THE ALL IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR HOMESCHOOL MOMS…. How do I choose the right homeschool curriculum for my child?
Before we get into the how to, I want you to know that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum. Yes, I said that. There really is no all encompassing, one size fits all curriculum. To expect that there is is unrealistic and will set you up for a lot of disappointment. Homeschooling is constantly changing – curriculums change, your children change, you add children into your homeschool, life demands something different, etc.
We pick the best curriculum based on our family’s needs, after much research, and do the best we can. You won’t fail your child if something you choose ends up not being the best fit. I can’t tell you how many times I have changed curriculum over the last 8 years. My children have not only survived, but thrived. It’s all good, sweet mama.
How To Choose Homeschool Curriculum:
You likely already have an idea of what curriculum you will be using, especially if you are not just starting out homeschooling. I have a pretty good idea year after year, and just need to tweak a couple things. It did take those first couple years of trial and error to find our groove, though!
Armed with your goals, your budget, and knowing your child’s learning style, you can now choose your curriculum. You’ll want to be sure and check with your state and any local guidelines you have first, so you know what the local requirements are. For the most part, we all have basic subjects we teach like math, history, language arts…so you could start there.
After you have checked your local requirements, you can make a list of the subjects you want to teach for each child. Then go down that list and research a few curriculum options for each subject. I like to keep track of the price of the curriculum as I’m researching, as well as the place I can purchase from. I have a printable you can use for this if you’d like.
A FEW QUESTIONS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Does it align with those goals you wrote down for your year? If you have only younger children who need work on phonics, your curriculum choices will look vastly different from someone preparing their child for high school.
Does it match your child’s learning style? We discussed this already, but choosing a reading intensive curriculum for your tactile learner may not be the best choice.
Does it fit your budget? You made a budget for a reason, so stick with it. Remember to do your research and search for ways you can save money and find used curriculum. Ignore the shiny objects!
Does it match with your child’s interests? This is self explanatory, right? Do you have a child who loves history? There are many history based curriculums out there!
What is the time investment for you and your schedule? If you have multiple children, you may want to rethink that teacher intensive lesson plan and look into a science curriculum you can use with the whole family. Do you have time to teach and prepare multiple projects per week? How many weeks will this curriculum take you? D you only want to school 4 days a week?
I love to browse homeschool forums and chat with other moms about what they are choosing for curriculum. Some of my favorites are Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason style) and The Well Trained Mind (classical method) forums. There are also so many Facebook groups for homeschoolers.
I will be sharing our curriculum choices for this upcoming school year over on YouTube. You can see a video of our Sonlight curriculum we are using for 8th grade RIGHT HERE. I will be adding in more videos next week with what we are using for Pre-K, first grade, third grade, and sixth grade…so be sure and subscribe to my channel so you can watch those videos.
I mentioned I created some curriculum research printables to help your keep track of your child’s curriculum for the year. I use the Planning printable in my research phase. I print one out for each child and write down my choice per subject, along with the expected cost. Then I can mark whether I am buying it new, used, or am borrowing it. When I made my decision and order it, I can mark received when I get it. It just helps me stay organized with multiple children. The other form is the one I use for my final choices for the year. I have a spot for 4 children’s names. I write down what I am using per subject for each child and keep it as a reference for the year. I hope it helps you!
This is part of a 10 Day Homeschool Planning series I am doing here, and I have partnered with 15 other bloggers sharing their own tips. Be sure and visit them!