9 Questions to Consider When Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

 

One question that I often hear as a veteran homeschooler when I’m talking with new homeschoolers (or people interested in homeschooling) is:  “What is the best homeschool curriculum?”

The short answer is: there is no “best” homeschool curriculum. That’s because every family is different. Their goals are different. Beyond that, every child is different. They have different interests. Different needs. Different learning styles. With that being said, there is no one-size- fits all curriculum that will work for every family or child. However, I do believe that every homeschool family can find (or put together) a curriculum that is best suited for their needs. Here are 9 questions to consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum to help you find what will work in your family.

Are you new to homeschooling? Need to change up what you're doing in your homeschool right now? Consider these 9 essential questions to help you make the best choice for your homeschool curriculum. hsbapost.com

9 Questions to Consider When Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

What are our family’s goals for this year?

This question can help you to narrow down your choices quite a bit. Trust me, there are a LOT of options out there, so narrowing things down can be a bit overwhelming – especially if you are just starting your homeschool journey. Knowing what your goals are can help you hone in on the curricula that would help you meet those goals, rather than detracting or distracting you from it.

Does our family have any special needs that need to be considered?

Another thing to take into consideration is if your child has any special needs. If they have any needs that require special attention, you want to choose a curriculum that takes that into account.

What is my child’s primary learning style?

As we know, children all have different learning styles (kinesthetic, tactile, visual, and auditory).

In other words, they learn in different ways. Although they may not fit squarely into one category – chances are they have definite leanings toward one more than the others. You can learn more about the various learning styles in this post. Once you know your child’s learning style, you should choose a homeschool curriculum that fits. For example, if you have a child that is tactile or kinesthetic, you might want to avoid curricula that mainly consist of desk work and don’t provide any opportunities for hands-on activities or movement.

What is my primary teaching style?

It is also important to consider your natural teaching style. Think about what you enjoy about your role as a teacher and use this information to choose curricula that are most likely to align with that. Another thing to consider is whether you prefer a curriculum that is geared towards independent learning or one that is dependent on instruction from the parent/teacher.

What type of homeschool family are we?

There are a variety of homeschool methods (which you can learn more about in this article) that your family may fit. When choosing a homeschool curriculum, you definitely want to consider this. For example, someone who has leanings towards unschooling will likely not enjoy curricula that are very textbook-intensive.

What is my budget?

Another important consideration is the budget that you have for homeschool. If you are on a shoestring budget, then a curriculum that will cost you several hundred dollars is not likely to be a good fit for you. However, if your budget is pretty high, your options are going to be more open.

You can also save money by using digital homeschool curriculum (read more about that in this post) and shopping annual sales like the Build Your Bundle homeschool sale online with bundles of digital curriculum starting at only $10.

Do I need an all-inclusive curriculum?

Do you need a curriculum that comes with every single thing that you need or are you okay with having to purchase supplementary materials? Some curricula will come with most of the materials that you need, while others will come with the bare bones.

What is our homeschool schedule like?

This really boils down to how much time you are able to dedicate to homeschooling. If you only have a few hours a day to dedicate to it, you probably shouldn’t choose a curriculum that requires you to put in several hours a day to get through. On the flip side, if you intend to devote several times a day to schooling, a ‘bare bones’ curriculum might not be the best fit for you. Read more about homeschool schedules here and here.

Do I need a curriculum that is reusable?

This is definitely something to consider if you have multiple children and are interested in saving money. Especially for those subjects that do not tend to have new information added every year, such as history or mathematics. If you can save money by reusing the same curriculum with all of your children, so much the better!

These are just some of the questions that you should ask when deciding on the best homeschool curriculum for your family. Hopefully, as you answer these questions, you can eliminate the options that are not a good fit until you find the ones that could be a winner.

How do you make decisions about curriculum in your homeschool?


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Sara (148 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Tips for Purging Your Homeschool Curriculum at the End of the Year

 

As the end of the traditional school year winds down it is time to start thinking about clearing out curriculum that you no longer need. It feels good to purge out old material and look forward to fresh new topics for the upcoming school year. But how do you purge out the old? Is there a method to your madness?  I am sure that there are many methods, but today I’m sharing with you how I purge out my old curriculum here and hope you find it useful in your own homeschool.

Tips for purging your homeschool curriculum at the end of the year. hsbapost.com

Purging Your Homeschool Curriculum

Go through it all

I take everything off shelves, out of bins, and in the closet. Then I begin to put it back one at a time, keeping only things that are still in good condition, can be reused the next year, and that we love. Everything else goes in the toss, sell, donate piles. Books, manipulatives, games, posters, everything gets a once over and finds itself either packed up to go or back on our shelves.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself while going through your curriculum to help you decide what to keep or toss:

  • Do you need to keep until your evaluation is over?
  • Can a younger sibling use it?
  • Does your child still need review in that area?
  • Is it in usable condition?
  • Have we used this item at all this year?
  • If I need it short term can I just get it from the library?

Decide how long to keep things

Are you holding on to them for a younger sibling? How long are you willing to hold on to them? My personal rule of thumb for 90% of curriculum and supplies is that if the next child will not use it within the next two years it goes. That may change as they children get older and this may vary for your situation. Things like math and grammar do not change so they have a longer shelf life than other items. If you want to keep items for future use but will not use them in the upcoming school year go ahead and pack them away in a tote to keep your shelves clear.

Choose where to sell items

There are many ways to rid yourself of curriculum and other items that you no longer need or want — online curriculum sale groups, Ebay, your Co-op, local curriculum sales, yard sales. Price reasonably and list in more than one location. Try not to bring anything back into the school area once you’ve made a decision to get rid of it. If you have have items that do not sell but you are willing to donate, take them to Goodwill or try something online like homeschoolfree.org or thebooksamaritan.com.

I hope I have inspired you to give your shelves and other homeschool hotspots a good purging!

Do you get rid of curriculum at the end of the year? Are you getting ready to purchase next year’s books? Let us know in the comments!

Sara (148 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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10 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschooling

 

Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children what they really need to learn, and in a way that is custom-tailored to their personalities and learning styles. However, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and to try to take on too much at once, which can rob you of your joy. If you feel that your homeschooling experience is becoming too busy and stressful, then you should check out these 10 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschooling!

10 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschooling so you can enjoy it more and worry less! hsbapost.com

10 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschooling

 

1. Reduce Materials

If you want to simplify your homeschooling, then one of the best ways is to reduce how many materials you use. Perhaps you can choose one resource or curriculum as a spine for your learning, along with a few educational websites and books from the library. If your bookshelves look like mine, maybe some decluttering is in order. Try digital homeschool resources to cut down on the need for storage space.

2. Make Lesson Plans Early

There’s nothing more stressful than having to come up with a lesson plan tonight for what you’re going to teach tomorrow. You’ll have a better experience, and be able to plan better, if you make your lesson plans or general course of study outline ahead of time.

3. Use A Homeschooling Binder

Use a homeschooling binder to organize your finished lesson plans, possible lesson ideas, things you want to remember, things you want to look into further, etc.

4. Have a Dedicated Homeschooling Space

A great way to simplify your homeschooling is to have a dedicated homeschooling space if you can. Use it to house the majority of your homeschooling supplies, and to give your kids a regular place to work.

5. Have a Consistent Daily Schedule

Having a daily schedule can be very helpful in simplifying your homeschooling! It helps your kids gauge how their day is going to go, and also allows you to better plan your day around your homeschooling time. The schedule doesn’t have to be a strict, by the hour type of schedule either. You can just break it down into flexible “before lunch” and “after lunch” time periods. Or find the routine that works for you on a consistent basis.

6. Unschool

Rather than following strict lesson plans, have you considered unschooling? Unschooling is perhaps one of the most flexible and simplified types of homeschooling. It allows your children to follow their own interests and curiosities and learn from them, rather than following a direct lesson plan. It’s a wonderful way to develop a love for learning in your child! We use delight-directed learning in our homeschool.

7. Reduce How Many Subjects are Covered Daily

You’ll easily stress yourself out if you’re trying to engage your child in a dozen different subjects within one day. Instead, have a few core topics you cover daily, and then include other topics every once in a while.

8. Let Your Children Work Alone

If they’re old enough, leave your children alone to work on their lessons. If they need help with something, they’ll know where to find you. This will help them learn to be independent workers, and will give you the time to work on some of your own things.

9. Give Your Children a Notebook

Rather than you being the only one who knows the lesson plan for the day, why not share it with your children as well? Give them a notebook, and every day write down their lessons. Your kids will likely enjoy being able to see their school day at a glance, and it’ll keep them from having to keep asking you what they should work on next.

10. Be Forgiving Of Yourself

Not every day will go as planned. That’s fine. One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that you can take the time to adjust, or to make up for lost time. In the end, your kids will learn everything they need to, so don’t fret the small stuff and forgive yourself the less than perfect days.

How do you simplify your homeschooling?

 

 

 

Sara (148 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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