In honor of the first-ever National Homeschooling Day being celebrated today in the Philippines, I am writing a short tribute to homeschooling and to the generous parents who have set out to develop such wonderful curricula that our family have been so fortunate make use of. These parents have given their hearts to the lessons they developed (because they used them on their own children first) and have shared it to the world for free or for a minimal cost. This post is for you.
We’ve been “officially” homeschooling–meaning, we’ve been utilizing lesson plans and curricula–when our son was two years old. It doesn’t mean that I necessarily recommend starting this early, but I just wanted a more “organized” approach back then (more for me, really, just so I can keep track of what we’re learning and what else to learn) so I searched and researched for a simple curriculum.
The internet offered plenty of FREE resources that I really had to set aside time to choose and even try out some before I decided on any one. These were mostly made by homeschooling moms and they generously shared them on their blog sites. One curriculum we used was God’s Little Explorers by Stacie Ann Nelson. It had a good coverage, and it was colorful and sufficient for my then-two year old. They were fun to do and learning was more memorable. You can download her lesson plans week-by-week for free, or you can download it in one single, and much improved, package for $20. That’s just P1,000, folks for a whole year of lesson plans. Thank you, Momma Stacie!
We also used ABC Jesus Loves Me, which like God’s Little Explorers, also offer free downloads of their weekly lesson plans. It offers lots of Bible-related activities that were age-appropriate. I loved how they included songs in their plans to make the lessons more fun and meaningful for the student. Download weekly for free or you can also choose to download it in one single, organized package for $30 (P1,500) for two years’ worth of lesson plans. Aren’t these Mommas amazing?! Thank you, Momma Heidi! And these are just two of many! The internet has really made homeschooling accessible and doable, like never before!
After our son has gotten his ABCs, numbers, colors and shapes down pat, I felt a yearning for more. We really enjoyed reading books together, and storytelling was our special time together. So, when I stumbled across Before Five in a Row, described as a “gentle curriculum” where learning happens during snuggle times under a cover with a good book, my heart was just captivated.
Before Five in a Row is a literature-based curriculum that derives and mines its lessons from great quality, meaningful, really wonderful children’s books. It will require you to sit and read to your child many times in a week. But it is the curiosity and interest of your child that will be the one to propel those storytelling sessions and after-story discussions to something even beyond our imagination. Our son’s vocabulary exploded, his writing skills soared, and he developed the skill of storytelling and book-making. He remembered details and insights, and he related life lessons he read about to our own family.
This one is not free, and I actually got my manual, and about eight out of the 21 titles second-hand from Amazon for much cheaper. However, since most of the titles are classics, and some are out-of-print already, I realized I should have just bought the complete, brand-new set. $30 for the manual, and $130 for the entire literature package. That would amount to about P8,000 today. Still affordable considering you can use this for one to two years. Founders are parents, Steve and Jane Clair Lambert, who curated these wonderful titles and put together these curricula. Thank you!
Now, our son is five years old, and we have been using Five in a Row Volume 1 since last year. We sourced them locally through www.thelearningbasket.com.The stories have been nothing short of amazing, sometimes bringing me to tears as I prepare the lesson plan. Our family is definitely a fan of the FIAR series!
Well, needless to say, we love homeschooling. Not just for the freedom to customize, to follow our child’s interest and pace, and our lifestyle, but because we get to partake in some of the world’s best lesson plans, prepared by no less than parents themselves who have given themselves to teaching and educating their children, and ours. It showed me the community of homeschooling, as one that is inherently generous and graceful towards our children, and to fellow parents.
Happy National Homeschooling Day, Philippines! And happy homeschooling to all homeschoolers the world over!