Choosing a curriculum can be a daunting task for some new homeschoolers. And, understandably so. There are so many options to choose from. Some questions you might be asking yourself are: Should we buy a whole curriculum? Is there money for a whole curriculum? Should we make our own curriculum? Will the curriculum be secular or non-secular?
The first thing you will want to do is find out what your state law is regarding homeschool curriculum. Some states require the curriculums to be approved. In other states, homeschoolers are free to use whatever curriculum they want.
When we decided to homeschool, a close friend of the family, and veteran homeschool mom, gave us a great tip and told us to go to our local homeschool convention. While there we could visit vendor booths and get a good look at all of the options. What you see online may look fantastic, but, in reality the book may not be so good. And, other books may not look so great online, but, in person it may actually be the exact book you’ve been looking for. My kids love going to the local homeschool conference because they can look through the books with me and see what really catches their eye. If something interests them they will be more interested in the lessons and absorb more information.
Another tip is to do some research to see if there’s a local homeschool sale on used curriculums, books, workbooks, etc. A lot of the time these events will be held at a nearby church. Check with local homeschool groups and co-ops in your area for upcoming events.
The next step is to decide how much money you can afford to put toward a curriculum. Some people can pay the big bucks for a whole curriculum that comes pre-packaged with all of the subjects; books, workbooks, lesson plans, etc. (Some can be several hundred dollars.) Some people can only afford to buy the pre-packaged curriculum for one or two subjects. Then, there are people that choose to build their own curriculum by using things like Pinterest, TLS Books, Kids Discover, Barnes and Noble, and Khan Academy. Believe it or not, you can build a really great curriculum if you take a little time to research. (*Barnes and Noble offers a teacher’s discount card to homeschoolers! Check their website for more information.)
If you want to use a completely free curriculum that has already been organized by another homeschool parent, I suggest looking at Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool. While using Easy Peasy, you have the ability to choose a specific grade level. You can either follow a whole curriculum; or, just choose a single subject. Easy Peasy is also great if you are teaching multiple children. For instance, if you have a 6 year old and a 12 year old and you want to teach Earth Science to both of them, you would have the 6 year old follow the “L” level (lower, grades 1-4), and the 12 year old follow the “M” level (middle, grades 5-8). And, in case you’re wondering, Easy Peasy has High School level courses that can be found here: Easy Peasy High School. Easy Peasy also offers printable course assignments and a daily progress chart. Easy Peasy is christian-based curriculum. If that sounds good to you, great! If not, just skip over the religious teachings and move on to the next lesson.
Always remember, when you first start homeschooling you may think a certain curriculum will be perfect for your child. You then purchase the curriculum only to find out several months later that it is definitely not the right fit for you or your child. Don’t panic! It happens. During the first few months of homeschooling you will start to realize what your child’s learning style is. That learning style may not mesh with the curriculum you purchased. All you have to do is take a step back and reevaluate. Is there anything you can still use from the curriculum? Is the child bored? Can you change the way the curriculum is taught? Do you need to slow down or speed up the lessons? Or, is the information too advanced for the child? If so, put that curriculum aside for future use and maybe buy some workbooks that are more conducive to the child’s learning ability.
The bottom line…don’t stress! The options are endless. Be creative. Have fun! Homeschooling is about what works for you and your family.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions 🙂
Wabi Sabi Mommy