Day 5: Suddenly-Homeschooling? Here’s your CRASH-COURSE-GUIDE to get you started! (resources included)

IMG_4186 - Copy~Our 19 DAY JOURNEY of inspiration, activities, and resources continues!~

Nobody planned for this. Who would have thought to have an emergency supply of teaching curriculum on hand?

As a homeschool mom, I get a lot of comments about how what I’m doing must be so hard. Well, now what we homeschool parents do day to day looks pretty easy compared to the Suddenly-Homeschooling-Family (everyone else)! We planned and prepared for weeks, maybe even months before we started homeschooling. We thought it over and made pro-con lists! (Or at least I did.) We read blogs and books about homeschooling styles and standards. We gathered supplies, curriculum, materials, and set up our adorable school corners. Some of us even had the practice of being teachers before we signed up for teaching our own kid(s)!

So here it is! The reason you probably subscribed in the first place (unless you are related to me in which case you had no choice): your CRASH-COURSE where-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-start HOMESCHOOLING GUIDE.

IMG_5769 - CopyForeword: The biggest threat to your homeschooling efforts (in my opinion) ? Getting OVERWHELMED.

If you search for homeschool curriculum or activity ideas on Google or Pinterest, you will be BOMBARDED with all kinds of incredible (and often time-intensive, exhausting, and/or expensive) ideas all luring you with amazingly inspiring photos. I’ve been homeschooling for three years now, and I get overwhelmed about once a day! There are just so many options! You have the freedom to educate your kids in virtually any style, with any curriculum, and on any schedule of your choosing! Which is the best? Which will you and your kids enjoy the most? Which is the least amount of work? AND WHAT IS ALL OF THIS GOING TO COST? It’s a LOT to sort through. So I’ve laid out a streamlined guide so you can expedite this process and get going on your Suddenly-Homeschooling-Journey in a fraction of the time (and hopefully a fraction of the cost and headache as well)!

IMG_5397 - CopySTEP 1: PICK YOUR SCHOOL STYLE/MODEL

By discovering which education model best agrees with you and your kids, you will be narrowing your resource search results to only those that match your family’s style! That means less time, less sifting, and less confusion! To help you out, I’ve prepared a summary for you of the six most common education models that you will come across. First up, I have a QUICK-VIEW COMPARISON CHART. Then, I have provided more detail with a description of what each education model/style looks like “at-a-glance”, summarized its key distinguishing characteristics and takeaways, and included my own lists of pros and cons for each (which of course are highly individual). Read through the descriptions and choose which one you think best fits your style, your kid(s)’ style, your schedule, and your budget. OR: cherry-pick from each and create your own fusion (as we have done for ~Our Holistic Homeschool~)!

Want to view my QUICK-VIEW COMPARISON CHART? Click Here: What Education Model is Best for My Family

1.) MONTESSORI:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children moving about at own will, selecting prepared trays from open shelves to work on individually or in pairs and at own pace. 

IMG_6612 - CopyKEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • hands-on learning
  • parent teacher facilitates learning by providing minimal lessons and preparing trays
  • student-chosen activities/trays
  • emphasis on practical life activities
  • emphasis on realism (discourages fantasy until age six)
  • does not require a set curriculum
  • does not use textbooks
  • scheduled windows, no specific subjects or schedule
  • does not include “board learning”, “drilling” or memorization work
  • no worksheets, no homework, no quizzes, no tests
  • reading and writing are made available and encouraged for young children, and are the main focuses for tray materials for older children
  • does not use computers

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • appeals to most children
    • allows parent teacher to observe rather than directly teach
    • eliminates homework battle
    • eliminates time spent grading
    • includes the arts
    • provides a no-pressure atmosphere for the child
  • CONS
    • material intensive (can be time or cost intensive)
    • may provide too much freedom for older children or those not conditioned to be self-motivated learners
    • the avoidance of fiction and imaginative play may not be acceptable to some parents and childrenIMG_5714 (2)

2.) WALDORF:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children moving about at own will, often outside, selecting raw, natural, or imaginative materials for playing and working with.

IMG_5700 (2)KEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • play-based learning (often imaginative)
  • raw materials provided for unstructured play
  • teacher facilitates learning by providing minimal lessons and preparing materials and environment
  • student-chosen materials/activities
  • emphasis on nature and life-skills such as bread-baking
  • emphasis on fantasy and imagination for all ages
  • strong emphasis on the arts
  • does not require a set curriculum
  • does not use textbooks
  • scheduled windows, no specific subjects or schedule
  • does not include “board learning”, “drilling” or memorization work
  • no worksheets, no homework, no quizzes, no tests
  • reading and writing are made available and encouraged for all ages
  • does not use computers

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • appeals to most children
    • allows parent teacher to observe rather than directly teach
    • parent teacher does not need to prepare as many trays (as in Montessori)
    • eliminates homework battle
    • eliminates time spent grading
    • includes the arts
    • provides a no-pressure atmosphere for the child
  • CONS
    • material intensive (can be cost intensive)
    • may provide too much freedom for older children or those not conditioned to be self-motivated learners
    • lack of set schedule may be unsettling to some children
    • imaginative involvement may be hard for some parents to commit to
    • may be difficult for new parent teachers to incorporate core subjectsIMG_5787 - Copy

3.) CHARLOTTE MASON & LITERATURE-BASED LEARNING:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children reading and/or being read to from “living” or realism/life-giving literature, and interacting with corresponding literature-themed trays, activities, or assignments.

IMG_4180 - CopyKEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • literature-based learning (uses “living books”; books that are realism-based and rich in their text)
  • cross-curricular learning usually tied to reading material
  • themed learning centered on current reading
  • does not require a set curriculum
  • does not include text books
  • usually has somewhat of set schedule or loose/flexible schedule, and incorporates other subjects or links them to literature
  • can include “board learning”, “drilling” or memorization work but usually of interest, or tied to meaningful literature
  • homework, worksheets, quizzes, and tests may or may not be used
  • secondary focus on writing: reports, essays, research
  • strong emphasis on the arts, nature, and practical skills
  • computers may or may not be used

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • easy for both parent teacher and student to adapt to
    • appeals to most children if the chosen reading material is of interest
    • does not require a set curriculum
    • does not require textbooks
    • easy to incorporate history and science in reading material
    • is bonding for parent and child
    • is focused, simple, and not overwhelming
    • includes the arts
    • provides a low to medium pressure atmosphere for kids
  • CONS
    • is book intensive (may require book purchases for families with small home libraries)
    • may be difficult to include math and higher level sciences (may need to supplement)
    • may provide less free movement than Montessori or Waldorf
    • may be considered less hands-on and play-based than Montessori or Waldorfcharlotte - Copy

4.) CLASSICAL EDUCATION:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children sitting at desks and taking notes, raising hands to answer questions, reading, writing, or working on projects of a classical nature.

IMG_9044 (2)KEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • learning that focuses on “mastery” of all core subjects, with a classical style
  • requires a set curriculum
  • uses text books
  • relies heavily on “board learning”, “drilling” and memorization work
  • worksheets and homework are given
  • quizzes and tests are used
  • focuses on writing: reports, essays, research
  • computers may or may not be used

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • format is usually familiar for most parents and kids
    • does not require much preparation of materials or environment
    • incorporates all core subjects
    • includes the arts
    • may appeal to kids who love traditional learning methods
    • easy to gauge mastery
  • CONS
    • may not appeal to children who struggle with traditional learning methods
    • requires a set curriculum
    • requires text books
    • requires a good deal of direct teaching time
    • provides a medium to high pressure atmosphere for kids
    • requires grading time
    • may include homework battles
    • is book intensive (may require book purchases for families with small home libraries)
    • less hands-on and play-based than Montessori or Waldorf
    • may be too stationary for very active kids (may need to supplement with more active learning techniques or lots of movement time)IMG_4880

5.) STANDARD/TRADITIONAL EDUCATION:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children sitting at desks or at computers, taking notes, raising hands to answer questions, reading, writing, or working on a project.

IMG_9034 (2)KEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • learning that focuses on “mastery” of all core subjects
  • requires a set curriculum known as common core
  • uses text books
  • relies heavily on “smart board learning”, “drilling” and memorization work
  • worksheets and homework are given
  • quizzes and tests are used
  • focuses on writing: reports, essays, research
  • uses computers as a key part of education

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • format is usually familiar for most parents and kids
    • does not require much preparation of materials or environment
    • incorporates all core subjects
    • usually does not include the arts
    • may appeal to kids who love traditional learning methods
    • may appeal to kids who love computers
    • easy to gauge mastery
  • CONS
    • may not appeal to children who struggle with traditional learning methods
    • requires a set common core curriculum (which some parents are adverse to)
    • requires textbooks
    • requires a good deal of direct teaching time
    • provides a medium to high pressure atmosphere for kids
    • requires grading time
    • may include homework battles
    • less hands-on and play-based than Montessori or Waldorf
    • does not include the arts
    • may be too stationary for very active kids (may need to supplement with more active learning techniques or lots of movement time)IMG_9045 (2)

6.) UNSCHOOLING (yes, it’s a thing) & PROJECT-BASED LEARNING:

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT-A-GLANCE: children reading, writing, researching, building, playing, daydreaming, or doing whatever interests them in that moment or whatever project they have been working on.

IMG_4030 (2)KEY CHARACTERISTICS

  • self-led, interest-led, project-based learning
  • requires no lesson plans or curriculum
  • does not use text books
  • does not include “board learning”, “drilling” or memorization work
  • no worksheets, homework, quizzes or tests
  • reading and writing are made available and encouraged
  • many card and board games made readily available 
  • may or may not use computers

PROS & CONS

  • PROS
    • appeals to most children
    • works for children who are self-motivated learners
    • allows parent teacher to observe rather than directly teach
    • parent teacher does not need to prepare activities or trays
    • does not require curriculum
    • does not require textbooks
    • eliminates homework battle
    • eliminates time spent grading
    • includes the arts
    • provides a no-pressure atmosphere for the child
  • CONS
    • may provide too much freedom for older children or those not conditioned to be self-motivated learners
    • free-form involvement may be worrisome or hard for some parents to commit to
    • lack of schedule may be unsettling for some children
    • may be difficult for new parent teachers to incorporate core subjectsIMG_5706

STEP 2: create a SCHOOL SCHEDULE

Did you choose your style above or create your own customized fusion? Come on, make up your mind already!!! You need to decide before you can adequately make up your SCHOOL SCHEDULE. Below, I’ve written out a sample of what your schedule might resemble based on which style you chose (or created).IMG_6615 - Copy (2)

*Opening Exercise Ceremony= school songs and repetitions for memory (such as ABCs, times tables, states/capitals, Bible Verses, The Pledge of Allegiance, Continents of the World, etc.) usually done in a circle (as in Montessori and Waldorf) or done at a board (as in Classical Education and Standard/Traditional Education).

Montessori: a selected window of time for school to take place in where children move freely about between school “areas”, perhaps with a set opening exercise ceremony at the beginning and end of each school session.

Waldorf: a selected window of time for school to take place in where children move freely about, often outdoors, and select available raw/natural/imaginative play materials to interact with, perhaps with a set opening exercise ceremony at the beginning and end of each school session.

Charlotte Mason/ Literature-Based Learning: a set but flexible schedule, beginning with an opening exercise ceremony, set read-aloud and solitary reading times, set times for incorporating other core subjects as well as art and outdoor time.

Classical Education: a set schedule, beginning with an opening exercise ceremony, and a set schedule involving lessons, text books, and worksheets/assignments for all core school subjects as well as the arts. Usually includes solitary reading time.

Standard/Traditional Education: a set schedule, with or without an opening exercise ceremony, and a set schedule involving lessons, text books, computers, and worksheets/assignments for all core school subjects, not including the arts. Usually includes solitary reading time.

Unschooling: no set schedule, though you may choose to include a window when “unschooling” activities may occur (unless you are cool with robotics at bedtime).

Fusion Education (as we have done in ~Our Holistic Homeschool~!): cherry-pick what you like from any of the education models to customize your very own style!

What ~Our Holistic Homeschool~ fusion looks like: Opening Exercise Ceremony (songs and repetitions), Write Away Time (various writing materials- Montessori as well as workbooks and handwriting practice), Cozy Corner (my son reads an Early Reader to me, then I read aloud our current chapter book and a corresponding nonfiction cross-curricular picture book for Science or History), Tray Time (Montessori trays for various subjects including Language Arts and Mathematics as well as a game or puzzle option each day), Movement & Music Time (kids’ gym with school songs or classical music pieces and musical instruments), and then we end with Art before lunch. The rest of the day is “unschooled”.


Step 3: Gather your resources, materials, and supplies

cropped-img_537812.jpgSTART HERE!!! Whatever style education method you chose, the first thing I would recommend as you begin searching for resources is that you sign up for a FREE HOMESCHOOL PARENT TEACHER ACCOUNT on Teachers Pay Teachers. Click Here: teacherspayteachers.com

Currently, lot of teaching curriculum and resources are sold out on Amazon!! Who ever saw that one coming?? But at TeachersPayTeachers, the products are created by teachers for teachers and are digital downloads, so they can’t run out! And better yet, because every teacher who sells on the site is required to post at least one free product, there are THOUSANDS OF FREE RESOURCE PRODUCTS TO DOWNLOAD. All you have to do is select paid or free, select your child’s grade, and type in what subject/content you are looking for. In addition, you can narrow the search immensely by including what education model you are looking for.

General Supplies: lined paper (large ruled for littles), pencils, colored pencils, books/literature/free-reading material, art materials.

Montessori: if you are going to homeschool in a Montessori Style, THIS IS THE BOOK YOU WILL NEED for preschoolers, click here: Amazon Prime, and THIS IS THE BOOK YOU WILL NEED for grade schoolers and middle schoolers, click here: Amazon Prime. It’s basically your non-curriculum curriculum guide. And it’s awesome, and easy to follow. You will also need to purchase or make various elements for the tray materials as outlined excellently in these two books.

Waldorf: you will need scarves, figures and raw materials for “small world play”, and lots of wooden and natural toys. You may also want to include some Montessori materials for a stronger emphasis on core subjects, particularly if you have older kids.

Charlotte Mason/ Literature-Based Learning: the first things you need are BOOKS; literature/fiction and cross-curricular/nonfiction titles preferably linked by a thematic unit. For example, a Charlotte’s Web week may look like reading Charlotte’s Web and then nonfiction books about farming, spiders, and pigs. Secondly, you may want to order yourself the Charlotte Mason curriculum if you want to follow a guide.

Classical Education: you will want to select a curriculum first, for which there are LOTS of options! But that selection should occur first since each will have it’s own list of materials, text books, literature, and supplies that it requires.

Standard/Traditional Education: you will want to select a curriculum first, for which there are LOTS of options! But this form of education is the least specific of the six I have described, so you can start with ordering any grade level workbooks you can find that are aligned with common core.

Unschooling: you will want a wide selection of materials on hand for making things, crafting, writing, as well as free reading materials, etc. You will also want to have a lot of card and board games on hand.

DOWNLOAD MY FREE LESSON PLAN TEMPLATES here: Day 15: LESSON PLANS: “more like guidelines rather than actual rules!” (printable templates included)

794C4719-8E61-4915-972A-5DAAE86BA0E7


Step 4: (you’re almost done!!) Designate your SCHOOL SPACE

I was homeschooled growing up, along with my four brothers and sisters. We had a beautiful (and large) homeschool room complete with vintage wooden desks, 1960’s jumbo-sized ABC mounts on the walls, a truly giant art cupboard, abundant book shelves, and a charming green chalkboard. Everyday, we started school with our Opening Exercises in our school room, and then, somehow, about an hour into the school day, we ended up…. you guessed it…. at the dining room table. There is just something about being close to your mom while she is cooking in the kitchen (especially if she is baking bread like mine was). We also always ended up on the couch for reading time.

So, if you don’t have the space or time to create a school room, don’t sweat! Your dining room table may work just as well. We do not have a homeschool room either since we live in an apartment. Instead, we have set up school areas and corners throughout our all-in-one living and dining room for varying activities/contents. Mostly, you need a place for everything to “live”. Below are tips according to which education model/style you chose.

Montessori: 

  • open shelf/shelves for Montessori trays
  • area for opening exercises
  • area for movement
  • area for writing and art

Waldorf: 

  • open shelf/shelves with baskets with various materials and toys
  • area for opening exercises
  • area for movement and outdoor space
  • area for writing and art

Charlotte Mason/ Literature-Based Learning:

  • area for opening exercises
  • area for reading
  • desk/table for writing and assignments
  • area for art and outdoor space

Classical Education: 

  • area for opening exercises
  • area for lessons (usually a whiteboard or chalkboard or smartboard)
  • desk/table for lessons, writing, and assignments
  • area for reading
  • area for art

Standard/Traditional Education:

  • optional area for opening exercises
  • area for lessons (usually a whiteboard or chalkboard or smartboard)
  • desk/table for lessons, writing, and assignments
  • optional area for reading (usually done at desk or table in standard education)
  • optional area for art

Unschooling:

  • open shelves, or baskets, or cupboards to house a wide range of materials
  • creative space for playing, reading, writing, art, and projectsIMG_5296 - Copy

Happy Homeschooling! (breathe, you’ve got this)

You may want to check out my other homeschool posts here: “SUDDENLY-HOMESCHOOLING” Archive

Comment below what education model/style (or fusion) you chose!

Please pass this on to another SUDDENLY-HOMESCHOOLING-FAMILY!

 

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

 

5 Replies to “Day 5: Suddenly-Homeschooling? Here’s your CRASH-COURSE-GUIDE to get you started! (resources included)”

  1. Each of these “days” has enough information for a week! The pros and cons listed for each style are so helpful! The lucky young parents reading this! And I apologize for all the traditional schooling I shoveled on your desk.

    Liked by 1 person

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