One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is freedom from the one-size-fits-all educational mold of public (or even private) schools.
Not surprisingly, many homeschoolers tend to avoid using textbooks and workbooks. Instead they choose other methods of learning: unit studies, hands-on projects, literature-based learning, or even unschooling.
The choice to homeschool using non-traditional methods offers undeniable benefits for many families. Sometimes, though, that decision is based largely on the desire to avoid the stereotypes associated with textbook learning.
When we first began homeschooling, I bought into a few of those stereotypes . . . including the one that says textbooks are boring. And the one that bemoans the idea of “recreating school at home.”
It took me the better part of a semester to admit that my fun plans and activities were making my kids downright miserable. Simply put, I found that textbooks and workbooks were a perfect fit for my “hands-off” learners.
Benefits of Homeschooling with Textbooks
1. Minimizes planning time
Creating lesson plans from scratch can be a daunting task, especially if you have a large family. Scouring the internet for just the right resources can be time-consuming, too. (Ask me how I know!)
In contrast, textbooks are typically accompanied by a teacher’s guide (unless they are specifically designed to be self-instructional). The teacher’s guide eliminates the need to create lessons and plan activities on your own. Everything is planned for you. Some teacher’s manuals may even be scripted, helping you to cover lessons without fear of “missing something.”
Textbooks and workbooks also usually include all the information that will be taught, requiring absolutely no time spent searching for supplemental materials.
2. Provides a systematic approach to learning
Textbooks are laid out in a systematic way, beginning with the basics and increasing in difficulty. The incremental instruction and built-in review encourage mastery of the material being taught.
The methodical pattern of textbook-based learning lends itself to a more predictable homeschool routine, as well. I’ve found this to be especially helpful for our larger family, where small variations in routine can quickly spiral into complete chaos!
3. Encourages independent learning
Textbooks and workbooks can be an excellent way to encourage children to work more independently. In fact, learning and completing assignments on their own can provide a great sense of accomplishment for kids, especially those who are task-oriented to begin with.
Encouraging independent learning offers tremendous benefits to homeschool parents, as well. When children can do part of their learning on their own, it frees up time for the parent to work one-on-one with younger children or with a student who needs additional help in a particular subject.
4. Builds study skills
No matter how much we want our children to enjoy learning, the fact is that sometimes education requires discipline. All the creative learning experiences we can enjoy as homeschoolers cannot replace the need for solid study skills . . . even when it isn’t entertaining.
5. Develops test-taking ability
While tests are not the only measure of knowledge–and certainly not the best–they are the most-used way of assessing what we know. Textbook-based learning provides regular practice with taking tests, building experience and confidence.
What If Textbooks Don’t Fit Your Family?
It’s easy to see that our family loves textbooks and workbooks, and I hope I’ve given you a few reasons to consider using them in your homeschool. But what if textbooks just don’t work for your family?
Homeschooling does not have to look the same for everyone! You’ll want to take a few minutes to read about why Crystal’s family doesn’t use a formal curriculum.
This post is part of a collection of Dueling Blog Posts from the bloggers of iHomeschool Network.