get the bulk of the worksheets printed off before the school year starts, but there always seems to be one or two topics that end up needing some extra assignments in order to be fully understood.  So it’s not uncommon for worksheets to be printed off all throughout the school year.

Picking your own worksheets is helpful when you want to avoid certain statements or themes.  For example, we don’t celebrate Halloween, so worksheets that have Halloween themes or images, I can skip past.  Also, we don’t teach that the earth is millions of years old, so reading assignments or worksheets that suggest this can easily be avoided.  These are just a couple of examples of how this method has helped in our own personal homeschooling.  For the most part, in our home, up through the 4th grade, school has mostly consisted of solidifying math skills, reading and writing skills, and miscellaneous life skills, such as money concepts, understanding calendars and seasons, and telling time.  Beginning in the 3rd grade, science and the basics of Spanish are added as daily subjects.  My oldest son is in his first year where every subject is taught using a school book, with most all of the subjects having pre-made tests and quizzes.  This is because he is beginning to study more specialized subjects, such as Old World History and Geography, Zoology, and more advanced concepts in Spanish.

Below are some websites and resources that I use in combination to find my worksheets.  I don’t use all of their material, but I have been well-pleased with the majority of it.  Another reason I appreciate many of these resources is because they list many different topics for each grade level, so when I’m in need of some direction on what the kids could be expected to learn for the upcoming school year, these are a big help.

www.k5learning.com

www.MathDrills.com

www.HomeschoolMath.net

www.superteacherworksheets.com  (This website offers membership for a fee, which I’ve never done; however, even without membership, there are several worksheets available to download for free)

*I also take advantage of Google Images.  I simply type in the type of worksheet I’m looking for, and browse through the images.

For new and used homeschooling textbooks, I’ve had great success finding what I needed through these resources:

www.Apologia.com

www.Ebay.com

www.HomeschoolClassifieds.com

www.GAbookcompany.com

 

You’d also be surprised what you can find at local thrift stores and yard sales.  These were the places I found entire children’s encyclopedia sets and reading sets, all for minimal costs!

The bottom line is that homeschooling can be a completely controlled thing, based on your own personal convictions, as well as the individual needs of your children.  This is what makes homeschooling so effective and rewarding!  A pre-designed curriculum definitely has it’s value and place in education, but don’t feel restricted to one if you don’t want to be!  There are tons of resources available to us; hopefully this list of mine will help you with yours!

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