So, you’ve made the decision to homeschool, but choosing homeschool curriculum seems huge. I’ve got five easy steps to help you along with choosing which homeschool curriculum is right for you!
Perhaps you have done some reading on different curriculums and methods. You have talked to people who homeschool, but maybe now you are feeling overwhelmed by what to do next. What do you do with all the information you have gathered, and how on earth do you decide what curriculum to use?! And, what if you pick the wrong one?!
Let me try to help you.
If you have not come to this point and are still deciding if homeschooling is right for you, check out my homeschool category above and do some reading. I have written quite a bit about the beginning stages and also about the curriculums we use. You could try So, You’re Thinking About Homeschooling, Now What?
But, if you are ready to move forward and make choices, let me offer some guidance.
I was asked about choosing homeschool curriculum by three different readers over the past week, and this is the most concise way that I can help others in choosing curriculum choices. Pay special attention to number one 🙂
First off, don’t worry about picking the wrong thing
All of us homeschooling veterans have changed course at least once throughout out homeschooling journey, and it’s ok. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to pick something that you will need to be committed to until death do you part. Well, not really, but you get my drift. There is nothing wrong with choosing something and changing to something different down the road.
Second. These are the steps that in hindsight, I would find helpful to follow in making those curriculum choices. To me this is also the most logical order in which to follow these steps.
- Time. Determine how much time you have to be involved in the day to day homeschooling. This would include planning, teaching, grading, and then re-teaching things that have not been understood. There are programs that allow you to be as hands on or hands off as you need to be. Pick the one that is in line with your time needs.
- Structure verses freedom. Do you want to have everything laid out for you (this tends to be where I fall in most areas) or do you want to have freedom to develop your own lessons using only minimal resources. Included in this would be giving some thought to whether you want to distribute regular assignments, quizzes, and tests or do you not want to use these traditional methods?
- If you will be schooling more than one child, will you teach them the same core information just at their own levels, or, will you follow a teaching method that treats each student individually? Unit studies generally incorporate the first option. Being more structured, I follow the second, although I do have two students in the same grade who are schooled together.
- Examine your own strengths and weaknesses as a student. Did you struggle with math? Did you loathe English? Consider investing more money into the areas where you are weak. It can be so hard to teach something that you don’t understand well if it is not well laid out for you. That being said, you can learn whatever it is right along with your student. Algebra and I were enemies in high school and college. When it came time for my daughter to start algebra, I have learned and done everything right along with her except for tests and quizzes. That way, I can help her if she needs it, and I can properly grade her since I know where she went wrong and can judge if she understands the concept but just executed the problem incorrectly. The algebra program I chose I spoke of in Curriculum We Love – Math, but it is videos of a teacher because I didn’t want to teach what I didn’t understand, and I lacked the confidence to do so. That way, my students and I can learn together.
- Examine your child or children’s strengths and weaknesses and take those into consideration as well. For instance, with one of my daughters, she “hates” school. Therefore, I have chosen some things that allow her to learn without realizing she is learning. One of her math programs was chosen just for her, as I wrote of here in talking about Life of Fred. You can find it here:The Life of Fred Elementary Set #1: Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs (4 books total)
As I have written of in The Realities and Reward of Homeschooling, you can homeschool no matter what you feel are your obstacles to overcome. Just follow these steps one at a time to help choose the programs that will work best for you. If you are looking for what I use, you can read about that in posts about Language Arts, History and Science, Math, Character, and Switched on Schoolhouse. You may find my homeschooling series helpful, too.
I would love to answer any questions you may have about homeschooling!