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Now that you have decided you want to homeschool, the next choice you need to make is choosing a curriculum.
But, what to choose? There are so many different choices out there, and each one has its good and bad points!
To keep it simple, today I am talking about some of the major ones that I have used and what I liked and disliked about them.
In Math, we used a wide variety of curriculum…
Each child obviously learned differently, and I had to adjust for each one’s different learning styles.
I’ll be talking about Math-U-See, Singapore, and Life of Fred. I’ll also be discussing notebooking and unit studies a bit today, but will go into them further in the future.
So here’s the thing – you don’t HAVE to choose a formal homeschool curriculum at all. But if you want to streamline the process and make your life a little easier, choosing an already-made curriculum can be incredibly helpful.
With that said, here are some tips to help you choose the homeschooling curriculum that’s right for you.
How Do I Know Which Homeschool Curriculum to Use?
Choosing a homeschool curriculum can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a few key things to keep in mind that will help you select the right curriculum for your family.
Decide the Subjects You Plan to Teach
Before you start shopping for a curriculum, sit down and make a list of the subjects you plan to teach. This will help you narrow your search and find a curriculum that covers all the bases.
Once you’ve decided on the subjects you’ll be teaching, take some time to research different homeschooling methods and approaches.
This will give you a better idea of what type of curriculum will fit best with your family’s homeschooling style.
Desired Level of Involvement
One of the most important decisions is deciding how involved you want to be in the learning process.
Some parents prefer to take a hands-on approach, ensuring that their child is getting the most out of every lesson.
Others prefer to take a more hands-off approach, letting their child learn at their own pace. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is important to consider your desired level of involvement before making a decision.
If you are the type of parent who likes to be involved in every aspect of your child’s education, then you will likely prefer a curriculum that provides more structure and guidance.
However, if you are comfortable letting your child learn at their own pace, then you may prefer a curriculum that offers more flexibility.
One of the most important considerations when choosing a homeschool curriculum is the schedule.
Homeschooling families have a lot of flexibility when it comes to structuring their days, but it’s important to make sure that the curriculum you choose fits into your overall schedule.
Consider how many hours a day you want to spend on homeschooling, and how many days a week you want to homeschool. Then look at the curriculum options and see which one will best fit into your schedule.
Which Type of Learning You Prefer
One way to narrow down the field is to consider which type of learning you prefer. Do you want a curriculum that is hands-on and active, or one that is task-based and project-based?
Or perhaps you prefer a more traditional approach that relies heavily on textbooks.
There is no right or wrong answer, but by considering your own preferences, you can weed out some of the options and make the decision process a little easier.
Try Before You Buy
A good rule of thumb is to “try before you buy.”
Many curriculum providers offer free samples of their materials, so you can get a feel for how the lessons are structured and whether or not the content is a good fit for your child.
You can also read online reviews from other homeschool families to get their insights on different curriculums.
By doing your research ahead of time, you can be confident that you’re selecting the best possible homeschool curriculum for your family.
Talk to Other Parents
One of the best ways to narrow down your options is to talk to other parents who are already homeschooling.
They can offer first-hand insights into what works well and what doesn’t. In addition, they may be aware of resources that you didn’t know existed.
By tapping into the collective wisdom of the homeschooling community, you’ll be better equipped to choose a curriculum that’s right for your family.
Consider State Requirements
When choosing a homeschool curriculum, it is important to consider your state’s requirements. Each state has different standards for what students are expected to learn, and homeschool curriculums should be aligned with these standards.
Not all homeschool curriculums are created equal, so it is important to do your research and find one that will meet your needs.
Consider Your Children and Yourself
Homeschooling is a big decision, and choosing the right curriculum is an important part of making it work. There are many factors to consider, including your children’s needs and your own needs.
Probably the most important consideration is what type of learner your child is. Some children thrive in a more structured environment, while others do better with a more flexible approach.
Make sure to choose a curriculum that will work well for your child’s learning style.
Also, don’t forget to factor in extracurricular activities and social opportunities when choosing a homeschool curriculum.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to mean isolating yourself from the outside world. There are many homeschool groups and activities available, so make sure to consider how the curriculum you choose will fit into your overall plans for socializing and extracurriculars.
While there are many factors to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum, one of the most important is your child’s interests.
After all, your child will be the one using the curriculum, so it’s important to find materials that he or she will enjoy and be engaged with.
If your child loves history, for example, look for a curriculum that focuses on hands-on learning experiences or that incorporates creative projects.
If your child is more interested in science, look for a curriculum with lots of experiments and opportunities to explore the natural world.
By choosing a curriculum that aligns with your child’s interests, you can help ensure that homeschooling is a positive and enriching experience for both of you.
When choosing a homeschool curriculum, it is important to consider your child’s grade level. The curriculum should be challenging enough to keep your child engaged, but not so advanced that they become frustrated.
In addition, you should make sure that the curriculum covers all of the core subjects required for their grade level. For example, a first grade curriculum should include reading, writing, and math.
Another important consideration is your child’s post-graduation plans. If they are old enough to have any, you’ll want to make sure that the curriculum you choose will prepare them for their chosen path.
For example, if they plan to attend college, you’ll want to make sure that the curriculum covers all the necessary academic standards.
On the other hand, if they plan to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, you’ll want to make sure that the curriculum emphasizes job readiness skills such as resume writing and interviewing.
How Much Time You Have Available
One important factor to consider is the amount of time you have available. If you only have a few hours a day to devote to homeschooling, then a more comprehensive curriculum may not be the best option.
On the other hand, if you have a flexible schedule, then you can afford to spend more time on each subject. In either case, it’s important to choose a curriculum that fits both your child’s needs and your own schedule.
Your Teaching Style
If you are a more hands-on teacher, you may want to consider a curriculum that involves a lot of projects and activities.
If you prefer a more traditional approach, you may want to select a curriculum that relies heavily on textbooks and lectures. There are also homeschool curriculums that combine both approaches.
What to Look for in a Homeschooling Curriculum
Homeschooling is a great way to tailor your child’s education to their specific needs and interests, but it can be overwhelming to try to create your own curriculum from scratch.
Luckily, there are many homeschooling curriculum providers that can take care of the heavy lifting for you. When choosing a homeschooling provider, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
When you are looking for a homeschooling curriculum, it is important to consider the type of content that is included.
Make sure that the curriculum covers all of the core subjects, such as math, reading, and writing. In addition, you will want to make sure that the curriculum provides opportunities for hands-on learning.
Many homeschooling families find that a mix of activities, such as field trips, projects, and workbooks, helps to keep their children engaged in learning.
Finally, you will want to make sure that the homeschooling curriculum is flexible enough to meet your family’s unique needs.
One of the most important factors to consider is the learning approach. Are you looking for a structured curriculum that provides a step-by-step plan for each lesson?
Or do you prefer a more flexible approach that allows you to tailor the material to your child’s individual needs?
There is no wrong answer, but it’s important to carefully consider your options before making a decision.
Online vs Non-Digital
For families who prefer a more traditional approach, printed materials may be the best option. These can be easily customized to fit the individual needs of the student, and can be used offline.
However, for families looking for more flexibility, an online or digital curriculum may be a better choice.
These materials can be accessed from anywhere, and some programs offer additional features such as live classes and forums.
Choosing the right homeschooling curriculum can be a daunting task, especially when you factor in the cost.
While there are many free resources available online, some families prefer to purchase a complete homeschooling package. When deciding how much to spend on a homeschooling curriculum, it is important to consider your family’s needs and budget.
For example, if you have a large family or want a comprehensive curriculum that covers all core subjects, you will likely need to spend more than a family with fewer children or who chooses to focus on a specific subject.
In addition, it is important to factor in the cost of any supplemental materials, such as books, workbooks, and online resources.
Types of Homeschool Methods
Homeschooling parents have a variety of methods to choose from, and not all homeschooling families use the same method. The most common methods used are listed here:
The Charlotte Mason method is one popular choice. This approach emphasizes living books, nature study, and a focus on the arts and humanities.
It is also important to allow children time for free play, as this helps them to develop important social and emotional skills.
A literature-based homeschool curriculum is centered around great books. This type of curriculum uses classic literature, biographies, and living books to provide a well-rounded education.
While the focus is on reading, other subjects such as math, science, and history are often integrated into the literature.
This type of curriculum is a good fit for kids who enjoy reading and learn best by listening to stories. It can be challenging to find appropriate materials for younger children, but there are many resources available for parents who want to homeschool using this method.
The Montessori Method is a child-centered educational approach that emphasizes hands-on learning and collaborative play.
Montessori classrooms are typically designed to allow children to move freely and explore their surroundings. The Montessori Method is often used in homeschooling environments, as it can be easily adapted to the home setting.
One of the main goals of the Montessori Method is to help children develop a love of learning. This is accomplished through a variety of activities and experiences that encourage curiosity and independence.
In addition, the Montessori Method also focuses on developing social skills, as well as physical coordination and fine motor skills.
As a result, homeschooling families who use the Montessori Method often find that their children are well-prepared for success in school and in life.
Another popular homeschooling method is the Classical approach, which focuses on the great works of Western civilization. This method often includes a heavy emphasis on memorization and drill work.
The Waldorf method is a type of homeschooling that follows the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. This approach focuses on developing the whole child, both intellectually and emotionally.
As such, it emphasizes creative expression, hands-on learning, and social interaction. The Waldorf method also aims to provide a nurturing environment for children, one that is free from electronic screens and other distractions.
Instead of direct instruction, Waldorf teachers often use stories and puzzles to help their students learn. This hands-on, child-centered approach has proven to be successful for many homeschoolers.
The unit study method is a popular homeschooling approach that involves focusing on a single topic or subject for an extended period of time.
This allows students to explore the topic in depth and develop a well-rounded understanding of it.
For example, if a family was studying Ancient Greece, they might spend several weeks learning about Greek history, literature, mythology, and art.
The unit study method is often used in conjunction with hands-on learning activities, such as field trips, visits from guest speakers, and hands-on projects.
This type of homeschooling approach can be very beneficial for families who want to provide their children with a well-rounded education.
Unschooling or natural learning is a method where children learn through their everyday experiences such as going to the grocery store or playing at the park.
The eclectic method is a popular approach to homeschooling that allows parents to customize their child’s education.
This method is based on the philosophy that each child is unique and should be taught in a way that meets their individual needs.
With the eclectic approach, parents can select the best resources from a variety of different educational philosophies and approaches.
This flexibility allows parents to create an educational plan that is tailored to their child’s strengths, interests, and learning style.
While the eclectic method requires more planning and effort than some other homeschooling approaches, it can be an extremely effective way to provide a high-quality education for your child.
What if You Pick the “Wrong” Curriculum?
By taking the time to explore all of your options, you can find a curriculum that will provide a challenging and enriching homeschooling experience for your child.
But what if you find yourself stuck with a homeschooling curriculum that just doesn’t meet your needs? Here’s how to work with it.
Use it Less Often
There’s no need to feel stuck if you find yourself dissatisfied with a homeschooling curriculum.
Just remember that you are in charge of your homeschool, and you can always adjust the curriculum to better suit your needs.
If there are parts of the curriculum that you don’t like, simply use them less often or look for other resources that may be a better fit. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a curriculum that works for you and your family.
Change the Pace
Don’t be afraid to change things up if something isn’t working. Just because you picked a homeschooling curriculum doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it forever.
If you find that your child isn’t responding well to the material, or if you’re struggling to keep up with the pace, don’t hesitate to make a change. Slow things down!
Change the Curriculum Up
There’s no rule that says you have to stick with a homeschooling curriculum that you don’t like. If something isn’t working, try something different.
Talk to other homeschoolers, read reviews, and experiment until you find a curriculum that works for you and your child.
Think Again About Your Teaching Style and Your Child’s Learning Style
If you find that you don’t like the curriculum you’ve chosen, it’s important to think about why that is before you give up on homeschooling altogether.
It could be that the curriculum doesn’t fit your teaching style or your child’s learning style. Or it could be that you need to make some adjustments to the way you’re using the curriculum.
You Don’t Have to Pick a Curriculum at All
Homeschooling is a great way to tailor your child’s education to their specific needs and interests, but it can also be daunting to try to come up with your own curriculum.
Luckily, there are no hard and fast rules about homeschooling, and you don’t have to pick a curriculum at all.
Instead, you can always come up with your own or even use a mix of different resources. The important thing is to make sure that your child is learning what they need to know.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of homeschooling, don’t worry – you can always make it up as you go along.
Be Okay With Adjusting As You Go
Homeschooling can be a great way to customize your child’s education and ensure that they are learning exactly what you want them to.
However, it’s important to remember that homeschooling is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Every family is different, and every child learns in their own way. As a result, it’s important to be flexible and willing to adjust your plans as you go.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something new. The most important thing is that your child is happy and engaged in their learning.
By being flexible and open to change, you can ensure that your homeschooling experience is a positive one for both you and your child.
Got questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll try and help you as much as possible!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
1 thought on “Choosing a Homeschooling Curriculum (+ Podcast Episode)”
So many choices for homeschooling. I’m always amazed at all the hardwork and planning it takes to do it.