Diving into the world of homeschooling might sometimes feel like you are drowning, and as the world of homeschooling curriculum continues to grow so can the confusion about what to choose. The good news is that the plethora of options available mean that homeschool parents can now choose the most ideal curriculum for their particular situations and children. In determining which curriculum will be the best for your family, there are several questions to consider.
What are the Priorities or Educational Philosophies of your Family?
If one of the main priorities for you as a parent is structure, then look for resource opportunities which are comprehensive and clear down to each detail. Step-by-step instructions and evaluations will let you know how far your children have come and where they still have needs. Particularly as a new homeschooling parent, this structure might help with fears about meeting legal requirements and/or other goals. Some of these systems are also internet-based which can make it easy for parents to stay organized.
On the other hand, if you are a family who functions better with freedom, variety, and imagination, consider a compilation of several resources to create your own complete program. Think of it as more of a cafeteria plan: choose one book for math, another for reading, and still another for science. Combining them may take more effort on the part of the teaching parent because it isn’t all clearly laid out. However, this approach allows parents to choose topics of study based upon the interests of the child and be more flexible to meet needs.
What is Your Child’s Learning Style?
Visual or Verbal? Active or Reflective? What does it all mean? Before making a large purchase of curriculum, it is vital to understand the learning styles of each of your children and then evaluate how the intended curriculum will meet those needs. Allowing your kids to work outside of their ideal learning style sometimes is not wrong, but letting the function in their sweet spot most of the time is helpful. Do some research to understand the needs of your children and their styles learning prior to purchasing books or programs.
What Are Your Family’s Goals?
Understanding the goals for each child is vital in choosing a curriculum. If your goal is to get your child into an Ivy League school, then your approach will be different than a family who wants to “unschool” their children. Neither is wrong, they are simply different. Knowing what you want or expect for your child will certainly impact your approach to meeting those goals.
How Much Can You Spend on a Homeschooling Curriculum?
Complete packages of homeschooling curriculum can be pricey, particularly when the cost comes all at once up-front. Piecing a variety of resources together may feel less painful if you don’t buy them all at the same time, but do add it up so you know how much you will be spending in total. The good news is that you may not feel you need a workbook to go along with a textbook, and you can always choose to forego that or other peripheral options.
Cathy Duffy Reviews
An ideal resource for determining which homeschool curriculum to choose is found through Cathy Duffy. Cathy Duffy is the author of several other books on homeschooling, has been a speaker at the Great Homeschool Conventions, and homeschooled her own three sons through high school. On her website you can find reviews about almost everything homeschool under the sun, in addition to resources such as Cathy’s book, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, which is now available.
Whichever curriculum you choose, remember it is not a lifelong commitment. Use what works, toss what doesn’t. (Purchasing curriculum with a trial period or money back guarantee helps with this process!) The beauty of homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to change things up, rearrange easily, and continue with what is effective. In fact, the most important part of teaching your children truly is not the homeschooling curriculum. The best part is the time that you are spending and the ways that your children are learning from life and the world in all kinds of ways!