I have many families who write me and need to start home educating fast. Usually their circumstances have not led to them having time to plan way in advance. This is the Becky Boerner Quick Start Guide to home education. It is a way to start home educating within a few days of deciding to home educate and/or something to do while you search for the perfect curriculum. It is a bare bones approach that will see you through for a season, or longer if you continue to add to it.
I am going to divide this Quick Start Up by subject and age. Please feel free to post comments or ask questions. I will update this post throughout the year and it will be a living document.
You have two kinds of K-8 readers. Those who are learning to read, and those who are reading to learn.
K and up Learning to Read.
With students who are learning to read I suggest 10-15 minutes of phonics reading instruction per day. You are better off to do 10 minutes everyday than 30 one day, and then skip 5 days and then do more. Small amounts of time done consistently will win the race.
I like Alpha Phonics. It is easy to follow and I have had good success with it. You can use BOB books as beginning readers for your student. In this post I discuss more phonics options.
K and up. You need a library card. Ask your librarian if you can acquire a teacher card. A teacher card usually allows you to check out a great deal more books, and sometimes there are no fines. If you are looking for good books to read out-loud or have your child read Sarah Clarkson has a book called The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition She lists books and gives summaries so you are able to choose what you would like to read. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition by Jim Trelease is another book that lists books to read.
K-6 You need to teach basic math. Addition, Subtraction,Multiplication, Division, Shapes, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry. A quick and easy program is MCP Mathematics. Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, and Sixth Grade. They are basic books that will get you started.
7-12- Mastering Essentials in Math. This is a good basic book to catch you up on math.
Another place to go for math help is Kahn Academy . They have a wonderful feature which includes a summary page you can print to keep track of what your child accomplishes each year.
The most important thing you can do to improve your students writing is to have your student journal every day. In their journal they can write about what they did today, what they learned, their favorite . . . , their future plans, pets, friends, etc. Any grade can do this. Get a simple notebook like this.
If you have little kids than get one like this.They can draw pictures and write on the same page.
If you want to do a spelling/vocabulary program, Modern Curriculum Press or MCP is reasonably priced one. Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6,
World History K-8
Studying History is a serious business in the home education community. People have many opinions on what should be included, what time line to use, and which viewpoint to consider. I have my own personal beliefs, but I am respectful of all opinions and beliefs. So please decide for yourself what is best for your family. Please remember this is the "I need a curriculum fast guide." If you need to think and study about this before making a choice please do. But, if you need a basic history text fast read on.
The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is a series for younger children. It is student friendly and also has worksheet and activities available. It is dividend up chronologically into four books that are each designed to last for one year. You read them aloud or your child can read them. Each book is usually under $15.
Also you can go to your library and check out many many great books on history, geography, cooking around the world, and government. Take field trips around your city and the state. Watch PBS documentaries, and other historical shows. So many ways to study social studies.
For High School Susan Wise Bauer has also written books for adults. My dad really enjoyed reading her history books. There are three books divided up chronologically.
There are many fabulous books on science. You can check them out from your library. If you want to do experiments the book, The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You! is a great place to start.
You can also watch documentaries, PBS, and I love the site Hooked on Science and write about it here. You can garden, raise animals, go to the zoo, museum and take nature walks.
Many love to do nature journaling. I bought my daughter the book Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You. She has enjoyed the book and recommends it.
Some general helpful resources:
Reviews and discussed curriculum choices. Everyone should own this book.
This is your basic how to give your child a classical education.
This books tells you what an experienced home educator wished they had done, or was glad they had done.