Preparing the Curriculum: Five Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum (Back to Homeschool Blog Hop)

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Welcome to Day 2 of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. You can find the landing page for all of my Back to Homeschool posts- along with links to the other blogs in the hop- here.

In my Back to Homeschool posts this week, I'm taking a look at things we do to prepare for starting back to school. August is the time of year when we begin our new curriculum for the year. And there is always excitement as we prepare to open new books and start new routines. As I'm choosing our curricula for the new year, there are a few things I always like to consider. Here are five tips that I use for choosing our curricula.

Tips for choosing homeschool curricula
1. Think about how you like to teach.

Occasionally I'll see a certain curriculum being discussed among homeschool groups as if it's the next best thing to sliced bread, but when I look closely, I know I could never use it because it doesn't fit the way I like to teach. Or I have a friend recommend a curriculum that is working stunningly for her family, but when I consider it, I know that I would never like to use it.

The fact is that our teaching styles are all different. I work well with a guide but lots of flexibility. I've tried very structured curricula in the past, and I just hate it. It's not bad curricula. But it's bad for me because it doesn't fit my teaching style. I also work well with curricula that is very literature based. I've tried using various textbooks, and I usually end up disliking them. It's not that anything is wrong with them. It's just that I like to read real books, maybe using a textbook as only a spine.

It's important to consider what fits your style when you are choosing curricula. Otherwise it's easy to get sucked into the trap of picking what everyone else loves only to find out that you hate it because it's just not your style.

2. Observe how your children learn.

As well as knowing what kind of curricula I can best teach, I've learned to watch my kids to see what type of curricula they can best use. And I've had to learn the difficult lesson that what's the best fit for them may not be what I love.

My oldest daughter loves literature. Kathryne is a reader like me. She loves a literature based curriculum. But Charles is not a reader. And as he's headed into more independent work, trying to make him use a literature based curriculum just wasn't practical. He prefers a straightforward textbook and mastery based, self-paced curricula. It isn't what would be my first choice. But my decisions have to also be based on how my kids learn best.

3. Consider your long term goals.

This consideration has become especially important as my oldest children head into high school and consider their after high school plans. As I choose yearly curriculum, I- and they- need to understand what our long term goals are. For now, we are proceeding as if both of the older kids will go to college. So we're choosing high school curricula that will meet the graduation requirements and college entry requirements for our state. If you have children who are not going to college for sure, your choices may be different.

Even with my younger children, I make some consideration of long term. Will we homeschool through the summer this year? Do they need to meet certain grade level requirements as they enter their middle school years in order to prepare for high school? Do they need to take standardized testing this year? All of these long term goals can affect my choice of curriculum.

4. Set a budget.

Ah. This is the tip I wish I could not consider. If I had all the money in the world, just think of all of the curricula I could buy! (Only a homeschool mom will understand.) Unfortunately, I do have to consider our budget. Our curriculum funds are not unlimited.

Each spring I make a list of curricula choices for each child. I include what is really a major need and then what are resources I'd like if there are funds. I also consider where I can combine classes and have two or more use the same resources. I take this list to my financial adviser- my husband- and receive the verdict. We talk about the list and whittle it down to what we really can afford. Only after I have the list finalized in this way do I begin to purchase anything. By sticking to the budget I can ensure that I don't just start buying and run out of money before we have the "must haves."

5. Look for free resources.

Finding free homeschool curricula resources can definitely help to fill in gaps left by the budget cuts. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have as a Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewer because I can get so many resources through reviewing. But even if you aren't a reviewer, the internet has some really great free curriculum resources. I have a whole (always growing) page here on the blog where I list free homeschool resources.

Many of the free resources you'll find are things you'll need to piece together in order to fully cover all subjects. But there are a few totally free full curriculum sites out there. Here are a few. There are others listed on the free resources page.

Whether you're looking for a whole curriculum or just filling in gaps, finding free resources can certainly help end your budget woes.


As I consider each of these things, I can narrow down my choices and choose the homeschool curricula that is the best for us.



Don't forget to visit some of the blogs in the hop for more Back to Homeschool fun.




Preparing the Curriculum: Five Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum (Back to Homeschool Blog Hop) Preparing the Curriculum: Five Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum (Back to Homeschool Blog Hop) Reviewed by Leah Courtney on 7:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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