I’m teaming up with the iHomeschool bloggers this week for an awesome link up titled “Ask the Experts”. Each of us chose a topic we think our readers want to know more about. My choice? How do I Choose a Curriculum?
- Choose it with EYES WIDEN OPEN. Curriculum never ever loves you back, it is just a tool.Instead of focusing on all the choices out there, focus on the needs of your children and your teaching lifestyle.The curriculum beast can be tamed quickly when you sift through what will work for your 3,4 or more children instead of all the homeschool world.~Tina Robertson at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool
- Understanding your child’s preferred learning style is key. Being flexible and open to change is a close second. I can’t even count how many curriculum choices we have made over the years. Some have worked out very well, and others we never made it through lesson 3! As kids get older it is helpful to get their input when selecting curriculum. And, always remember that curriculum is a guide – use what works and never be afraid to skip or change something that does not meet your needs. ~Susan at Education Possible
- Find programs that you are comfortable teaching from. It doesn’t matter how great a program is or how highly recommended, if it’s difficult for you to use & teach from, it’s not good for you. When you find a program that makes your teaching effortless, you can focus on presenting the material so your kids can learn (no matter their learning style).~Tonia Lyons at The Sunny Patch
- When choosing a curriculum, I like to ask myself the following questions…
- Why do I want to homeschool?
- What is my child’s learning style? (The three major styles: Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic)
- What is my teaching style?
- What is my curriculum budget?
- How much time do I have each day for lesson planning?
- How many hours do I have each day to devote to homeschooling?
- How many children will I be teaching?
- Do I have little ones that will demand an equal share of my time during the school day?
- How involved will my spouse (if applicable) be in the day-to-day teaching?
- What are my teaching strengths? weaknesses?
- What subjects do I wish to cover?
- Do my children have any particular gifts or passions?
My goal is then to find a curriculum that fits the majority of my answers. This helps to weed out flashy-looking curriculum that I might be tempted to buy but will later regret. ~Jamie Erickson at the Unlikely Homeschool
- No matter how much other people praise it, if it doesn’t work for you be willing to throw it out and start over. My homeschool day has never gone so well as when I’ve done that. It’s happened two separate times, but it was well worth starting over with my kids.~Ticia Messing at Adventures in Mommydom
- Read as many reviews as possible about the curriculum you are considering. Often a user review will explain more than the sales material from the publisher. ~Ann Karako at Annie and Everything
- First know your educational philosophy which is a fancy way of saying know how do you think children should learn. Make a list of the must haves — those things that are deal breakers if they aren’t in a curriculum. Then look for resources that fit your list. If they are missing a deal breaker, rule it out immediately no matter how wonderful it looks otherwise. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of options, do not obsess. Just choose one. More than likely, any one of those options will work equally as well as the others.~Jimmie Lanley at Jimmies Collage
- No curriculum is perfect, so be prepared to take bits and pieces as you go. Find out what is really important to you, whether that is a Christian base, a spiral approach, or living literature base or whatever. Find a curriculum that’s aligned with what’s important and be flexible on the rest. I wanted a Christian base and spiral approach, so we chose Abeka for a few subjects, but it is really teacher intensive with review games my son didn’t need, so we just skip it! You are the teacher, and you get to pick and choose what to do, the curriculum is just a guide.~Kaylene at This Outnumbered Mama
Do you have any advice for the readers? How do you choose a curriculum?