Maximum Math eBook, Guides to History Plus, Movies As Literature and more!

408 Victoria Avenue
Wilmington, Delaware 19804-2124

Assessed by Jennifer Nairne

Many parent-teachers turn to homeschooling, not out of choice, but out of necessity. Whether the child is gifted, has special needs, or struggles academically, parents choose to homeschool children who are unable to fit into the traditional “read, memorize, test” approach to learning, commonly found in public schools. Neither of my children fit the mold and it was torturous to watch their love of learning die, as they increasingly resented having to attend school each day.

After making the commitment to homeschool your children, it can be terribly intimidating. What content do you teach? What curriculum should you use? When should you teach specific skills? What kind of learner is my child? What type of curriculum is best for my homeschooler’s learning style? Just a quick search online for “educational products” will show hundreds of stores and thousands of websites competing for your attention.

Kathryn Stout founded Design-A-Study in 1988, after teaching for 8 years in the public education system. She wrote books to help other parent-teachers, struggling to teach their own children at home. Kathryn’s goal was to teach parent-teachers how to adapt curriculum and content for each unique homeschooler. The guides provide both a framework and a timeline, detailing the skills and concepts that homeschoolers need to be taught and when they should be taught. Parent-teachers can find multiple teaching strategies and activities to choose from, ensuring that all students in your home are engaged by the material, even if you are teaching students at different grade levels and with different learning abilities. There are also suggestions for curriculum and resources to cover the material and how those materials match up to each homeschooler’s style of learning.

Rather than work towards completing a workbook, students are encouraged to work towards mastering concepts and skills. By focusing on mastery, children won’t become bored, frustrated, and disengaged because of the tedious repetition forced upon them in traditional school. In contrast, students unable to master certain concepts or skills can take as long as needed, practicing each year until the content is mastered. Children’s brains develop differently and at different times and although parents should always encourage their children to try something new and to do their best work, there is no need to push a child before they are ready.

Each subject has an accompanying Design-A-Study guide for parent-teachers. For Language Arts, there are guides for spelling, composition, and reading comprehension. For math, the Maximum Math eBook contains the teaching strategies and resources needed to successfully teach K-8 math. The Science Scope details the concepts and skills taught in grades K-12 science and health by topic and grade level. Guides to History Plus covers how to teach all the social studies objectives for grades K-12, including American and world history, geography, government, and economics. Parent-teachers are encouraged to approach the content as a “unit study” by incorporating objectives in other subjects. Kathryn Stout has also published a K-12 unit study on the Mayan people. And for those parent-teachers that are brand new to homeschooling, or anyone struggling in their own classrooms at home, there is Teaching Tips and Techniques. There are tips for planning schedules, creating lesson plans, child development, learning styles, discipline, additional resources, and much more.

Kathryn also developed a complete, one-year high school English course, entitled Movies as Literature. Both the Design-A-Study parent-teacher guide and the Student Workbook are available, using classic movies to introduce and study the elements of literary analysis. Parent-teachers are equipped with the tools needed to assess the writing of your homeschooler, as well as a final exam. Even homeschoolers in middle school can utilize portions and both the book and workbook include suggestions for utilizing the course as a supplement for middle school material.

Design-A-Study products are meant to give parent-teachers the option of adapting a packaged curriculum to suit each child or to pull together their own by synthesizing content and resources from multiple sources. By offering everything from the types of books that should be read (nonfiction, science fiction, poems, etc.), to how to develop a unit study, avoid boredom, and encourage the self-directed learner – Design-A-Study products ensure all parent-teachers will be empowered to teach their children with confidence.

For more information on pricing and further information about the Design-A-Study guides, please visit their website at JN