If you’ve been homeschooling any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve questioned what kind of resources are best to use. Some parents choose to take the common core route, while others use a boxed curricula that have the resources and milestones already laid out.
Personally, I take the do-it-yourself route and it has proven to not only work for me, but also tons of others homeschoolers too! The method I use is one that encompasses natural learning, children-led learning, and a unique approach to education in general.
What is the DIY approach?
Before diving into the top 5 types of resources every homeschool needs, I’d like to briefly explain what I mean by the DIY approach. This is not creating your own curriculum resources, coming up with worksheets, or writing a book.
The DIY approach is simply compiling pre-made resources to use in teaching your children whatever concepts/topics you wish. There are tons of ways to get these resources, whether you’re looking for free or cheap. I typically use Google, Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and hit up yearly sales like the annual Build Your Bundle Sale.
Being a homeschooling mama of 5 kiddos ranging from newborn to 12 years old, it’s important for me to make wise investments in resources that I can use with multiple children, use over and over, and easily tweak. This is another reason why the DIY approach works for us.
How does the DIY approach work?
The DIY approach gives you the ability to pick and choose what resources you’d like to use to help teach your children. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice having everything all laid out for you; however, if you’d like more control over what to teach your child, I highly recommend this method.
I first began by mapping out what milestones were most important to my husband and I. Skills such as learning to read, learning basic math, understanding and processing emotions – just to name a few – are what’s most important to us in the early years. With that in mind, we are able to determine what we’d like to teach them and plan accordingly.
Getting caught up in a “school system mindset” is what led me to believing my children needed to learn specific things by a certain age. Taking myself through a specific deschooling process helped me to realize that what the school system had in mind for my children is not the same as what my husband and I had in mind.
Since we’ve swapped that mindset with one that accommodates our unique family dynamic, we’ve experienced even more freedom in our homeschooling journey. We are able to confidently teach our children according to their unique rate of development instead of enforcing them according to someone else’s. The concepts taught facilitate a love for learning versus a resistance to learning. And, there are more cheers than tears.
5 Types of Resources for the DIY Approach
I’ve been a do-it-yourself kind of homeschooling mama since the beginning; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly tapped into what would work wonders for our homeschool. I have discovered 5 types of resources that typically cover all subjects, learning styles, ages and grades. (Resources in bold are part of the Build Your Bundle Sale.)
Hands down, unit studies are my go-to since I am homeschooling a variety of ages. I am able to easily accommodate each child and meet them where they are developmentally. Unit studies also have a unique way of providing a well-rounded education. You can choose one topic – like landforms – and touch just about every subject.
There are a few unit study resources I highly recommend:
- Our free resource library has links to over 15 unit study topics and 100+ resources for those topics.
- The Historical Stories of Survival: Devastating Weather Bundle is another resource that touches base with several subjects (Social Studies, History, Geography, Arts & Crafts) highlighting hurricanes.
- Cultural specific unit studies such as Black Inventors Unit Study and/or Native American Tribal Chiefs Unit Study.
Learning a foreign language is another important milestone to most homeschooling families, ours including. For us, our chosen second language is Hebrew. Some families I know choose other languages like Spanish or Chinese. Regardless, learning a foreign language has many amazing perks.
A few resources I recommend for foreign language are:
- Our beginner Hebrew resources, especially our newest My Hebrew Book of Creation.
- Online Hebrew courses like Hebrew for Homeschoolers: 10 Week Beginners Level 1.
- Introducing Chinese at Home by Fortune Cookie Mom.
Health & Wellness
Health and wellness are topics that don’t get enough attention. A lot of times the concepts taught through these topics aren’t seen as homeschooling, when in fact they truly are. Think about personal hygiene, cooking healthy meals, and learning how to stay healthy through exercise and play. This is all homeschooling!
A few resources I recommend are:
- Earthley has an incredible Spring Garden Unit Study that offers the nitty-gritty on when and how to plant common vegetables, how to fertilize, water them and more.
- Meal Planning for Kids by Homeschooling Dietician Mom.
- Fit2B offers a Premium Membership that gives you 200+ workouts with a focus on core building and recovery.
Electives are another aspect of education that aren’t given enough credit. All of the arts, music, physical education, and sports classes definitely count as homeschooling. Not to mention, there are a lot of developmental milestones that can be reached through these.
Some overlooked, but much needed electives I recommend are:
- Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course Plus Three Bonus Courses
- Homeschool Music is great for all things music related.
Homeschool Journey Help
Regardless how long you plan to homeschool, it’s always nice to have support for the journey. Often times we can feel like we’re the only experiencing particular roadblocks or setbacks, when in fact, we aren’t. I’ve learned to lean and depend on people and resources to help keep me sane (LOL!).
A few homeschool journey resources I recommend are:
- Deschooling for the Homeschooling Parent – a course to help families switch from the school system mindset to one that accommodates their unique family dynamic.
- Survive Homeshooling High School – a guide book written by homeschool veteran Lisa Nehring.
- The Simple Homeschool Planner by Just a Simple Home.
- Academic Advising by True North Homeschool Academy.
- Outta’ Box Homeschooling Community (Facebook group)
Tips for Your DIY Journey
Putting together your own curriculum resources to homeschool your children can be simple, inexpensive, and rewarding. Keep the following tips in mind as you start your DIY journey:
- Take into consideration your child’s current developmental stage.
- Brainstorm milestones geared specifically to your child.
- Use your child’s natural development to gather resources to accommodate the milestones you’ve created.
- Teach with grace and ease!
There are also other resources to take into consideration:
- Virtual learning platforms (online courses)
- Workbooks (from places like the Dollar Tree)
- Fiction and Non-fiction books from Usborne Books & More
- Public libraries
If you have any questions about the DIY Curriculum Approach, comment below or shoot me an email at withthehuddlestons @ gmail . com