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Many parents recognize the benefits of homeschooling their children, and one of those benefits can be the control that they have over the curriculum. However, finding the time to design and administer lessons and activities that appropriately challenge students can be a challenge for busy families. Thatís where homeschooling tools from books to manipulatives can come into play.
Textbooks, Workbooks, and Teacherís Guides
Homeschooling textbooks and workbooks are designed to address core educational standards for the subjects and grade levels they apply to, which can help parents ensure that their children are learning at a pace and covering material that will make them competitive with peers who may be attending public or private schools or participating in other homeschool programs.
Although some homeschooling parents are formally trained as educators, others are not. Regardless of their level of experience as teachers, teacherís guides are great resources for the homeschool classroom. Many contain much more than just answer keys to textbook problems such as tips for teaching certain concepts and ideas for activities that complement readings. For language arts, Pearson Learning offers the Comprehension Plus Series of textbooks with student and teacher editions. Each textbook contains a series of lessons with detailed instructions and practice exercises. Modern Curriculum Pressís Plaid Phonics Workbooks, Spelling Workout Workbooks, and Math Workbooks also help homeschoolers fill the need for guidance and practice exercises in their at-home classrooms by offering complete programs.
Software, CDs, Kits, and Other Educational Tools
Students can benefit from multiple modes of learning whether at public or private schools or studying at home. Software, CDs, kits and other items help engage students as they learn subject matter and practice skills. Homeschoolers can depart from traditional lecture or standard skill-and-drill activities when suitable. Software, CDs, kits and other classroom items help them do so. Educators who put these learning tools to use arenít under pressure to constantly be entertaining; and students who use these tools are able to actively engage with material and participate in activities that aid memorization without completing repetitive worksheets. An advantage of software programs is that they often offer immediate feedback to student responses, so students know if they are on the right track early in their practice sessions. Religion-based programs are also available, with Switched on Schoolhouse offering a software program for homeschooling students with a Christian curriculum.
Homeschooling kits can offer educators a thoughtfully designed series of lessons that builds logically on one another to help meet learning goals. Saxon Educational Materials offers kits for homeschooling such as the Saxon Math Grade 1 Homeschool Kit, which contains a teacherís manual detailing 130 lessons, a studentís meeting book for practice exercises and visual aids, and student workbooks with fact cards for additional study. Some teacherís guides will simply list the items needed for each lesson, but kits can package those items along with their guides. For example, the Saxon Math K-3 Manipulatives Kit includes a teacherís guide with counting games and a variety of manipulatives appropriate to each grade level. These manipulatives include student clocks, pattern blocks, dominoes, linking cubes, color tiles, and rulers.
Students benefit from goal-oriented programs that build knowledge and skills whether attending school at home or at public or private schools. Purchasing complete homeschooling curricula or supplementing personally designed lesson plans with textbooks, workbooks, and other tools designed for homeschool use can help educators guide students through increasingly challenging concepts.