Homeschooling your children has many joys. You get to be around your children all the time, sleep in some school days, and ensure your children are learning what they need to learn. Although these are all wonderful parts of homeschooling your children, picking out a curriculum tends to be a little more annoying. Despite this, choosing the right curriculum is an important part of ensuring your children receive a quality education, making it a necessary evil.
When it comes to curriculum, there are a TON of choices. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum
Find Out What Your Kids Need to Know
The first step is to find out what your children need to know. It is pretty easy to discover age-appropriate learning objectives for your children. Once you know what your children need to know, you can do a little research to find a curriculum that makes those learning objectives a priority.
Ask For Recommendations
Your fellow homeschooling families are great resources when it comes to picking out a curriculum. Talk to other parents that homeschool their children to ask which curriculum they’ve used and what they’ve liked or not liked about it. Talk to older homeschooled children to find out what curriculum they like and don’t like. Once you have a few recommendations, you can do some research to help narrow your results.
Values and Learning Objectives
Anytime you’re trying to decide whether or not to use a curriculum, be sure to check both the learning objectives taught, as well as the values. One reason many parents choose to homeschool their children is because they feel like public schools do not align with their values. If this is one of the reasons you’ve chosen to homeschool your children, then you need to make sure you find a curriculum that teaches the values you hold dear. Look around for a curriculum that teaches both educational objectives and values, without compromising either of them.
Check for an Updated Curriculum
Curriculum products are updated every few years by the companies that produce them. The updated curriculum contains new information that has been deemed important, as well as different resources to use to help teach these learning objectives. If you’re thinking about purchasing a curriculum, check to see when it was last updated. If the newest version is relatively new, you can rest assured that it most likely contains what your children need to know; if not, do some research to find out when any updates are scheduled.
Of course, a free curriculum is always nice, but some free curriculum products don’t contain everything your children need to know. You can either use these free resources to help supplement your children’s education, or you can piecemeal several free curriculum products together to get what you need. You may still need to invest some money into a high-quality curriculum. Any time you purchase a curriculum, calculate the total cost. This includes the cost of the teacher’s manual, any student books and worksheets, as well as any other resources needed to teach according to the curriculum. You might find that the “cheap” curriculum ends up being more expensive once you add in all these extra costs.
It can be difficult to find a curriculum that does this, but it is possible. With a little research, you can find a homeschool curriculum that works for you family and still have your sanity intact… at least until the school year starts. :)