Boston School has found that using materials based on individual goals, interests and learning styles best meets the needs of the student. Living in the information age gives us access to many learning tools in addition to the standard textbook. Make use of them!
Every year we see new home study families spend an enormous amount of money on curriculum, only to find that their children will not use it. Textbooks can be useful, but they can also be deadly boring. There is no need for Boston School students to be bored with their materials. We recommend that you take your time and be creative. Order catalogues of educational materials, have the whole family spend a lot of time looking though them, but hold off ordering books and textbooks until you are sure that is what you need.
Try THE LIBRARY. This community resource may have many of the books and materials that you need. Make it a point to take your children to the library every week. Make friends with the children’s librarians. They know what is available that will be of use to you. We have found librarians to be especially happy with home educating students, and they can be one of your best resources. Many libraries have computers, collections of educational puzzles, maps, games and more. Make the library part of your home education schedule.
Don’t forget PUBLIC TELEVISION. While watching television has negative connotations in general, it can be used for its educational value. We generally recommend that the television stay off during school hours, unless it is turned to educational programming on your local public television station. Public stations have excellent programs on math, geography, history, art, music and more. Some of the best programming comes after “school” hours. Work these programs into your flexible schedule. The Discovery Channel, the History Channel and other non-public networks also have excellent educational programs. Watch the shows with your children and discuss them afterwards. Go to the library and do some follow-up studies about topics you saw on public television.
FAMILY, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS are some of the most overlooked community resources. In your social circles you may have people with expertise in areas where you are not strong, or that your child has a special interest in. Use these wonderful, free resources! Let your child’s open and questioning nature lead the way. Older people have a wealth of American history in their memories. Tap into it. Retired people also have the time. They may have the patience to listen to the beginning reader who needs to read aloud slowly. They may have specific areas of knowledge picked up during a lifetime of living and working that they are willing to share.
FIELD TRIPS are much more fun than workbooks, and the information presented this way is often retained longer, too. Ask your children for field trip ideas, and have them make the initial calls and plan the trip if possible. You don’t need a large group for a successful field trip, just a family or two is the way to go. Museums, parks, work places, government buildings and etc. are inexpensive and available all around you.
VOLUNTEER WORK in your community is one of the best ways to learn and gain work experience. Call your local community center, senior center or city hall for more information on volunteering in your area.