One of the key questions for homeschoolers is: “What homeschool curriculum should I use and what is the best homeschool curriculum
This can be a daunting question since there are so many curriculums available, both for sale and for free.
Rather than specify a particular curriculum – which may or may not fit in with your particular needs, we’ll look at the tools and questions you need to ask in order to make a good choice.
There are a few things to acknowledge prior to starting the curriculum process. First, in order to choose a homeschool curriculum that will suit your family, you will need to assess what goals you have for your family. With the end result in mind (the goal) the task of selecting the proper plan and curriculum becomes an easier task. Along with your goal, you should also always consider the capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of the children to be taught. Things like are they above grade level or below grade level and what is their primary learning mechanism (auditory, tactile, visual, etc).
With the goal to intend to accomplish in mind, it will be easier to decide on the best curriculum for your family. The strengths and weaknesses of each method will vary depending on your overall goal for your families education.
Here are some important things to consider when choosing curriculum:
First, not every subject needs a curriculum. Often subjects can be taught simply by reading and discussion. Don’t fall into the trap of believing just because something was created by a so-called “education expert” that it is good. Just because something is marketed commercially does not necessarily make it better in any sense. Don’t be fooled – it may be much easier to teach than you think, so you may need to give yourself more credit.
As a homeschooler, you are not bound by the conventional thinking that some subjects must be taught for 12 consecutive years. A great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility it allows us in our scheduling and how we elect to teach each subject.
Second, remember the purpose of the Curriculum is to guide us, not to force us to follow some strict guidelines. You are the one in control of the learning process, not the curriculum you decide to use. Understand that some curriculums are designed to fit “everyone” and there may be tasks, styles, and activities that simply do not fit into the goals you have for your family. And the ability of your children to learn may mean that not all the tasks and activities need to be completed.
Of course, the cost is most likely a determining factor too. How many children will the curriculum teach and are there alternatives that are better, more flexible and possibly cheaper?
How much time does it take? Time can be a precious commodity in homeschooling. How is teacher friendly this curriculum? How much time will it take for you to prepare before you actually teach the material?
Independent learning. For some families, a curriculum that encourages independent learning is a positive consideration. Leadership skills, social skills, and independent thinking can all be part of the learning process.
There may be ways for you to stretch the use of the curriculum. Is the material consumable or can it be used by a number of children? Can you make it re-usable by using plastic overlays with whiteboard markers or asking your child to work in a workbook, rather than in the book itself?
What sort of learning style does the curriculum use? Is this important to you?
Answering these questions and issues will make it easy to choose a curriculum.
The purpose of this article was to get you thinking about what you want in a curriculum and not to give some pat answer as to which one, or method is best. So if you have a lot of unanswered questions at this time, that is a really good thing.