I am constantly trying to find the best way to do things for our family and ways to improve our lives. Homeschooling is a very flexible system of education and we tweak it as needed. When we started off homeschooling years ago Little Divine loved doing her workbooks. They were colorful, fun and engaging. They held her interest and she enjoyed doing them. As we’ve progressed over the years the books have become less colorful, less fun and she doesn’t enjoy doing them as much. We will find a few that she enjoys and gets a lot out of, but a majority are just very plain looking and the book work isn’t something that appeals to her as much.
When we find that something isn’t working, we evaluate it and see if we can find a way to work. If it’s just not working out – it’s time to look for an alternative. That’s exactly what I did for Little Divine. She LOVES to read and is reading at a 9th grade level at least. Books have always been something she’s loved since she first learned to read. She enjoys reading daily and gets a lot out of it. Because of this I started looking online for information on book centered homeschool curriculum and ways of teaching.
The program I like the best is Build Your Library. This program offers a low cost curriculum for grades K – 9. I’m hoping they expand to higher grades each year so we can move up with them! You purchase each year individually and they each come with generally the same stuff depending on grade level.
A lesson plans with:
- a daily and weekly schedule
- reading list
- a set of narration cards
- vocabulary words, discussion questions and dictation passages tied to the literature readings
- Weekly writing assignments
- memory work projects
- Activity pages (including map work)
- research projects
- art projects
The price isn’t bad at $24.95 – $54.95 per set depending on the grade level. That’s a small cost compared to other yearly curriculum programs! I have never been a fan of homeschool curriculum companies who think charging families $300-$600 a year for a curriculum is fair business. Homeschool should not be that expensive. This is another reason I like Build Your Library because I feel their prices are very reasonable.
Little Divine is in 5th and 6th grade books right now. Build Your Library has 5th grade working on US History but I wanted to start off our whole reading based learning system from the very beginning. We have begun checking out books from the Ancient History book list from Grade 1 from our local library and will work our way up through the other grade reading lists until we’ve reached our grade level curriculum. This way we get to start at the beginning of history and move forward! (^.^)
Little Divine is super excited! I showed her the books on the list we are working on right now and showed her the lists to follow. She told me that she’d much prefer learning with reading over workbooks. We are not throwing all our workbooks out the window though. Each week she will be given the choice to pick which workbook she wants to work on each day. She can also work on whatever pages in it she wants. I still feel that writing skills and book work is beneficial, but this way she gets to pick what she works on each day and hopefully it will add some enjoyment back into it for her!
Another thing I added is her choice of something to learn about every week. Each week she gets to pick something she wants to learn about and it can be anything! We will go to the library for books on that subject, watch videos online, and find documentaries on it. We will fully immerse in that topic and learn all we can about it! I’ve told her that if she really loves a topic she can extend how long she learns on it, it doesn’t have to just be a week. This gives her another way to guide her learning and enjoy what she’s learning!
I feel that giving her freedom with her education is extremely important. Homeschool isn’t meant to be a duplicate of the school system. It’s meant to be something that’s special and unique for each child. We as parents often have to make decisions for our kiddos but there are also many times we should let them make their own. I will be here to guide her and step in when needed. We should always remain present in our children’s lives and decisions, even when we let them make their own.
I have to say that both of us are so excited for this new path! Sitting down to devote and hour or more to laying out all her lessons and make her worksheet packets is quite a task. It will be a nice change for me to just hand her the workbooks for the week and tell her to work on them as she desires! Homeschool shouldn’t stress out the parents daily either. It should be an enjoyable experience as much as possible. No you won’t always have enjoyable days, but it should be enjoyable more than not.
Have you tried a books based/reading centered curriculum for your kids? What did you think?