Six Things to Consider When Choosing Curriculum
The time to think about next year's curriculum has arrived! This is an exciting time for some and frustrating for others. Picking curriculum can be an overwhelming task due to all the choices. Remember there is no perfect curriculum and never be afraid to switch gears even in midstream. Most of all, do not frustrate yourself with "gaps" in education. No one...not you..not a school system...can teach your child everything. There are gaps in every form of education. Education is more than a textbook...it is instilling a curiosity and love of learning that lasts a lifetime.
How do you cut through the choices to find what will work for your family?
1. Learning Style: One of the most important factors in choosing curriculum is your student's learning style. A conflict of learning and teaching styles can result in frustration on the part of the teacher and the student.
Overview of Learning Styles
Learning Styles Explained
Choosing Curriculum Based on Learning Styles
2. Consider Homeschool Method: A classical homeschooler and an unschooler will pick vastly different resources for their children. If you have an established method or you want to enhance your homeschool with a method then you will want resources and curriculum that complies. A conflict with your homeschool method often leads to dissatisfaction with curriculum.
Exploring Homeschool Methods
Homeschool Teaching Methods
3. Number of Children: Do you have multiple children to teach? You may want to chose a curriculum that you can use with multiple children. History and Science are the best subjects to teach to multiple age groups. However, you can include read aloud books in your literature to appeal to all your children.
History: Mystery of History, Story of the World
Science: Kids Explore, Real Science 4 Kids
4. Faith Based or Secular: Decide if you want to purchase faith based or secular materials. This factor alone will narrow your choices. You can certainly chose a variety of the two based on your preferences. Please keep in mind when choosing faith based materials that you must confirm it does not conflict with your doctrine. "Faith Based" can be misleading or imply a different "faith".
5. Budget: Most homeschooling families will find themselves on a budget. Homeschooling does not normally come with two full time working parents. In today's world it is hard to make it financially one one income so we need to save where we can. The best way to budget is to plan in advance. Putting away $10 to $20 a week for the school year into a budget for the next school year will save you a bit of headache. If you are like me, you end up with a headache or using a portion of the tax return. It is possible to provide an excellent education on a budget. If a budget is not your concern, then have at it! If so...here are a few resources for you.
Ambleside Online: Free Charlotte Mason Curriculum
Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
An Old Fashioned Education
Free and Inexpensive Math Curriculum
Free Homeschool Curriculum
Resources to Purchase Inexpensive Curriculum:
Hearts At Home
6. Life Circumstances: What your view on the perfect homeschool environment or life is...just cut it out! Drop what you think. Homeschool moms are moms. Moms with part time jobs, with businesses, with one child or multiple children, with special needs children, with crazy schedules, with husbands who work 2nd or 3rd shift, with chronic illnesses, single, and some are even pregnant. Find a curriculum that suits your lifestyle do not try to fit your lifestyle into your curriculum. If you do not have the time or desire to make lapbooks or engage in unit studies then don't. If you have time to create giant sized timelines in your dining room then go for it. Just do not count out your circumstance or believe it is an obstacle to homeschooling. The obstacle comes when you chose what you think a good homeschool mommy would chose and not what you need. By the way, if you find a "good homeschool mommy" let me know so I can tell her what trouble she is causing.
Very cool resource: Curriculum Planner (the site if full of helps and resources)