You’ve probably done some reading and research about choosing your homeschool curriculum. The number of choices out there is dizzying. Thousands of new products and businesses have popped up over the past few years.
If you aren’t sure which direction to take, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many homeschooling mamas, especially new ones, get overwhelmed and panicked at the thought of curriculum commitment. However, I’m here to help!
Let’s start by clarifying a few things.
*This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.*
Just because it worked for your friend and her kids doesn’t mean it will work for you
I cannot tell you how many times over the years I have invested in new material because my friend said it was perfect and it ended up not working for us. Oh, it was perfect alright- for her kids.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Thankfully though, most curriculum can be resold so it wasn’t a total loss.
It’s a great idea to share curriculum finds amongst fellow homeschool moms, but try not to get wrapped up in trying to find the newest, shiniest program.
Take ideas and suggestions from your friends, but never buy something just because it works for her.
It’s okay if your school day looks different
The same principle applies here. No two homeschool families are the same, which means no two homeschool routines are going to be the same. We start our days with gentle steps into productivity. Some families hit the ground running.
We break our day up by doing read alouds in the morning and table work in the afternoons. Other homeschoolers do everything in one big chunk.
Your days and routines are going to look different than your friends’ and that’s okay!
Curriculum commitment isn’t the end
Many mothers I’ve spoken with believe they have to find the perfect curriculum, the first time around. Umm, hello!
I’ve spoken with thousands of homeschool moms and I can count on one hand the number that found the perfect curriculum for their family on the first try.
Nearly every homeschooling mother I know has changed course at least once. It took us six years to find the right one! Don’t think you have to stick with something forever. It’s very acceptable (normal even) to switch things up down the road.
I hope you can breathe a sigh of relief now and feel a little less pressure as we get to the real question. . .How do you go about choosing homeschool curriculum that will work well for your family?
Consider your needs
Yep, we’re starting with you, mom. I’ve heard that we as moms have the power to control the emotional thermostat of the house. Do you agree? I sure do. This is why we are starting with you.
If you don’t want to do a lot of crafts, then don’t pick a curriculum that has those built in. If you want to avoid textbooks, then choose a more literature-based program or unit studies.
Go with something you will enjoy teaching. Because, let’s face it if you don’t enjoy it, neither will the kids.
Consider your family dynamic
If you have a large family like me, then you may want to look at programs that let you teach multiple ages. If you have one or two kiddos with a bit of an age gap, then you’ll probably be looking at different levels or curriculum.
Are you a super busy family that’s out of the house a lot? Then you may want to consider programs that offer four-day schedules instead of five. Or if you’re a crazy busy family, give road schooling a go.
Consider your kids
Max and Caroline (my Irish twins) are 6 and 7. They are very close in age, have been raised in the same household by the same family all their little lives. However, they are completely and utterly different.
Max is a boy. He loves to build, destroy, jump, climb . . . all the boy things. Caroline is a girl. She loves painting, crafting, reading, and tea parties.
What works for him often times does not work for her and vice verse.
Think about your children. What are their likes? Dislikes? Hobbies? How do they learn best?
Finding curriculum that meets your child’s needs can be a daunting task, but by taking some time to pray, talk to your kids, and do some research, you’re bound to find a good fit!
Consider what others have said
I’m talking reviews. As a reviewer myself, I don’t buy anything (curriculum or otherwise) without checking the reviews first. The people who write the reviews have personal experience with the product.
You can typically count on the review being an honest one, but it’s good practice to check more than one review on a product just to be sure.