Homeschool 101 – 4 Tips for Choosing Curriculum
It’s August already! For a lot of us, that means we’re somewhere very close to the start of our homeschool year, which means we’re putting the finishing touches on our curriculum choices for the year. Choosing curriculum is one of the most important tasks we have as homeschoolers, and we all have our own favorites and personal criteria for narrowing down our choices.
So how DO you choose curriculum that will be a great fit for your homeschool?
Consider your homeschool style – Do you want to focus on delight-directed unit studies, or do you prefer the structure of a more traditional textbook approach? Is Charlotte Mason your role model or do you gravitate towards the classical method? Whatever homeschool method is the one you use most, you’ll want to choose curriculum that aligns with that approach.
Consider your child’s learning style – We all have some strong preferences for how we learn best, and somehow we have to combine the differing styles of moms and kids and make it work. Choosing a curriculum that helps you teach the way your kid learns best will be a big help! Your visual learner needs diagrams, videos, and drawings; your auditory learner will appreciate read-alouds and being able to discuss information; and your kinesthetic learner needs to move around and do lots of hands-on activities. Look for the appropriate curriculum for your child’s needs and preferences. Some kids love to read or to write; some kids want to do tons of hands-on projects; some love worksheets; and for every kid that loves one of those things, there’s a kid that just does not. As much as possible, look for something that they will actually like.
Consider your own teaching style – Some of us homeschool moms love to map out detailed lesson plans and feel most confident when we have everything laid out and structured. Some of us are comfortable taking each day as it comes and feel stifled by a rigid teacher’s plan that doesn’t seem easy to adjust. Keep that in mind when choosing curriculum as well.
Consider your time and your budget – If you like detailed lesson plans, but don’t have time to write them out yourself, you might want a curriculum with a step-by-step teacher’s edition. Think about how much prep work you’ll be able to do; or whether your student will do a lot of work independently. And of course, we all have to look at the price tag and think about how it fits into our budget.
Honestly, I’ve learned some of these lessons the hard way. In fact, I even offered 5 Tips for Finding What Works in Your Homeschool (From Things That Didn’t Work in Mine) on my blog awhile ago, and I’ve also had to find ways to Make It Work when a curriculum needed a little adjusting to suit our homeschool.
If there’s one thing members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew know, it’s curriculum! We try out lots of curriculum so that we can bring you thorough and honest reviews, and our individual blogs offer a glimpse into what kinds of curriculum we use and love. We represent lots of different homeschool styles and stages, so be sure to check out our discussion of curriculum today in Homeschool 101. Crew members will be sharing about our favorite curriculum, what we’re using this coming year, how we make our choices, and more!