The second most frequently asked questions I get are, “How do you know what to teach?” and, “Where do you get your material?” I started by realizing that I know my child better than anyone, I know how he learns, I know what his interest are, and I know as parents what our goals are for him.
I started researching the whole concept of homeschooling about 6 months before we actually started. Although the idea of homeschooling was floating around our home from the day Aaron started kindergarten in a private school. My actual first stop was our local library. I spent one afternoon with a stack of books in the library and then from the books I scanned, I choose a few to take home to review thoroughly.
Over a few weeks I read and read, and finally choose “Teaching the Trivium, Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style”, by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn. I bought the book and began to really study and highlight the ideas, philosophy, schedules, and the resources.
I attended a homeschooling fair and listened to some veteran homeschoolers talk about how and what they teach.
I use the internet all the time. A good link I found for information and curriculum is HomeEducationSuperstore.com. There are sites for everything you need to know, including your county and state’s homeschooling requirements.
When the time came to decide on and purchase books, a couple of things I read really impressed me, specifically about purchasing the “textbooks” the school systems use. The opinion is not to do it because textbooks are “dumbed down” to the lowest common reading and comprehension levels, and also the multicultural issues and politically correct points of view are included. So, needless to say I have not purchased any “textbooks”. I have however purchased two traditional school books, “The Original Blue Back Speller, New York 1824”, and “The Original McGuffey’s, Cincinnati 1837”. Both are wonderful books.
To summarize, I know what to teach because:
I know my child,
I know our goals and philosophy,
I read, read, and read,
I attended a homeschooling fair,
I talk to homeschoolers,
I research using the internet, and
I pray about this every day.
I purchased most of my material through the internet at Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
I visited a Scholastic book fair and bought many supplemental materials such a poetry, art, crafts, history, reference books, and so forth.
Be confident, if something isn’t as you expected it to be, you can change it, come back to it later, or skip it altogether, that is one of the many wonderful things about teaching your children in your home.
In future posts I will detail exactly what I bought and how it is working out for us.