How to Choose the Right Curriculum
Written by Kara Kerrivan
This is one of the helpful/informative articles in Homeschool.com’s
newest e-magazine–Back to Homeschool
It’s that time of year when homeschoolers cruise websites, blogs, magazines, convention aisles, curriculum swaps, and ask the opinions of other homeschooling parents in the quest for finding the perfect curriculum for their little Einstein. While it can be enjoyable, you can bet there will be frustration, a few headaches, and the occasional tantrum along the way, and not from the 2 or 3 year old either! Then, there’s always that little voice in the back of your mind, “Am I qualified enough to be doing this?” The answer to that is yes. If you love reading to your child, learning with them and learning from them, teaching them and watching them succeed in finding their passion, then yes. You can homeschool and you will love it.
The amount of information you will find on the topic of curriculum will be overwhelming as the options are quite literally endless. You can save yourself a lot of time and struggle by asking yourself a few short questions before you start your search, such as:
1) How does my child learn best? For instance, a curriculum geared toward visual learners is probably not going to grasp the interest of an auditory learner. My son is a Kinesthetic/Visual learner, you can tell him something over and over but it never sticks. If you then let him try, or show him, he picks up the lesson almost right away. Therefore a literary based curriculum would not be helpful for him.
2) How will I be teaching? Which style of homeschooling fits our family’s needs? Are we a family always on the go? Or are we more at home learners? Will we sit and follow a lesson plan? Or are we more on the unschooling path? Do we have a general plan of what we’d like to do?
Here is some information regarding different ways to homeschool.
3) Is a faith driven curriculum right for our family, or not? Religious beliefs play a huge part for some families. Some families choose to go this route with homeschool because it suits their family’s beliefs and values.
4) What is my budget? Purchasing second hand, or using free worksheets you can print from home, will certainly save you money. You can use anything you want as curriculum—and make anything fit your budget. That was and still is a little hard for me to grasp when I shop for our curriculum. I always keep my eyes open at garage sales, thrift stores, and the dollar stores for deals. That’s where I found an amazing math tool to help my son understand greater than, less than, and equal to at the Dollar Store. I’ve purchased our art supplies there as well. You’ll notice amazing tools just about everywhere, and within just about every budget, once you start to relax and settle into your chosen routine.
Here is an article about homeschooling for less than $200 a year.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it will make your search that much easier and your stress level will start to diminish. You can start requesting catalogs from companies. Most distributor sites also have sample lesson plans you can print right at home. I love these because you can try a program out before you purchase. Hit the blogs, Facebook pages, website forums, and support groups, and start asking questions. Make sure you take note of the subjects, publisher and level of the specific curricula you’ve chosen and some things you’d like to know about it. The parents on these forums are very knowledgeable and you will receive some very informative answers.
Other homeschoolers will help you figure it out. And here’s the good news—if you make a mistake, you can just adjust! Homeschooling is extremely flexible! Just remember to have fun with it and relax because this journey on the homeschooling path is an amazing one for the whole family.
Bio: Kara Kerrivan is a stay home mom of 4, homeschooling her oldest, an 8 year old boy. Kara has recently rediscovered her passion for writing again and is currently a Freelance Writing student, nearing graduation.