The Best Homeschool Curriculum

Is no curriculum at all..

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Home education does not need to cost you huge amounts of money! It really bugs me when people try to sell brand new home schoolers curriculum, because they are the most at risk. The fact is, with a library card and some stationary and a bit of vision, you can get started. First thing to remember is that

We are not replicating school.

A full year level curriculum (such as year one, including all key learning areas) would never have worked for my children. Mainly because they have strengths and weaknesses and would need different year level work for different areas (duh, that’s part of why we home educate! Freedom.). This is probably the case for yours too. Don’t be sucked in by expensive curriculum.

 Here are some ideas of what we use for the key learning areas. Depending on where you live these may or may not be available to you. If they aren’t, I’m sure there will be something similar available, at a good price that won’t break the bank.

In the younger years, I used Enchanted learning a lot.

It involves a subscription ($20 USD), but I felt it was worth it for the amount of printables (and no I don’t make anything from this plug) Have a look for yourself but so many subject areas are covered from alphabet learning to phonics, science, Spanish, French, Italian, animals, dinosaurs, basically you name it, it’s there.

You can use enchanted learning printables for art, alphabet learning and phonics, early reading, spelling, mathematics, learning a second language, science, history, geography. I have used it with all of my children at various times. The only downside I see for us southern hemisphere folks is that it is northern hemisphere based, in the seasons and a lot of the history. (Hmmmm some printables that are more southern hemisphere based would be great! I’ll get to work on that)

Duolingo is a free app for language learning.

You can download it on your phone or tablet. It can teach you a language from the very beginning or continue with one you may partially know. Learning a language with your children can be really fun. It may be that you are more interested in it than them, which is fine. Another excellent book we have used which is inexpensive is “Italian (insert your language as there are many versions) in 10 minutes a day” It takes bite sized chunks and teaches you the basics and some important questions too. It also comes with stickers for nouns that you can stick around your house, which is another great way to memorise nouns. You may also find something at your local library.

Doing a Unit Study can cover lots of key learning areas.

I have found unit studies to be interesting and the kids have enjoyed them too. We once did a unit study on Monet, the French artist.

 It was all free, apart from some croissants and a bagette and pate for a picnic at the end!

I chose a Monet themed picture book from the library, and got some art books so we could look at Monet’s paintings and talk about them. We had a try at making some art works in his style. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in our backyard with some French inspired foods. We looked up our atlas and google maps to see where Monet lived and had some discussions about France and the language spoken there. It was easy, cost effective and fun and I still want to go to Monet’s garden at Giverny. One of the beautiful books we used for this is called

 “Linnea in Monet’s Garden” by Christina Bjork.

 It was available at our local library. Your unit study does not need to be expensive. It can be as simple as following up on an interest your child has expressed.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden – Click here to buy a copy

For mathematics we have used Maths Plus books by Oxford University press

 They are in grade levels from foundation/prep to year 6 covering primary school grades.

You can find them here:

(I receive no commission)

They are colorful and clear and cover the key learning areas really well. I don’t bother getting the teacher manual, as I feel I am able to explain the concepts and provide further examples. In addition, we have coins the we count regularly. We play board games that enhance all kinds of skills as well as mathematical ones.

Music is something we have given a lot of time to.

We bought a second hand piano at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and at the time our older two children started Suzuki method lessons around age 5. Those two girls are still playing today aged 14 and 16 and the beautiful music they play is, well, beautiful. My son started around a similar age and is loving jazz music and learning to play some of his favorites. My littlest flower insisted on playing violin rather than piano and is coming along nicely with that. I know lessons can be expensive, but we have always prioritized them. Having a piano in the house allows for tinkering and working out tunes without lessons and is well worth it in my opinion.

Science experiments and answering questions like “what’s inside the world” and “how do worms reproduce” have come up naturally for us.

I find with library books, a google search and some Youtube videos, we can usually find the answers. There are plenty of books that cover fun experiments for kids. I don’t know how many bicarb and vinegar volcanos my son made around the age of 5. At one time it was a daily occurrence. I bought him the cheapest vinegar I could find at Aldi, a ton of bicarb and put them outside. He also had jars and containers, mixing spoons and sticks, and an old kids size table that he called his ‘potion table’. He spent a lot of time making potions that were of great interest to him. He was out there doing chemistry, but he was actually playing. As Maria Montessori says,

Play is the work of children.

Art is simple. Let them create if they want to. Make sure there is wool, twine, paper, glue, sticky tape, pencils, crayons, textas, boxes, paint. At one time we had a ‘useful box’ where I put things that I thought may be useful for creating like egg cartons or tissue boxes. If they show an interest in something, give them the tools to do it. No need to go to any huge expense. Some very creative kids will want certain supplies for sure, but others won’t. Drawing or art lessons can come in later if the child is really interested. I remember all too clearly the set tasks of primary school art. I loved art but I just wished I could do what I wanted.

 I aim to inspire and allow space for creativity, rather than give forced art projects to kids who aren’t interested.

Physical education is covered easily for most families.

Our girls have done dance from a young age and our son has tried some different winter sports such as soccer and Aussie rules football. He is now a convert to tennis. All the kids have learnt to ride a bike, swim, snorkel at the beach, skate board, scooter and have had the chance to go snow skiing once. As part of a generally active life, you have done Phys Ed without even thinking about it. We also love nature walks, hikes, and have tried kayaking and canoeing on a homeschool camp. If there is something you really want to try with a group, you could organize a homeschool excursion in your are

I haven’t covered everything here by any stretch!

What I aim to do is give you the confidence to design your own plan, or even wing it to a large extent and still be covering the learning areas prescribed. By sharing some of our ideas I hope you will be inspired to come up with your own, or by all means, use ours.

If you want more specific ideas, the Home Education Network website is an excellent resource.

Please ask in the comments below if you have a question.

Rachel Parkinson

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