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One of the biggest questions a homeschooler faces is ‘Which curriculum is best?’ and I would like to offer a slightly different question ‘Which curriculum is right for my family?’ You see, there are so many different curriculums and so many different families, there is no one best path.
Though some moms may tote that ‘Charlotte Mason’, or ‘Beautiful Feet’, or ‘Sonlight’ are the epitome of proper education; other moms are saying that ‘child led learning’ and ‘unschooling’ is the way to go. With so many niches, and so many ‘clicks’, what does it all mean and where will you fit in? I’ll explain these terms later on, let’s look at your school first.
Let’s look at homeschooling from a functional perspective: WHAT are you trying to accomplish with your homeschool? Write down your goals. Do you want your kids college ready? Do you want your children to be trade-school ready? Do you simply want them to be free-thinkers? Do you want them to be born-again Christians? Maybe you want one or all of these. Start your journey by writing down what your goals may be.
Next we focus on you, not the kids. Why? Because you have to teach the material you choose! You may have seen people crying out that you HAVE to know if your child is auditory, visual, or tactile, you must know if they are bright-and-early thinkers, late risers, or ADHD. I will have to say, that is secondary information. If you can’t teach the curriculum it’s not the right fit.
Write down your favorite subject, you best subject (the one you scored highest on in school yourself), a subject you have experience explaining, and a subject you feel weak in or don’t feel confident teaching. This will help you with the groundwork of finding a good program that fits you.
How organized are you? Really? Do you get excited over the idea of files and planners and creating your own schedule? Or are you a wanderer who would rather not have actual plans, just ideas? Can you keep to a schedule without it being laid out or are you easily distracted? Write down some reasonable expectations for yourself. If you feel more comfortable buying a curriculum with a schedule, or if you prefer a DIY approach make sure you note that. You can always write your own schedule if the curriculum doesn’t have one, and you could ignore the schedule that comes with the curriculum, but this information is still a good guide as you shop.
Now that you have your goals and your abilities, you have a framework for a plan. As we look at the different styles and curriculum in the next article you will use this plan to quickly discover the right program for you!
For your favorite subjects I like to choose open programs that allow for a lot of dreaming and distraction because I know that we teachers can get passionate and we need time for that. For your weak subjects you can look at programs that are more thorough and easier to teach. If you don’t really feel confident in your teaching role there are programs that have full schedules and all the subjects coordinated for you. If you have a tight budget there are programs with less books, or what we call non-consumables that can be passed from student to student. Think about what you would like, chances are the curriculum is out there waiting for you!
In part two of this series we will look at the different kinds of curriculum available, and how to use your information to find the perfect one.
P.S. can you tell I had way too much fun with those pens?? I absolutely love them! You can get your own watercolor/brush pens here: https://amzn.to/3AIJYAO