Picking homeschool curriculum can be scary. Intimidating. Overwhelming. Exhausting.
Where does a parent even start? We’re at the scary intersection of total educational responsibility and freak out. Well, DON’T FREAK OUT! 😉
I have some questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow down the best choices for your family. Be honest with yourself, and take all the time you need to consider the answers.
How to Pick Homeschool Curriculum
1. Does this resource match my children’s learning style?
Your neighbor may tell you that they’ve found the best curriculum in the world, but if it doesn’t match your child’s learning style it just won’t work for you.
No one knows your child better than you, but you might still need some help determining their learning style. Check out this quiz, it’ll help you figure things out.
2. Does this resource match my teaching style?
We hear a lot about learning style and how to best accommodate them, but what about teaching style? If you’re a kinesthetic learner you’re going to have trouble teaching with an auditory program. The good news is that adults are better at branching outside of their strengths, it’s okay to get one or two auditory programs if you’re not an auditory learner but don’t over do it.
New to homeschooling? Check out my eBook and Begin Homeschooling with Confidence today!
3. Does this curriculum match how I want to teach?
Differing from point #2 is what you WANT. Learning/teaching styles aside, only you know you WANT to teach.
Me, I’m more of a hands-off type of teacher. My goal is to be able to hand them an assignment and say “go for it” by the time they are 13. I know myself well enough to know that if the program takes 20 minutes of prep time before every lesson I’m going to give up on it. That’s just who I am, I’m very much a fly by the seat of my pants type of person.
4. Can I realistically afford this resource?
This is a hard one, I know. How many times have I found a perfect curriculum, only to look at the price and quickly click away from the website. It happens every single year when I look at Oak Meadow. I’d LOVE to have the program for my kids, but I have quite a few kids to educate and no matter how much I scrimped and saved, I just can’t swing the cost.
TIP: Digital curriculum and eBooks are excellent, affordable resources for budget-conscious families. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a print book instead of a digital resource that needs to be printed. I love digital curriculum, I only print the pages I need and whenever possible I have the kids write in a notebook instead of printing pages.
5. Does this homeschool curriculum match my worldview?
This should be pretty straight-forward, you wouldn’t think it would be difficult to find curriculum to reflect your philosophical views. Right?
The truth is, if you are looking for Christian curriculum you’re not going to have a problem finding it. There is curriculum available that leans toward and teaches according to all Christian denominations. There is such a large selection that likely you won’t have a problem finding something that fits your budget, learning style, and teaching style.
If you’re looking for secular curriculum, or curriculum with a less religious skew, you will have a harder time. First, there just isn’t a lot of secular homeschool curriculum out there. Second, sometimes publishers who say they offer secular-friendly materials throw in content that isn’t secular at all. It can be overwhelming, but it’s not impossible! Most secular homeschooling parents have resorted to modifying curriculum (some curricula lends itself to modifying more than others) while some stick to resources typically used in public school. Some secular parents even create their own curriculum. Fortunately secular materials are becoming more popular and every day new resources are created and shared.
Before you purchase any curriculum be sure to investigate the company by reading reviews. Check out their website’s about page to make sure it fits your views, and if you can’t find a clear answer, ask. If you ask and still don’t get a clear answer, and yes it happens, it’s usually best to move on to something else.
So there you have it, 5 questions to ask yourself before you pick your homeschool curriculum! What would you add to the list?
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.