January 2018, Issue 18
“Changing Curriculum After the New Year”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
If your fall curriculum fell on its face, we’re here to help. We’ve all been there, in fact, it happens to the best of us. Many times, what we think is a great homeschool option turns out to be a dud and the best option is to make a change! If new curriculum is on the horizon for you this year, keep these three things in mind when purchasing:
Chances are good that you’re changing to a new curriculum for some specific reasons, so choose wisely. Regardless of your reasons or when you change, you’ll be spending money on something new. Make the most of what you spend by not repeating any past mistakes. If the current curriculum is too time-consuming, stay away from anything that is teacher-intensive. If your curriculum requires what you feel is too much from your students, stick with choices that don’t require as much. Whatever you do, steer clear of anything that looks too much like what is not working.
If you’ve never used the curriculum you’re switching to, you’ll want to spend some time getting to know it a little bit before passing it on to your children. You won’t have time to do this if you plan to start the minute it arrives in the mail – as tempting as that can be for us homeschooling moms! Instead, give yourself a bit of time to pour through any teacher’s guides that come in the program. You’ll also want to have time to get yourself organized and ready to teach the new materials. If you’re returning to something you’ve tried and loved in the past, you’ll still want to give yourself some time to get reacquainted with the materials. Take at least a few days to get to know it all over again.
Prepare the Children
At times, we only think about the changes we (the parents) will undergo when we switch new curriculum. Let’s not forget the children, the ones who are actually using the curriculum daily. Starting new curriculum can be very stressful for children. It’s a bit like starting a new semester at college – there are new books and new systems to get acquainted with every few months. You’ll want to mentally prepare the children for the new curriculum by letting them know you’re making a change and why. Then, help them be successful by seeing to it that they have all the materials they’ll need for the subject(s). This might mean new school supplies such as a new notebook or new writing materials. It could also mean smaller things like highlighters, a protractor, and/or index cards. Whatever it is, make sure your children have the right supplies.
Deciding to make curriculum change mid-year can be stressful for you and for your children. Just as you got settled into one thing, it can seem like it’s now time to get used to something else all over again. You can help make the transition smooth by choosing wisely, ordering early, and preparing the children. What other tips do you have for making a mid-year curriculum change run smoothly?