Episode 6: Tips for Buying Homeschool Curriculum
By: Jamie Gaddy and Homeschool.com
Hello again! Welcome back to Episode 6 of the Homeschooling & Loving It Podcast!
We’re so glad you decided to join us again! Below you’ll find the show notes that I hope will help you find the curriculum that will make this year amazing!
Tips for Buying Homeschool Curriculum
Not sure where to start with buying curriculum this year? I get it! Buying a homeschool curriculum can cause even the bravest parents to shiver in their boots!
The first few times I had to purchase a curriculum I felt so lost! I eventually figured out that I needed to set up some guidelines for myself. Once those were in place buying curriculum each year got a little easier! But of course, I have to have some willpower to stick to those guidelines….
So, one of the first things that I tell my homeschooling friends, is that you need to revisit your purpose and mission for homeschooling. Why are you homeschooling and how do you plan on accomplishing your mission? This then leads you to think about the best way to accomplish that mission- which is often your best-fit homeschooling method. I encourage you to ask yourself the hard questions if you haven’t already, and write it all down. This is the beginning of your “process” – get to know yourself!
Once you’ve decided on the homeschooling method that you’ll use this year, it’s wise to then think about each of your children. How do they learn best? What really motivates them? Nail down their primary and secondary learning styles – get to know what makes them tick! This will help you find their best-fit curriculum.
Now it’s time to do some research… using both the homeschooling method and your child’s learning styles you can enter the great big world of homeschooling resources. Use the internet to find homeschool resources that fit both criteria!
So that may sound fairly easy… but as I’m sitting here thinking about all the resources available for homeschoolers right now – – I know your job is far from being over!
In fact, There are still some guidelines that I had to set for myself even after I had my direction and plan in place. Because the resources are so extensive and so many are just STINKING awesome… it’s hard to say no to ALL THE THINGS!! And trust me – I’ve learned the hard way that we can’t do all the wonderful shiny new curriculum that appeals to mommy.
So here are my self imposed curriculum buying guidelines:
- Make a list – and keep an inventory! Start with a plan… you’ve done the research so you know what’s available. Make a list of what you need and what you think might work – give yourself a few options. Homeschool conventions are great for getting a chance to check out your options. You can look it over – open it up – see if it is everything you imagined it would be… But also have a list of the inventory that you have on hand. Most homeschool families save curriculum for the younger siblings and then often forget what they have… but an inventory helps you remember what you’ve got ready and waiting! And what you need to purchase for the coming year.
- You’ve just developed/rehearsed your mission and purpose of homeschooling, buy curriculum that aligns with that purpose and mission. Don’t ever think that a curriculum will magically fix or change your homeschool. OR that because it worked super for a friend that it will work the same with your family. It never works that way. Buy your curriculum to fit YOUR homeschool, your style, your children.
- Don’t buy new curriculum just because…this one is especially hard for me. I’ll see the new amazing curriculum and want to try all of it! But that doesn’t work for me or my kids. if what you have is working don’t change! As the old adage goes – IF it’s NOT BROKE DONT FIX IT!
- Don’t buy a curriculum for future years. Yes, I know it’s so hard to pass up good deals, and we all want to reuse that curriculum that our oldest child loved. But wait! Every child is different and unique – – every child deserves to be evaluated and fit to a curriculum that best serves their unique needs. Buying ahead of time may be a waste of money if your student changes or begins to dislike a curriculum.
- Limit yourself. Again – especially important if you are attending a homeschool convention. Have a list, have an inventory, have a good understanding of what might work and then get what you need. Remember WHAT YOU NEED – not what looks fun – or pretty – or what you think you might get the kids interested in…dodon’t be distracted… if they aren’t artsy – don’t buy an art program! Be practical and then when it’s time to organize your homeschool room – you’ll be so glad you did!
- Dig deep – Check out the curriculum in depth. Read reviews. Look at it if possible. Go over the teacher’s books and ask yourself some questions? is it laid out in a sequence that flows? Does it make sense? Is it challenging? Does it meet the basic requirements and learning goals that I have for my children this year?
- Find a curriculum that piques your interest. Yes, I know – I said not to be distracted… but on the other hand, your curriculum needs to interest you and your children. Does it excite you? Are you ready and anxious to dig in?
- Don’t always fall back on the curriculum. We often think the curriculum is the only way to go… but sometimes it’s so much fun to jump out of the box and get creative. Visit the library, participate in a co-op, join a class at a museum, or whatever fun learning experience is available in your local area!!
I’m sure there are other guidelines that you could add, but these are my tried and true! In fact, this year my kiddos are older elementary and junior high school so I’m giving them a little more responsibility in helping me determine our best fit curriculum for this coming year! I’d love to hear about your adventures in finding curriculum! Just email me at[email protected]and let me know!
Once again, I enjoyed our chat and hope that these few curriculum buying tips help you as you begin your homeschooling adventure for this year! And join us next week for another podcast on Organizing your home and car for summer learning!
As always wishing you many blessings until next week- with grace and joy – – Jamie
About the Series
Where'd my instruction manual go??? I know we've all wondered that about parenting and homeschooling! Join us as we chat about the big stuff and everything in-between! Helping homeschoolers with practical teaching tips to find all they need to Homeschool and Love it!!