If you really want to make your brain spin visit a few homeschooling forums, like the one at The Well-Trained Mind. There is a wealth of information
there but if you are a newbie it seems like an impossible task to sort through all of the advice and try to figure out what everyone is talking about when they throw out things like AAS, HOD, WP AS1, TOG, All-in-on LA, etc. I feel like I am speaking with my Army brother-in-law.
I love the The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, but I realized that I was getting too ambitious at first with Duke, trying to force him to do 1st grade before he was ready. I was teaching him history, science, music, art, ect. along with the basic R's and it was like I was pulling his teeth. Side note, Duke lost his first tooth this week!
One of the reason I homeschool is because I think children are too pressured these days in many schools (and to be honest, by many homeschooling parents). For Duke and my sanity I decided to stick with the three R's and reading great books to him for his K year. After all, many of the books we read cover art, history, science, etc., but in an entertaining and interesting way.
I know of so many homeschooling parents who invest massive amounts of money in a fancy homeschooling curriculum only to find it is not a great match and they end up investing in a new program. Homeschooling is a huge business now and you can start feeling like you should have sent your child to a private school because it might have saved you money.
I think homeschooling can be done successfully on a very limited budget. Think about so many of the brillant men and women of history who were home-educated with a bible (often the only book people would own) and blackboard, or in a one-room schoolhouse. Once you learn how to read, write and do math, you can pick up a book about anything else and teach yourself. Schooling works best if your child is excited about learning, not burned out.
Right now we are using Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling and Zaner-Bloser for handwriting. Both are great choices for K for Duke. But I have been really struggling with trying to decide on a math program.
There are so many great math programs out there like Singapore, Saxon, Math-U-See, Abeka, etc. Actually, too many great math curricula, making it impossible to figure out which is best for your child. I was searching for reviews and trying to figure out which one I wanted to invest in when I found glowing reviews for something called Math Mammoth. I copied this from the site:
Math Mammoth worktexts and workbooks
Hello! My name is Maria Miller — the author of the Math Mammoth books you see on this site.
My aim is to help parents and teachers teach math so our children and students can really understand what is going on. I've strived to explain the concepts so that both the teacher and the student can "get it" by reading the explanations in the books. In essence, the books often become self-teaching for student. The worktext form also requires very little preparation from the teacher.
I've always (since 2003) wanted to offer materials at affordable prices. For example, the complete curriculum products cost $32 a grade (download). But if you are REALLY having to watch every dollar, check into the Blue Series books - the electronic versions cost between $2 and $7.00 apiece!
I have to confess I was excited to find this website, because not only had I read glowing reviews in so many forums and blogs, but Math Mammoth is only $32/grade (1st-6th), or $128 for all 6 grades! And you receive everything as a download so you can print as many copies as you want and use it on all of your children. And Maria also includes programs to generate additional worksheets. After you purchase Math Mammoth the only cost to you is paper and ink for six years of math. My frugal nature loves this.
I asked Maria if she would mind if I reviewed Math Mammoth on my blog, and I now thanks to her I have the complete curriculum for 1st grade and so far I love it. Duke's favorite part of his homeschool day is when he can do Math Mammoth. This curriculum is perfect for him and so easy for me. So far there is no prep, I just print a few pages and sit down with him.
I will keep you updated on our Math Mammoth adventures. If you haven't picked a math curricula out yet, you should go visit Maria's website and register for the free workbook samples (over 300). If you are looking for an affordable, excellent, and fun math program that you can use for several children, Math Mammoth might be your perfect math match!