4 Free Resources to Make Homeschooling Easier & Better
I've noticed a trend in our family's schooling, and with families that are new to homeschooling. When it comes to educating our kids, we have the tendency to try to do it all, and we try to do it on our own. This can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and then burnt out.
The sooner you can connect to a support system and find outside resources that fit your needs, the more chances you have at long term success. Not to mention, the happier you and your children will be.
I’d like to share with you four of my favorite resources for diversifying your curriculum and establishing friendships with like-minded families.
Conferences & Conventions
Every year, home school associations and groups will put on a multi-day conference with speakers and vendor booths. Since there are multiple philosophies and approaches on how to educate your child, this is a great place to learn what’s out there and what resonates with you. Additionally, the vendors are available to talk to you about their curriculum or product, show you a sample, and offer discounts for buying at the event. One of the best benefits is that you will be surrounded by numerous families that do home schooling as well, and you can make new friendships with those attending with you.
The second powerful way to connect with other homeschoolers is the online communities. Whether it’s a Yahoo Group or a Facebook page, there are infinite ways to connect with moms in your similar demographics. Because there are so many options, the best way for me to choose a group has been through either proximity (find locals in my town), teaching method (classic, TJed, Montessori, etc.), or same religious affiliation (Christian, Catholic, LDS, Jewish, etc.). Joining several groups is a great way to touch on all these areas, but for me, the most critical group to find was the local one. By introducing myself to moms in my area, I was able to get advice specifically for where we lived, and the other moms invited me to local meet-ups where all our kids could meet, and I could build a support system.
The local library is probably one of the most under-utilized free resources we have in our communities; a savvy home-school mom is the exception. Not only can you check out books for your kids to read, but there are books on how to homeschool as well as educational DVD and audio book rentals. Many libraries have a story time, free workshops, and other programs that will enrich your teaching at home. With a local library card, you can go to their website and download ebooks straight to your eReader. Libraries put so much information at your fingertips, and mostly for free, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.
Besides fee-based educational websites, there are numerous sites that offer terrific curriculum for free. With a little research and planning, you can literally school your child with resources that won’t cost you a penny. Depending on the age range of your child, you can use websites like iTunes U, KhanAcademy.org, Learner.org, PBS.org and Coursera, Ted Ed, Mentormob, Memrise, Learnist, Wonderopolis, National Geo kids, Fun Brain, Spatullata, or NGA kids.
The internet has revolutionized homeschooling. Building a community of support and friendship can happen in days, not years. Premium content is now easier to find, and better than that, printed books are often outdated soon after getting published. The world of learning is at your fingertips and is just as accessible as your willingness to tap into it. I hope that by using these four tips, this year will be your best schooling year ever.
I'd love to hear your tips and favorite websites for homeschool. Please share them in the comments below!