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What programs are good to use to home school?

Posted by on May. 1, 2013 at 9:57 AM
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We have decided to take our son out of middle school and home school him next year. What are some good programs to use for teaching that are free or that cost money to use?
by on May. 1, 2013 at 9:57 AM
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energygirl
by on May. 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM
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I have a friend that uses K12 (free online) and likes it.  We use Sonlight (it is a bit costly).  First decide if you are aiming at free or want to pay some...and then also decide if you are looking for secular or Christian based...that may help to condense your choices. Their are books by Cathy Duffy (library) that help to show the differences between some of the Christian companies...and look at learning styles etc.  Good luck!

Energygirl :)
DyslexiaParent
by Welcome Squad on May. 4, 2013 at 7:31 PM

AmblesideOnline is a free program that a lot of people use.  We used some books (Apologia, Math U See) and some Switched on Schoolhouse.  A lot of people use A Beka, Bob Jones, Alpha Omega, if they are interested in Christian curricula.   There is a LOT available and what you like will depend upon your own personal needs and tastes.   In the beginning it is a bit of a seek-and-find process, but once you find something that you like and which works well for you, then you are set to go year after year!

AutymsMommy
by Helping Hands on May. 5, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Oh golly.

They're all good! It just depends on what your child's learning style is and what your teaching style is.

We aren't huge fans of lit based curricula, so we stick with textbooks and worktexts.

Are you looking for christian/protestant, christian/catholic, or secular materials?

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff: we have traditional gender roles, we're Catholic, I'm Libertarian, he's Republican, we're both conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee














Polemomma2010
by Testing the waters on May. 5, 2013 at 6:54 PM

I don't really want a religious based homeschool since we are not really religious.  I would prefer one that is non religious.

AutymsMommy
by Helping Hands on May. 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM


Some secular all-in-one programs:

Calvert (traditional, scholastic, secular, rigorous)

Oak Meadow (secular, more gentle; great language arts and history, their science is pretty good too, wouldn't recommend their math though - it's pretty lack luster compared to others)


Science (secular):

Ellen McHenry

Real Science Odyssey

Supercharged Science

Exploration Education (physical science)

... also, Kolbe Academy (Catholic homeschool program) carries homeschool friendly lesson plans and guides for some of the more popular secular public school science tests (like Holt Science and Technology series) - you can easily "take out the Catholic" in the lesson plans and you can buy them separately without purchasing the whole program!).


History:

American

Joy Hakim's "A History of Us" series - there are activity books that go with this series. It's really the only homeschool friendly American history curriculum I'm aware of.

World History

K12's "Human Odyssey" series - this is a great series. Sincerely awesome.

Oak Meadow's history programs (you can buy them separate from the rest of the program - this is fantastic for kids who like projects integrated into their studies!)


Language Arts:

Royal Fireworks Press

Voyages in English (new version - NOT the 1962 version, if you want secular)

Growing with Grammar/Winning With Writing/Soaring With Spelling

All About Spelling

Mosdos Literature

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW, for short)

Writing With Skill

Hake Grammar and Writing


Math:

Saxon (hate it personally, but know others who use it successfully)

Singapore (I do not recommend this for a child straight out of public school)

Math Mammoth (she is working on grade 7; she only has up through grade 6 right now, but it's a more advanced curriculum, depending on your child's grade and ability)

TabletClass (for prealgebra up)

Teaching Textbooks (again, not a huge fan, but it's popular and works for many people)


What I listed are some of the more popular curriculum options. Keep in mind that there are some curricula options that are MORE popular than what I listed, but they tend to be religious on some level. There are people who choose the religious curricula just because, frankly, it's the best of the homeschool market (hard to find quality secular materials in the homeschool market - most of the secular curricula was intended for public schools and can be very difficult to use in a homeschool environment), and they just either steer away from the religious parts or they include them as "historical content".



Quoting Polemomma2010:

I don't really want a religious based homeschool since we are not really religious.  I would prefer one that is non religious.



I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff: we have traditional gender roles, we're Catholic, I'm Libertarian, he's Republican, we're both conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee














leighp1
by Welcome Squad on May. 6, 2013 at 6:30 AM

I think for my dd we are going to do a mixture of FLVS (florida virtual school) and homemade curriculum.  FLVS has a lot of great subjects and for the things I decide to teach her, I get to pick what I feel is important. 

It is extremely hard to find curriculums that are free for middle school.  I have been looking for two days for a good history curriculum and they just don't seem to be out there, or I can't find them.  If I come across anything I will keep you in mind.

celticdragon77
by on May. 6, 2013 at 7:12 AM

I should warn you that we use secular materials. I have kids that are 8, 10.5, and 17. 

I use both the history and science by pandia press.

I also have textbooks: "the complete book of world history grades 4-8", world history 1+2 by William duiker, the human odyssey vol 1-3 by k12, woorld history - our human story.

For American History, I have "The History of Us" by Joy Hakim

I have workbooks / activity books such as thematic units by teacher created materials, scholastic mini books, history pockets, Dover coloring books (sounds babyish, but very excellent), and more.

For science, I add in a nature study and scientist studies. 

My older child is doing apologia for science. 

For math, we do Singapore, math mammoth, Saxon math (I tried doing away with this when we took on math mammoth, but my kids LOVE math and refused to drop Saxon), life of Fred, a lot of manipulatives (especially Montessori inspired), we use the living math website, and we do math art. 

I find things here and there that fit what we are learning or is a current interest of the kids and I get them. 

There are also great websites, videos and activities..I use Amazons listmania and other sources to add in additional fictional, non fictional, biography books. 

My kids take art classes at the local art colleges (they have youth classes). My oldest has decided to take adult art classes - there are a lot of professional artists on her dads side of the family. My kids all take piano and guitar lessons. So, the only lesson I do in this area is artist and composer studies. 

I have tons of books that I have collected on shelves. Plus, we heavily use the library. So this is by no means all the resources I use to educate the kids.

English I did not list here. We have liked K12s English. There are also other resources but I can't remember all of the titles.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air... - Emerson  

Warning: This iPad enjoys auto correcting into jibberish. I have three kids 17, 10.5 and 9 yrs old. This mama works, homeschools, and explores life + varied interests. 

leighp1
by Welcome Squad on May. 6, 2013 at 7:19 AM

I don't mean to be rude, but I have to ask.  How much do you spend on your curriculums?  It seems that you use a lot and I have been looking around and see that a lot of what you have on your list are quiet expensive.  I know you get what you pay for.  I am getting a little scared to homeschool my middle grade student if it's going to cost this much money.  We are a one income family and that income isn't the best to start with. Then to go into the high school curriculum throws me into a lot of fear.


It scares me that since I don't pay a lot for the curriculum, my daughter will be missing out on something that she really needs.

Quoting celticdragon77:

I should warn you that we use secular materials. I have kids that are 8, 10.5, and 17. 

I use both the history and science by pandia press. I also have textbooks: "the complete book of world history grades 4-8", world history 1+2 by William duiker, the human odyssey vol 1-3 by k12, woorld history - our human story. I have workbooks / activity books such as thematic units by teacher created materials, scholastic mini books, history pockets, Dover coloring books (sounds babyish, but very excellent), and more.

I use Amazons listmania and other sources to add in additional fictional, non fictional, biography books. 

For science, I add in a nature study and scientist studies. 

My older child is doing apologia for science. 

For math, we do Singapore, math mammoth, Saxon math (I tried doing away with this when we took on math mammoth, but my kids LOVE math and refused to drop Saxon), life of Fred, a lot of manipulatives (especially Montessori inspired), we use the living math website, and we do math art. 

I find things here and there that fit what we are learning or is a current interest of the kids and I get them. 

There are also great websites, videos and activities...

My kids take art classes at the local art colleges (they have youth classes). My oldest has decided to take adult art classes - there are a lot of professional artists on her dads side of the family. My kids all take piano and guitar lessons. So, the only lesson I do in this area is artist and composer studies. 



celticdragon77
by on May. 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM
1 mom liked this

It is not a rude question at all. When I first started homeschooling years ago with my oldest child, I would look at everything on the websites and wonder how anyone afforded it. I only allow my tax income to be used on homeschooling. That is my limit. The kids dad supports me homeschooling and he pays extra on top of his child support, to help with homeschooling costs. I am a single mom that works full time. So I have to be careful with my time and money. 

I MOSTLY buy used!!! I found everything I have on Craigslist, eBay, used homeschool stores, other homeschool moms... All at affordable prices or bartered for.

I collected most of the books I have over the course of a few years.

I did buy from pandia press new because I couldn't find it used - and it was at a discounted price. I think I paid $25 for each (level one and level three of the ancients). Most the titles recommended I either had already, I found at the library, or I picked up used. I think I am still looking for one item that I might need to buy new, but it isn't expensive $10.

I have had two friends who tried K12 before switching to homeschooling or private school. I also used k12 years ago. So I have received free k12 materials this way. The American book series by joy hakim and world history odyssey books were received this way. 

I pay a lot for the music lessons and art lessons. They are my biggest expenses! I am hoping that once they learn it enough, that they can follow a program where they teach themselves - for music anyways. My oldest daughter works and receives child support - she uses some of that for the adult art classes she takes at the college.

You can find so much stuff for free or very cheap. I forgot to mention it but we have used lesson pathways and progressive phonics for free. Plus, so many more websites and library books. I am lucky that many homeschooling titles are found at my library. I live right in between two counties with excellent library systems. I can go online, pick a book I want and they will find me the book - even if their library doesn't have it - they will have it delivered from another county or where ever. I go to my local library when I get the email saying it has arrived. My library also has a lot of free resources online (I just put in my library card number), that usually a person would pay for. I have free access to the worldbook and mango websites - among others. 

I must live in an area with a decent number of homeschoolers because there are a lot used homeschool stores, homeschool stuff listed on craigslist, church book sales that include homeschool materials, curriculum conventions and fairs, etc. 

I am joined to a lot homeschool groups online and in my area. On Yahoo, there are groups devoted to bartering and selling materials. 

I do order some new stuff. However, not without seeking it out used first. 


Quoting leighp1:

I don't mean to be rude, but I have to ask.  How much do you spend on your curriculums?  It seems that you use a lot and I have been looking around and see that a lot of what you have on your list are quiet expensive.  I know you get what you pay for.  I am getting a little scared to homeschool my middle grade student if it's going to cost this much money.  We are a one income family and that income isn't the best to start with. Then to go into the high school curriculum throws me into a lot of fear.


It scares me that since I don't pay a lot for the curriculum, my daughter will be missing out on something that she really needs.

Quoting celticdragon77:




Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air... - Emerson  

Warning: This iPad enjoys auto correcting into jibberish. I have three kids 17, 10.5 and 9 yrs old. This mama works, homeschools, and explores life + varied interests. 

celticdragon77
by on May. 6, 2013 at 8:14 AM
1 mom liked this

going crazyWhat hurt me the most financially, was the year I decided to try Sonlight - brand new! - for three kids. I said look it has payment plans. It will be easy, its all right here and done for me. I could have sent one of my kids to private school for what I spent that year on it. THEN I ended up needing to supplement it!! And the evaluator nor the school district were too happy with our use of the curriculum. And to be honest, neither was I. I spend much less on homeschooling now. 

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air... - Emerson  

Warning: This iPad enjoys auto correcting into jibberish. I have three kids 17, 10.5 and 9 yrs old. This mama works, homeschools, and explores life + varied interests. 

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