If I had to pick the thing that I do not enjoy about homeschooling, my nemesis would be selecting homeschool curriculum. For me, the process takes weeks. Who am I kidding? It takes months!
I start tentatively thinking about our new homeschool curriculum a year before I need to make the purchases, but January is when I start narrowing my decisions. When our income tax refund comes in, I make the final selections and everything is here by the end of April so I can spend the summer writing lesson plans.
Please note that it may not take that long for you and the time commitment I make in choosing curriculum should not be a deterring factor for you. Plus, I think if I had the benefit of a local homeschool convention with a variety of curriculum available to view, the process of picking our curriculum would be easier for me.
Now… the flip side is that I get to choose what my children are learning. I can weed out any philosophies or opinions that they are too young to process. What a wonderful blessing!
As I am considering our curriculum, I find it helpful to spend a lot of time praying. I want to make the best choice and who better to ask than the One who created my children and knew them before I did?
What I consider when choosing homeschool curriculum
1) What type of learner is my child? At first, this terminology scared me but a free online assessment tool really helped me figure it out. Essentially, you just need to know how your child absorbs information. Do they enjoy worksheets? Are they more hands-on? Visual? Always moving? Your child will learn best when they have homeschool curriculum suited to how they are wired.
2) What should they be learning at this age-level? For elementary ages, the curriculum typically follows the scope and sequence of the majority of states. That takes a lot of the stress out of the selection process for me. If your child is in high school, your cover school might have very specific course of study for you to follow.
If you are writing your own curriculum, you can check your ideas against the scope and sequence of your local school district. Most will have this available online, listed by grade. Another great resource is Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School, which outlines what children should learn each year in each subject from preschool through high school and even offers reading suggestions.
3) Is my child ready for this subject at this grade level? Another fabulous thing about homeschooling is that you don’t have to hold your child back an entire grade level just because he is weak in a couple of areas. You can pick and choose curriculum that is appropriate for where he is. If you are not sure if your child is ready to progress into the next grade level in a subject, many curriculum companies offer assessment tools to help you. Since we purchase a lot of curriculum from Alpha Omega, I use their free online assessments.
And then… I release it to God.
I could continue to stress and fear that my selections for our homeschool curriculum are not correct but seriously… how bad could that be? Worse case scenario is that I order curriculum, we get a few weeks into it and I find that it isn’t working. So what? I will just buy something else or present it a different way.
My best advice for you (and me) is to RELAX. You love your child and want was is best for them. That inclination alone will help you to avoid a bad decision. Breathe in and out and believe that you can do this.
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