This post is partially sponsored by Miacademy- Engaging Online Curriculum!
The number one question I have been asked when I tell people we are homeschooling this year is “What curriculum do you use?” For the first several weeks of making this big decision, I didn’t know the answer to that. A lot of veteran homeschoolers say not to worry about curriculum, but I felt nervous going from public school to homeschool and doing it all on my own.
So I did a lot of research and came very close to making some purchases that I was unsure of. Then an ad for Miacademy showed up on my Facebook. I looked into it and the more I learned about Miacademy the more I loved it! I explained it to my friends as if it were an episode of “Say Yes to The Dress”. When you find the right fit, you know!
The thing that I have been most excited about with this program were the incentives for the kids. They get to earn gold and use it to purchase things for their virtual castle. My kids love Minecraft and Animal Crossing so if you are familiar with either of these games that include building your own virtual world then you know kids really get into that stuff! I can also add gold to their accounts labeled with a certain chore or behavioral reward. When I showed my kids what Miacademy was they were begging to start school. I told them I wanted to get to know the site and figure out our schedule first. I never thought I would see the day that I would have to hold them back from starting school!
Another thing that really sold me on Miacademy was that it teaches the lessons.
I am very hands-on with homeschool, but I can’t do it all with four kids in different grades! So I love that they can learn grade specific subject and get quizzed on it. The games also allow for repetition to ensure that the information is really understood.
Even though they are doing their core lessons without me, the parent portal shows me EVERYTHING that they worked on. The parent portal sealed the deal for me. This is where I can track my kids’ progress, see how they did on assessments, and how much time was spent on the lesson. I remind them of this from time to time and it gives me leverage when I can tell that they are not really trying on a certain lesson. Mom will make you redo it if you don’t score well. So make sure you are trying your best. I could even print out report cards if I wanted.
Those were the initial features that got me excited about Miacademy, but now that we are one our 7th week of it I have learned a lot more about it all. For example, you can customize your child’s account to block certain parts of the site and/or assignments or give them full access. I chose to keep their accounts more private, but I do have them set to where they can buy and sell their creations in the online shop. This is such a cool part of Miacademy! The kids can design clothes, art, and furniture to sell (for Miacademy gold, not real money) and then they can track their earnings and shop stats in a way that is educational. As an entrepreneur myself I love this feature!!!
Okay, now that I have gone on and on about Miacademy I will share the same thing I have told all of my friends who ask- Miacademy is technically considered a full curriculum but they openly disclose that it should be used in addition to other educational tools to engage your children as they learn. There are two ways to use Miacademy in tandem with homeschool. Either use it as the primary core lesson plan and supplement with other content and activities, or you could use it to supplement your core curriculum. There are actually a lot of users who are not homeschooled that add Miacademy to traditional schooling, or as a way to keep your kids engaged in the summer.
I use it mostly for math, language arts, and typing for now. My kids dabble in the Bible, science, and a few other lesson plans on their own but I don’t assign those options to them very often. The reason I do it this way is because science, geography, history, art etc. are all things that we do well as a family. With these subjects, I can teach one lesson along with an activity or video and they can receive from it at their own level. However, math is more tricky. Language arts is also something that I really want to make sure they are covering all of the grade specific material. Since Miacademy is computer-based work there are options for print outs. I personally haven’t really utilized that yet, although I am sure I will. For now, I have workbooks and prints outs that I assign to each of them every single school day to make sure they are working on actually pencil and paper assignments. If you saw their handwriting you would know why I am a stickler about this!
So that’s the answer to what curriculum we are using! I am NOT an expert. I have only been doing this a month and who knows what the full school year will look like, but as I have done in my 13 years of blogging I aim to keep it
real about my messy life as this new season unfolds.