Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"7 Secrets to Finding the Best Homeschool Curriculum" Review

New homeschoolers are often overwhelmed by the extensive choice of curricula available through catalogs, the Internet, conference exhibits, and other vendors. The beautifully boxed books, gorgeous games, and intriguing DVDs and CDs tempt families into spending loads of money on systems that don't fit their children's learning styles or interests, placing stress on budgets and the homeschool experience.

In comes Carletta Sanders to the rescue! Her free   yes, free   ebook, 7Secrets to Finding the Best Homeschool Curriculm guides readers throught the process of choosing a curriculum.

Sanders begins by helping families focus on their homeschool goals and budgets. Next, she discusses learning styles, an often overlooked element of learning in traditional school situations, but very easily addressed in a homeschool environment.

After determining goals, budget, and style, Sanders introduces eight homeschooling methods, including the well-known styles of Charlotte Mason, classical, Montessori, and unit studies, as well as literature-based, online, relaxed, and unschooling. Besides the usual discussion of each style's strengths and appeal, Sanders takes the extra steps of stating what types of families and students dislike particular styles or might struggle with them. These helpful additions allow families to better identify not just what sounds exciting to them, but what might actually work for them   an important distinction. (Note: Unschooling, by definition, does not have any formal curriculum. Sanders instead gives a basic definition of unschooling, followed by ways to approach it, even in states and jurisdictions which require written study plans.) At the end of each section, Sanders includes links to additional information and interviews with people expert in the various methods of learning.

Interestingly, Sanders chooses to put eclectic homeschooling in a separate chapter, instead of with the other styles. Families who consider themselves eclectic homeschoolers do consider it a style; however, it has no formal curriculum, so Sanders divides eclectic homeschooling into basic areas of study. Through a series of questions, she guides families to discovering which curriculum or approach would work best for that particular subject.

Sanders leaves her discussions of preschool, kindergarten, high school, special education, and gifted education to the appendix, also with additional links to extended interviews with experts in those areas.

7 Secrets to Finding the Best Homeschool Curriculum provides an excellent starting point for new homeschoolers, and perhaps homeschoolers looking to experiment with new approaches.

For more homeschooling information and ideas, check out Sanders' website, Successful Homeschooling.

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