How to Find Creative (and Trustworthy) Resources for Faith-Based Homeschooling
After you’ve decided that Christian homeschooling is the right choice for you and your family, the unknowns can sometimes feel overwhelming. Most people go the public school route which eliminates time spent thinking about curriculum, extra programs, socialization, etc. But for Christian families going the homeschool route, the amount of decisions you have to make before the first day of school can be daunting.
Obstacles to Overcome
In one sense, finding resources for homeschooling is actually quite easy. An internet search will yield thousands of results! Probably 95% of them are the wrong choice for your family, though. The last thing you want to do is buy the least expensive resources only to find out later that the material is inaccurate and boring for your kids. The savings from cheap resources are only financial and will cost you more than money in the long run.
Before you start researching, think about the learning styles of each child you will be homeschooling. Do they have issues staying engaged? If so, you’ll need a curriculum/resource that focuses on student engagement and interaction. Is your student a self-starter who would rather work alone? Then look for resources that will encourage personal accountability and goal setting. Catering the curriculum to the type of student you have will benefit everyone involved, as well as increase the chance that your kids will actually enjoy learning.
Choosing Reliable Resources
When determining the reliability of various resources, be sure to get word of mouth reviews from other homeschooling families or research online reviews regarding the different types of curriculum available. Here are some things to consider when reviewing resources:
- Cost – Is it affordable, and is the price commensurate with what you will receive? You don’t want to spend a lot of money for just one subject, so check to see if it includes more than one subject or grade level. This can make a difference with costs.
- Type of Program - Is it flexible? Is it comprehensive or more than one subject? If your child is exceptionally gifted in a particular area (such as math), target resources that will stimulate and highlight this gift.
- Additional Resources – Does it include parental support? Supplementary resources? On call support? If you find an adequate curriculum, you don’t want to find yourself having to pay extra to get your questions answered. Ensure you have everything you need prior to selecting your curriculum.
- Content - Does the curriculum provide the type of content that supplements your Christian parenting? Does it highlight the type of Christian worldview you want when studying the humanities? The last thing you want is to have your child unwittingly learning subjects with a contradictory worldview..
As you look for resources, check out this top ten list of homeschool curriculum from TheologyDegrees.com. The list gives you a short summary of what to expect from the various resources. For example, one of the choices – A World of Adventure – “brings the past to life by allowing students to experience customs from long ago.” Would this type of curriculum be the best choice for a student heavily concentrated on science? Probably not, but it gives you an idea of what to expect without spending the money upfront.
To go about choosing the right curriculum, follow this step-by-step process:
- Assess Your Student – What are their academic and extra-curricular needs? Be sure to target a curriculum specific to them.
- Research – Make a list of the various choices, including the list above.
- Study Reviews - This goes without saying. Find out what real people say, not the marketing department of the product you are considering.
- Talk to Other Homeschoolers – Listen to the tried and true advice of educators who have been homeschooling longer than you. This will save you hours, money, and lots of frustration.
- Get Samples – Once you have chosen three resources, call the company and ask for samples to review. Include your kids in the review process. See if they like it and if it’s a good fit for them.
- Choose – Make your final selection.
Supplement, Supplement, Supplement
Unfortunately, you’ll never find one resource to meet the needs of all your children. Every child is different, after all. To ensure optimal child development in your homeschool, consider supplementing the curriculum with additional resources available from JellyTelly. Here are some examples:
- If your child has an aptitude for science, consider The Wonderful World of Science, an 18 episode series that covers everything from stars to woodpeckers.
- To enhance your child’s education, check out Connect. This resource integrates Bible stories into the lives of two teenagers and shows how each story can be applied to their lives. It’s a great resource for Christian parenting.
- To integrate some Old Testament history, look into taking 5 minutes of your day to hear about some Old Testament Heroes.
Finding the right resources can be daunting, but don’t be discouraged. Each moment you spend searching for the right curriculum is an exciting, rewarding investment in your children that will last for years to come.