Choosing homeschool curriculum can be one of the most thrilling things about homeschooling and at the same time be nerve-racking.
Getting ready to graduate my second homeschooler and using completely different curriculum with him than I did with Mr. Senior 2013, I have come to appreciate why most homeschool curriculum tips are useless.Don’t get me wrong. Having homeschooled from the beginning, I too have pored over volumes of books and blogs to discover that one piece of advice that will push me from reality to lightning striking revelation.
It might sound a bit over dramatic but what is really absurd is the overwhelming and staggering amount of tips on how to choose homeschool curriculum.
It’s not that we don’t like them, but we would like to read them in this life time.
With a limited amount of time to pick homeschool curriculum over the last few years, I have tried to simplify my method to choosing curriculum.
Instead of depending on flashes of brilliance from numerous blog posts about curriculum (I really do love them but I need simple), I have found that if I follow a method to choosing curriculum for my family that it works for both me and my sons.
From Homeschool Insanity to Homeschool Sense
Look at these 3 questions and tips that make choosing curriculum a cinch each year:
Homeschooling momma martyrs are common, unfortunately. As teachers we can shove aside things that help us to be an excellent teacher and solely focus on a child’s learning style.
While a child’s learning style is important, it should not have greater weight until a child is learning independently for a good portion of the day.
For example, you may be at a point in your journey where you thrive with a boxed curriculum but your child is a huge hands-on learner.
How do you marry the two styles? It is much easier for you to teach with a guideline and fill in with hands-on ideas each day than to come up with your own lesson plans for a hands-on learner.
This will eliminate your hunt for curriculum that is just a bare framework where you are suppose to fill in with hands-on ideas. It just won’t work for you if you need a more fleshed out curriculum.
Again, using a homeschool curriculum that supports your teaching style and which you have to tweak a bit to fit your child’s learning style gives you a much better head start for the year.
A homeschool curriculum may receive a rave review, but if it does not support your present teaching style, you may burn out mid-year, too.
Again, I cannot stress enough that you as the primary teacher needs to be over the top excited about a curriculum that encourages you and makes homeschooling lively.
Banish boring days by beginning it with a curriculum that fits your strengths and shores up your weaknesses.
Switching on you here because I am giving you a method in how to evaluate homeschool curriculum, but the next significant factors to consider are the ages, maturity level and learning style of your child.
When children are young, a good rule of thumb is to use a curriculum that is suited to your teaching style and mix in the activities to tweak it to fit your child’s learning style.
As they grow older and become more independent in how they learn, which generally is around 6th grade, then it’s time to evaluate again.
Sixth grade is important because it generally is the time for another leap in a child’s maturity.
This doesn’t mean it happens automatically, but I wanted to give you a specific way to measure.
Only you can answer these questions:
- During the 6th grade year, does your child need another year of momma teaching and are thriving with you tweaking your present curriculum? or
- Was this past year one where there was more head butting than head way made? If so, is it because you were determined to use curriculum that you felt was rigorous and met your learning style instead of your child’s learning style?
- Can you give your child more choices this year? It is time to give up control but not the authority, which is a fine balancing act.
Decision making by your child is a learned process.
Releasing decision making is easier and better done slowly or a little at a time.
Do not all of the sudden one year expect your child to choose all the curriculum.
Though at the 6th grade age, they may seem like they are ready for making all the decisions, they are immature and still inexperienced. Too, as the parent, you have the authority to make the final say on all the decisions.
The only way for your child to gain experience and maturity is to start with small things and build up when it comes to choosing curriculum.
Just like you have allowed them free choice in their reading material while they still read the books you choose, curriculum is the same.
How to Begin Homeschool Teaching With Minimal Tips
Does that wonderful and new curriculum that you are excited about allow your child to work independently for part of the day if he is ready?
Through the years, I have learned that it doesn’t really matter what curriculum you use.
I don’t want to seem flippant about how hard it is to choose homeschool curriculum, but what matters in the long run is if the curriculum fits your child’s learning style best.
The answer to this question is not obvious because I am not talking about wanting a science curriculum to teach science or a history curriculum to teach history.
Look at another example.
If you have a science background and maybe even have a degree in science then you have a preferred way to teach science.
Science can be taught generally or in a spiral method each year or you can focus on one field like Chemistry, Physics or Biology.
As a science teacher, you may want to cover deeper concepts instead of broad strokes.
What difference does it matter if the newest science curriculum is hot on the homeschool market if it does not fit with the way you want to teach science?
All the homeschool curriculum tips can be useless and overwhelming if you are not looking to teach science the same way.
History is no exception. If you want the details of history, then why look at a history curriculum that will cover history in generalities?
The same question or mind-set should be examined when you think about the approach.
How important is a Bible based curriculum, or would you prefer something light on Bible content so that you can add your own resources?
As I scrutinized my method for how I chose homeschool curriculum easily over the past few years, these three questions have helped me to slice and dice the huge amount of information on the net.
Focus on tips that work for your family and leave the rest of the tips to other families that need them.
Hugs and love ya,
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