Every homeschool curriculum package has a lot of parts—some items are designed for students, like the textbooks and worktexts, but other items are designed for teachers or parents, like the answer keys and teacher’s editions. You might wonder if all those items are really necessary. You might especially wonder if that teacher’s edition is worth the expense. Can you homeschool without it? Maybe. But I really believe that a teacher’s edition will be one of the most important investments that you will make because it will make your job as a teacher so much easier and your child’s educational experience so much richer.
What exactly makes a teacher’s edition such a valuable tool for every homeschool mom? Here are some features of the BJU Press teacher’s editions and some ways that they will help you in your homeschool.
What is a teacher’s edition?
A teacher’s edition is a textbook that is designed for whoever is going to be teaching the subject—like Christian school teachers and homeschool moms!. The BJU Press teacher’s editions include the same content as the student book along with a lot of extra features in order to make it easy for you to teach.
What does a teacher edition textbook contain?
Every teacher’s edition contains a roadmap that helps me know how to pace the content so I can cover all the material over the course of my school year. In some teacher’s editions, this information is at the front of the book in the Lesson Plan Overview, but some editions spread out this information and place it at the beginning of every chapter or unit.
A glance at the top of every lesson tells me what pages we’re going to cover in the student textbook or worktext. The lesson objectives are clearly stated so I know exactly what my child needs to know by the end of the lesson. And I can clearly see what materials I need for the lesson and where I can find them.
Sometimes during a lesson, it’s helpful to have a graphic organizer, a practice sheet that my child and I can work through together, or even some guided notes to fill in and study later. The teacher’s edition contains these types of instructional aids at the back of the volume.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly how to teach a concept. Thankfully, the teacher’s editions also provide teaching strategies for every lesson that will meet the needs of students with all types of learning styles. Using several of these strategies will help you give your child a multisensory learning experience.
One of the biggest helps that I find in the teacher’s edition is the guided questions and answers it provides. These questions help me develop and assess my child’s comprehension of the material that we’re covering in the lesson, and they also help me lead my child to a deep appreciation for the material.
Solutions or Answer Keys
All the BJU Press teacher’s editions include reduced student pages so you can see exactly what is in your child’s textbook or workbook. But you can also see the answers printed in magenta ink. This feature makes grading a whole lot easier. High school math and science teacher’s editions even include complete solutions for math activities, showing the problem worked out, step-by-step.
How a Teacher’s Edition Helps You Homeschool
Determining Learning Objectives
My five-year-old is currently obsessed with science even though she knows very little about it. Today I caught her in the kitchen gathering cups, kitchen towels, my turkey baster, and an empty milk container. I asked her what she needed those things for, and she told me in a conspiratorial whisper that she was going to do “a science experiment.” When I asked her what this “experiment” was all about, it became obvious that she didn’t really have a plan. She didn’t even really have a goal in mind. She just thought it would be fun to pour water into different containers.
I laugh at my five-year-old’s impulsivity, but I know what the result will likely be—a large puddle of water on my kitchen floor. Projects without clear goals or plans don’t usually end well.
As homeschoolers, we want to approach our children’s education as carefully as we would any large project. We want to define our purpose, and we want to develop a clear plan for achieving that purpose.
Some of your educational goals will be big. You might want your child to “develop a biblical worldview” or “be a critical thinker.” However, some will be content specific like” name several reasons that public libraries are good for the community.” Those types of specific, measurable goals are often referred to as learning objectives.
BJU Press teacher’s editions define both big and small learning objectives so you don’t have to. For most courses, you’ll find big learning objectives for the whole course at the beginning of the teacher’s edition. Smaller learning objectives will be at the beginning of each lesson. You can see the goal for the lesson and how to assess whether you have achieved that goal. Of course, you have freedom to change these objectives if you want to (and you may need to based on the needs of your child), but having these objectives defined for you gives you both a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment in your homeschooling.
Creating a Lesson Plan
As Valerie mentioned in her post “How to Create Homeschool Lesson Plans in 5 Steps (with Examples),” “BJU Press provides two types of lesson plans in the teacher editions. A lesson plan overview is a quick look at the lesson, the corresponding teacher edition and student edition page numbers, the activity book page numbers, and the objectives for that lesson.” The lesson plan overview gives you a bird’s eye view of the course. It gives you a good idea of where you’re going with that course and how you are going to get there.
The other type of lesson plans that the BJU Press teacher’s editions include are detailed lesson plans. If you look at any individual lesson, you will find notes, discussion questions, activity ideas, and more, for teaching that particular lesson. Both experienced and inexperienced teachers will find these detailed lesson plans to be invaluable. You may use them as a springboard for ideas or you may rely on them more heavily. When I was new to homeschooling, I followed these detailed lesson plans very closely. They gave me a sense of security in homeschooling that I probably would not have had otherwise. Now that I have taught some of the same courses multiple times, I don’t stick as closely to the detailed lesson plans, but I still consult them every day to make sure that I’m on track.
BJU Press’s new homeschool tool, the Homeschool Hub, makes lesson planning easier than it has ever been before. All the lesson plans for a course are pre-loaded, and I can reschedule lessons at the click of a mouse and customize them to my heart’s content. For online and DVD video courses, I also have the digital copy of the teacher’s edition. For all my courses, I also have any Teacher Toolkit files.
Developing a Scaffolding Plan
In education, scaffolding refers to the support that teachers offer to help students succeed in learning a new concept or skill. A scaffolding plan for a new skill might include modeling the skill, assisting the student in performing that skill, and observing or coaching while the student practices the skill independently. A scaffolding plan for introducing a new concept might include things like graphic organizers, illustrations, and examples.
When you as a teacher plan scaffolding techniques into your lesson, your child will catch on much faster. BJU Press teacher’s editions can help you develop that scaffolding plan in a couple of key ways. First, the teacher’s editions help you systematically review past concepts and skills so you can build on that content in the future. Secondly, the teacher’s edition is full of scaffolding helps for individual lessons. For example, the teacher’s editions for reading often make use of Venn diagrams, plot pyramids, and mind maps to help with reading comprehension.
Pacing Your Child with a Flexible Homeschool Schedule
Another great thing about the teacher’s edition is that it helps you figure out how much content you need to cover each day. Most courses have between 160 and180 days’ worth of content. But you have the flexibility to arrange that content in whatever way fits best into your homeschool schedule. Arianna, in her post “4 Schedule Options for Your Homeschool,” discusses four popular homeschool scheduling options—the traditional schedule, the block schedule, the loop schedule, and the student-led schedule. Whatever schedule you choose to follow, the teacher’s edition will assist you in keeping track of what you have covered and what you need to cover next.
Finding an Appropriate Grading Scale for Your Child’s Work
If you’re like me, grading your child’s work is probably not your favorite part of homeschooling. Grading can be overwhelming and sometimes even frustrating because it is often difficult to know how many points an assignment should be worth and how to grade it appropriately.
A teacher’s edition can help alleviate a lot of the stress of grading by providing you not only with reduced student worktext pages with answers but also with rubrics to help you grade projects such as science labs and writing assignments.
Accessing a BJU Press Teacher’s Edition
Printed full-color BJU Press teacher’s editions are available for every course. They are spiral bound so they can lie completely flat, and they are very durable and likely to last through many years of use.
You can preview all BJU Press teacher’s editions by clicking the Look Inside the Book icon on any of the product pages. You can also flip through the printed editions yourself if you visit the BJU Press booth at a homeschool convention or visit a curriculum display organized by your local HomeWorks consultant.
If you have purchased any BJU Press video courses, you have automatic access to a digital teacher’s edition for that course. Within the Homeschool Hub, you can find the pdf files for the teacher’s edition under the Course Resources tab on any course page.
As you can see, the teacher’s edition is one of the most valuable tools in your homeschooling toolbox. BJU Press has designed its teacher’s edition to make it easier for you to homeschool. Most importantly, the teacher’s edition can give you the confidence you need to be able to help guide your child into deep learning and develop a biblical worldview. And that makes for a successful, happy homeschool.