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When you first begin your homeschool journey, you are probably optimistic and excited to get started. Then, you begin to search the internet for a curriculum…and that excitement quickly turns into overwhelming confusion. There are a plethora of curriculum available, all touting promises and testimonials to lure your into spending hundreds of dollars per year to teach your child. I completely understand that feeling!
I remember researching curriculum like a graduate student, trying to find the PERFECT resources to teach my kids. Surely, one of these programs is going to be exactly what we need to teach all five of my VERY different children, right? Um, no. Needless to say, I was in for a rude awakening.
First of all, knowing that my children have a variety of learning styles would have been extremely helpful. So, I would highly recommend spending some time observing your children in their natural learning environment (your home, haha!) and see what they are drawn to when their curiosity is peaked. Does your child gravitate toward pictures, movies, and visual aids? Or maybe they prefer to listen to you read aloud and enjoy songs/music? Perhaps your child would rather build, conduct experiments, or dive into a messy hands-on projects? Knowing the type of learner you’re teaching is valuable in narrowing down your curriculum choices! This will save you so much wasted money trying curriculum that doesn’t appeal to your child. I can’t tell you how many I’ve purchased, only to discard it in frustration later.
Secondly, sit down and figure out a realistic budget for homeschooling. This budget should take into consideration whether you expect to do field trips, experiments, or trips to the library (the library is MY favorite resource!). Knowing how much you can afford to spend each month and total for the school year will help you quickly discard curriculum that is out of your price range. Don’t think the most expensive option must be the best one! You would be surprised how many expensive curriculum are filled with boring busy work!
Thirdly, do your own research! Even if your neighbor or best friend loves a certain curriculum, doesn’t mean that you will. Find out as much detail about the options that appeal to you and your child so that you can make an educated decision. Knowing these five things will help guide your research:
FIVE Things to Consider
- All in One or a Mix?
- Worksheets or Not?
- Book Heavy or Video Based?
- Online or Not?
- Religious or Secular?
Once you’ve narrowed down your expectations to specific details, I think you will find it MUCH easier to limit your search and identify the best curriculum option for your family.