Picking favorites has always been difficult for me, especially when I’m asked to make a list of my Top Three or even Top Ten things in any category. How do I narrow it down when there are so many things I like? So when I was asked to come up with a list of my Five Favorite Homeschool Resources, I decided I’d better go with five broad types of resources other than curriculum that are must-haves for our homeschool. (I didn’t list coffee, although I wanted to!)
Five Favorite Homeschool Resources
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Computer and Internet Access (and a printer)
It’s hard to imagine homeschooling without a computer and internet these days, isn’t it? Even though we don’t do a lot of online curriculum, we use our devices and the internet all day every day. We do some school using online resources like No-Nonsense Algebra and SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Obviously when we need to do research, the internet is invaluable. We use tools like Google Documents almost every day. We even keep in touch when we are not schooling in the same place (for instance, I’m at work and the student is at home) by messaging online!
To learn well, I believe one needs to be comfortable, and the definition of a comfortable learning environment isn’t the same for every student. Kids don’t all work best at a desk or table; or at least not for every subject on every day. My oldest did most of his high school work sitting or lying on the sofa in the family room. My middle two generally used a desk to do their work, but not always. If they had a lot of reading, they would usually lie down to do that. And now my youngest does some work sitting in bed, some sitting on the floor in her room, and tries to do her reading lying in bed. Just when I’d started to think she used her desk only to hold her stuff, she did start doing some work there too. Turns out she’s most productive when sitting on the floor, as long as she is warm enough. I figure as long as the work is getting done, it’s all good.
Yes, we homeschool, but that certainly doesn’t mean we spend all our time at home! We also learn at co-op classes, chorus rehearsals, music lessons, and more, so a vehicle to get us there is essential. Sometimes we’ve even used the drive time to listen to an audio drama or something like memorizing poetry.
Supportive Homeschool Community
Those co-op classes are just part of the resource pool available through our local homeschool community. Over the years we’ve also enjoyed gym classes, field trips, and many special activities; and through all of those things we’ve all found the most wonderful friends. I also value the online homeschool community found through blogs (like this one!) and various homeschool forums.
Planning and Organization Tools
Organization skills do not come naturally to me, so resources that help me get the job done efficiently are greatly appreciated. The Google calendar helps me keep track of where everyone needs to be and at what time; and I can access it anywhere. And I do my grading and record-keeping on the cloud, using Homeschool Tracker Online. This website has been my best friend for keeping track of assignments and due dates, grades, resource lists, credit hours, lesson plans, course descriptions, and more for at least ten years and I’d be lost without it.