Are you in the process of choosing a homeschool program or making the decision to homeschool?
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to families interested in homeschooling or new to homeschooling in my local area. There were several veteran homeschoolers who spoke for about 8 minutes on various topics. I was asked to talk about choosing homeschool curriculum. I shared 5 tips to help navigate all the curriculum choices available in order to find a good fit for your family. I thought many of you might find this information helpful, so I’m posting my talk here too. I’d love to read what tips you would add!
If you are just starting to consider homeschooling, or are pretty new— you know that choosing curriculum seems like a daunting task! When I first started homeschooling, there weren’t half as many choices as today! It can be overwhelming. I’m going to share some tips that will help you navigate through the curriculum chaos and hopefully lead you to what works best for your family and children.
You can view the video for my full talk or read it below.
Before You Choose A Homeschool Program
The best place to start actually has nothing to do with a homeschool program at all. It’s with what you know to be true about your own family and your learning priorities.
For my family, our three main educational goals are:
- Help my children walk with God
- Teach and model good character and stewardship
- Teach them how to learn
One of the fears parents might have when considering homeschooling is leaving their child with educational gaps. Guess what? Even public school students have educational gaps! There is no perfect curriculum out there.
I like this definition of education:
Education is about acquiring skills, not just knowledge. Reading, thinking about, and discussing a variety of topics is more important to a quality education than the rote memorization of thousands of facts without the ability to explain or apply them. ~Susan Raber
That is why it is important to teach your children how to learn and to have a love for learning. Learning is a life-long activity.
Curriculum is an educational tool. It is one of many tools you will use to educate your child. You control the tool—the tool does not control you. So what does that mean? Whatever curriculum you choose, feel free to modify it if necessary to work for your family. Don’t be tied to the check boxes on the daily lesson plan. If the curriculum is not working, feel free to ditch it and try something else!
Yes, I know— curriculum is not cheap. It can feel like a $ drain if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Five questions to ask while considering various curriculum options:
- What is my educational philosophy? (Only Passionate Curiosity and Homeschool Creations have great posts on this topic)
- What ways do my children learn best? (kinethestic, auditory, visual)
- What do I need as a teacher to help me homeschool effectively? For example— do you need a scripted curriculum that tells you exactly what to say, a curriculum that can be used by multiple ages, a curriculum that has all the components right in the box that you can pull out and use etc.
- Why am I homeschooling? What is my vision for this year? What are my goals for this year/desired outcome?
- What is my budget?
Once you’ve thought over these questions, take inventory of what you already have around the house! Talk with veteran homeschoolers and ask to flip through their curriculum. See what is available at the library. Check out other community resources.
If you are considering using a comprehensive, expensive curriculum, try seeing if you can purchase a semester at a time to see if it really will work for your family.
When I shared this, I had been homeschooling around 14 years and I can tell you that different seasons of life and different children might require different educational philosophies, methods and curriculum. I ask God often to order our homeschool, help us learn what He needs us to learn, provide the right learning experiences, materials and mentors that we need.
More on Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Sometimes choosing homeschool curriculum is the basic, overwhelming task facing families each academic year. This Ultimate Guide to Choosing Homeschool Curriculum comes alongside you, offering many resources. This homeschool advice is gathered from our archives here at Curriculum Choice, from the wisdom of our team of review authors and from fellow homeschoolers around the web.
Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Grade – Over the years, we’ve literally written hundreds of reviews for you to peruse. In this post, we’d like help you navigate all those wonderful reviews based on the particular grade level you’re teaching. Homeschool curriculum choices by grade!
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling: Everything You Need for Grades K-12 – Pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee! We have a ton of resources to share in this Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. Whether you are just starting out or are in the trenches already, we have TONS of reviews, resources, tips, and encouragement to help you along in your homeschool journey.
By Maureen Spell, a long-time contributor to the Outdoor Hour Challenges. Maureen helps Christian mompreneurs operate their business from a place of joy, purpose, and excellence because they are clear on how their business is serving their family and others. As a homeschool mom, she believes success at home AND business without the mom-guilt, stress and burn-out is possible! Outside of work, she loves having good conversations over a hot chai or GT Gingerberry kombucha and spending time with her husband and seven children. Visit her at MaureenSpell.com