What if I choose the wrong homeschool curriculum is at the top of the list of worries for new and seasoned homeschoolers alike.
However, I think on the flip side of worry is getting a shipment of new homeschool curriculum. It can be one of the most pleasurable moments in homeschooling. Don’t you just love the smell of new books? It just feels like you have it all together now.
But then, worry sets in. Will this be the right curriculum for my child? Will this year meet my expectations? We spend hours reading every catalog and website that we can as we pore over curriculum choices.
Many times we still are not sure if we have the best curriculum. Then we read those emails or posts on groups where one mom used something that is working so “perfectly” for her and her children.
And then we wonder what’s wrong with us. Doubt sets in about the choices we made at the beginning of the year and we have a gnawing pain at the bottom of our stomach.
If you are teetering about making a huge change, there are a few things that I have learned about choosing the wrong curriculum. Look at these 5 tips below that I hope will help you.
(Incidentally, I love ALL the curriculum in this picture above and highly recommend it. It worked beautifully for me in the years that I needed it. But, what works one year for me, may not work for you. That is the key to determining if it’s the wrong choice for you.)
1. There is no PERFECT curriculum. Some years it is just about trial and error. There will be times when you pick something that is not what you need for that year or does not meet your goals. You will make some mistakes. That is okay because at anytime during the year you can switch.
Before you switch though, be sure it is the curriculum that is not working and not issues of scheduling, discipline or being overwhelmed. We might mistakenly think that the curriculum is the culprit of our day when in fact it could be other issues in our homeschooling. So give new curriculum a fair shake so to speak.
The opposite of that thinking is sticking with a curriculum no matter what. I have tried to stick to a curriculum because I begged my husband that I just had to have it, so I felt guilty in not using it. What I have learned is that this can have detrimental effects on my kids.
It is not a waste when you switch because this is a lesson well learned in how your child learns best.
I am not encouraging you to not be frugal and make the decisions you and your husband make work, but balance that thinking with the hundreds and hundreds of dollars you would have spent in public school on school supplies not used, countless clothes purchased and otherwise frivolous things like a school fund raiser.
Too, if you keep your curriculum neat and clean you can resale it and recoup some of your husband’s hard earned dollars.
2. Don’t forget to read homeschool curriculum reviews. iHN, which I am a proud member of reviews homeschool curriculum. So be sure to check out the reviews because in reviewing curriculum, I try to give an objective summary of each one.
This means that I try to recommend which group of homeschoolers that a particular curriculum will work for and what you may need to consider if you end up using it.
It is important to read homeschool reviews that are informative instead of biased. Why? Because what may not work for you this year may be the “perfect” curriculum for another year or different circumstance.
More importantly, try to determine why or why not a certain curriculum worked for a family and see if you have similar circumstances.
3. Take advantage of talking 1:1 vendors at curriculum fairs or either on the phone. They spend thousands of hours tweaking their curriculum to meet our needs and most vendors want you to understand how best to use their curriculum.
Too, companies like Rainbow Resource, which has been around for a long time have staff that is well educated in the differences between curriculum. Use these free resources by asking them questions when you can’t find the answer in your own research.
Just the catalog alone from Rainbow Resource is an education in the differences between curriculum with their mini-reviews or write ups about various curriculum.
4. Children are pretty hardy. Homeschooling in fear is not a good place to be at. So don’t fall prey to the idea that we will have huge gaps in learning.
The truth of it is, everybody has gaps in their learning unless we all learned at the same school at the same time with the same teacher and we still would come away with differences in our education. Our educational background and differences are what makes each of us unique. Embrace it.
If you use a curriculum and feel you are somewhat behind in what your goals are, just remember children have a great reserve to pick up at a new point in learning and move forward.
I have done this more than I can remember. I made a bad choice with Mr. Senior 2013 in math beginning his middle school years and he got behind. By high school, he was well ahead. Why? Because having made a better choice with math, he was highly motivated to move ahead because he loved math.
The same thing happened with Mr. Awesome with a spelling program in his elementary years. One spelling program was not clicking with him, but after I changed he went up two grade levels because he now had a much better fit with the way he learned.
Not seeing tears, but a return of their love of learning was well worth any money I had spent previously. Just remember, your time is well spent investigating another curriculum if the one you are using is not making sense to your child.
(One mom in our group ready to share her homeschool curriculum with the group.)
5. Look to your local homeschool support. Many times in our local support group, we would plan a park day for the kids, but it would be a curriculum swap or show and tell for us as the moms. Don’t you wish you could just rent curriculum for a week or two to see if it will work for your family?
As long as you respect copyright laws of publishers, you can take the curriculum home and give it a test drive. Many of my favorite programs I first put my hands on at a park day with my group. Looking it over for a week or two gave me a much better picture if it would work for my family or not.
Curriculum is our blue print to see how we want to build the education of our children, but it is not the final building. There are always changes and adjustments to any construction job. Sometimes the adjustments are huge, sometimes they are trivial.
Most important though is that when you are enthusiastic about learning and teaching any subject, that is contagious and rubs off on your children.
It is your attitude toward learning that matters more than any curriculum you choose. Your children will adopt the attitudes and examples you set.
Share your enthusiasm and passion for learning and your children will remember their unique educational heritage and not the wrong curriculum you chose.
Check out the other stuff I have to say about choosing curriculum:
Hugs and love ya,
Don’t forget to follow BOTH of my Pinterest accounts for more AWESOME pins.