December 1, 2014

A Great Happy New Year Gift for Homeschool Moms

In March 2013, two enormously popular homeschool curriculum providers proudly announced that they’d made changes to accommodate the Common Core Standards (CCS). I was stunned. The CCS was supposed to be a public school issue; what was it doing in my homeschool world? I didn’t use the particular products in question, but I immediately wondered how many other providers would also “go common core.” How could I provide a different, distinctive education for my children if all the homeschool curriculum and resource companies adopted the CCS?

That question launched what would become a full-scale research effort on my part to survey every known provider of homeschool-related material about its plans relative to the CCS. I thought I might need to send as many as 200 queries; after all, I knew homeschoolers had a lot of options.

Fast forward 21 months, and it’s obvious how naïve I was. The Homeschool Resource Roadmap, the site housing the free Common Core Project database, now lists more than 2,300 resources…and experience has taught me that there are undoubtedly quite a few publishers of relevant books and supplements yet to be queried. Clearly, homeschoolers’ curriculum cups overflow!

But as the CCS lists grew, I began getting more and more questions about particular subject areas: What’s the best science for my eight-year old? Where can I find good grammar books? Who offers higher-level math? The common core listing is just alphabetical, and the lists are so long that searching them for particular subject areas is like digging for a microscopic needle in a gargantuan haystack.

So to solve that problem, I decided several months ago to expand The Roadmap by taking the extensive common core lists and separating things out by subject area. Of course, given the sheer number of resources I’d catalogued, I knew that would be no small feat. But I also quickly discovered that – in true entrepreneurial spirit – many providers offer products in multiple content areas! And since my goal was to provide a truly useful tool for homeschoolers, I realized I needed to list every provider in every relevant category.

Obviously, it has taken quite a bit of time to parse through product lists on providers’ websites. But I’m happy to announce that The Homeschool Resource Roadmap’s Subject Area Project will soon - by January 1, 2015 - be up and running! 

The site’s Common Core Project will always be free as my gift to the homeschool community, but in keeping with the biblical principle found in 1 Timothy 5.18 (i.e., “the worker is worthy of his wages”), the Subject Area Project is by subscription. However, the very good news for frugal homeschoolers is that the subscription fee – currently just $4.99 – is an exceptionally good value. In fact, for just one, one-time payment, each subscription includes:
LIFETIME, unlimited access to the Basic Version lists for EVERY subject area – more than 30 categories detailing over 2,300 homeschool-related resources. And for each resource on each Basic Version list I have noted: the resource name; a link to the product website; the age range for which it’s most appropriate; and a summary notation of its common core status (with links for cross-referencing the Common Core Project as needed). 
Thus, subscribers can see at a glance which resources – from among many options of which they were not previously familiar – would be most appropriate for their children in any given subject area.
An automatic, free upgrade to the Deluxe Version lists for every subject area, which I hope to complete in Summer 2015. In addition to the information found for each resource on the Basic Version lists, the Deluxe Version will include: details about its position on common core (eliminating the need to cross-reference the Common Core Project); its worldview perspective (i.e., Christian, Non-Sectarian, etc.); notes about its format (i.e., print, CD-ROM, digital); and other relevant details (i.e., free, special offers, etc.).
When the Deluxe Version launches, the subscription fee will understandably increase – to $8.99 or more. That’s still a steal for gaining unlimited easy access to all the specific details about more than 2,300 resources. But those who buy Basic Version subscriptions immediately gain a great deal of useful information now and get an unbelievable value for the money once the Deluxe Version is finished.

So now that you've finished buying and wrapping presents for others, why not consider a little splurge for yourself? Just think of it as a small but important personal Happy New Year gift! And remember: homeschool convention season begins in February, so you’ll be spending time this winter and spring considering curriculum and resources for next fall. The Roadmap’s Subject Area Project will expand your horizons and expedite your decision-making process all at the same time – and all for just a few dollars.


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