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Whether you’ve just pulled your child out of school or have been preparing to homeschool since they were babies, taking the first step toward homeschooling can be overwhelming. It’s completely normal to feel a little nervous about this. You are not alone! We’ve all at some point been pretty much where you are. Panicked and overwhelmed. Not to worry, the Hive Mind here at the Well-Trained Mind Forums have put together this letter and link fest to get you started on your path to homeschooling. So grab some coffee and your favorite snack and get ready to begin your adventures in homeschooling!

The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition and Website

The book provides step-by-step instruction to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school. Susan Wise Bauer lays out the plan for you and recommends curriculum to put that plan to action.

The website gives you everything you need to get started on your homeschool journey. It includes articles, explanation videos, audio lectures, planning worksheets and anything else you might need to start this journey. If you can’t find it there, then you are already in the right spot to ask your question. The forum has some extremely knowledgeable veteran homeschoolers, who have been there, done that.

Seriously, you could stop right here and click on those two links and you’ll find all of the information you need.

 

Step One – What are your state’s homeschool laws?

Every state’s laws are different. Some states have little to no regulation and some are a little more high maintenance. Getting to know your state’s homeschool laws will help you understand what is expected of you as the homeschool parent and may determine how you want to proceed with homeschooling.

Where to find rules and regulations

What you’ll need to know to legally begin homeschooling:

  • When your child reaches compulsory age, the age where school is required. You will not need to fill out any forms before that age.
  • How to withdraw your child from school and your rights as a parent that wishes to homeschool.
  • What forms (if any) are required to send to my State Department of Education to legally begin homeschooling. How to deliver them (certified or hand-delivered) and what proof they will provide that you are legally homeschooling.
  • If there is time limit from withdrawing my child and sending in the forms.
  • If there are any subject requirements or any sequence that needs to be followed, such as state history in 4th grade.
  • What records (if any) will need to be kept; such as attendance, samples of work, grades, portfolios.

 

Step Two – How do you see yourself homeschooling?

  • Why are you considering homeschooling?
  • Is this something that you plan to do long term or as a temporary emergency situation?
  • What do you want for your child as a result of homeschooling?
  • What are your goals?  
  • What is your educational philosophy?
  • Does your child have any special needs for learning? Learning disabilities? Advanced/gifted? Mental health? Physical health?
  • What method would work for both you and your kids?  Reading lots of books together and discussing? Open and go, no prep? Video lessons? Scripted lessons that tell you exactly what to say? Multiple ages? Together or independent?
  • What questions do you have? What worries you?
  • What is your Worldview?
    • In homeschooling, some parents want materials that reflect their faith. Many of the resources you'll encounter are Christian, written specifically for Christian families. Christian homeschool curricula and resources reflect a range of different Christian views about science, literature, religion, and more. You should ask yourself if you want Christian or secular resources or if you might be comfortable with either. If you're concerned about issues of faith in your materials, you can research or ask others what viewpoints they represent. Resources listed below are marked with an *. 
    • Neutral Science is science that isn't completely straightforward in it's religious views. Often, it is the result of religious authors secularizing their work to open up to a wider audience. The key topics of concern are The Big Bang and Evolution. They may omit the topics altogether, misrepresent or downplay them as theories. It's important to know what the worldview of the author is in order to ensure it's a match to your own. If you would like a quick summary of what to look for in a secular science curriculum, Pandia Press Presents: Why Neutral Science Isn't Neutral, which the podcast goes more in depthThe Homeschool Resource Roadmap lists all science and every other subject and categorizes it by worldview. 
    • With history it has to do with whether the stories of a certain religion are handled as historical fact, while others are handled as myths. A secular history program would discuss religion since it is a major part of history at many points, but would avoid ascribing fact status to any religion's stories.

Determining your homeschool philosophy

It’s perfectly normal to have no idea yet. This is a process. You may find yourself revisiting this idea over the years as your kids get older and you have more experience under your belt. This hard work will help you solidify your homeschooling vision and get the results you want to see for your family, but it takes time.

But how will I know what to teach and when to teach it?

 

No Time for Step Two? – You just withdrew your kid from school and need to get something started right now!

In most emergency cases, the best thing to do is take a break. I know that may seem counter-intuitive if your child is “behind”, generally speaking taking a break to fall in love with learning again is just what the student needs.

This article is interesting because it documents the deschooling process without even realizing. He's initially anxious and stressed about all of the free time he suddenly has. That is a result of being over-regulated his entire life. It makes him feel pressured to squeeze in as much learning in as in as little time possible. Over the weeks, he realizes learning is happening in all sorts of ways and he's so much more relaxed by the end.

Deschooling can be a bunch of books laying around they might like to read, watching science documentaries, narrowing the focus to one thing they really like and playing that up or finally getting to the one thing they always wanted to do, but never had the time or opportunity to do, for example learning to bake. Let them get bored, then give them plenty of options to find their way out of that boredom by keeping interesting books around, playing board games, creative play, and so on. It gives you time to spend with them and gives them time to learn how to be a kid again.

The school mentality is really hard to shake. It takes time to reset.

 

Open and Go Curriculum options to tide you over until you figure something out

I’ve linked directly to the publishers to help give you a better understanding of the curriculum. You can find many of these at Rainbow Resource to get free shipping if your order is over $50 or Amazon. *non-secular

Free - $25

  • The library – your library can become your refuge, your librarian can become your greatest resource. Check you library’s website for free resources.
  • My library offers all of this for free with a library card:
    • ABC Mouse, IXL, Rosetta Stone, Lynda, Great Courses, Muzzy, High School Courses, High School and College Admission Test Prep, Creative Bug (great for electives and extra-curriculars), literacy tutors, biography and cultural studies, Hoopla(digital downloads and streaming), Kanopy and Kanopy Kids (doc and video streaming), the local newspaper, The LA Times, The NY Times, National Geographic Kids, Overdrive (audiobooks), science reference center, World Book, and so much more.
  • Copywork, narration, dictation– Choose sentences from books you are reading and have them copy them. Ask them to summarize the chapter that was just read. Dictate the copied sentences and summarizations to them and have them write it out with correct capitalization and punctuation. Works with all subjects. Teaches grammar, punctuation, spelling, memory-work, reading comprehension, and writing.
  • Best to stick with the 3 R’s to start.
  • If you have more than one child that might be using the same curriculum, look for PDFs and invest in a Black and White duplex laser printer. Also, Ebooks make it easier for everyone to read along.

Shopping for Curriculum

  • Rainbow Resource
    • Sells just about everything your homeschool needs and usually at a little bit of a discount. 
  • Cathy Duffy
    • Her website and book are extremely helpful when curriculum shopping. She provides a thorough review, with descriptions of strengths and weaknesses, the method/style and links to where to purchase it. Basically, Yelp for homeschoolers. 
  • Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
    • Permanent and limited time discounts on homeschool curriculum
  • The Homeschool Resource Roadmap
    • This is the ultimate list of homeschool curriculum by subject, method, and worldview. 
  • Amazon 
    • There are many used books available.

Language Arts

  • English Lessons Through Literature by Barefoot Ragamuffin
    • English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) is a complete language arts program for elementary and middle school students. Each level has a textbook and an optional workbook which can be purchased separately. ELTL is a unique program which combines the gentleness of Charlotte Mason's methods with the thoroughness of classical methods. Each level of this program has three lessons per week for thirty-six weeks for a total of 108 lessons per year.
  • Cottage Press Language Lessons for Children - Absolutely lovely Charlotte Mason style early elementary 
    • includes reading selections (included or free public domain downloadable or library), copywork, picture study, nature study, narration, and dictation. 
  • Core Knowledge Curriculum - Free downloadable for grades pre-K-8
    • Content-rich Language Arts, Science, History and Geography.  

Phonics

Writing

Grammar

Spelling

Math

History

  • Story of the World grades 1-6*
    • can be done with multiple ages and levels
    • Many secularize this series  because of it's beloved storytelling style of history.
    • can be done with just the books or can add more
    • activity book includes questions, recommended reading, map and coloring work, projects
    • Amazon has many used books
  • Big History Project - Free, online grades 7-12
    • Writing integrated into work
    • Covers multiple disciplines of science
    • World History
    • Highly adjustable by grade, content, length - Khan Academy, DK books have their own versions

Science

 

More than $25

All-in-One/Boxed Curriculum

Buying the whole year at once can be a frightening and expense proposition. They can be overkill at times. At the same time, a cohesively planned boxed kit, where everything is already done for you, is a good way to sort through works and what doesn’t.

All-in-One Language Arts (Literature, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Spelling)

Phonics

Spelling

Writing

  • Easy Writing – Easy Grammar Systems 
    • Works only on varied sentence structure, One book for grades 1-10
  • Michael Clay Thompson (MCT) Writing series
  • Teaching Writing through Guided Analysis by Treasured Conversations teaches students that they are involved in more than simply completing assignments; they are authors embarking on the adventure of painting mental images in readers’ minds. Strong sentences and paragraph development are taught through engaging stories. Lessons incorporate scaffolded support so that students experience success and build confidence in their writing abilities. Geared toward 3rd to 5th graders. Available as 2 PDF downloads, a teacher’s book and a student workbook

Grammar

Math - *most math is open and go

History

  • Beautiful Feet Books – grades 1-12
    • Literature-based history, requires purchasing or borrowing from the library

Science

Well-Trained Mind Forum Links

You can often find the best threads pinned at the top of the forum.

Inspiration and Motivation

  • Susan Wise Bauer’s A Day at Our House Series
  • Homeschooling at the Helm by Treasured Conversations (8FilltheHeart) Homeschooling at the Helm illustrates how to design personalized courses with your children based on their interests and with resources selected via their input. When children actively engage in their own educational plans and participate in the actual course development, ownership over their academic pursuits leads to mastery of content and encourages further intellectual pursuits. Available as a PDF download. 
Edited by Plum
added Treasured Conversations
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If you'd like to add any of these, please post below. 

  • any advice or support
  • open and go curriculum
  • WTM forum thread links

Please stay on topic. This thread is for linking to outside sources to help potentially new homeschoolers. 

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AoPS Alcumus is free. Also free videos that coordinates with the texts on the AoPS site.  https://artofproblemsolving.com/videos Pre-A and up Eddie Woo has great videos on YouTube for math as well. CNN10 has free daily kids news. CiRCE posts a daily poem on their site- https://shows.pippa.io/the-daily-poem Duolingo is free and offers a lot of languages. Seterra is a great free site for geography. 

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For those homeschooling high school:

High School Math Options:

 

High School Biology Options:

 

High School Chemistry Options:

High School Physics Options:

 

Also, Plum linked the high school info threads.  These are all found as stickies at the top of the high school board.

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Artes Latinae is back! Bolchazy-Carducci has stopped sitting on the copyright (the CD-ROMs/DVDs you can buy used don't function on any computer of the last decade) and re-released Dr. Waldo Sweet's revolutionary Structural Linguistics-based program--unfortunately only as a yearly subscription. But still, it's back, it's absolutely open-and-go, it's fun, and best of all your kids finish it able to read Latin

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Sometimes there’s a mismatch between what you want and what works, this thread is about how to make peace with that. 

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  • 3 months later...
22 hours ago, Plum said:

bumping in case anyone lost it and wants to link

 

Bump this great thread to the front page every now and then!  They're saying that 40% of public school parents are considering homeschooling in August.  40%!!  Is there about to be a homeschool avalanche this fall?  Homeschool curriculum will be the new hoarding item du jour.  lol. Instead of running out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, none of us will be able to find spelling workbooks and multiplication flashcards.  Maybe SWB's books will be super in-demand and sell out!   

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On 5/20/2020 at 7:52 PM, Evanthe said:

 

Bump this great thread to the front page every now and then!  They're saying that 40% of public school parents are considering homeschooling in August.  40%!!  Is there about to be a homeschool avalanche this fall?  Homeschool curriculum will be the new hoarding item du jour.  lol. Instead of running out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, none of us will be able to find spelling workbooks and multiplication flashcards.  Maybe SWB's books will be super in-demand and sell out!   

Somebody on Facebook said she sold all her homeschool materials in a couple of weeks instead of months because public school parents are planning to homeschool.

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10 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

Somebody on Facebook said she sold all her homeschool materials in a couple of weeks instead of months because public school parents are planning to homeschool.

 

I believe it.  I'm seeing it in person, too.  We've lived in our house about ten years and no neighbors ever mentioned homeschooling.  In the past few weeks, FOUR neighbors walked over and asked me about homeschooling!  Wow...  

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1 hour ago, Evanthe said:

 

I believe it.  I'm seeing it in person, too.  We've lived in our house about ten years and no neighbors ever mentioned homeschooling.  In the past few weeks, FOUR neighbors walked over and asked me about homeschooling!  Wow...  

That's amazing!!! 

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@Plum Thank you so much for starting this thread! Forgive me if I missed it: but is there, to your knowledge, any kind of Super Ultra Master List of curricula for various subjects? I'm imagining something Wiki-like, where one can say "Oh I don't see [my favorite obscure curriculum] listed, let me add that." In my dream, there's also a Pros and Cons list for each curriculum, which can be added to.

Also -- Can this thread be made "sticky"?

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27 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

@Plum Thank you so much for starting this thread! Forgive me if I missed it: but is there, to your knowledge, any kind of Super Ultra Master List of curricula for various subjects? I'm imagining something Wiki-like, where one can say "Oh I don't see [my favorite obscure curriculum] listed, let me add that." In my dream, there's also a Pros and Cons list for each curriculum, which can be added to.

Also -- Can this thread be made "sticky"?

I know some people are making their own in Google Docs, but I don't have links to those. Homeschool Resource Roadmap has a huge list that separates curricula by subject and then categorizes by worldview and other pertinent information. Their website has a place you could send them a message if you don't see your favorite listed there. HTH!

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On 7/14/2020 at 1:16 PM, Plum said:

I know some people are making their own in Google Docs, but I don't have links to those. Homeschool Resource Roadmap has a huge list that separates curricula by subject and then categorizes by worldview and other pertinent information. Their website has a place you could send them a message if you don't see your favorite listed there. HTH!

Thanks for the link; it's better than anything I found on my own.

 I realize I was kind of hoping you would say, "Actually I was just about to post my companion to the awesome Plum's Big Grade Planning Link List, which will be titled Plum's Big Subject Curriculum List and in which every K-8 subject curriculum ever used by any homeschooler anywhere will be listed, with brief description, grade level(s), approximated cost, pros and cons, and ISBN numbers when relevant. Anything people want to add should be added to the thread and I will incorporate it into the Big List." And then when all the panicky neighbors ask me what they should use now that they don't trust the ISD for fall, I can give them the link.

Maybe ... ?

 

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On 7/14/2020 at 1:16 PM, Plum said:

I know some people are making their own in Google Docs, but I don't have links to those. Homeschool Resource Roadmap has a huge list that separates curricula by subject and then categorizes by worldview and other pertinent information. Their website has a place you could send them a message if you don't see your favorite listed there. HTH!

I clicked on that link and had to open it with edge vs google bc google wouldn't open them for me.  I clicked 1st on the algebra 1 link. Oh my.  That link contains an overwhelming number of titles (and Foerster's is not to be seen. ) I decided that I would not share that site as a resource bc I think it might be just a tad too much for a newbie to digest!

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I clicked on that link and had to open it with edge vs google bc google wouldn't open them for me.  I clicked 1st on the algebra 1 link. Oh my.  That link contains an overwhelming number of titles (and Foerster's is not to be seen. ) I decided that I would not share that site as a resource bc I think it might be just a tad too much for a newbie to digest!

Psssst ... Eight and Plum ... make the list ....

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2 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

Thanks for the link; it's better than anything I found on my own.

 I realize I was kind of hoping you would say, "Actually I was just about to post my companion to the awesome Plum's Big Grade Planning Link List, which will be titled Plum's Big Subject Curriculum List and in which every K-8 subject curriculum ever used by any homeschooler anywhere will be listed, with brief description, grade level(s), approximated cost, pros and cons, and ISBN numbers when relevant. Anything people want to add should be added to the thread and I will incorporate it into the Big List." And then when all the panicky neighbors ask me what they should use now that they don't trust the ISD for fall, I can give them the link.

Maybe ... ?

 

😂

That is what my blog was supposed to be for. That lasted like a month. There’s too much! I was trying to sort it by style and level. There’s not enough time in the day to organize ALL of the homeschool curriculum. I might as well try to organize the internet. 😂 I could get on board with other people helping me put together a list of favorites like we did with open and go in the OP. 
I agree with 8 that Homeschool Resource Roadmap is overwhelming for newbies  Cathy Duffy would work better for that. 

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15 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

@Plum What about something like your Grade Planning thread? Surely there are plenty of threads like "What Latin curriculum do you use?" that could be gathered into a meta-thread.

Good idea. I know there were some good threads like that a few years back. 

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Sonlight now offers a boxed all-in-one package for new homeschoolers to test out without the year long commitment and expense. 

Sonlight Short Term Homeschooling 

Quote

 

These complete, short term homeschooling curriculum packages include all you need to homeschool for the first 9-weeks: daily lesson plans, book notes, teaching tips, all the books and materials. Each package comes with a 30-day guarantee.

These all in one, short-term homeschool curriculum packages make it easy to get all of your curriculum materials in one place and simply open and teach.

How to get started:

Simply choose your child's grade level from the quarterly curriculum packages below, add a Math program appropriate to your child’s skill level or school requirements, any optional language arts materials and desired electives… and you’ve got a complete curriculum! Flexibility without a year-long commitment.

Second, third and fourth-quarter packages will be added soon in order to round out a full school year. If you already know you’ll be homeschooling for the full academic year, we recommend you purchase a History / Bible / Literature or All-Subjects Package for the complete Sonlight experience.

NOTE: These products are available for purchase only for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

 

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Hi,

I'm new to homeschooling, and I guess I just need a little nudge in the right direction.  I've read The Well-Trained Mind 4th Edition.  I'm pretty sure I want try to start with most all that's recommended in the book.  But I'm a little nervous/excited/confused??  

Besides this one.  Is there any links to other thread that can help me?  

 

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14 minutes ago, Bryan B said:

Hi,

I'm new to homeschooling, and I guess I just need a little nudge in the right direction.  I've read The Well-Trained Mind 4th Edition.  I'm pretty sure I want try to start with most all that's recommended in the book.  But I'm a little nervous/excited/confused??  

Besides this one.  Is there any links to other thread that can help me?  

 

 

Help you with what? We have a whole forum here. 🙂

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Thanks for the reply.  I'm sorry for being vague.  Monday was a rough day.  My kids are still in the distance learning, and it's not fun.

I think I'm going to try and slowly jump into homeschooling with most of the WTM curriculum. At least grammar, writing, reading, penmanship, & History.  For math I'm thinking of starting with Khan Academy.  I just question how good is Khan for kids to learn from?  I've heard of Math U See, but it's a bit $$$.  As far a phonics goes my two kids, 8 year old girl & 6 year old boy, have done some work with Phonic Pathways.  In March, when the pandemic blew up, we did some crisis schooling using both Phonic Pathways & Khan Academy.  Our 2 kids were taught to read by my wife and I with the 100 Easy Lessons books.  They both started reading before 4 3/4.  My daughter is an avid reader.  She read all of Harry Potter from about March to the end of June.  Our son have found some books he likes, and now he's heading that way. 

 

So I guess I need to clam down, and start slowly.  I'm just new forums, and for some reason I'm having a hard time finding what I'm looking for.  

 

Sorry,

Bryan

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Welcome, @Bryan B. Here are some questions to think about as you launch your homeschool:

  • What do you want your kids' year to look like?
  • What would a good week look like for your family? A good day?
  • What is each child's current level of performance? (It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on this. Don't get attached to grade levels marked on books.)

It's quite normal to try some things out and find that some are a good fit, but others aren't & you need to make some changes. Reading well is a great start, and I recommend allowing them plenty of time to read on their own rather than trying to occupy them with "real school work" all day. (I would say when my child was those ages, we spent less than two hours a day on official school work.) Remember to include needs like exercise in your plans, as well as other pursuits like music, or whatever your family likes to do.

So go ahead and make your plan, get started, and then adjust as needed. Many of the publishers of books you saw in TWTM sell them directly, or you might see whether you can get several things at once from somewhere like Rainbow Resource and save on shipping.

Best wishes to you.

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On 9/3/2020 at 6:53 AM, Bryan B said:

For math I'm thinking of starting with Khan Academy.  I just question how good is Khan for kids to learn from? 

 

You'd probably be better off with MEP which is an excellent program, free online, with lesson plans for you to teach from.

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Welcome @Bryan B!

I agree with everything Whitehawk said. I'll add that getting to know what works for both you as a home educator and for your kids takes some time. Even when you think you have it down, one of your kids will have a sudden growth in ability and you could find yourself looking for something else. It's a process. So take time. You've already accomplished the hard part of teaching them to read. Enjoy that! Let them read. Read together and apart. 

I hesitate to recommend Khan for that age. Some kids do really well with that format. It's good to do while you figure things out. You could work on fundamentals through board games and Kitchen Table Math while you figure it out. 

This may help or completely terrify you. I hope it's the former. I use this when I'm looking for age-appropriate curriculum ideas. If you are looking for something else, feel free to clarify what inspirations you seek.

 

 

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