Of America and war (2012 curriculum fair)

Ages of my kids at home: 15 and 11 1/2
Educational Philosophy Influences: Literature-based, Eclectic, College-Bound

I am so excited about this upcoming year! I have always maintained that educational flexibility is the highlight of home education, and 2012-13 will be one of those years that embraces flexibility.

Shouldn’t education be crafted by creativity, rather than squished into a box labeled “scope and sequence”?

For me, part of the joy in homeschooling my kids comes with the designing, the knowing that my kids get an individualized education plan that suits them perfectly.

So here is what I have planned for my two at-home kids:
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Buffet-Style Homeschooling (2012 Curriculum Fair)

One of the most common complaints I hear from new-to-homeschooling moms is, “There are so many choices! I just need somebody to tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

Well, I’ve got news for you, Mamas. Choosing a curriculum is just the beginning.

Several curricula actually offer choices within their content. They provide a myriad of activities, books, and assignments on a topic and allow you, the teacher, to choose what works best for your kids.

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of learning! With these “buffet-style” curricula homeschooling is like a “choose your own adventure” novel in living color!

In preparation for using a buffet-style curriculum when my children got older, I used Before Five In A Row for preschool. Each week we read one book and then had several different activities to choose from that related to that book.  This gave me a chance to practice picking and choosing before I felt all the stress of “What if I pick wrong and they never learn the date of the Battle of Hastings and I ruin them forever????”

I loved the flexibility this type of curriculum offered. I’d read all of the options and decide what we were in the mood for that week. If I thought I could handle a craft without my head or the glitter exploding, we’d do that. If the science option looked more fun, we’d choose that. Anything I chose centered around our book of the week so it all tied together for my kids. I couldn’t make a WRONG choice.
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Piecing Together a First Grade Education (2012 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinite learners

Ages of my children: 7, 4, & 1
Educational philosophies I pull from: Unschooling, Literature-based, Enki, Montessori

We are a young homeschooling family and have only recently started to explore formal curriculum. In the early years we find that focusing on a healthy and enriching home environment along with the patience to let little ones explore at their own pace is more than optimal.

However, a few things changed this past fall:

  • my son turned seven and was actively seeking out more stimulation,
  • New York State Laws require that we begin turning in our plans and reporting on progress, and
  • I started a new job working from home.

The combination of of these changes led us to seek out curriculum tools to help us cover the basics. We started out simple: math and reading.
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Transition from Interest-Led Elementary to Middle School Years (2012 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Ages of my children: (almost) 13, 11, and 9
Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Literature-Based, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling

Our family has gone through a lot of change in the past year. We moved to a different country and have lived in three different provinces or states in the past twelve months.

My husband now works at home and our nearly thirteen-year-old daughter is going through her own monumental life change, moving from childhood to young adulthood.

These life transitions naturally affected our homeschool routines and the resources we use.

A couple of significant homeschool changes worth mentioning:

  1. We are English speakers now living in a francophone province. There is very limited English public library service where we live so we access more online resources than ever before.
  2. My husband takes a much more active part in our homeschool since moving. Specifically in the areas of his interests – computer programming, science and technology in general.

I’ve broken down our homeschool curriculum by subject, though in application we don’t live our days studying “subjects” so much as investigating, exploring and diving into our interests.
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Trail Guide to Learning (Curriculum Fair 2012)

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Children’s ages: 16, 12, and 10
Educational Philosophy Influences: Classical, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic

I‘m really excited about the 2012-2013 school year! That’s because we’ll be continuing with curriculum that we found this year – curriculum that we love! Trail Guide to Learning. My older daughter will be continuing with Switched on Schoolhouse, which works well for her in this season of her educational life.

We began using Trail Guide to Learning (Paths of Settlement) in January of this year and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Trail Guide, published by the folks at Geography Matters, is an all-inclusive curriculum that covers everything except math.

I never thought I was an all-inclusive curriculum kind of gal, so I was a little skeptical about trying it. However, we were really floundering for a history curriculum that my kids would enjoy and Trail Guide sounded like what I had in mind – heavy on biographies and historical fiction, with lots of hands-on learning.

I was in seventh heaven when the UPS showed up with “the big box.”
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