Summer is in full force, and new and experienced homeschoolers are searching far and wide for the perfect curriculum for their upcoming homeschooling year. But let me fill you in on a secret….there is no such thing as the “perfect” curriculum! Remember, curriculum needs to fit your family, not the other way around! Curriculum choice is a HUGE topic! There is quite a bit to consider before even diving into specific companies and programs--so grab your favorite refreshing drink, take some notes, and enjoy these posts on the foundations for finding the best curriculum for your family!
Before beginning to research curriculum options that are available, you will need to consider several factors that will impact your curriculum choice and help you build a solid foundation for your homeschooling year! By understanding these components, you will be able to narrow down the thousands of available choices quickly.
Your children. Your children’s age, learning style, and ability will greatly impact what you decide to use in your program.
If your children are younger, they will likely need more hands-on exploration while focusing on the basic subjects. They will also have shorter attention spans, so shorter lessons are optimal. Older children can handle more independent work and have longer attention spans, so they are able to dive deeply into lessons without taking breaks.
You also will want to identify the type of learning style your children have. Are they visual? Auditory? Kinesthetic? Right-brained vs. left-brained? There are many more “named” learning styles out there, but you should recognize that each of your children might learn very differently! Want to read more about learning styles? Click here to read a previous post.
Additionally, take time to get to know your child’s ability level at different subjects--it likely won’t be all the same grade, and that is ok! Just because the public school had your child in a specific grade does not mean all of your child’s abilities are at that level. Your child might be a level or two above in reading but a level lower in math. You will want to choose the appropriate level that will challenge your child but not frustrate them. Many companies will offer placement tests to guide you in selecting the right level. Also, talking with others who have used it can help you determine if it is an easier or more challenging curriculum.
Tip: Combine different age children for a subject or two! Make your days easier--if your children are close in age, put them together. Not every child needs to have their own curriculum for each subject--look for ways to combine when you can!
YOU! You play a role in curriculum decisions as well! Your comfort level and expectations will aid in determining the type of curriculum you choose.
Consider the amount of teacher involvement you want in your homeschool program. Are you looking for a curriculum that you can just open and go, or would you mind if there is a bit of preparation to do before the lesson? Do you feel more comfortable with someone else doing the teaching, and you play a supportive role?
Also, consider the expectations you have for your children--are you looking for a curriculum to challenge your learner, supporting a struggling learner, or wanting to add a bit more fun into a subject they dislike? Do you want a high school class to also count as college credit?
Exploring these first two aspects of homeschooling will make the next steps easier as you start narrowing down your curriculum choices. The next post will discuss how different homeschooling methods impact curriculum choices, as well as the incredible amount of curriculum options available to you!
If you would like assistance in narrowing curriculum that supports your homeschooling vision, we would enjoy working with you through one of our consulting packages.