Homeschooling in the Face of Remote Learning

Many are looking at homeschool options for their children and wondering if they can go it alone.

The purpose of this post is to move you from “I am not sure…” to “I think I can!” through a description of carefully chosen curricular materials that are relatively cheap, easy to follow, and the highest quality. 

Introduction 

Most homeschoolers proclaim the curriculum they’ve chosen is the best all around- for good reason- they chose it based on criteria they established: faith based, easy to follow, equipped with ready-to-use materials, etc.  As an instructional coach (who helps teachers learn about best teaching practices), a reading specialist, and a certified math teacher, the criteria I used to choose the curricula for my kids is different. I have chosen resources that effectively teach students how to meet learning standards in a classroom setting, and then modified these for at home use. 

Math: (K-8)

ENGAGE NY 

https://www.engageny.org/

Description: Engage NY is the same curriculum as Eureka Math, which meets standards in Alignment and Usability according to EdReport’s metrics. These highly scripted lessons are complete with student and teacher resources that you can access as a PDF or in Word (in case you’d like to make modifications to suit your learner). 

See more here: https://www.edreports.org/reports/overview/eureka-math-2013-2014

Cost: Free

Notes: Teacher and Student Resources are both available for free. Although the lesson plans are lengthy and scripted, they are mostly engaging (particularly K-5), and very rigorous. The largest cost here will be printing costs if you choose to print all resource items at home. 

Writing: (K-8)

Lucy Calkins and TCRWP Colleagues Units of Study 

http://unitsofstudy.com/k5writing/

http://unitsofstudy.com/middleschoolwriting/Description

Description: Lucy Calkin’s is the writing guru in the world of Writer’s Workshop. These resources are completely scripted, so you don’t have to worry about what to say or how to plan a lesson. Additionally, all the mini-lessons are intended to be only 10-15 minutes, with lots of time to write. 

Cost: $200-$310 (per grade level)

I was able to find parts of these units online and buy them USED for a cost of about $100 for a whole year of learning. 

Notes: Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study take some time to prepare.  I recommend reading the lessons in their entirety and then making the anchor charts and copies to go with each lesson. I do my weekly planning on Sunday and then make the anchor chart for the day in the morning while my kids have breakfast and “get ready for school.” 

Reading: (K-8)

Lucy Calkins and TCRWP Colleagues Units of Study

http://unitsofstudy.com/k5reading/

http://unitsofstudy.com/middleschoolreading/

Description and Full Disclosure: Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study: a workshop curriculum for reading, allows students to engage in lots of reading practice. This scripted program is much like the writing Units of Study, which is why it’s my choice for this list. Once the teacher learns to use and teach from one of the resources, the other becomes easier to use. Full Disclosure: I have only taught sample lessons from these units, as the School Districts I taught in did not utilize the curriculum when I was teaching. However, some of the highest performing districts in our area use the Units of Study with great results. 

Cost: $230-310 (per grade level) 

Notes: The Units of Study for Reading are newer, and less available for “Pre-owned” purchasing. More than anything, when teaching a child to read, you want the child to practice reading as much as possible. 

Other Notes: 

We used tons of other resources this Spring and Summer as we continue on our Homeschool Journey. I have purchased LOTS of books that my kids choose online and downloaded many resources for science and social science. I will continue to link to resources as we move forward and learn together. 

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