Over the years I have had the privilege of speaking to and working with hundreds of Homeschool parents. One of the biggest issues many parents have is finding the right curriculum for their family.
Homeschool curriculums are not cheap. This is understandable considering all the work that goes into creating them. The right curriculum will make homeschooling your children a delight. However, trying to use a curriculum that is not a right fit for your family can easily lead to burn out for both you and your children.
In understanding how important the choice of your Homeschool curriculum is, I often advise parents to take their time. Don’t rush this choice. If you have to start school a few days, or weeks later than everyone else as you go through the — steps I am going to list below to finding the perfect curriculum for your family, then don’t worry it will be worth it.
Step 1: Decided which Homeschool Philosophy you ascribe to.
Which philosophy best suits you? Is it one of these listed below, is it one I haven’t mentioned, or is it perchance a combination? Here are just a few of the big ones:
- Thomas Jefferson Education
- Charlotte Mason
- School at Home (public school content taught at home like the k-12 program)
- Classical Education
- Principle Approach from Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE)
- Heart of Wisdom- Hebrew Classical Approach
- The Moor Formula
- Robinson Curriculum- Self Teaching Curriculum
Your homeschool philosophy determine how you approach educating your children and will have a huge impact on the curriculum you will choose.
As you research the different philosophies (just like when researching anything) I would recommend going to the source. Don’t just listen to people opinions for they may not always be based on actual fact. Here are some additional Books and site that I highly recommend (even if you already have a favorite Education philosophy) which will give you a surer foundation:
A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille, The Teaching of Arithmetic I: The Story of an experiment by L. P. Benezet (Read Online HERE) , The Well trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer, Charlotte Mason 6 Vol, Book Series (Read Online HERE), HECOA, Mentoring Our Own
Step 2 : Determine what your Homeschool END GOAL is for your children.
Ask yourself, Why are you homeschooling and what do you desire to achieve. Is your goal to get your children into a good college, Help them obtain a desired profession, become a future leader, or is it to give them a stellar education WITH God as part of their foundation.
**There is no WRONG ANSWER.
Step 3: Evaluate the needs and personalities of your Homeschool Family.
When you choose a homeschool curriculum it is important to take into account your personality, that of your children, and any special needs your children may have. If you don’t then you are in for a frustrating bumpy ride to burnout; no matter how well recommended the curriculum may be.
For example, if you are the sort of person who doesn’t handle lots of planning, complexity, and rigid structure, than getting that sort of curriculum will quickly overwhelm you.
Here a few questions for your homeschool Evaluation:
- DO you personally do well with rigid structure or do you prefer to go with the flow? (What about your children)
- Do you like complexity or simplicity? (What about your Children)
- How many children do you have (just one, a few, or a lot)
- What ages are your children? (Are they all young or older or a wide range?)
- Do any of your children have special needs or interests that you will need to address in your homeschooling?
- How much time are you willing/able to spend preparing for each days lessons.
Step 3. Determine your budget
Homeschooling costs money. It is important to know your budget of how much you can allocate to your homeschool needs and wants and how often that money will be available.
Here are just a few things to consider including in your budget.
-Computer/tablet (there are some great online and app resources that are available to teach your children various subjects.
-Apps/Computer Programs, Website subscriptions
-Basic School Supplies (paper, binders, notebooks pens, pencils, crayons, markers, paint, glue, scissors, calculators)
-School Educational Accessories (clocks, maps, charts, fake money etc.. )
-Ingredients/supplies for various projects throughout the yer
-Passes/admissions to museums, zoos, concerts, plays, & local educational and cultural events.
-Official Homeschool Curriculum
Step 5: Research
Now that you have finished steps 1-4 you should know what educational philosophy you ascribe to, what Outcome you desire for your homeschool, what your personal and family educational needs and personalities are, and what sort of budget you are working with. NOW it is time to start looking at Homeschool curriculums. This part takes time and research. You don’t want to rush this part.
When you find a curriculum that you believes will fit your needs (see steps 1-4 to determine if the curriculum fits) see if that curriculum has a sample week or two for you to try out. If there is not an official sample ask around local homeschool groups to see if anyone has the curriculum you are looking into. Ask if you can borrow it for a week or two to try it out. If neither of those is an option then carefully look at the reviews and ask around to verify that the curriculum is really what you are looking for.
As you go through these steps to finding the perfect Homeschool curriculum for your family, remember that YOU CAN DO THIS! Enjoy the journey and don’t be afraid of making mistakes and learning along the way.