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Homeschooling children is extremely rewarding. There are so many styles & options, so many curriculum choices, so much to plan! After all, we want our children to be well educated and teach them all that we can- especially while they are young and so full of curiosity. Where do you really begin? Alright, so maybe homeschool can be quite overwhelming. And while it’s not always easy deciding on what to teach first or which curriculum is best, there are some things that can be of great benefit to start out with. These top 6 must-haves for young learners will ensure that you are off to a great start and give you the basic building blocks to discover what works best for you and your young children’s homeschool adventure.
BOB book sets are PERFECT for children beginning to read. The stories are short enough to keep any young reader’s attention as well as simple and easy for any young child to enjoy. There are numerous sets that gradually increase in difficulty so that your young child does not become overwhelmed. Each set of BOB books comes with 12 miniature stories, so you do get your money’s worth.
These books not only helped my boys to read (one of my sons was 2 years behind) but they also instilled a love for reading in both of them. My youngest reads them over and over, and my older son who is 8 years old enjoys listening to his younger brother as he reads them. I highly recommend these books for every young reader!
Math U See
Math U See has wonderful curriculum sets. Their Primer Universal Set is everything young learners need to begin math. The lessons are simple, fun, and repetitive (so your young learner really has time to grasp the content). Although it is repetitive, there is still a variety of activities in each lesson so your child does not get bored. And don’t be deterred by the cost! If you have multiple kids, the teacher book will last years. And that block set will be used as your child moves on to the next set. So once again, you get your money’s worth!
My kids personally love Math U See. After trying numerous math curriculums, we always came back to (or stayed with, in my younger boys’ case) this curriculum. I did find that in the early years, I was able to teach without the teacher guide, so you may be able to save some money that way. Often times, we would jump ahead a lesson when my children were excelling in their lessons. These sets are very customizable, and I love that they go by math topics versus grade level. It allowed my kids not to worry about “where they should be”.
This is a major necessity in every homeschoolers must-haves. However, I have found that with younger learners art is a great way to keep them involved. Whether it is drawing a character from a story you just read to finger painting and experimenting with color blending, art really allows children to get hands-on. It encourages the development of imagination as well as a love for learning. Having a wide variety of art supplies on hand will keep your child engaged and entertained.
My kids all enjoy being homeschooled however my younger children want more than just writing and math. They love getting their hands dirty and drawing. And play-doh, don’t even get me started! There are so many ways to incorporate art into any subject. I believe if a child has an enjoyment for lessons then they will find enjoyment in learning the tougher things in homeschool later on. Education begins with a love for learning and art is a fun place to begin with young learners.
Nature Study Supplies
Getting outdoors is something that Charlotte Mason stressed as being one of the most important things. With young children, this is especially important. There is so much to explore and learn out in the world. And since most science begins with Earth Science, being outside really allows you to see what your children enjoy- what animals, plants, trees, rocks… the SKY is the limit! Ok, well technically outer space, but you get my point. Nature studies are the foundation of science.
I know that my boys love being outdoors, studying nature and exploring. They love looking for bugs and climbing on logs and discovering beautiful flowers that God has allowed to find. Nature study has allowed us so many opportunities to learn survival skills, animal tracking, lake exploring, and so much more. I have watched my children flourish as compassionate human beings with wild imaginations as well as fine-tuning their gross motor skills by balancing on logs or jumping across rocks.
Nature study requires as little or as much as you put into it. Some of my favorite nature study supplies can be found be exploring Acorn Naturalists. They have all kinds of explorer kits, models, activities, and so much more! In fact, last year we bought the Creek & Pond Life Kit and have been using it all spring and summer to explore our local lakes and creeks. The kids love getting wet and I love the planned activities and informational text. Another wonderful resource is the Handbook of Nature Study. This book acts as a source of information and we love to reference it after our nature studies with our findings.
One of my favorite articles about nature and its benefits for homeschoolers is by Holistic Homeschooler!
Ink & Paper
Enough said! Have you looked online and seen all of the adorable printables? Customizing your young learner’s homeschool day with printables can easily become an obsession. With websites like Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest the printable options are endless. This really allows you to plan and focus on exactly what you want for as long as your child needs, without getting bored. So ink and paper are a must have! After all, young children can never have enough coloring pages!
There really is no reason not to have one. They are free and reading is awesome! Reading provides the foundation for knowledge. Whether your young learner is reading on their own or you are still only narrating to them, everyone loves a good story. I don’t know about you, but by reading one short story a day, there is no way that I could ever afford to purchase books. We do buy our favorites, however there just isn’t enough for me to buy a minimum of 30 reading books a month.
I have also found that many libraries offer programs for children- FREE! I know that in our town, the library holds numerous STEM activities a month for children of young ages. Not only do the kids love it, I have some time to read a chapter in my book while they attend and it is just another way for them to socialize and make friends! I encourage every homeschool mom to get a library card because not only are there thousands of free books and video documentaries, but personally I would have never discovered all of our offered programs if I would not have stepped foot into our local library.