Some homeschooling moms try to imitate public school at home. This is called school-at-home.
Perhaps they picture themselves at a chalkboard while their child sits serenely at a desk with an open textbook. That image may look great in their mind, but doesn’t usually play out well at home.
While a chalkboard (or whiteboard) may come in handy for your homeschool, most other aspects of public school are simply unnecessary and defeat a main purpose of homeschooling, which is to tailor the child’s education to suit their needs.
School-at-home could mean purchasing an entire boxed curriculum and precisely following each lesson plan and schedule provided.
We tried this approach, and while some of the lesson ideas were a little fun for my son, all of the worksheets got old fast.
There is very little moving around as the child is expected to just sit and pay attention while the parent instructs. After the lesson has been taught, the child is given a corresponding worksheet to complete.
This is not an interactive, hands-on approach to homeschooling.
Boxed curriculums are generic. They are not tailored to give the child a unique education. They are someone else’s idea of what a child should learn, when they should learn, and how they should be taught.
The beauty of homeschooling is that it can look and function however you want.
Here is my advice and guidelines for using a boxed curriculum:
1. Only buy the lesson books and workbooks for the subject(s) you feel you need a lot of expertise with. I buy buy math curriculum because math is not my strong-suit and it makes sense to use worksheets for math (although there are other ways to practice math, too).
2. Don’t make your child complete every single worksheet. Too many worksheets get wicked boring. Instead, pick and choose certain worksheets for your child to do, and other times substitute with other forms of practice. Try Legos, flashcards, or games. (If you don’t want the extra worksheets to go to waste, simply pass them onto another homeschooling family.)
3. Make it your own. You don’t have to use the curriculum solely as it was intended. Take what you like and disregard the rest.
Remember, there are many resources out there for homeschoolers. Boxed curriculums are just one of them. Use them if you like, but don’t do school-at-home. Make your homeschool amazing.