After making the choice to homeschool, the next biggest decision you will make is what curriculum to use. There are many types of curriculum available, and the large number of possibilities can be very overwhelming. First and foremost, you should answer the following question – “Why am I homeschooling?”. Your ‘why’ will greatly help in choosing your curriculum.
Why’s can vary from homeschooler to homeschooler, but why you homeschool makes a huge difference in what type of curriculum will work for you. Whether you are homeschooling because you want to just have your child home safe from bullies or other threats or you want to have to be able to best meet your child’s learning needs and style…or bits of reasons across the spectrum.
Once you have a list of why (and these can easily change or be added too over time), the next is to consider your child’s needs. What is your child’s learning style? Despite your reasons for homeschooling, the formula for the best success is to also consider your child’s learning needs (even if this is not the primary reason you choose to homeschool).
I recommend the book by Cathy Duffy, titled The Top 102 Homeschool Curriculums. It has a test at the beginning of the book to figure out your educational philosophies and your child’s learning style. It then gives suggestions based on those findings of various curriculum rated in the top 101. This is a great place to start!
Many homeschoolers choose a boxed style curriculum, by boxed style, I mean a curriculum company that sends you everything, Reading, Language Arts, History, Science…you make one order to one company and you get everything. It is fine to use a boxed curriculum, and it is also quite convenient, in that all the plans are done for you. You just open it up and go! However, if flexibility and adaptability is what you are aiming for, a boxed curriculum may not be the best fit.
Several companies put out curriculums, many only a subject or two. It isn’t too difficult to piece together a curriculum from multiple sources. Planning may be a bit more involved, but the lesson plan for that subject is still usually laid out for you. You only need to mesh the multiple lesson plan outlines together to make one plan. This is mainly what we do for curriculum. I get science from one company, history from another, math from another, etc…
Then there is the completely piecing it together on your own method. This method does require more planning, but is the most flexible of all choices. Homeschooling in the face of technology is amazing! There are so many resources available online for multiple areas of interest and topics. All you need to do is search for ideas! Pinterest is quite handy for weeding through and organizing the wide array of ideas on the web. There are also many books that can serve as topic guidelines for you, The Well Trained Mind is a favorite of mine.
Just remember that there really is no right or wrong way to homeschool. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another (even within your own family!). My best advice for choosing curriculum is to
1. Be Flexible
2. Don’t be afraid to change it up if it’s not working and
3. Remember WHY you are homeschooling!
See what curriculums we use and have used HERE, scroll through the posts, as here are more than one.
You can also see the many REVIEWS we have done of a wide variety of curriculums.