I call my method Individualization. One child takes half his highschool classes online and uses textbooks and a strict structure for the rest of his classes. Another child is also in highschool but works with unit studies and lapbooks in her classes. Still another child gets most of his middle school education through documentaries and books on tape. The youngest uses a mix of texts and workbooks, documentaries and computer based classes for his elementary school needs. Each child is different, therefore each education is different.
This will be our 3rd year. The first year was a combination online curriculum and 2 classes were not. We used the library, books and videos and some TV documentaries for lessons. The second year all classes were online except 1 which was for her foreign language. This year all classes are online. But we still use workbooks the library, videos, etc for fun and also for extra information that may not be in the online curriculum to give more background to subjects, or for practice. We also are involved with 2 support groups. One is a home school group through our church and the other is through our cover school. So the kids can get together to do things like field trips and parties. My daughter is a Senior this year and didn't want to go to public school for high school. PS I am a blind, home school mom. If I can do it, anyone can!
Hodgepodge the first few years ;o) Now, Classical Conversations Inc
We use different methods for 2 kids. My 7th grader uses switched on schoolhouse which is computer based. My 4th grader uses abeka curriculum. Doesn't like computer based learning. We school m-w with Thursday as coop day. We also do school on Fri. We school 3 wks on and 1 week off. So far it is working out.
I had 2 kids who loved to read but 1 son who did not, so to get him interested in history I had him do 2 reports a week on a musician from recent history and long ago history because his passion is music. He needed to tell about what the world was like during that persons life, what was going on as far as wars, government, and events. He still remembers a lot of the details.
I have been homeschooling for 5 yeas now. I have two boys, a 7th grader and a 4th grader. My boys do not like to read and they hate formal writing. They are super smart with hands-on activities, games and anything that is made into fun. We use such a variety of curriculum. I have many, many bookshelves of resources as well as many computer sites that I utilize. My advice is that if it is not fun and interesting for the children, then don't be afraid to change mid-stream. Learning should be a GOOD experience, not a drudgery. I love field trips! Surf the internet and write down sites that you love so that you can go back to it. Don't spend a ton of money on curriculum that you may or may not enjoy. If you spend a lot then you feel that you HAVE to use it no matter what. Go to thrift stores and yard sales to buy. Also I get a lot of my curriculum off of ebay. You can get slightly used materials that are just as good as the expensive new stuff. It does not take long to get too much curriculum. I have tried strict schedules, and I have tried being less restrictive. We do well with a middle of the road approach on this. I have torn up my schedules though and just have learned to go with the flow more. Some days we spend hours on one subject and some days we sail through them all. I do school in every room of my house, at the park, outside under the shade tree, whatever it takes! Don't worry about what other people think, and do not compare your self or your kids with others. God made us all individual for a reason. Also, I use different curriculum for different subjects. For example, I really love Bob Jones Grammar and Writing. I love A Beka curriculum for Health and P. E. I like IXL math on line. I LOVE workbooks! Some of the best Science workbooks that I have used have been from Teacher Created Resources. (I buy these at the Parent Teacher Store in Northport.) Some of my favorite internet sites are : www.spellingcity.com/ , www.IXL.com/,www.gmajormusictheory.org ,apples4theteacher.com, and I love You Tube for videos about Science and History. We also watch the History Channel and Discovery Channel a lot. You will have good days and bad days. Don't beat yourself up if it is not going well for a day. Feel free to take a break for a while and come back to it if you are beating your head against the wall. It is better for me to work with my children individually on some things and together on others. I like to do the subjects that are harder for them in the morning when they are fresh. I find that doing heavy work in the evenings is a no no at my house.