Best Homeschooling Resources in RI
Homeschooling is a daunting concept for any parent, but with a little help, any dedicated parent can be successful. I have compiled a list of my favorite resources. With so many resources available, this list is by no means comprehensive, but it has worked for our family. As your homeschooled child gets older, different materials will work for you. The key to successful homeschooling is to find what works for your family.
When we first started homeschooling our son, we had no idea where to begin. We tried some groups in person, and some groups online. Some groups were great, while others just did not fit with our beliefs, our values, our lifestyle. Those tentative beginning steps were a great lesson. We learned to not try to squeeze a square peg into a round hole because you can never force something to fit. We learned to make our choices based on what we value, and the educational path we've chosen for our child.
After that, things get easier. We sent our Letter of Intent to Homeschool to the Town of West Warwick. We started homeschooling, and never looked back. We choose a full curriculum in a box. We started using it, and completely hated it. That curriculum ended working out really well for another family, so there wasn't anything inherently wrong with it. It just was not the right fit for us.
Our next step was joining a support group. We chose two, and again, one fit, and one did not. We kept the one that fit, and begin to develop our homeschooling lifestyle. From the support group, we attended a used curriculum sale. We found what other families were using, made some purchases, and haven't looked back. Our son helps to choose what he wants to study. If we see something cool at the Museum of Science, or at the zoo, we study it. If a topic is dragging, we cover it and move on to something exciting. It works for us, and our child is all the better for it.
The best advice I can give to any new homeschooling family is to be flexible. Keep what you like, ditch what you don't, and you too will be happily homeschooling your child!
RIGHT - The Rhode Island Guild of Home Teachers
RIGHT is a homeschooling support group. There are several other groups in RI, both secular and non-secular, but RIGHT was the best fit for my family. I encourage all homeschooling families to find a support group of similarly minded folks with whom to share your homeschooling adventures.
HDLDA - The Home School Legal Defense Association
The HSLDA is non-profit advocacy group that helps protect the rights of homeschooling families. Each state has different rules, and so do each city or town. The HSLDA works to defend the rights of homeschoolers. They are a very powerful ally for families who homeschool.
West Warwick Public Library
The West Warwick Public Library is a an exceptional resource for us. The head of the Children's Department is Mrs. McLaughlin. She adores the children and seems to hold a special place in her heart for the homeschooling students. She is always willing to go above and beyond with securing materials needed, pointing us in the right direction, and making us laugh.
Hip Homeschool Moms
Hip Homeschool Moms is a fun group on Facebook, for homeschool moms, by homeschool moms. The group provides support, curriculum suggestions, encouragement, and friends.
Math U See
Math U See is an exceptional math curriculum from K through high school. Materials are available for purchase through their website, and they provide additional worksheets that you create online. Materials are also available to purchase used through homeschooling groups, and on used book store websites.
Pinterest is filled with great resources for homeschooling. Pinners collect and post things that they enjoy as a means to share with others and to store them for their own use later. A simple search for homeschool will lead to a multitude of great ideas, projects, and resources.
Co-ops are an organized way for homeschooling families to share resources (like a parent-teacher) and help one another. A co-op enables children to socialize (non-homeschoolers biggest criticism!), learn from one another, and make friends. Parents learn from each other with different teaching and parenting methods, and develop friendships. Everyone benefits with the shared class aspect, and new and different experiences can be shared by all.
Roger Williams Park Zoo
Roger Williams Park Zoo is our go-to place for a fun, family-oriented and educational field trip. The zoo changes its exhibits frequently, and adds seasonal displays to entice and delight minds both young and old. A family membership is a fantastic deal, and with free parking, visiting often is a breeze.
Education.com is a teacher's dream for worksheets! There are games, worksheets, workbooks, activities, articles, arts and crafts, and even science fair projects. A small subscription fee is well-worth it to find educational worksheets for any subject for K-5th grade.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill Nye is a marketing genius! He's also a very knowledgeable scientist who proves that "Science Rules!" The RI public library system has MANY of the Bill Nye DVDs in its collection, and you can borrow them for a week (or longer depending on the library). The DVDs are fun and engaging, and offer experiments to do at home, subjects to ponder with "Consider the Following", catchy music and fun guest stars.
My personal favorite is our library and the Children's Department librarian. Most libraries now utilize books and online materials, so finding just what you need is simple. The added benefit is an intelligent, personable human being to work with you. The library provides a place to gather and meet friends. We borrow books to see if we like the topic. We expand on the curriculum with supplemental materials to add more to topics we love. The library also features online borrowing. You can search online, request materials from another library, and have them delivered to your own. Some resources are actually available for borrowing online through their ezone. You "check out" e-books and are able to view them on a PC or tablet for three weeks, just like regular books.
There are so many resources available now to homeschoolers that it can seem overwhelming, but the key is to find what works for your family. Never try to force it. If it doesn't work, try something new until you find the right fit. You can homeschool your child successfully, and you will love it when you find the right fit for you.