Homeschool Curriculum in the Digital Age

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to save in our homeschool budget.  I try to use whatever thrifty resources I can, which often includes digital products. I was an old school holdout for years before I came to accept digital homeschool curriculum and books, but the practical side of me (read: frugal) won out.

Homeschool Curriculum in the Digital Age ~ 6 Advantages of Using Digital Homeschool Curriculum

 

Advantages of Digital Homeschool Curriculum

There are some advantages to digital homeschool curriculum that I’ve come to appreciate in the past few years:

  • it’s available instantly when you need it
  • it doesn’t take up room on your bookshelf
  • it’s easily portable (we like to read on our Kindle)
  • you can print what you choose when you choose
  • it can be used for more than one student and printed multiple times (depending on the particular copyright permissions of the material)
  • it is generally less expensive than print materials

One of the great resources I discovered last year is the Build Your Bundle -Homeschool Edition. Not only does it offer great prices on digital curriculum, it’s very customizable to suit your individual needs! I love that! There are bundles for Charlotte Mason, copywork, math, science, history, language arts, middle school, high school, preK and elementary, just for boys, and just for girls. If none of those meet your needs, you can build your own bundle with selections of your choice. Does it get any better than that?

Yes, it does. Why? Because not only does it offer pre-assembled bundles, but you can actually build your own bundle of resources! Perfectly customized and individualized, just like homeschooling!

 

Build Your Bundle Details

The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale is here!
2015 Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale
There are several individual bundles, priced starting at $10. The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale will consist of the following bundles, plus, of course, the BUILD YOUR OWN OPTIONS!! These bundles are full of products from popular publishers!

  • Preschool-Kindergarten
  • 1st-3rd grade (2 bundles!)
  • 4th-6th grade (2 bundles!)
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Notebooking
  • Copywork
  • Unit Studies
  • Just for Boys
  • Just for Girls
  • Character Bundle
  • Just for Moms (2 bundles!)
  • Fine Arts
  • Special Needs Bundle
  • Non-Faith Based/Secular Bundle

 

 

The Build Your Bundle Sale is ONE-WEEK ONLY – May 25th – June 1st 2015.

Don’t miss the BIGGEST homeschooling sale of the year.

Do you use digital homeschool curriculum? Why or why not?

 

Happy homeschooling,

 

Sara (64 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Map Travelers: A Unique Curriculum Approach to Geography and Cultures Study (A Review)

Learning geography is always more fun when there are hands-on projects that allow learners to experience the countries and cultures that they’re learning about. My younger girls and I have been traveling around the world this year studying geography and the cultures of the people who live in the countries that we study. So I was happy to have the opportunity to review Map Travelers, a unit study style geography curriculum.

Map Travelers: A Unit Study Approach to Geography & Cultures for the whole family {review}

Map Travelers is a twenty-one week geography and cultures curriculum. The curriculum is a unit study based curriculum with suggested reading, suggested movies, notebooking pages, and hands-on projects and crafts. It can be used with multiple ages, so it makes a nice family unit study. The variety of activities provides something for every learning style, which also makes it a good fit for most of the children in the family.

At the beginning of the curriculum are some instructions for use and a clickable menu. The menu shows one week of activities for an overview of
the world, and then each week covers a continent or world area. Some continents only have a week. Some have multiple weeks. Clicking on the week’s link takes you to a schedule grid for that week.

Map Travelers Table of Contents     Map Travelers schedule page

As emphasized in a “how to use this” guide at the beginning of the curriculum, these schedules are flexible. There is work scheduled for four days of the week. The work is divided into categories- Country; Project; Recipes; Movies; and Creative. Under each category are ideas suggested for the days of the week. When a project is given, instructions for completing the project are below. Occasionally there are outside links to find instructions or printables.

There is a list of suggested reading for each week’s continent or area. There is also a passport file. This can be printed, and the child can stamp or sticker it as they “travel” to various country. At the end of the curriculum file, there are printable notebooking pages that go with various countries of study and there are printable tickets to place on the pages as the students “travel” to various countries.

Map Travelers sample page Map Travelers passport Map Travelers sample page

My thoughts about Map Travelers:

  • I love unit studies that are designed for the whole family to use. We’ve always enjoyed doing these together.
  • It is very nice to have notebooking pages so that the children will have a nice completed project at the end. I think notebooks and lapbooks are an excellent way for the child to be able to look back and see what they’ve learned.
  • The curriculum is extremely flexible. Although there is a general schedule for each week, this can be easily adapted to use however you like. Right now, I’m using it as a supplement to the geography curriculum we already had. It’s great for this because I can look up the continent or country we’re studying and find other great activity or reading ideas or find notebooking pages to add to our study. It could also be used as a stand alone curriculum. The activities for each week aren’t very time consuming, so you could either take the days as they are scheduled or you could consolidate your geography study into one or two days of the week.
  • I like that there are reading and movie suggestions for the weekly studies. The book suggestions are divided by fiction and nonfiction. I wish there were some grade recommendations for them, so that I could have an idea without having to click on each to see the book (links to Amazon, so you can read details or purchase there).

Map Travelers is a good, flexible geography curriculum that offers reading, notebooking, and hands-on activities. It can be used as a whole family study or with one child or group of children. It’s reasonably priced , and there are options to purchase single continent studies or purchase the whole thing on CD- instead of a digital download. This makes it a good choice for a family geography curriculum.

 

Map Travelers unit study The Facts:

 Curriculum- Map Travelers geography curriculum (available as digital download or CD)

 Price- $19.95 for full digital download (other options available)

 Age recommendation- Any ages

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The Homeschool Post received this unit study at no cost for the purpose of the review. We were not required to write a positive review, nor were we compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are those of the author. We are disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

 

 

Leah (5 Posts)

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.


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Homeschooling in Style!

 

Did you even know that there are many different homeschooling methods, styles, and philosophies?

The biggies are, of course: Charlotte Mason, Montessori, unschooling, classical, Classical Conversations, Christian-based (or Jewish or Islamic-based)….but there is also worldschooling, Waldorf, school-at-home, online or virtual schooling, the Thomas Jefferson Education, notebooking, unit studies, and several more.

Homeschooling in Style ~ Methods, Philosophies, & Styles @hsbapost

Surprisingly, not every homeschooling parent is aware of them. This is especially true in places like the Northeastern US and the UK where I currently live. Here, like the Northeast, home education is still relatively new and parents mostly pull their kids out of school and “resort” to homeschooling as opposed to home edding for thoroughly positive reasons.

In other words, parents in these cases, generally, aren’t being super pro-active, researching all educational options from the get-go….and choosing to home educate.

Why does this matter?

Well if they had taken the research approach there’s a good chance they’d have stumbled across the most prominent homeschooling styles right off the bat. Although admittedly, I did a lot of research myself before discovering some of the above methods.

Just to give you one example, recently I was talking to a “home ed mum” here in London and she excitedly told me she believed in teaching the classics to her kids. Terrific. I commended her and asked if she had ever read The Well-Trained Mind, er the “bible” of classical home education.

She had not and might have even looked at me like my suggestion was unwelcome. Perhaps she thought that teaching the classics was her own original idea!

Oh and she also told me about how they have an entire wall set up where they pencil in, in chronological order, important historical figures and events.

I informed her it’s called a “time line” and that there is much written on how to do it and many available resources. I probed further, “Have you heard of the Charlotte Mason Method?….Have you heard of Classical Conversations?”

Again, the answer was “no”.

Ever helpful, that afternoon I emailed her a bunch of links to look at.

So this, i.e. benign ignorance, is one extreme misapplication or misunderstanding of the various homeschooling methods.

At the other end of the fail spectrum is the parent who chooses ONE philosophy or style and tries to hammer all learning through that window.

For example, one cannot effectively unschool math, chess, or the basics of playing a musical instrument. Okay, you can to an extent, in some ways….but it won’t be as efficient as a more conventional, rigorous, and yes tedious(!), approach.

Just the same, I don’t think a formal education with a whole lot of structure will bring out the complete “artist” in children. I don’t think a Classical education can teach kids computer programming well – in fact Susan Wise Bauer seems to be a bit of a Luddite and that’s totally okay since it doesn’t diminish any of her terrific ideas and resources. Nor do I think 16 year olds are best served by the “learn through play” Montessori approach. (I don’t think young children are either….but that’s a separate argument for another time.)

eclectic

Most veteran homeschoolers – at least the ones I’ve met – if pressed and if knowledgeable of the methods, describe their style as “eclectic” if anything. I would too EXCEPT I hate that characterization. It’s yet another label; it pins me in a box; and I don’t do well in boxes or padded rooms for that matter! In fact, “eclectic” is listed in many places as an explicit homeschooling method when I’d argue that it is a non-method. Whatever. This may seem like a mere semantic argument but I submit there’s a kernel of importance in it – perhaps like the difference between a non-denominational church and an all-denominational church. I myself prefer the later description.

What methods and styles should you employ?

Well that will depend on you and your kids’ long term goals.

And of course those will change over time, from subject to subject, and from child to child.

So do your research, keep an open mind,….and now go Google the method I mentioned above, that you didn’t know existed, smartypants!

 

Dan (10 Posts)

Husband to Inez. Father of John and Christine. Homeschool Coach, Accelerated Math Teacher. Former derivatives trader and future scratch golfer! Follow our learning adventures at HomeschoolDad.com.


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