Last week I shared on Instagram that I’m homeschooling my children for the 2020-2021 school year. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but after many hours of research, meetings, and emails with my kids school, I knew it was the best option for my children. I wanted to share all of the homeschool materials we’re using for those of you who are also considering homeschooling your children or looking for supplemental material.
Homeschooling Materials: Curricula
Selecting a homeschool curriculum for my children was challenging for me. As a mom new to homeschooling, I didn’t know where to start, but I leaned on some of the moms I interviewed in this post. Ultimately, I decided on Time4Learning and Oh Freedom! A Conscious US History Curriculum (mainly for my 5th grader).
Time4Learning is a secular online curriculum and learning program. Before we officially started homeschool on September 1st, we tried out Time4Learning for one week to ensure it would be a good fit for us. The kids immediately loved it! Time4Learning makes the lessons fun for both kids and covers four subject areas language arts, math, science, and social studies. Time4Learning costs $40 monthly for both kids.
You can customize Time4Leaning to suit your family’s needs. This includes setting the length of their lesson times, playground time (they have educational games under this section), your school year dates, re-take quiz score, etc.
The kids and I have separate logins, and we’ve found the dashboard is user-friendly on both ends for us. My only issue is Time4Learning sometimes freezes in the middle of instruction or a quiz. I’ve contacted them, and they suggested using Google Chrome, but that doesn’t seem to prevent it.
Time4Learning also offers foreign languages as an elective, Time4Languages. My son signed up for Spanish while my daughter is taking French. Other languages offered include Chinese (Mandarin), German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, and Latin. It’s $59.95 per student for 6 months and powered by Rosetta Stone.
My friend Bianca Dottin, who homeschools, pointed out that one of Time4Learning best features is recordkeeping. Here in NY, I’m required to submit quarterly reports. Using Time4Learning, I can generate reports of the work the kids completed on the website.
Oh Freedom! A Conscious US History Curriculum
I majored in History and African American Studies in college, so I wanted a history curriculum for my kids with an African American emphasis created by a Black homeschooling mom, Delina Pryce McPhaull. I’m excited about Oh Freedom! A Conscious US History Curriculum. It was $40 and is a digital download; I purchased the secular version. We’re going to be using a few textbooks with this curriculum that I bought on Amazon. I think this curriculum is also a good option as a supplement if your kids are enrolled in school.
If you don’t think either curriculm would work for you, Eva Wilson of Socamom did an excellent video in her new and very informative homeschool Facebook group on choosing a homeschool curriculum.
Homeschooling Materials: Online Classes
The kids started taking online classes over the summer break to keep them engaged and prevent summer slide. I needed to incorporate them into our homeschool plan for the year as I am juggling a lot and caring for my toddler and running a business. The kids started Outschool classes in August. Outschool offers both ongoing as well as individual courses. They’re affordable, the class sizes are usually about 4-6 kids, and the teachers make them fun and exciting. This quarter, the kids are taking ongoing Math, French, Art, STEM, and ukulele.
The cost of classes does add up, so if you’re not in a financial space to pay for them, Outschool offers financial assistance for eligible families. Get more information here. Like Time4Learning, you can also download a transcript from Outschool for record keeping.
Use this link to get a $20 credit towards your child’s first Outschool class.
My kids started taking CodeAdvantage classes over the summer. Initially, it was a partnership that I shared here on my Instagram. They teach coding in live interactive courses where the kids can get immediate feedback. My kids loved the classes and have been coding daily on code.org since. I signed them up to continue coding classes at CodeAdvantage this fall. Use the code rattlesandheels20 for $20 off of a coding class.
Homeschooling Materials: Workbooks
Even when they were enrolled in school, my kids always used workbooks for practice so naturally I got them a few for homeschool:
Highlights Big Fun Books Second Grade Big Fun Workbook
We also use YouTube, Disney+, games, puzzles, Time4Kids, National Geographic books for learning. As I learn my kids learning styles over the next few months, I’m sure I will add or change so of the homeschool materials we’re doing. Of course, I will continue to share more about our homeschool journey as these changes occur.