A complete home school curriculum, or textbook curriculum, is what many people envision when they think of homeschooling.
Complete homeschool curriculum providers supply families with all of the materials they need to teach math, reading, language arts, history, science and electives. They generally teach in a textbook or workbook format that is similar to the methods used in traditional schools.
These programs are sometimes criticized for being inflexible, time consuming, and bringing the school environment into the home. However, I've found that they are great for new homeschoolers who have yet to figure out their preferred teaching method, or more experienced families who prefer a structured teaching style.
Textbook curricula are most familiar to those of us who went to traditional schools. They are fact-oriented, teacher-directed, and involve use of workbooks and exams. These programs come with instructor's manuals that tell parents exactly what to do and say during lessons, and they make it easy to schedule, track progress and keep records.
Some providers also offer satellite or DVD programs in which students watch videos of traditional classroom teaching. DVD programs can work well for single subjects during the middle school or high school years, but may be tedious when used for an entire course load, and can detract from some of the benefits to homeschooling.
Because they are modeled after traditional classroom teaching methods, textbook programs may not meet the needs of all learning styles. In addition, uninspiring texts, drills and a focus on memorization can reduce some children's love of learning.
The key to successfully using textbooks is to avoid serving the curriculum, and have the curriculum serve you. Your child doesn't have to answer every question that appears in his workbook. Tailor the program by limiting excessive drill and classroom activities. Let your child do every other problem, and move forward when he has learned the material well.
Supplement your child's studies with biographies, historical fiction, documentaries and homeschooling field trips that relate to the subjects you are studying. When using a text book curriculum, it is still possible to make learning fun.
There are too many complete home school curriculum providers for me to list here, but here are some reviews of the most popular programs:
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