There are many reasons to home school your children. It may be for religious reasons, learning reasons, or just because not all parents want their children learning the things that are found in the public school system. Sometimes the decision to home school is based upon your location. If you are living in another country and trying to home school your child there are some things to take into consideration. One of those is that the internet will become your most valuable asset in the endeavor. Through online content parents are able to determine the legal implications of the education so that upon returning to the states the child is easily adaptable back into the public school system if this is the parent’s desire. The starting point for this information would be a website such as:
The internet will also offer you a wide variety of curriculums available. Using a site like Epinions or Amazon you can read other opinions of the sources and make your choice. Ordering for the actual curriculum may take place online as well at a place such as Amazon. One might also look at the workbooks offered and incorporate a mixed mesh of items to come up with a unique schooling that fits your needs and your child’s needs. Using the internet can add a lot of variety to the stew of homeschooling. Each week one can research the best ideas and programs on the internet and incorporate these into lessons. It makes school fun for the student worried he/she would not enjoy schooling at home.
Some tricks to using web resources: Make sure that you are able to adapt the material you find to the age group you are schooling, look for unique ideas that will offer valuable information to the children, don’t be afraid to experiment and try various methods and ideas until you find what works for you. The following list is a great resource for some materials, programs, and ideas.
The above link for nutrition was one of the absolute best things I found on the internet. I registered for free and was able to gain access to the complete program. It was so much fun for my child too! The worksheets are easy to use and print, the stories are fun, and the activities are very easy to do. I can not express all the good things about this packet. If teaching your child health or nutrition are one of your goals, do yourself and them a favor and check out that program.
I loved the link above because it was very easy for me to give him the timed quizzes that elementary students do in their classrooms. I kept him on track with what he had been doing at school while we home schooled that year. And the best part was the site grades and figures their scores and timing for you! Can it get any easier or better than that?
You will find a lot of great games that kids can play at the above link. I used some flash games when I was struggling to get a concept through to my child. We found if we took a break from the frustration, and he got to explore the concept in a fun math flash game, it made the job easier for both of us. There are times when both you, the teacher, and the child will be frustrated because they just aren’t grasping the concept. Those are the times that I used flash games as a rescue. Not only did it help him grasp the concepts I was teaching, but it gave us both a break to calm down our frustrations.
Not only does Scholastic offer excellent materials for buying on their site, but they offer a ton of valuable teacher resources. Through their website I was able to view hundreds of relevant lesson plans categorized by the age and grade level I was teaching! They offer everything from quick ideas to full scaled lesson plans complete with printable worksheets. Most of their lesson plans also come with a school standard chart to show you what points of the education you are covering. I printed this sheet to put in our files so I could say yes, we did cover the same points he would have covered in second grade.
Here are some other links that can be very useful when homeschooling.
http://www.donnayoung.org/forms/planners/planner.htm (This site is very useful for learning how to do your record keeping, making your own printable records and keeping track of everything. Most states will require some of this to be done and kept in a file so that it can be used to determine your home school plan met the requirements.)
This is a short list of our favorite resources, there were many more that we used and learned from in our journey. The one thing I think it is important to remember when using the internet is decide beforehand if you are willing to pay for it’s resources or if you are just supplementing your regular lesson plans, and want to use the free things that you can find. I made a choice, given the cost of his books, that I was not willing to pay for ideas, plans, and information. As a result I went out of my way to avoid the pay for a worksheet sites. In my opinion, this did not hurt our ability to find material at all. I was always able to find material on the items I wanted to supplement ideas with.
The other resource I have not listed here, is available in many forms at many different sites, and we used this in a positive light as well and that is to use web quests. Several teachers have posted free web quest ideas. Some of the web quests were even great enough to shelter the child from being able to click randomly at Google, to only clicking on a list of pre approved child friendly websites. Scholastic’s offered some of these as well and offered one of the best child filtering methods we encountered. Here is a link to start learning about and using web quests in your curriculum.
In short, what do you want to gain with the internet? If you want worksheets they are out there. If you want a full lesson plan and ideas to enhance a current lesson plan it is out there. If you are looking for activities or things your child can do independantly you will find those too. I can not imagine homeschooling my son without using the tools I was able to find on the internet. I was extremely pleased by materials I found and used on the internet, and it made things more fun for my son as he learned as well. It brought some much needed ideas to the table. There are those days or times when your mind draws a blank and seeing what teachers used for classrooms can be adapted to a homeschool environment a lot of times. Also check the websites for PBS and Nick and Disney. These stations all usually have some educational activities that can be adapted. Scholastics also offers a child section that includes educational games, a lot of the magic school bus variety. These can be used for some independant fun while you are busy grading or preparing the next lesson. Movies are starting to put guides on their websites as well. Browse around and see what is offered for movies you would like to implement in your lessons.