When I first started homeschooling my children I was so nervous! While I had gone to school for teaching and had experience in various classrooms, I had never taught multi-level classes at all. I knew I would be teaching a couple different grades for sure. I wasn’t positive how to go about this.
I knew I need to follow certain guidelines and all the curriculum that I looked at seemed not only very expensive but also a little “too much” for a beginning homeschooler. One day while I was at Sam’s Club I ran across a book called Learn At Home by the American Education Publishing Company. As I flipped through the book I realized it was exactly what I was looking for! I immediately bought the grade levels I needed (Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades). I couldn’t wait to get them home and flip through all the pages!
I now own all the grades that Learn At Home publishes and while I don’t use them as regularly as I once did in the beginning I do still love the series. So what makes this series different from others?
First, the book is broken down into 36 week increments. At the beginning of each week there is a week long calendar broken down even further by subject. Within each day there are specifics in every subject to tell you what you will be working on. Because the weeks are broken down in this manner you can look very quickly to see what you will be doing either for the whole week or just for the day.
Second, the book contains all the core subjects I want to cover; math, language arts, science, social studies, reading and spelling. Art and music are included in many of the activities set up through the week.
Third, the book contains all the worksheets you need for the lesson plans. You can either photocopy them (which I suggest if you are going to use the book over for another child) or the kids can just write directly on the worksheets. The pages are perforated so that you can either take them out or allow the kids to just work directly in the book.
Fourth, I love that all concepts are spelled out for the teacher. They give you ideas on further teaching ideas and always present further ideas you can use to integrate even more lessons into the week’s lesson plans. They give a list of outside reading and activities further your children’s learning.
Finally, when I was first starting out and had many small children it took some of that “I’m so overwhelmed” feeling away. There were days that I could look at the lesson plans and know that I didn’t have to think that much more for the day! Everything was spelled out for me and I needed that at that particular time. When I had a baby crying, a toddler getting into things and two learners needing to be taught those lessons plans gave me some leeway into what I could actually get accomplished for the day. It was a very satisfying feeling!
I still use these books some, especially when I want to create a themed unit. All I have to do is look in the lesson plans to get ideas on what to put together for a a particular subject. Because the books do such a great job at incorporating the theme through all the subjects that week it’s easy to come up with idea to supplement those found in the books.
These books are so affordable (around $20 retail but cheaper at sites like Amazon!) and so easy to follow. I highly recommend them for those who are starting out homeschooling who are feeling very overwhelmed. I also recommend them for those who have younger children (although the books go to 6th grade) because they cover a huge variety of subjects in a fun and engaging way!
This next year I will have 6 different learning levels. I know there will be days where I feel overwhelmed and not sure what to do for the day. I’m so happy I have this entire series to fall back on when I am not sure which way is up. They really have been a lifesaver for me!
Have you found any great books that have helped you through your “overwhelming days”?
You can find Michelle writing about family at her blog Pass The Flu Bug Please. Stop by and say hi!