TOP PICKS FOR HOMESCHOOLING CURRICULUM
Over the years of supporting the homeschooling community ( you may have heard - loads of homeschooling mums and dads love our maths program!) we’ve also had a bunch of questions about other great programs that we recommend.
From our collective homeschooling journey of teaching children - with very different interests and abilities - from birth to Year 9, here are what we see as the main considerations:
- It needs to be Australianised.
There’s no point having a great US based program that teaches dimes, nickels, pounds for maths and US presidents for American history. However, some programs that are great in the English and Science department don’t have many references to US based measurements, so are very user friendly and of excellent quality.
- It needs to be fairly priced (not over-expensive) for what it’s worth. And you need to compare 'apples with apples'. A program with video content, instruction material and student workbooks can't be compared to a workbook from your local news agency in terms of the quality of instruction and learning. And since you've committed to teaching your children, it's worth investing in materials that support you to do an excellent job of it.
- There needs to be excellent feedback about the product. If people are raving about the way the program teaches or what it offers, there’s a good reason for it - that means it works!
- It must be simple to implement and not require a lot of preparation time (you've got better things to do with your time - like enjoying hanging out with and enjoying the beauty of your kids....)
Based on what we at Maths Australia have personally used and loved, we've put together a list to share some of our favourite materials. We know from experience that it can be hard to know what to choose and where to start. So these recommendations are here to support and hopefully inspire you whether you're new to this, or you're needing a clean slate and a fresh start!
P.S These are tried and tested by real homeschool mums, myself included (I had five kids all a year apart that had very different interests and sometimes it was challenging finding something that worked for each of them!)
Math-U-See is the most popular multi-sensory maths program on the market to date – because it actually works!
The Math-U-See program covers Primary to Grade 12 and University level maths, and is perfect for students of all ages and learning styles, including intervention and those with special needs.
Math-U-See teaches in a way that is effective for students of all ages and learning abilities. The program maintains that learning should be taught in a hands-on way, at each students own pace and in the way that they can understand.
By using a variety of teaching methods and engaging all the senses, learning is concrete and effective.
Students progress through each level sequentially (left to right below) to build on the foundational principles learnt in the previous levels. For some kids, a particular level will be easy and they'll breeze through. For other kids, that same level may take a little longer. Each student has the support to move at their own pace, and fully understand the topic before moving forward.
The levels continue on through the Advanced Levels and take students through complex algebraic equations, geometry, pythagoras theorem and more. The same approach is applied - each lesson builds on the previous level and makes sure the student fully understands each concept before moving forward.
It's easy to teach too, even if you don't have prior teaching experience. Many parents, teachers and tutors highly reccommend the program because of its simplistic approach and ease of use. The program includes:
The first step is to figure out where your student is at, and determine their level of maths understanding. Then you know where to start, what topics to focus on, and what gaps need to be filled in. You can take the free, online Placement Test here:
You can check out the trainings available here:
There’s also in-person and online Maths Training available for parents and teachers. These trainings arose from the need of parents and teachers wanting some extra support to teach multisensory maths in ways that work. The trainings will give you some great tools and techniques to teach maths easily and effectively to your students.
All About Learning
All About Learning is a complete program that teaches Spelling and Reading in two simple sections. It covers phonics, decoding, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. The lessons are explicitly scripted and taught in an easy-to-follow format that works for your kids.
The great thing about All About Learning is that they use the Orton-Gillinghamd approach, which teaches hands-on and at the student’s pace, increasing confidence and achieving better results. They also use a mastery-based approach which means your student won’t rush over the topics to get to the end – it will make sure your kids know what they’ve been taught before moving on to the next lesson.
You can check out their full range here:
The Sound Way
The Sound Way teaches step-by-step lessons for reading, writing, phonetics and language skills. They have online videos as well as workbooks, where the student will go through each lesson at their own pace. Perfect for those who learn through auditory, as well as those with learning challenges. And its much more comprehensive than English at most schools!
Each lesson works with words sounded out by each syllable, making it easy and simple to understand. My daughters loved the way this was taught!
”The Sound Way Program improved the average reading and writing skills of our entire Year 8, 9 & 10 students by more than 3 years in 10 weeks... I have never seen anything like this in my over 20 years of being in education.”
They offer two parts – a junior and senior version – catering to both school-aged students and adult learners.
The Story of the World
This interactive history resource is a hidden treasure! It’s a perfect resource to teach your kids history from past ages to present, through Africa, China, Europe and the Americas. Explained in a straightforward, engaging style, this is a must for the homeschool curriculum list!
They have student workbooks, activity booklets, and audiobooks (which are perfect for travelling and roadtrips, or even a drive to the shops).
The Big Life Journal
Wonderfully illustrated, these journals support students to engage with confidence and master science-based subjects. The bright colours are engaging and fun – I love these!
Big Life Journal also have printables, conversation cards, posters and online pdfs available.
Exploring Creation by Apologia
Exploring Creation is Christian-based learning and they have everything science-related! General science, chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, health and nutrition, as well as biology resources and packs to make sure you have everything you need. The workbooks are extensive – explicit illustrations, information and step by step working through with student workbooks.
A perfect homeschool curriculum for middle school, high school and elementary levels science instruction.
You can see the full product range here:
Graham Lloyd Music
Thiis musical program is perfect for beginners, right the way through to those mastered in the muscial arts! Music is a language too, and it needs to be taught step by step. Chords, intonations, foundations of music and also the 'science' of music is explored throughout this wonderful program.
They offer online video instruction lessons, hard copy books and a range of packages that will best suit your child's interest.
Nature Study Australia
Truly a masterpiece, these beautiful study guides are packed with wonderful illustrations!
This one has to be my top pick – its so beautiful, so Australian, and so needed in our modern day society – most kids don’t know much about the world around them. This is the perfect resource to support discovery of the outside world.
An in-depth introduction to the world around us here in Australia, including wildlife, native flowers, orchids, as well as telling the time though observing the sun.
There are also Mothers Day cards, autumn leaf prints and backyard phenology wheels available.
Samantha Martin “Bush Tukka Cookbook”
This is a great resource if you want to learn more about the Indigenous Australian way of life, through food and cooking. It’s been my favourite way of teaching my kids – get them in the kitchen. There’s something empowering about knowing where to harvest your food, how to cook it and enjoy eating it afterwards.
This is also a great resource to learn about the world around us, here in Australia!
Many children grow up without any understanding of how they can connect with the world around them (often in our very own backyards). This is the perfect cookbook to learn some rewarding Indigenous knowledge that turns out to be very tasty, too.
Samantha lives in Far North Australia and continues to share her outstanding knowledge of cooking, food, recipes and Indigenous culture. You can connect and keep up to date with Samantha through the Bush Tukka Facebook page here
You can order a copy directly here:
2021 Homeschool Planners
Get organised and effective with the Mulberry Homeschool 2021 planner - just in time for next year's schooling!
For many of us, seeing the back of 2020 will be a relief! Calling 2020 a 'weird' year would be an understatement. Hands up if you've hit a wobble here and there... we certainly did!
This planner is perfect for the planning out the New Year of your child's education needs (and extra curricular activities) and making sure you're on top of your homeschooling state or reporting requirements. It's a great resource for parents who want to have just a little more organisation in their life and especially for those with a few kids to keep track of.
This 200-page mega download includes everything you could possibly need to plan, track and evaluate your homeschooling routine and your children's wonderful journey of learning through life! Join hundreds of other parents who come back year after year to purchase the downloadable Mulberry Planner, because it's just THAT good. 😉
You can download the templates instantly, which means you don't need to wait around for the postman. Plus, The Mulberry Planner is the only homeschool planner that's specifically designed for the Southern Hemisphere.
The 2021 planner is available now and features:
- 200 pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your entire 2021 homeschool year!
- Instant digital download, print the pages you like, whenever you like
- 21 new template pages this year - based on requests.
- Stunning colour theme featuring 14 beautiful cover options
- Easily adaptable for one child or multiple children, and can be customised to suit grades K-12.
- Ultimate flexibility with multiple layout options, blank title pages, DIY borders and customisation tips.
- Designed for easy printing with room for spiral bound, hole punch and ring binder on the left margin.
- Perfect for all types of homeschoolers AND unschoolers!
Plus, if you purchase through the link above, we've got a special freebie for you.
We've collaborated together with the Mulberry Planner team and created these planner templates - so you can use ALL the Mulberry Planner planners and lists, PLUS these sheets to keep track of each maths lesson. Sound good or what?
FREE Home-schooling Mini Course
If you want a FREE homeschooling course that shows you how and what to do to start (great even if you’re a seasoned homeschooler!) here’s a great resource from Kelly, Fearless Homeschool
Kelly also has a super popular “Zero to Homeschooling” course that gives you an effective system, resources and all the support you need to start homeschooling. This course is perfect if you are just starting out teaching your kids at home, or are an experienced mum and just looking for a few extras to make life a little easier!
She’s got loads of other home-schooling resources, inspirational quotes, homeschooling program reviews and much more, so be sure to check out her page!
Learning Differences/Special Needs
If you have children with learning differences/special needs or know someone who does, check out this great course by Neurodiversity. They offer a great course and run through loads of information, tools and techniques!
Australian State Laws about Homeschooling
To check out each state’s laws in regards to homeschooling, check the information below. This is super important if you want to register and find out the laws and regulations specific to your state.
Well, that's the end of the list! Like I mentioned earlier, these programs and curriculum have all been tried and tested - and proven to work for us.
Hope these resources and recommendations help & serve you well too – let us know in the comments below!
The Team at Maths Australia