Building your homeschool curriculum can be a stressful process, especially if you’re homeschooling more than one child. While homeschool curriculum planning may be the most stressful part of homeschooling, it is well worth the time invested.
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Like many homeschoolers, I’m a bit of a curriculum junkie. I love looking through websites and catalogs, and I’m among the first to flip through new releases. However, there’s a difference between drooling over curriculum choices and actually putting those options together. There’s a lot to consider!
If you’re looking to find some tips for building your homeschool curriculum, then you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m featuring some tips to get you started in the right direction when it comes to planning your homeschool curriculum.
Choose Your Homeschool Method
Before you choose a curriculum, it is important to determine which method might work best for your family.
Are you looking for traditional textbooks and workbooks, or does a classical education better fit your family’s needs? Does the gentle, literature-rich learning offered in a Charlotte Mason homeschool interest you? Or perhaps unit studies or delight-directed learning (unschooling) would be a better fit for your children?
Whatever method you choose, I highly recommend that you take a bit of time to check into the options that are open to you. Doing so can save you a lot of stress and money down the road!
Determine a Budget
You’ll first have to know how much money you have to allot towards your homeschool curriculum. While many resources are free, you will need to invest some money into projects, books and other homeschool tools to ensure you’re successful in teaching your kids at home.
When determining a curriculum budget, I’ve found that there are a lot of ways to prioritize…not all of them are effective, though!
When it becomes clear that not everything on your wish list will fit into your budget, it’s important to prioritize. In order to do this, I ask one very simple question: Could I teach this subject on my own? If the answer is “no,” that subject moves to the top of the list.
When I purchase a curriculum, I’m not purchasing the lovely hardcover book and glossy pictures on the pages. What I am really purchasing is someone else’s time and expertise. For some subjects, I am more than willing to spend money to have someone else put together resources that I can use. For others, I would rather spend the time to do it myself.
It’s all a balance!
Your Child’s Learning Traits
You’ll have to take into consideration how each of your children learns best when it comes to building your homeschool curriculum. You will find that your kids each have their strengths and weaknesses. Because of this, your homeschool curriculum may be different for each child.
Both your child’s learning mode (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or tactile) and learning style will play into this choice. I really recommend reading up on both – these links will bring you to easy-to-use guides!
Consider your Time
Next, you’ll have to consider how much time you have to devote to a homeschool curriculum. This will allow you to pick a more laid back style of educating or a more hands-on, structured homeschool curriculum. Obviously, you’ll have to consider your child’s age and learning traits when considering how much time will be needed.
If your time is limited, you might consider some online classes. Skrafty and Schoolhouseteachers.com both have a lot of great offerings if you’re looking for full classes. If you would rather supplement with some online units, Techie Homeschool Mom has some amazing Online Unit Studies. They are literally “open and go” – no prep time is needed on your part!
Scope and Sequence
There are many homeschool curriculum options online, so be sure to check out their scope and sequence page for best tips on how to plan and organize your curriculum. It is important to realize that every homeschool curriculum will have a different order and method of presenting skills and content.
If you compare three different curriculum choices side by side, you will likely find that they all seem to be taught at different levels. “Third grade” in one curriculum may seem to be a full grade level or two above or below another curriculum. This isn’t because one curriculum is “good” and the other is “bad.” It’s simply that they have both chosen a different scope and sequence.
Evaluating the scope and sequence of various online homeschool catalogs and resources will help you to determine what you want to teach. Once you have that established, you can go ahead and order or download your homeschool curriculum choices to get your schedule in order.
Be Flexible in Your Homeschool Curriulum!
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is to be flexible with your curriculum choices. If something doesn’t seem to work, see if you can tweak it to fit your child’s needs. If it turns out to be a bit too advanced, feel free to put it away for another semester or year. (Chances are, you’ll use it!)
Also, feel free to add in fun projects, field trips, and literature choices. Your curriculum is the foundation of your children’s education, but their learning doesn’t have to stop there. Have fun with it!
If it absolutely does not work for your child (and we’ve all been there, promise!), feel free to sell it or give it away. It really is ok to start over with something that will work better. The point of homeschooling is to cause our children to learn, not to finish the book at all costs!
By following these tips, you can confidently build your homeschool curriculum and plan your year!