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Popular Homeschool Trends You Should Try in 2017

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It's a new year, so what better time to check out these popular trends in homeschooling? From math to history, homeschool parents everywhere are turning to these resources. It's never too early to start planning for fall!

New Year, New Possibilities

I know around our homeschooling household, a new year brings a fresh start. The hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed, and everyone is ready to settle back into a routine and the slower pace winter often brings. It can also be a great time to reflect on what is working, perhaps what is not, and maybe even start looking ahead to next year. With that in mind, let's take a look at some trending resources in the homeschool community as we welcome in 2017.

Homeschool Programming

Homeschool Programming has become one of the hottest trending curriculum offerings for homeschooling. Your kiddos can learn to create websites, video games, and apps, and learn the basics of coding - all from home. Its turn-key approach and on-call experts means you can include computer science in your curriculum even if you have no background in programming.

Child with computer

Students as young as eight (about 4th grade) can begin developing websites, although the majority of the curriculum is designed for 6th through 12th grade. Class access can be purchased by the semester or the year. In addition, they offer periodic free workshops in web design and other popular topics.

Critical Thinking Company

The Critical Thinking Company is one of my favorite curriculum developers! They cover all the basics (reading, writing, math, science, and social studies) for grades pre-K through 12 in ways that really get your kids thinking. From Reading Detective to Mind Benders, their activities are addictive to kids and build critical thinking skills across the disciplines. They also offer full curriculum if you are looking for a total package solution.

Time4Writing

Writing is probably the most important skill your child will need in college, and yet it is often one of the most intimidating subjects for parents to teach. Check out Time4Writing. Their classes are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced writing levels so you can use their program with students from elementary school through high school - including ESL students.

child writing

What really sets this program apart is the certified teacher instruction and feedback. Covering topics from grammar to research papers, there are 15 eight-week sessions available with certified teachers providing assessment and timely feedback. The sessions are long enough to build solid skills but short enough to fit nicely into your homeschool schedules. And let's be honest, sometimes it is nice to remove Mom or Dad from the grading process - especially in a subjective discipline like writing!

Life of Fred Math

If you are looking for a non-traditional math curriculum, take a look at Life of Fred. Life of Fred curriculum is known for being incredibly entertaining; your kids may actually beg you to do math! Written by long-time math teacher Dr. Stanley Schmidt, Life of Fred Math teaches traditional concepts in what may seem roundabout ways; but let's face it, today's children live in a roundabout world, and many seem to really connect with this program.

child doing math

Concepts begin with addition and go through two years of calculus - enough to prepare your child for college. If you are looking for a self-directed curriculum that focuses on thinking skills in an entertaining format, Life of Fred may be just the ticket.

The Classical Historian

History has always been our favorite subject, and this curriculum really gets your students thinking and discussing. The Classical Historian is designed for use in 6th through 12th grade and focuses on critical reading, analysis, and Socratic discussion. This curriculum is not self-directed and definitely requires parent/teacher involvement, but if you are familiar with history at all, the prep time should be minimal. The student workbooks, however, are designed for students to use independently and build on writing and critical thinking skills developed at each grade level.

Materials include teacher guides, student workbooks, and a guide to leading Socratic discussions. In addition, there are great history-based card games based on Go Fish! and Concentration to help students really master the facts. Our family loves nothing more than a good heated debate, and The Classical Historian series definitely provides that and more!

By Laurie Smith
January 2017
opinion homeschooling

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