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Homeschooling for the first time? Tips and resources

Homeschooling for the first time? Tips and resources - The Hot Mess Press

As schools struggle to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year, many parents are turning to homeschooling as an alternative option. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on homeschooling. But we’re going into our 8th year and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the best sources of information and the best places to find curriculum. Online school is another option if you don’t feel prepared to teach your kids on your own. If you are thinking about homeschooling for the first time this year, these resources can help you get started.

Early learning resources

The first few years of schooling can easily be done at home. Most resources for kindergarten through second grade are also very affordable. One of the most important things to focus on in those first couple of school years is reading. Using read aloud time allows you to help your child learn to read while also exposing them to history, science, geography, and other core subjects. When it comes to math, many young kids learn best by using hands-on methods with math manipulatives. Counting bears, play money, base-10 blocks, and pattern blocks are great for helping kids learn shapes and early math concepts. Reading lists sorted by grade can help you choose books that will keep your child interested and eager to learn. The most important thing to remember when teaching little ones at home is that it’s not going to look like a traditional school. It’s a completely different experience and that’s the great thing about homeschooling.

Online school

If you want to keep your kids home this school year but don’t feel capable of teaching them yourself, online school is a good option.  There are online public and private schools available for kids of all ages. The website ABCmouse is a very useful online learning tool for children from ages 2 through 8. They also recently added the Adventure Academy for ages 8 through 13. For older elementary-age kids and homeschoolers, you can use online classes or complete online schooling. There are free public schools like K12 and Connections Academy. There are also several online private schools, both secular and Christian-based. One of the best things about using an online school is that your child can complete their work anywhere as long as they have internet access.

Where to find curriculum

When you’re homeschooling for the first time, finding a good curriculum can be a challenge. There are plenty of places online with free curriculum available, especially for early elementary grades. The Dollar Tree and other discount stores can be great resources for workbooks, early readers, and manipulatives for preschool through early elementary grades. Amazon and eBay are also good sources for workbooks, used or new textbooks, and supplies. Christian Book Distributors is a great resource for Christian-based and secular curriculum. They have good prices and usually have codes for free shipping.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. But it can be a good alternative when schools aren’t operating on a normal schedule. It also works well for kids who are immunocompromised where you don’t want to risk sending them to school before it’s safe. Homeschooling the early elementary years is affordable and you have plenty of resources to choose from. There are online schools for kids from kindergarten through high school if you don’t feel up to teaching them on your own. A bit of research to find a curriculum that fits your child’s needs, along with some patience and determination can help you feel prepared if you’re homeschooling for the first time. As a homeschooling parent, you have the freedom to tailor your child’s education based on their style of learning. It’s a great opportunity to not only give your child a good start at life but also to help them enjoy the process of learning.

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