I have the unique privilege of homeschooling my children as a second generation homeschooler. Having been homeschooled myself K-12, I never dreamed it would be quite so overwhelming to be on the teaching end of homeschooling rather then the student side!
Currently I am homeschooling four children: Preschool, Kindergarten, Second Grade, and Fourth Grade, plus a 2 year old that likes to be in the middle of everything. I was homeschooled using a Charlotte Mason method, especially in high school. I have such fond memories of those years and always planned to do a strict Charlotte Mason approach when I homeschooled my own children.
There was just one little problem that I didn’t think through. I was the youngest child, and my high school years were spent alone with my mom. She had a lot more time to devote to lesson plans and one-on-one time with me, even though she struggled with a chronic illness during that time.
For the past few years my husband has been in college full-time finishing his degree, and I’ve been supporting our family with our clothing business in the midst of homeschooling. I knew it was a season of life to rely more on textbooks.
What Exactly are Textbooks?
This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but to others they might be wondering why some families object to textbooks versus a different style of education.
A history textbook, for instance, is a summary of the important events in history. The most important details are shared in an abbreviated text, but by necessity, they do not allow you to learn very deeply about any one subject. You would need to turn to, say, a biography or source text for that.
A science textbook may be an excellent primer on the general field of science, but it cannot provide the kind of sensory experience your little one could have on a simple nature walk.
This is why many think textbooks don’t offer the best education.
What Type of Family Will Textbooks Be Good For?
Textbooks work well for homeschooling families who are just starting out, as they might lack the confidence and knowledge to start pulling curriculum together on their own. They also work well for large families, where the mom can’t juggle individual lessons for hours on end with each child. Or you might just have the personality as a homeschooling mom where you love the organized nature of ready-to-go curriculum.
Whatever your reason, don’t give into guilty feelings that you are not providing this amazing classical approach to education and spending hours upon hours reading out loud to them. We all need to decide what is best for our families, and sometimes textbooks can be a blessing.
Can I Do A Mixture of Textbooks and Living Books?
Some families choose to buy the curriculum in the box. Everything comes from one company and it’s very straightforward. Others like to piece curriculum together from different companies. Still others choose to use textbooks for certain subjects, and other teaching styles for different subjects. I lean more towards this approach.
Right now I have my older boys in Christian Light Social Studies and they do their Science through them also, as well as their Bible Light Units. I use that time to work with my Kindergarten age daughter. The advantage of textbooks is that it gives Mom more time to teach all the different children, or tend to the the house, etc. We have a daily reading time together and read our history, science, and literature out loud. I have all the children listening, minus the children young enough to still need naps. You can see the curriculum we have been using this past school year, though some of it has been tweaked since writing this.
Companies that Offer Textbooks for Homeschoolers
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some resources.
- Bob Jones
- Alpha Omega
- Switched on Schoolhouse (DVD learning)
- Christian Light Education
- Rod and Staff
- Christian Liberty Press
Caroline has been married to the only love of her life for almost 11 years. Together they have five children, ages 10 and under. She is the owner of Deborah & Co., a clothing company for women, maternity and girls. In her late night moments, she blogs at The Modest Mom Blog.
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