7 Great Homeschool Curriculum Options for the Work at Home Mom
Yes! You can work at home while homeschooling your children, although it will take a certain amount of finesse and a little extra planning and patience. A good curriculum can make all the difference, and, while we have tried dozens over the years, I can safely say that there are some that lend themselves more to the needs of a typical 1099 mom. Here are my top picks for teaching the kids without bringing your business down.
Online Reading Learning programs
Depending on the child, online learning programs may or may not be a good fit. Children that can focus well at the computer may do very well with some of the top learning programs out there. My children, in particular, have enjoyed the following programs:
- ReadingEggs.com - A program designed for phonics and sight word reading methods, this actually helped my son go from a kindergarten reading understanding to a second grade reading level in less than three months (he's 8.) Full of games, incentives, and positive feedback, this is a website that my children begged me to go on daily. There's even an iPad app to go with it! (See our ReadingEggs.com review for more info!)
- ReadingKingdom.com - This is a newer program in our curriculum, but one that I have had great success with for my seven-year-old who's been a little reluctant to sit still and learn to read. The activities are a bit more repetitive, and, there are times when he actually tells me he doesn't think he's learning anything. As I watch him progress through levels, however, I see an increase in letter recognition, and an overall better attitude towards learning to read.
- ABCmouse.com - My 5-year-old adores this engaging online program, which lets kids play games, sing songs, and do puzzles within a theme to earn tickets for virtual prizes for their classroom! The best part of this curriculum designed for little ones in the Pre-K and K grades is that they can go at their own pace and track their progress without an adult's help! (See our ABCmouse.com review for more info!)
In addition to the online programs for reading and math, we enjoy the Charlotte Mason approach to learning with our kids. The basis is simple: read great literature to your children (not "dry" textbooks) and they will retain information as they make it a personal experience. While there are hundreds of books you can use with this method, there are some core materials that families can use in their homeschool without stress or much cost. (Note: Charlotte Mason takes a good investment of time for parents when children are first learning to read, because you have to read them so many books. As kids get older, however, they can read on their own, making the approach almost 100% student-led -- and perfect for the work-at-home parent!)
There are many reading lists out there to help you get started. I enjoy referring to Ambleside Online's list of suggesting reading materials. (It's FREE!) You can also browse these Charlotte Mason Reading Suggestions on Amazon!
All-Around Online Learning Programs
If you are looking for an online learning environment that requires little parental involvement, you might want to consider Time4Learning.com; this all in one homeschool curriculum covers all the bases of a secular education, including math, reading, language arts, science, social studies, and art. My junior high daughter really enjoys this program, which allows her to completely direct her own education; the fun graphics and cartoons are also a really interesting way to learn. (See our Time4Learning.com review for more info!)
Foreign Language Programs
For families that can afford it, I can't say enough about Rosetta Stone. It has been the only foreign language program I've used with my children, and it essentially replaces me as a Spanish teacher. (Which is good, because my Spanish is pretty awful.) The homeschool kits come with everything you need to get started, including software and the headset with microphone. Kids as young as six can get a handle on the program, although it works best with kids that are already fluently reading English. Rosetta Stone is available in several languages, including Korean, Turkish, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Italian, German, and Japanese.
Traditional Math (Textbook) Options
For our math, we have thoroughly enjoyed the textbook learning approach from Singapore Math. While it does require parents to sit and instruct kids in the the first few years, it takes a total investment of no more than 15-20 minutes per child per day! The exercises are straight-forward, and unlike other programs, there is no "busy work". Kids learn what they need, then move on. Using the Singapore Math approach, my 1st grader is getting over some major math hurdles with a small time commitment from me each day -- and it's boosting his confidence! (CBD.com regularly offers free shipping and other discounts on their Singapore Math Curriculum.)
As my children grow, I'm sure we'll add in other components and remove others. Do you have a favorite homeschooling learning program or curriculum that you think would be useful for work-at-home moms?