Possible to hs with no official curriculum? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-12-2010, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It is possilble to rely soley on the library and a few workbooks? I have hsed my son until he started kinder half day this year (we still hs him anyway though!) and I'm hoping to have him home 100% next year. We use the library very heavily and have been very successful with it. He is very far ahead in pretty much all subjects.
Can I continue this method?

What are the advantages of having a set cirriculum?

amy

Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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Well, you don't need a prepackaged curriculum, but it might be a good idea to have a general philosophy or method: unschooling, classical, unit studies, etc. Many homeschoolers don't use prepackaged curricula, or they use prepackaged curricula in just one or two subject areas: math or handwriting, for example.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Phoebe View Post
It is possilble to rely soley on the library and a few workbooks? I have hsed my son until he started kinder half day this year (we still hs him anyway though!) and I'm hoping to have him home 100% next year. We use the library very heavily and have been very successful with it. He is very far ahead in pretty much all subjects.
Can I continue this method?

What are the advantages of having a set cirriculum?

amy
Absolutely! And if you add in internet availability you're golden! I don't think you need to follow anyone else's philosophy or method, either. Some of us are more comfortable having the framework of one, but if you are comfortable with what you have come up with so far and your son is excelling......well, why upset the apple cart?!

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I think it's definitely possible! Just make sure you comply to your state regulations and requirements (if you are in a strict state).

Best of luck!
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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Absolutely you can. As long as you are in compliance with state regulations, usually they don't really *care* what you use to teach it. A friend of mine did her own thing for everything except math (she used Saxon until switching to Math-U-See last school year) and used the library, internet resources, and what she had on hand to teach.

Cat- FT ministry student and Sonlight hsing momma to a wild crew of girls
Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

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Old 01-12-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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Its totally possible!! We have tonnes of curriculum, but barely use any of it. LOL We mostly use random opportunities to talk about things, toys, games, etc. My oldest is 11, and this is still working fine for us. Not sure how it will be as she gets older... I have a feeling we'll need something more substantial then, but maybe not?
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe View Post
It is possilble to rely soley on the library and a few workbooks? I have hsed my son until he started kinder half day this year (we still hs him anyway though!) and I'm hoping to have him home 100% next year. We use the library very heavily and have been very successful with it. He is very far ahead in pretty much all subjects.
Can I continue this method?

What are the advantages of having a set cirriculum?
To a large extent, this is what we're doing. I have a ton of workbooks I picked up cheap at a garage sale (though we have a ton only because I got a "fill a box for $5" deal. In reality, we could easily get by with one for math and one for phonics, or one big "complete" one). We use Story Of The World as the basis for history, and Ambleside Online guides our reading to some extent, but we use random books from the library heavily too, plus free internet resources.

Benefits: It's cheap, flexible, and readily available.

Drawbacks: Most workbooks are generally intended as enrichment, not an actual curriculum, and may not provide the level of teaching and practice you need. For math, something like Singapore Math isn't really much more expensive, and provides a bit more structure and direction.

You can't keep library books. This seems obvious, but I've found it more limiting than I anticipated. For most books this isn't an issue, but if you'd like to use something for longer than a few weeks (a history spine or phonics program, for instance), you're probably better off looking for your own copy.

You can have a set curriculum and still primarily utilize the library, by the way. Ambleside Online, for example, is free, and is basically just a scheduled reading list. Similarly, The Well-Trained Mind costs about $30 for preschool-12, and you can obtain the specific books used for each year however you desire. So it doesn't have to be a matter of buying an all-inclusive box set vs. totally making up your own, though you can do the latter if you desire, of course

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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Sure! My DD is a first-grader this year, and we don't use any curriculum. I can't see how using a set curriculum would be of any advantage to us.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Not only is it possible, it's very common, and it is often the best way for many kids. With the exception of my 6yo my kids are all now working at a high school level, and at this level they've found it helpful to have some course-like work -- textbooks or lecture series -- in some areas. But through the elementary years, and even continuing beyond in several "subject areas," their curriculum has consisted of life, community, interesting and knowledgeable people, hobbies, regular (library) books, conversations, serendipity, the internet, interesting DVD documentaries and films, plus outside activities in music and sports. My kids are also academically well "ahead" of age peers, and I don't think this approach has held them back in the slightest. If anything it has freed them from some pretty limited school-grade-level expectations, allowing them to soar.

Miranda

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Old 01-12-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Yes, you can do that. It just takes a lot more energy and creativity than going page by page through a workbook, but it can be a lot more fun.

Here are a couple resources for math that you may find helpful:

Living Math is a site where math is taught with storybooks

This site has a list of concepts and sample problems for each grade showing you what your child needs to know.

You might want to check out Story of the World. The activity guide for that series has lists of books that you can get at the library for each chapter. It's a great four-year overview of world history, and it's a lot of fun. It would be an easy outline to follow and give you direction on what to look for in the library.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I don't think I knew anyone among our homeschooling circles who used a curriculum - and other than a few who thought of themselves as unschoolers, those I knew didn't even think in terms of a style/method/philosophy. People just provided the various things their children needed along the way - that's not only quite doable, but a good way of keeping your focus on your children and their individual/unique needs, leanings, talents, interests, styles of learning, etc. When you think in terms of a curriculum or method/style/philosophy, it can unconsciously shift the focus onto your own teaching ideas rather than on your child's learning and growing paths. Some I knew did, of course, try a curriculum in the beginning and found that it wasn't a good fit, so dropped it. One mom jokes that her son "fired" her when he was about 13, after a year or two of trying to fit into a bought curriculum - and then he went about learning in his own way and went on to college and law school. Lillian
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Not only is using library books instead of textbooks ok, for us, it's preferable! There are several online free curriculum sites that utilize primarily library books, too. Ableside Online lists quality children's literature that can be found in your library and covers american/world history, science, literature, poetry, art, and geography. As a pp mentioned, you can also find entire math curriculum online free using only math stories that can be found in the library.

Charlotte Mason method and Well-Trained Mind are both literature-based curricula.

HTH!
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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My dd graduated without my ever purchasing a single curriculum. We hschooled from 4th grade on. It's weird but way back then I just didn't really utilize the internet like I do now- I don't remember even being aware "curriculum" existed. lol Also, we were very poor, not much curr. would have been in the budget even if I had wanted it. And also, she mostly unschooled. We used the book store & library.... she got her GED at 16 & has been taking college classes since. She's 18.5 now.

With my son, who's now an 11 yr old 6th grader, I discovered the joy of curriculum during his 4th grade yr when someone gave me a free Saxon math book. Then I ended up ordering Story of the World for history shortly afterwards. The only reason I started craving curriculum (we don't unschool anymore), is because I have younger kids now & just didn't feel like I had enough time to keep putting his schoolwork together myself anymore. Going to the library all the time with my new toddler(s) became way too hectic, AND, I spent way too much time correcting stuff because I didn't have answer keys! It was during 4th grade that he reached a math level that was beyond my knowledge. I couldn't just teach & correct him from my own brain. So, I picked up curriculum. And it works great for us now. But I would certainly never tell anyone that curriculum is necessary!

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Old 01-12-2010, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the repiles. I may try out some math cirriculum next year, just to provide some structure but I think for the most part what we are doing is working! Yeah!!

Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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We did it without curriculum for awhile, but I found that curriculum made it easier. Not for young ones, but for example, my oldest can take online classes she loves and work independently. She chose her subjects.

Also, when she was younger, she wanted to learn cursive, so I got her a handwriting without tears book- it was about $6 and using it she taught herself cursive.

So you can do it without curriculum, but if you want to use it, there are lots of great curriculums out there to pick from. Many are not that expensive.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:42 AM
 
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Yeah, what they said

I love the library, and ours isn't even great! I currently have 21 books checked out (limit is 20 oops hehe) mostly supplemental reading for History odyssey (this and math u see are the only curriculum we use really) on the last couple of ancient cultures.

I started out using curriculum for everything .. initially a boxed package, then misc curriculum.. now barely any at all I'm actually creating my own science for the year based on magic school bus books! (branching out from there) I also do a lot of browsing over our states expected outcomes for my kids grades/ages and then decide how to best meet those It may not involve curriculum at all!

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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We currently use no curriculum but I may buy for a couple subjects next year. The library has been awesome All in one curriculum wont work for lots of kids because kids dont usually fall in grade level for all subjects.

mother, wife, lover of life.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgianforti View Post
I think it's definitely possible! Just make sure you comply to your state regulations and requirements (if you are in a strict state).

Best of luck!
:

this is pretty much what I do with my 7.5 yr old this year.

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Absolutely!! Honestly, I was totally shocked at how little we really needed to buy with internet and library access and a homeschool support group. Successful homeschooling is way simpler and cheaper than I imagined.

Mama to four ('03, '05, '08 & '11) chicken3.gif
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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I have to hunt and peck to find the right explanation or illustration of whatever topic we are covering and this means having a bunch of books. I avoided a box curriculum mainly because I felt like there wasn't one that could fit my ds in a nutshell. He struggles in some subjects and does fine in others . I wanted to piece our materials to suit his ability or at least easier understanding. I know there are some beautiful lessons and books that I see others doing or reading in our hs group..I am afraid to spend a lot of $ though.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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Yes, yes, yes.

I do like having workbooks, but it's totally a luxury, easy for Mommy I'm-so-happy-this-is-all-in-one-place thing. IMO. We could do all our subjects without any workbooks, and we don't really on them as our primary sources, but especially with math, it is sooo nice. And I like having some science sheets that way if I start to freak that we're "not doing enough" with science, it gives us something quick to discuss. We have the Singapore science wkbks and they're rely simple, quick, just touch on something then look it up further in other books type resource. And I started out with Waldorf style/copywork for handwriting, but just now am really seeing the beauty of the book with dotted letter thing--she likes it, and it's less work for me.

Anyways, you definitely don't need an entire curriculum written out for you and I think it's better not to---the curric that is best for your kid is one that is tailor made for your kid.

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