Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

Next to actually making the decision to homeschool, choosing a curriculum is one of the hardest decisions you will make. The worst part about it is that you will not just make this decision once, but every. single. year. after you begin homeschooling.

The first thing I recommend when it comes to choosing a curriculum is to go through Cathy Duffy’s book, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. This book breaks down learning styles for you and your child. Then, offers you some examples of curriculum that may work for your family.

The next thing I recommend is to find a way to actually “look” at the curriculum you are interested in. Find someone who uses the same curriculum or go to a curriculum fair or homeschool convention. If none of these options work then order just the teachers guide from the curriculum you are considering. This gives you the opportunity to look at it, and decide if it is right for you. If you don’t like it, you can send it back (most of the time).

It is important to remember one thing when you are choosing a curriculum. No curriculum is perfect. Not the one I use, the one you use, or the one your homeschool friend uses. Also, what works for one family, may not work for yours. What works for one of your children, may not work for the next child. If the curriculum you decide on doesn’t work, ditch it! Don’t torture yourself, or your child with something that doesn’t fit your family’s needs or learning styles.

Curriculum shopping will be one of the most difficult things you do as a homeschool mom. Just remember to relax, find out your child’s learning style, look at curriculum in person, and remind yourself there is NO perfect curriculum!

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Choosing Curriculum

One of the most overwhelming aspects of homeschooling is curriculum choice!  So many options—great options—exist in the arena of home education that it creates a blessing of complexity.  I cannot even conceive of the era when no materials existed.  Wandering through a convention hall of vendors for the first time is mind-numbing.  Every sales pitch sounds so good and every curriculum perfect, your head swims at the thought of where to begin.  Preparation will calm the chaos considerably.

Begin by preparing a list of the subjects you plan to cover in the next year.  Then review your finances and set a firm budget and commit to staying within the budget.  After listing the subjects, give some thought and prayer to the approach which will work for your family.

Will unit studies fit the personalities and time availability in your home?  Unit studies work great with multi-level grades.  Typically base subjects such as math and grammar are handled separately.  Hands-in learning is typical in most such programs and while that is great, it is labor intensive for the instructing parent.  Consumable workbooks are a great tool for independent learners.  The structure lends itself well to teaching goal-setting.

In addition to considering the type of instruction, give some attention to your child’s learning style.  Cynthia Tobias has a wonderful book on the various ways children learn.  Having a variety of learning modalities in your homeschool program is beneficial for all students.  Knowing the way a child learns easiest will help in choosing curriculum.  As you look at curriculum, do consider ‘looks’.   White space and color help keep material from feeling overwhelming.  Many homeschool curriculum reviews are available online…don’t forget the best reviewers may be your friends!  Often larger companies have online placement tests or offer samplers to review before attending convention.

Do your homework but do not stress.  Your choices in curriculum will likely change as the years progress.  As the parent-teacher, you will learn alongside your student(s).  Enjoy the journey!

Visit the Exhibitor Listing and check out the great array of vendors who will be on hand to answer your questions.

-Billie Jo