The Homeschool Sanity Show
How To Choose Curriculum For Homeschool Sanity
Few things cause homeschoolers as much anxiety as choosing curriculum. I understand that. Curriculum can cost us a lot of time and money, and it can be frightening to make the wrong choice.
I created a tool to help you in The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner. The Curriculum Challenge includes a form for rating curriculum on several criteria. You can download it for free at Psychowith6.com/TOHLPlanner.
#1 Determine your learning and teaching styles
The first consideration for choosing homeschool curriculum is to determine your learning and teaching styles. When I began homeschooling, I was attracted to curricula that was reading based. I love reading to my kids and my kids enjoyed being read to. A reading-based curriculum like Sonlight made sense to me. However, I had three young boys when I began homeschooling, so when I heard about the unit study curriculum Konos that would have my kids engaging in hands-on learning, I knew I had to check it out.
I honestly did not relish the idea of all the crafts and extra work required in using the hands-on curriculum, but what I wanted more than my own happiness was kids' love of learning. I do not regret choosing Konos, even though I was sewing and painting and cooking while pregnant and chasing toddlers. My kids loved it and when we added co-op activities in our home once a week, we had found the perfect fit. I had friends to teach and spend time with. My kids made close friends and we all had a blast.
I am not saying that every homeschooler should learn using unit studies. I know homeschoolers who prefer textbooks. I know others who prefer all-in-one online learning. And still others who prefer in person or online classes in their homeschooling. What I do encourage you to do is to be honest about what you and your kids benefit from the most. There is no point in choosing a curriculum that is a good fit for friends or gets rave reviews on Facebook if it's not your or your children's style.
A big part of the consideration should be whether your child learns bast through reading, listening, watching, or doing. If you have no idea, take time now use materials that are in each of these modalities. Download free samples from publishers websites or use curriculum that you can borrow or get for free. I share free samples of Grammar Galaxy here.
#2 Determine your approach to homeschooling
Once you identify preferred learning styles, you are ready for the next question: What is you were approach to homeschooling? How do you believe that children learn best? Do you believe that the traditional textbook approach will prepare your children to go back to school? Do you like having everything laid out for you so you can check off the boxes and satisfy any educational requirements you have to meet? Do you believe that technology is the way of the future, and your children would benefit from learning digitally now? Or do you believe that classically trained students are superior? Do you want your children to be challenged to learn more than what is expected in traditional schools? Do you believe that children learn best by studying subjects from many different disciplines? If your kids are also hands-on learners, a unit study approach could be perfect.
Do you believe that children learn best with a gentle approach to learning that incorporates living books and nature study? A Charlotte Mason approach may be up your alley. Do you believe children's studies should be interest-led and practical...