Home Schooled Curriculums – Homeschool Reviews

If you are thinking about homeschooling your children there are some basic things you should know about the benefits of homeschooling Below I explain some of the options you have when home schooled your kids.

I’d like to tell you about the benefits of homeschooling and selecting a home schooled curriculum. Now the best way to select a curriculum is to actually look at homeschool reviews and in order to do this you really need to find a nearby home schooled curriculum store so that you can look at the benefits of homeschooling materials, you can put it in your hands and see if home schooled is going to work for you. If you can’t do that you need to find a resource catalog of the benefits of homeschooling, there are many online that you can order for free or you can just go to their websites and they’ll give you homeschooled reviews of the different products.

Now there are basically two types of home schooled curriculums, One which will hold your hand and help you do everything and then there are those that are more independent. The hand holding type tells you exactly what to do, it will include the materials that you need to read, it will have the worksheets, the tests, the answer keys, and it will even tell you what to say when you’re teaching. Examples of these are Abecca or Bob Jones or some of the dvd or video curriculums. The disadvantages of these is that they can be rather expensive and actually that’s probably the worst, it could get kind of boring a little bit if you like to be more adventurous you might feel stifled.

The independent home schooled curriculums will give you guidelines and then you decide where to go from there. An example is unit studies such as patchwork primers and these will give you a guideline to follow. You select the books from the library or books that you already have and then you teach it in the way that you see fit. You can make up your own home schooled worksheets or tests, or you may decide that you don’t need worksheets or tests. It’s all up to you and the advantage to this is going to be much less expensive, but it’s going to require more work and a little bit more time on the part of the teacher to get all the benefits of homeschooling.

What Metacognition Brings to the Homeschool Learning Environment

In learning, our goal is to have the student take control of his learning and move beyond just remembering facts for a test and then forgetting them at a later time. We want our homeschooled kids to remember information and be able to apply it in various situations. We want them to make neural connections that will allow them to access the information when it is needed and useful.

What Is Metacognition?

In the book How People Learn metacognition is defined as “people’s abilities to predict their performances on various tasks (e.g., how well they will be able to remember various stimuli) and to monitor their current levels of mastery and understanding… Teaching practices congruent with a metacognitive approach to learning include those that focus on sense-making, self-assessment, and reflection on what worked and what needs improving. These practices have been shown to increase the degree to which students transfer their learning to new settings and events.”

In simple English, metacognition is the point where learners can monitor and take charge of their learning. When students use metacognition, they are able to think about how they are learning. Metacognition allows learners to come to an understanding of concepts, not just a rote memorization of facts.

Metacognition is developed by encouraging home school students to think for themselves. As teachers, we want to provide help and many times do more than we should while we are trying to help. Asking questions that guide our kids to think helps them to develop the skills necessary to take learning to a higher level.

What Metacognitive Thinking Looks Like

Think about how science (or other content) vocabulary is learned. One way students study vocabulary is to repeat the definition to themselves ten times each night for a number of nights before a test. This helps them to memorize definitions and parrot them back on the test. The words are quickly forgotten and serve no useful purpose.

When a student is thinking about vocabulary in a metacognitive sense, they are asking questions about how these words work within a context. For example, learning that a molecule is “the smallest physical unit of an element or compound, consisting of one or more like atoms in an element and two or more different atoms in a compound”(dictionary.com) may help a student pass a test but they do not really understand molecules. A student using metacognitive thinking may ask what are atoms and how do they affect molecules? If I can identify the molecules in a compound, how does changing those molecules affect the compound? They have now taken the definition and have asked themselves further questions. As they do this, molecule becomes more than just a vocabulary word, it becomes an essential part of the chemistry or physics they are studying.

Metacognition allows students to learn deeply, to take information and make it a part of their long-term memory. They will remember what they learn and will be able to apply it when they see it again. They will be able to think about the importance of what they are learning and how they can learn it better. Learning becomes the student’s job and we as teachers become facilitators for their learning. Try to look for homeschool curriculum materials that allow your child to use metacognition and not only learn but retain information.

The 7 Ways to Guarantee Homeschool Success

Thinking about homeschooling? Want to avoid the homeschooling mistakes most people make? Below you’ll find what we’ve discovered from homeschooling our 5 children from birth to college.

In 1987 homeschooling was just as newborn as our first child. We looked at homeschooling for a number of reasons which were mostly related to our academic goals. And yet, our first child’s Cerebral Palsy tipped the scales. The simple nature of having a young and impressionable soul around active and undiscerning ‘friends’ made it clear that we should homeschool.. We really didn’t want our son settling into confusion about what he was capable of doing. So, we decided to give it a try until he was old enough to physically function well around others who were his age, but weren’t his friends. We thought it would be through third grade—it lasted until he went to the University of Texas in Austin.

Now, these 23 plus years later, we know seven things that we make sure all of our homeschool coaching students start to understand–inside and out. If you want a successful homeschool embrace these seven (or violate any of these at your own risk)!

  1. Define Homeschool Success for Yourself
  2. Use a Curriculum that Matches Your Definition
  3. Don’t Compete with Public or Private Schools
  4. Find a Support Group(s) or Network
  5. Learn to Use Systems for Success
  6. Make Discipline a Nice Word
  7. Find a Coach

Here’s a quick summary to get you started:

Define Homeschool Success for Yourself

Definitions determine everything. If your definition of “learning math” is to ‘get through the book’—then things will turn out very different from the family whose definition is to “learn how to do math.” The definition for homeschooling success that we use is our basic understanding of education. Education is learning how to learn. We want our students to develop skills for learning so they are prepared for anything. How sad when people think knowing information means education…especially when information changes and your are obsolete because you didn’t keep learning.

Use a Curriculum that Matches Your Definition

There are as many curricula as there are people (so it seems). Every curriculum is build on some set of assumptions or educational philosophy. Some writing curricula believe (falsely) that we learn to write by studying grammar, while others show the students the power of learning to write by actively writing (for example see http://www.advanced-writing-resources.com). Whatever the curriculum for whatever subject-make sure it matches your own definition so you aren’t caught wanting one result while using a process that takes you in the opposite direction.

Don’t Compete with Public or Private Schools

One of the great mistakes is to compete with schools. A homeschool does not have large buildings, massive funding, and a variety of specialized teachers. So, trying to produce the results they aim for will simply exhaust you. Homeschool can actually produce greater skill and knowledge, but trying to match all the subjects a school offers is chasing the wind. By the way, the students aren’t always leaving a school system as educated as you think!

Find a Support Group(s) or Network

It is the height of arrogance and the height of inefficiency to go it alone. Why not benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of others? Why not let others benefit from the insights you’ve gained along the way? There are groups online, groups in your part of the world, or groups just waiting to be started by you and a few like-minded families. You’ll never be like the people you don’t hang around…so get busy and connect for your own good.

Learn to Use Systems for Success

One of the great insights in life is how things operate by cause-and-effect. Good cooks can reproduce the same quality meal over-and-over because they follow some type of system (recipe). The practical results you see in life are largely the result of the systems we use. Homeschooling itself is a ‘different system’ of education which is aimed at a bit different result (included the character, sense of family, etc., it often affords). If you don’t have an overall sequence of steps you are moving toward following, then you can rest assured your results will be as shoddy as your system.

Make Discipline a Nice Word

One of my favorite mentors, Robert Fritz, offers a helpful definition of discipline: “Discipline is when you itch, but don’t scratch.” The truth is that some amount of discipline is necessary for learning. Very few children naturally gravitate to wanting to learn in all the areas important to education. It turns out then, that we must help them do what they don’t “feel” like doing, so they can ultimately benefit. External discipline tends to lead to life-long internal discipline. We all need help doing what needs to be done. Homeschool (or any school) simply won’t work without making discipline a nice word which is practiced often.

Find a Coach / Mentor

In many ways it is the ultimate hypocrisy to ‘tutor’ our own children without having a ‘tutor’ for ourselves. There is something powerful when we discuss, interact with, and learn from someone who is ahead of us in any field. Sports training knows the value of coaches because the competition and economics involved are so great. Without a coach you can’t compete. If you find a voice or two you trust, a person or two whose results you want to see in your life— find them, pay them, beg them to coach you. Nothing will save you more time and heartache than to learn from someone with wisdom.