Monday, August 8, 2011

Choosing Curriculum


Homeschooling parents want to know three things:  What are the best products?  Can I do better?  And Am I doing enough?

Choosing homeschool materials can be time-intensive and can require much research on the part of parents. Some years ago, parents had to deal with the dilemma of having very little to choose from.  Today, we are lucky enough to be homeschooling at a time when the choices are amazing and when more becomes available each year.  Of course, the yin to this yang is that it requires more time and attention on our part to sort through the available curriculum and materials in order to locate and aquire the “right” materials for our family.
It helps to talk to other homeschooling families, but each family you ask will have different answers!  At first, thosesewing-1 early years of homeschooling, this can cause a parent to lose heart.  Eventually, the fact that every homeschool family is unique becomes one of the best things about homeschooling.

When it comes to choosing curriculum, remember, your family’s needs are more important than any expectations you will read/hear/feel from outside sources.  Trust your instincts where materials are concerned.  Why buy “Spelling, Level 3″ when your child, regardless of age, needs “Spelling, Level 2″?  Ignore those “levels” and “grades” that are attached to most material and choose each subject based on the level of your child, rather than the other way around.  Think of it as a quilt.  Choose the materials, sizes, shapes, textures, and quality that appeals to you and make it your own.quilt-11

There is no reason why you can’t combine materials from across the spectrum into your homeschool day.  A book from here, a film from there, workbook from a third place.  Happily, we are living at a time when our options are open and we are the seamstresses of our children’s education!  Choose pieces that you love, pieces that appeal to them, pieces that are unique.  Blend them into a work of art that is your child!

A father was shopping in the store this morning.  He and his wife are fairly new to homeschooling and they had come to shop, browse, educate themselves.  He asked me something along the lines of “what are the benefits of homeschooling”.  My Top of the List is the fact that I can teach my children at their level, rather than at the level of their peers.  In this way, we can zoom forward or stay in one place for awhile.  Flexibility.  Accept it.  Love it!

Will you use secular or Christian materials?  Again, this decision is one that wants to mesh with the goals of your family.  And it is possible to combine the two in order to find the materials that make sense to you.

I realize that these aren’t answers, per se.  But no one can tell you what is best for your family.  You will know it when you see it.  So, take some time, browse, educate yourself, ask around.  Eventually, you will find the materials that feel like “home” to you.

Are you still feeling confused?

Wanting more concrete assistance?

Check back soon.  I will talk more about various homeschool approaches and some materials that “fit” each one.

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