“Home”school is something of a misnomer – many homeschooling families are out of the house nearly every day. This academic choice is a movement on the rise, and local venues are responding in kind, offering dozens of homeschooler-specific programs and discounts.
Check out this homeschool resource guide to take advantage of all the activities and discounts available to you and your children.
Museums and park programs
The National Museum of the US Air Force plays host to the wildly popular Homeschool School Day each fall, drawing homeschoolers from around the world for a series of classes and special demonstrations. The museum also offers other programs of interest to homeschoolers throughout the year. Check out nationalmuseum.af.mil for in-depth lesson plans and more information about educational programming.
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery offers special homeschool programs for all ages and a discount on annual memberships. Visit boonshoftmuseum.org for details.
Five Rivers MetroParks provide a wide range of exciting, hands-on homeschool activities. Information about current offerings can be found at metroparks.org.
Local libraries are an excellent source for homeschool enrichment classes, book groups, special lectures, and more. In addition, most libraries issue educator cards to homeschool families. These cards allow for extra checkouts (up to 100 books can be checked out on some local homeschool cards), extended due dates, and special library services including curriculum packages. Inquire at your local branch.
Many local and national businesses extend their educator discounts to homeschool families. Don’t be afraid to ask! Be prepared to show your district approval letter or other documentation to receive these benefits. Notable discounts include Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, Office Max, Staples, Joann Fabric, Michael’s and The Container Store. Apple and Microsoft also provide special homeschool incentives.
These days, Pinterest is a veritable gold mine for homeschool resources. Search for “homeschool lessons” to get started. Some families manage to keep their curricula costs down to almost nothing thanks to the generosity of homeschoolers who have uploaded their materials to blogs and websites. You’ll find a huge range of completely free choices, including lessons that are aligned with state or national standards. You’ll also find lessons that are in line with educational approaches like Montessori, Charlotte Mason and Classical.
CurrClick.com and TeachersPayTeachers.com are sites that provide downloadable lesson plans, typically in PDF format. Prices range from free up to a few hundred dollars for a complete, full-year program that incorporates every subject. Many of these materials are teacher or parent-created, and are voted on by visitors to the site.
Connections Academy is one of several online e-schools providing a free public education to students in some states, including Ohio. Students receive all necessary materials, including a computer, free of charge, and work through their studies with the assistance of a program-provided instructor. Parents can also choose courses à la carte for a charge – in this instance, the student is not considered a public school student.
Youtube and Khan Academy are both excellent sources for video e-learning at all levels. Check out Youtube channels like CrashCourse for classes on World History, Psychology, Chemistry and more, all in a fun, cartoon-enhanced format. Khan Academy is best known for its immersive, expansive math offerings, but the content is actually much broader, covering just about any subject your homeschooler might dare to imagine.
Tips for Evaluating a Homeschool Offering
It can be tricky to decide if a homeschool program is worth the effort. Asking yourself these questions can help:
Does it enhance something you’re already doing?
Could it inspire or introduce a new homeschool focus?
Does it fulfill a supplemental need, like more time with other kids in the community?
For ongoing programs, is the commute too long?
What is required of parents for this program?