How to Choose the Right Curriculum for Your Homeschool
Choosing the right curriculum is something that comes up in many conversations I have with new homeschoolers. Everyone wants to know what the best curriculum is. The thing is no one can tell you the best curriculum for your child, this is something you have to figure out on your own. Learning how to choose the right curriculum is important whether you are new to homeschooling, just thinking about homeschooling, or if you are adjusting to a new phase of your homeschool. Before we begin, please take a moment and pin this post to your homeschool board.
You must keep these things in mind when choosing your homeschool curriculum:
- Your Child – How does your child learn best? What is their learning style?
- You – How do you like to teach? How much support do you need? How much time and energy are you willing to put into the curriculum on your own and then in your lessons?
- Your situation – What is your budget? How many children do you have? How much time do you have?
You will want to choose a curriculum that addresses all three of these priorities.
Keep Focused on Your Child
Start by focusing on your child, children vary in age, stage, level of development, learning preferences, personality types, activity levels, and interests.
Learning styles are essential to take into account. Many children learn more by creating and making things, others learn better through reading and talking to people. When choosing your homeschool curriculum, take these preferences into consideration by exploring learning styles like visual learning, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning. You may also need to determine if your child is a right-brain learner.
Another thing to consider is interest-led learning if your child has a strong interest or doesn’t respond well to typical school work you may want to try out interest-led learning. You can choose resources that support the interest and that may not include choosing a formal homeschool curriculum. This is more of an unschooling approach.
Consider grade levels, while many of us notice that our kids vary with grade level based on a subject you may want to explore different curricula based on the levels they are at in each subject area or you may want to make sure they are covering all the bases in the grade level they would be categorized in, in traditional school.
If you are homeschooling older children you may want to keep in mind their post-graduation plans. Is your high-schooler college-bound or headed toward a career? Knowing what kind of requirements for each option is important to keep in mind when choosing a curriculum.
Take Yourself into Account
You are an important part of homeschooling. Most likely you are your child’s teacher so you need to take yourself into account when you are choosing a curriculum.
- Think about how much time you have to put into teaching?
- Is this a subject you struggle with, that you may want to outsource?
- Do you plan to homeschool and work outside the home?
- Have you thought about a philosophy of education, — we will be talking about some philosophies of education— or are you happy to let that develop or are you not even going to worry about that?
- Will you be able to provide first-hand assistance to your children?
- Are you more interested in doing hands-on activities?
- Do you prefer to check off items from a list of requirements?
- Does religion play a role in your homeschool?
It is important to take yourself and your preferences and needs into account when choosing a curriculum because while it has to work for your child, it has to work for their teacher and that is most likely you.
Keep In Mind Your Situation
All kinds of families are homeschoolers. There are various situations in which homeschoolers successfully homeschool their children. All homeschool families must take into account their situation when choosing a curriculum and planning their homeschools. You need to realistically work within your circumstances in order to homeschool successfully, progress, and grow.
- Did you know right away that you were going to homeschool your children, and they have never even set foot into a traditional school?
- Are you homeschooling because you need to solve a particular problem your child was facing at school?
- Are you are an accidental homeschooler, who never truly intended to homeschool?
- Are you are a short-term homeschooler, who plans to return back to traditional schooling after trying on homeschool for a year or so?
- Are you are homeschooling a child who is considered special needs, or labeled as having ADD/ADHD?
- Is your child is struggling in school and they want to hold them back, so you decided to homeschool?
- Is your child considered advanced and not being challenged in the traditional school setting?
- Do you have a large family?
- Are you homeschooling an only child?
- Are there limitations with respect to time, money, technology, or support?
- Are you trying to help your child meet requirements and prepare for future educational or career possibilities?
All of these circumstances play a role in choosing a curriculum. If you have a tight budget you may want to look into how to homeschool on budget and look for where you can find a free homeschooling curriculum. A good thing to remember is that there is no magic or perfect curriculum out there that will do all the work for you.