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I'm new to this board. I'm just dipping my toe into homeschooling, my oldest is still enrolled in a public school, but am working with my youngest on education at home. I would like to full-time homeschool them both in the future.
I've been looking at curriculum for months now, and I feel that they would do best with unit studies, but I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by them. We have tons of libraries and of course the internet, so I would like to avoid having to pay a lot of money if I don't need to for now, so I'm trying to research into making my own unit studies. Has anyone had experience with this?
With your kids ages, have you looked into Five in a Row? There are lots of free resources for this curriculum. My girls loved it! We did it from kindy through second grade. You just need to add in a math and reading curriculum. I like that it introduced the kids to a wide range of subjects and was easy for me to implement. Lots of online resources if I wanted them. My girls loved doing it and we had a great time without me feeling like I needed to reinvent the wheel every week! I plan on doing it again in a few yrs with my boys.
I've heard the name thrown out a few times, but haven't really looked into it much for the boys. Looking over the website, it mentions that the stories chosen are from a "Christian worldview", and I'm wondering if anyone could tell me if that's a very strong theme? Other than that it might be just what I'm looking for! Thanks!
I wouldn't say they are Christian! I can only think of one book with a religious slant and it was obvious. The book was called "Clown of God"! I think it was a Catholic leaning. I simply explained a cathedral to the kids. Most of the books were cultural or historical. In one it does mention her dad wrapping her up in a burlap sack and placing her in a wagon to go to church as she didn't have a coat. It helped explain the significance of the fabric.
I'd look at the book lists and look over some of the books at the library. I've found that the majority of "Christian" homeschooling materials have nothing religious in them! I find a lot of religion forced into a curriculum to be mildly offensive. That said I use a lot of Christian materials. My favorites are Amish/Mennonite! They contain no religion, but good old fashioned farming community. My kids loved their readers as they are about life on a farm. For kids in the suburbs, they were thrilled!
I'm typically pretty cynical with what is considered Christian. I don't like what feels like far fetched religion forced on my kids. Which is funny seeing how I use a very Christian curriculum now for my oldest kids, but we use it our way and tweak when I feel its going too far.
We are LDS and religious in a way that's different than a lot of other main stream Christians. I find a lot of religious materials to cheapen our beliefs by making religious themes too commonplace or stretching the theme to the vpoint where it feels meaningless. I'm not describing myself well at all right now. I like my religious instruction to come straight from scripture vs. Interpretation by a curriculum committee. I think in the end, my choices would probably be similar to a non Christian or an Atheist that is open to exposing their children to a wide view of culture. My dad is an Atheist and if he was in my home, I'd have no problem with having him read any of our FIAR books. He is open to cultures, but doesn't believe in any higher deity. In our home I like to expose my children to different religions and cultures. FIAR was great at exposing snippets of culture from a child's view in a different culture.
I'd look into it yourself and see if you can tweak it for your needs. I honestly think it would fit your family, but only you would know for sure. For my kids younger yrs I was very anti Christian curriculum. I felt that FIAR was very secular without the bible supplement that I didn't buy. I am also fascinated with world cultures and religions, so take that into consideration.
I don't use a unit study approach, so I can't give you personal insights into these, but look at KONOS, Weaver, and Tapestry of Grace as well. They're all Christian, but I don't know to what extent. Look at Cathy Duffy's reviews site as well... she does a good job of telling you what's what, usually.
In the beginning, I created our unit studies and used resources from the library. One book I enjoyed to get ideas from, was "Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom" by Judy Herr. As our boys got older, I began borrowing ideas from many websites and other blogs. Pinterest lists many ideas from blogs and websites that you can use. We have purchased some mini theme units from Currclick in the past.
Last year we began using Five in a Row. There are ideas that are offered with some books mentioned but you can always omit that area. There is a Five in a Row blog roll at Delightful Learning. It is worth looking at to give you some ideas at how others are using Five in a Row before you commit to purchasing it. If you decide to purchase it, the new copies are in digital format but you can always find used copies online at Ebay, Homeschool Classifieds and message boards.
Best of luck in your homeschool journey.
Sandra. Wife to Timothy and Homeschool mom to Michael and Matthew
Married for 14+ years to the love of my life. Currently TTCing.
My school age kids are 4 and 5, and we do a lot of unit studies (although at times we also do math and reading separately). I haven't paid for a unit study yet! I made a list of topics I thought we should cover and that we would enjoy, and searched the library, pinterest, blogs, etc from there