Home schools are considered private schools in Indiana. They are not government funded or regulated. So, you will be responsible for the cost of curriculum but also have the complete freedom to select whatever curriculum suits your student. Below are the sections of information this page covers:
Correspondence, Independent Study, and Virtual (Internet) School Programs
Designing your own Curriculum
Purchasing Your Curriculum
Buying Used Curriculum
Free or On-Loan Curriculum
Conventions or Curriculum Fairs
HOW TO BEGIN
Factors in a decision about curriculum:
• Your choice of an educational approach
• Your comfort with the teacher’s guide
• The student’s ease in using the material
• Your family's interests
• Your budget
After you decide upon an educational approach (traditional, classical, unit studies, interest-initiated or unschooling), you will want to research curriculum options. Veteran home schoolers will assure you that there is no perfect curriculum.
Initially you may think, “I should use all one company’s products,” and that is a good way to begin. As you become more comfortable with the process and your “teacher” role, you will probably diversify in the following years. You may choose to try a curriculum for a year then switch to another curriculum next year. A time honored truism is that “all curriculum works if you do!”
Always give your curriculum time to work. One bad week or even a bad month is not a sufficient reason to condemn your materials to a used curriculum book sale. Seek counsel from veteran home schoolers. You may be able to make some adjustments and smooth out the difficulty.
• There is no rule requiring your child to do every problem in a workbook. If he/she is grasping the concepts, you can move more quickly.
• Allow time for plenty of field trips throughout the year. A field trip can be a valuable, hands-on addition to the textbook, and field trips are fun, too!
• One very valuable website is done by an author of some excellent books which review homeschool curriculum, Cathy Duffy. Cathy's books and website, http://www.cathyduffyreviews.com/, give you overviews of different curriculum companies and offer you reviews on many different texts available for whatever age levels you will be teaching.
IDEAS FOR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
Best Homeschooling has a site page dedicated to ideas for working with the Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten years.
Homeschool Central is a resource website with a page on help for families with preschoolers and links to Educational resources for them.
Success by Six is for the Indy area now but will expand to other Central Indiana communities. You can sign up your infant through 5 year old to receive a free book a month by mail that are age appropriate.
Before5.org, a website sponsored by the Dekko Foundation has activity lists to do with your children from infancy to 5 and really can be continued way beyond 5 year olds.
A couple of Yahoo Discussion Groups for homeschooling families with preschoolers that you may find helpful: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/preschool_homeschool/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pre-Homeschool/
CORRESPONDENCE, INDEPENDENT STUDY, VIRTUAL (INTERNET) SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Many families choose programs that provide assistance and oversight. Check back soon for an updated list of some of these programs, or email us at Info@IndianaHomeSchooling.org with questions!
DESIGNING YOUR OWN CURRICULUM
If you are planning to design your own program for your students, it is helpful to read a curriculum review book, like Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Homeschooling or Cathy Duffy’s Christian Homeschool Curriculum Manual. Duffy reviews curriculum by subject, appropriateness by learning styles, and provides guidance in identifying your child’s learning style.
Indiana Academic Standards - Organized by content area and grade level, Indiana's Academic Standards can be viewed, printed, or downloaded. In addition, this site provides direct links to Indiana's Academic Standards Resources, online tools and lesson plans and worksheets to convey the concepts in the Academic Standards. These can help you evaluate how to give an "equivalent" education to you child.
The IFHS has affiliate agreements with Learning Things (on-line bookstore), Christian Book Distributors, and Amazon. We receive a small percentage for purchases you make on their websites, if you link to them through the IFHS website.
• A-Z Classifieds: A-Z Home's Cool Homeschool Classifieds (Yahoo Group)
• Homeschool Classifieds - New & used curriculum. Groups. Events. Your list. Organized.
• FetchBook.Info: New & Used Books
FREE or ON-LOAN CURRICULUM
Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Resource Finder - A large, searchable collection of math and science resources for K-12 instruction. You can indicate if you are looking for only free resources in the search for materials.
EnchantedLearning.com has thousands of printable worksheets on many subjects.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence is a result of more than 35 Federal agencies which formed to make hundreds of Federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. You can go to the site and find thousands of topics covered with learning activities, paintings, recordings, maps, teaching ideas, etc.
Fresh Water Fred's Lending Library - Over 1,000 educational videos, software programs and curriculum. Topics include biology, zoology, anatomy, physics, math, history, geography, the arts and environmental science. There is no charge for Lending Library materials. Sponsored by Hoosier Energy and its Environmental Education Center. Materials are mailed out and you are given a postage paid envelope to return in 30 days.
The Gateway to Educational Materials - A great educational search site for lesson plans, websites, books, etc. It is a fantastic resource for anyone using the unit study format. This is a vast site funded by our tax dollars through the Department of Education.
The Indiana Humanities Council offers lending materials for an annual subscription fee. Items are shipped free and you are responsible for return shipping or drop off or possibly can send some things through the INCOLSA statewide library courier.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has many programs and resources for students that you can use to build up an art unit.
Indianapolis Zoo offers a variety of educational animal kits. These kits are free.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis offers classes specifically for homeschoolers, and many other teacher resources.
Totally Free Math is a website that has Algebra curriculum and teachers solutions on-line. They hope to add video soon.
Edhelper.com - Lesson plans and downloadable worksheets in many subject areas, including math, reading and writing, social studies, science, and technology.
Lesson Tutor - Free reproducible lesson plans, unit studies and print ready worksheets for all levels, all abilities and all subjects of Grade School and High School.
Be sure to also look at our Homeschool Resources page for additional curriculum suggestions.
CONVENTIONS OR CURRICULUM FAIRS
Indiana Association for Home Educators (IAHE) Offers the largest convention in Indiana featuring an exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors, and extensive workshops. June 3rd & 4th, 2011
Fort Wayne Area Home Schools (FWAHS) Annual Resource Expo in May (preview the night before) with about 60 vendors and offering “Getting Started” training sessions.
Southwestern Indiana Home Educators (SWIHE) Annual curriculum fair and conference in April in Evansville.
Outside of Indiana but close:
Illinois Nonsectarian Homeschooling Options for a Meaningful Education Annual conference in Arlington Heights area that includes separate workshops for parents, children and teens and a 70+ vendor exhibit hall.
Midwest Homeschool Convention formerly the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention is in Cincinnati typically in late March.
Books with curriculum ideas:
Visit our Bookstore for these titles and more!