Homeschooling has been a huge blessing for our family and we love the freedom and the grace we get in being able to teach our children from home.
Once you have made the decision to homeschool, the next part is the most overwhelming. How do I choose curriculum? What curriculum do I choose? Where do I get it from?
There are SO many different curriculums, guides, and resources out there today. Many of which are really amazing. Even as seasoned homeschoolers you still constantly ask yourself these questions as your child gets older or moves up in grade level. However, the best perk of homeschooling is that you have the power to choose what to use for your family, and be able to tailor curriculum to each individual child.
Next year my son will be joining us for his Kindergarten year. I am currently researching and making the decision on what curriculum to start using for him. My daughter, who will be starting 2nd grade, has done really well in all subjects so far with the curriculum we use. However, I am realizing how different they are in their learning styles and what has worked for her might not be the best for him.
Here are some tips and simple quizzes that really help me in choosing the best curriculum fit for our family and each individual child.
“As home educators, we have the freedom to map out this course for ourselves. We get to hold our children’s interests, learning styles, personalities, and needs in the palms of our hands and mold something that is just for them.”-Ashley Stinson
What is your child’s learning style? Are they a visual learner, auditory, a hands-on/kinesthetic learner or a mix? Take this LEARNING STYLE QUIZ to get an assessment of your child and the best way they learn. (Even if you have never taught them before this quiz asks simple questions based on their personality or observations of how they play, etc.)
My daughter is a visual and auditory learner. If she sees or hears something once she has it saved it to memory. Memorizing sight words, math facts, etc. with flash cards and through reading works really well for her. My son is a hands-on kinesthetic learner. He needs to use manipulatives, do experiments, or play games to help him practice concepts and actually see why things work the way they do.
Figuring out their individual learning style is a big help in narrowing down curriculum choices. We as parents are the most equipped to be able to figure out how they learn best and are able to encourage their interest and dreams through different resources.
You are the teacher and you matter too! You want to choose curriculum that is best for your family as well as keeps YOU going, with as little stress as possible.
“Enjoy what you discover with your children. Your enthusiasm for learning drives your homeschool…the engine of your homeschool is fueled by your energy.”-Julie Bogart
Do you prefer to have everything ready to open and go? Do you like to have the option to add more resources in? Do you prefer unit studies where all subjects revolve around one topic? Do you want it to be religious based? Do you like building upon interest-led learning?
Make a list of the criteria that is important to you and your family. You can also take this simple HOMESCHOOL STYLE QUIZ to discover what kind of homeschool style works best for you.
Our homeschool is eclectic, as we enjoy a little bit of many different things. I love to look for religious based curriculum as well as open and go for most subjects. However, for extra subjects such as history and science, I love planning unit studies and building upon my children’s interests. I have found that when my kids are learning something they are interested in, they learn so much more and are more willing to do their schoolwork. Figuring out our favorite homeschool style helps to keep us going and exciting for me to teach my kids everyday.
Just figuring out your child’s learning style and what type of homeschool style you like is super helpful in narrowing down curriculum choices and choosing the best fit for your family.
It’s also NEVER too late to change course, revise your plan, or to try something new. If a certain curriculum isn’t working it’s ok to stop it and try something else, even if it is in the middle of the school year. It’s not too late to have the homeschool you imagined, even if you try it just for a day, or a week, or a whole month to see how it goes. If it doesn’t go the way you’d hoped, its not too late to go back to how things were. A blessing of homeschool is the freedom to switch things up however you see fit.
As you are searching around for curriculum you can check out tons of reviews on all different kinds of homeschool curriculum at cathyduffyreviews.com
This website shares lots of different curriculum options for each subject as well as help you make lists of your favorite curriculum.
Instagram has been a huge help in finding different curriculum. There are lots of homeschool moms who share all different kinds of curriculum and different styles of teaching that have been very valuable to me in making decisions for our homeschool. If you find a curriculum you are interested in be sure to check the hashtags where you will find lots of reviews, examples, and lessons of others using it. Also ask around if you need help. The homeschool world is amazing in helping one another.
We have only been homeschooling for a few years, but here my favorite curriculum companies so far are:
Your curriculum also does not have to come from a large homeschool curriculum company. I love to use unit guides and studies from small businesses on Instagram. Many are beautiful, inexpensive, or even free! Check out a few of these small shops:
Once you have found the curriculum you are interested in purchasing, where do you buy it from? Of course you can buy it from the companies website, but also check Amazon and Christianbook.com for possibly better prices. If you found a curriculum that is a little out of your budget try looking on Facebook for groups that sell second hand. (Put the curriculum company in the search bar and plenty of different Facebook pages will appear.) Some companies, such as The Good and The Beautiful, offer FREE PDF downloads of their curriculum. You can print at home as well as send it to an office supply store or printing company for an inexpensive price.
Here are three small shop printing companies that always offer great pricing and discounts often:
I hope all of these simple quizzes and tips help make your search for curriculum a little easier. I know it can become very overwhelming with everything that is out there and all the different subjects. Finding the right curriculum fit for my family definitely gives me the confidence to continue homeschooling.
“When the atmosphere encourages learning, the learning is inevitable.”-Elizabeth Foss