Help! What curriculum should I use?
It’s a question I get asked all the time. And, unfortunately, it’s one I can’t answer. What are your goals for your child’s education? What’s their learning style? What are their interests? What are their strengths and weaknesses? You know these things better than anyone else and are, therefore, the best person to choose their curriculum and learning methods.
Of course, I could tell you all about how I homeschool my kids and recommend the same materials to you. But, I won’t do that. What works well for us may not be a fit for your family. There’s an endless number of ways to homeschool. If you ask twenty homeschool parents how they homeschool, you will likely get twenty different answers.
When you decided to homeschool it was probably because, for one reason or another, the one-size-fits-all approach of public or private schools was not a fit for your family. Now that you’ve climbed out of the box of mass schooling, don’t jump right into another box. You now have the freedom to forge your own path!
But, how do I do that?
Spend some time researching various homeschooling methods. This short quiz may help you narrow down which methods to consider for your family. For more information about homeschooling methods and philosophies, the following blogs and articles are excellent resources:
When considering different homeschooling methods, remember to keep your child’s learning style, interests, strengths, and weaknesses in mind. Figuring out how they learn best will probably take a little trial and error, but doing some research on learning styles can reduce the guesswork. The information in these blogs and articles will help get you started:
Now that you have some ideas about which homeschooling methods you may want to use and some insight into your child’s learning style, it’s time to start looking at curriculum. I usually read several reviews online and look at online samples and previews before making a purchase. Author and homeschool mother, Cathy Duffy has reviewed nearly all of the most popular homeschool curriculum on her website. Homeschool blogs and YouTube channels are another place to check for curriculum reviews. Many bloggers and YouTubers receive payment or free product in exchange for their reviews. So, while you should take those glowing reviews with a grain of salt, these posts and videos often help you get a better “look” at the materials than you’d get from the publisher’s website or catalog. They also provide valuable information about how the reviewer’s family put the materials into use.
Talking with homeschooling friends is another way to learn about curriculum options. It helps to be able to actually look at someone’s materials in person and talk to them about what it’s like and how it works. Just remember that the curriculum that your friend loves might not be what you are looking for, and that’s okay! If you don’t have any local homeschooling friends, online forums and social media are another way to get word-of-mouth reviews and ask questions. Keep in mind, though, that these people online don’t know you personally and may have vastly different experiences and opinions from yours.
When using free curriculum, like the ones listed on FreedomHomeschooling.com, you have the ability to extensively preview a curriculum before deciding to use it. If you’re still not sure if it’s what you’re looking for, just go ahead and give it a try. Since the curriculum is free, you have nothing to lose. Yes, there is something to be said for consistency. Constantly changing curriculum and jumping from one thing to another might not go well, but as a homeschooler, there is no reason to stick with something that is not working.
Have confidence in yourself and your ability to plan your child’s education. You love them and know them better than anyone, which makes you the best person for the job!
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