A Teaching Materials Checklist for Homeschooling
When it comes to homeschool teaching materials, there is not much difference with classroom teaching materials. Nevertheless, for homeschooling, you need to prepare and obtain teaching materials for the upcoming year about one to three months before the year starts. Below is a checklist of all the materials you need when homeschooling your kids.
Homeschooling teaching materials
Different curricula support each school year. Hence, you are going to need lots of books to support the initiative. Among others, you will need:
- Picture storybooks,
- Rhythmic books,
- Concept books,
- Participation books,
- Wordless books,
- Folktales and fables,
- Nursery rhymes,
- Alphabet books, and
- Counting books.
Preschool workbooks or worksheets contain various exercises for the homeschooled students to complete from alphabet practice such as tracing lines and patterns and writing letters to coloring. Again, these will also vary depending on the grade although workbooks are mostly useful for kindergartens.
√ Videos and DVDs
Another essential teaching material is instructional videos as well as documentaries, historical movies, etc. All these can help students understand complex concepts especially when introduced to them for the first time.
√ Visual aids
Visual aids come in different forms although the most commonly used are pocket charts. Pocket charts are mainly used to place center activities in. Other uses include:
- Sequencing alphabet
- Sequencing pictorial storylines
- Putting word banks and word tricks
- Sorting words
- Building rhymes
- Presenting word activities
- Discussing story elements
- Reconstructing poems and songs
- Scheduling activities
- Listing days of the week and months of the year
- Organizing small groups
Other visual aids you can use are flip charts, felt manipulatives (from letters to numbers to animals and characters) and printables that you can download for free from the Internet. These materials are conducive to teaching basic literacy and numeracy skills as well as transitioning from one lesson to another.
Experts emphasize the need to familiarize yourself with the chosen teaching materials. Check what the purpose of the materials is and which skills it targets to enhance. Also, check whether supplemental materials are needed or not.
As a parent and teacher, your goal is to find teaching materials that match your needs. If you still have some teaching materials from the previous year, be creative about using them for the coming year. Look at the curriculum plan as this will inform you in identifying the activities and teaching materials needed to complete the activities.
Where to look for teaching materials
If you are struggling with where to find the materials you need further, there are specific places to look at.
1) Homeschool network
Other parents had the same struggles as you; they've been there and done that. Hence, asking for help from them will be extremely valuable. What's nice about this approach is the parents who will give you recommendations for teaching materials is telling you the strengths and weaknesses of each. They have actually used specific curriculums and materials hence they would know which are the most effective.
In most cases, your choices would boil down to three materials. Research these materials further to determine which one suits your needs. If possible, borrow the materials from another parent for a short period, so you really grasp their use and evaluate them thoroughly. Other homeschoolers would be happy to lend you curriculum materials they used before.
Online, there are a plethora of websites dedicated to homeschooling with a section usually for teaching materials. Check these sites as well. One example is HandsonHomeschooling.com. Scrutinize each supplier's website thereafter. While at it, get cost information for each material that you are planning to use. Free materials are also available on the Internet as well as web-based teaching materials. However, you need to gauge the usefulness of these materials first before you use them.
3) Conferences and seminars
Other than online resources, there are also dedicated conferences for homeschooling such as HomeschoolConventions.com and HomeschoolBuyersCoop.org. One great thing about these is the accessibility of vendors that provide all sorts of teaching materials. In here, you may examine the materials all you want, comparing them with one another, side by side. And, you may buy these materials at discounted prices, which is nice if you need to purchase many items at a time. Attending a convention also gives you the opportunity to meet and mingle with other parents who do homeschool.
4) Publications and newsletters subscriptions
Homeschool magazines are available online and offline. Regardless of the platform though, the magazine usually features reviews of teaching materials. Take a cue from the insights published here. Subscribe to newsletters as well so you may keep tabs on the changes and news about homeschooling. Check the TheHomeSchoolMom.com and iHomeschoolNetwork.com.
5) Book clubs
Adult-led or family book clubs, these exist with an evident purpose. Be a member of your local book club intended for homeschooling parents. Through this, you may obtain teaching materials by borrowing from fellow club members. If not an organization, of course, you can always go to your friendly neighborhood library. For sure, there will be a section for homeschooling materials available for borrowing.
6) Specialty bookstores
Other than the typical bookstores, look around your neighborhood if any bookstores specialize in homeschool teaching materials.
Frequently, once you've decided on the teaching materials, the next step is to obtain them. Buying should be your last option. If this is not your first year, chances are, you already have some of the teaching materials noted above. Even if you are a first-timer though, consider borrowing from other parents in your community who are also homeschooling their kids. (Buying should be the very last option If you are talking about teaching materials, often what you need is already at your home)
You need to buy those materials with which the students will have a direct interaction with such as workbooks and answer sheets unless you want to DIY these, for example. If purchasing them is not necessary, you can simply borrow them so you can start your evaluation.
√ Approach in handling the subject
√ Organization of topics based on daily lessons
√ Intended delivery (i.e. chapters or daily lessons)
√ Effectiveness in teaching specific topics
√ Associated activities for each topic
√ Gaps and overlaps in topics coverage
√ Consistency with the curriculum
√ Availability of support materials
√ Applicability to the child's personality type and learning style
√ Availability of the curriculum in the future
√ Cost of the materials
Your goal is to prepare all the materials you'll need at least one month before the school year starts. The process will enable you to get more organized for the upcoming school year while also get more familiar with the materials you intend to use. The more you learn about the curriculum, the more you will understand what materials are needed and how and why you should use them.
Bottom-line, your choice of teaching materials, whether it'd be workbooks or web-based, should depend on the curriculum as well as the student. It should be needs-based. Learning is processual, and progress should always be considered.