Welcome back to the 2nd post in the series,
12 Simple Steps to Homeschooling.
You have made the decision to homeschool and defined your reasons. I’m hoping you did your homework from the last article. If you are new or haven’t done it yet, I am referring to 12 Simple Steps to Homeschooling: The Beginning. Today we are going to be talking about how to pick a curriculum.
Types of Curriculum
By now I am assuming you have probably started looking for curriculum ideas. There are hundreds to choose from. I remember being in a Facebook group several years ago and every time someone said what they were using I would look it up. I spent hours and possibly weeks searching for the best curriculum for our family.
There are different types of curriculum, online or computer-based, workbooks, a combination of the first two, and virtual programs. Over the years we have tried 3 out of the 4 types. We started off with a virtual school, followed by a workbook style curriculum and are now using one online.
The biggest problem I ran into when picking a curriculum was the price. I would find what I thought would be a perfect fit, just to realize that there was no possible way our family could afford it. Which is why we ended up going with K12 Virtual Academy in the beginning. It was free through the state-run charter school. We had a good experience but there came a point where we wanted more freedom in what we did as a homeschooling family and we chose to break away from them. In the end, we went with a curriculum that was the best fit for us in our budget.
6 Questions to ask
Do you want it to be on the computer or off-line?
How much are you able to spend?
Do you want it religious or secular?
Should it be all-inclusive or do you just want to choose pieces of it?
What is your child’s learning style?
Do you want it Common Core aligned?
Some programs have you pay for the entire year worth of curriculum up front, while others have monthly plans. Some of the online programs even have free trials.
So, what do you do now? Well, the problem is I can’t pick the best curriculum for you. I can tell you what we use, but it might not be a fit for you. Maybe you would rather use one company’s math and another one for language arts. Also, don’t feel like what you pick now you are stuck with forever. Sometimes you start a curriculum just to find out it isn’t working for you. Or as your children age, you will need to adapt what you are using. It is OK to admit that you made a wrong choice or that it wasn’t what you expected. Just accept that and move-on.
List of Possibilities
Here is a list of the curriculums that I considered when looking for something for our family. I am not affiliated with any of them and will not make any money if you chose to go with one. However, I did want to give you a list of some examples to get you started. Keep in mind as you look at each of these, you will find both positive and negative reviews for every one of them. I believe that is because some people are looking for the “Perfect” curriculum and it just does not exist. Every curriculum will have things you love about it and things that you hate.
Don’t forget those questions from above as you evaluate each one. Online vs offline, cost, religious, all-inclusive, learning style, and Common Core aligned or not.
The other option is to find used homeschool curriculum on eBay or Facebook groups. If you aren’t ready to spend the money or just can’t afford new curriculum, I would start there. It would give you the chance to try it out before sinking a ton of money into it. Also for those of you that don’t want an all-inclusive curriculum, you can just buy the books you are looking for instead of buying the whole package. Don’t forget about your local library. You will be amazed what you can find there.
This one might take you several days, but I want you to pick a curriculum. Pick a starting point. There is no perfect curriculum and sometimes what everyone raves about turns out to not fit your family at all. My oldest son is dyslexic so picking a curriculum that involves a ton of reading won’t work for him. Instead online classes with supplementary videos is a much better fit. Don’t let anyone influence your decision. There are a lot of people out there trying to sell you on their curriculum. Some homeschool families put down the state-run virtual academies but if that is what works best for your family then embrace it. You don’t have to justify your decision to anyone other than yourself. Try out a free trial if they offer it. Let me know what you decide!
If you find another curriculum that you feel I should add to my list and will be helpful to others leave me a comment and I will add it.
Next up: How Setting Simple Goals Will Make This Your Best Year Homeschooling
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