Choosing Curricula That Helps You Meet Your Homeschool Goals

Today’s post is about one of the most important things to consider when looking at the vast array of curricula available for your homeschooling. It’s a little more cerebral and philosophical than the other posts in the series. But, hang tight because at the end I’m giving you an example of how this plays out practically in my own family.

Homeschool goals and homeschool curricula

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The most important consideration when  you’re choosing homeschool curricula isn’t cost (although that’s important). It isn’t how popular the curricula is or whether or not other homeschooling families love it. It isn’t how easy it is to use or whether or not kids can use it independently.

The most important thing to consider when you’re choosing curricula is: What are your goals in homeschooling?

What is the purpose of your homeschooling? What are your goals?

So often I hear homeschoolers talking about homeschooling, and there is a definite vagueness about what they are doing. They are not intentional. They know they want to homeschool, but they aren’t really sure why they are doing what they are doing.

Maybe you pulled your children out of school because of bullying or bad teachers. Maybe you didn’t want them to be in traditional school because you had heard rumors that your local school wasn’t that great. Maybe you started homeschooling to pass on your value system to your children.

Whatever the reason you decided to homeschool, think beyond that and decide what your homeschooling goals are.

In order to truly be focused and know what to teach your children, you must be intentional. 

Start by having a vision/purpose statement for your family and homeschool. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does need to be specific. Decide what God’s purpose for you as a family is and what your vision is for your family.

Once you have a vision, think about how homeschooling fits into that vision. “If it is God’s desire that our family do…., then our homeschooling should include…”

Once you have something to aim for, a vision, then that can guide your curricula choices.

If you are homeschooling because you desire academic excellence, because you want your children to achieve in a highly academic field, then the curricula you choose should be rigorous.

If working together as a family fits in with your vision and your goals, then you will probably choose unit studies and other curricula that you can use with multiple ages.

If you are strongly focused on having your children develop a Christian worldview, then you will choose curricula that is distinctly Christian, from a Christian publisher.

If you are very mission minded as a family, your curricula choice should allow you and your children to learn about needs in other parts of the world.

If your vision and goals include eventually having your children attend a traditional school, your curricula should prepare them for the setting of a regular school.

Once you have a focus, you can evaluate any curricula you choose in light of that focus. Read about publishers of the curricula you are considering. Don’t just choose it because it works great for a friend and her family. Evaluate how it fits into your family’s vision and goals.

Here is how it works for us practically.

(Just a note: This isn’t necessarily a guideline of how this should work for you. This is an example for our family. Just as God created us all as individuals, He has different plans and purposes for our family. Our vision and goals don’t have to be your family’s vision and goals.)

Our general purpose statement is the first catechism- “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and love Him forever.” Our vision is to live life as a family in such a way that our children develop a Christian worldview and constantly desire to seek God’s will for their lives. We long for a strong family bond that encourages our children to be open and communicative so that we can reach their hearts in our discipline and instruction.

To that end our goals include helping our children develop a strong Christian worldview, deliberately choosing activities that allow our family to have strong bonds, serving and giving with our children so that they have a desire to further God’s work in the world, and educating our children in such a way that they have lots of academic and extracurricular activities that give them options to be able to fit into whatever God has for them as they grow.

Because of this, any curricula we choose:

1. Has a strong Christian worldview focus.
2. Emphasizes the needs of all people to have a relationship with Christ.
3. Is somewhat rigorous in an academic sense so that they have the option of college or further schooling if that is God’s will.
3. Provides as many opportunities as possible for us to do things together as a family.

This helps to narrow the field of curricula choices for me. If it doesn’t fit this vision and these goals, I don’t need to consider it further, no matter who loves it and how wonderful it seems.

Homeschool goals and homeschool curricula

If you have comments or questions about how to go about solidifying your homeschool vision statement and goals, feel free to ask me. You can also go to this post and pick up a freebie for developing your homeschool vision statement.

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