Selecting curriculum is probably the most difficult step in getting ready to homeschool. There are so many available today that it can be quite overwhelming. Here’s a plan to help make the process easier.
What you need to know before you start choosing curriculum…
Your homeschool approach
When you can start your search by homeschool method, you’ll be directed to only those curricula that are relevant to you. This will save you time and energy.
How your child learns best
Consider your child’s learning style. Is he/she a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?
Your needs as teacher/facilitator
Curriculums vary in the amount of support they provide for those implementing them. You can buy complete packages that include additional materials, grading and record keeping. Or you can buy books that give you the freedom and responsibility for the day to day planning.
- Do I need step-by-step instructions and a schedule mapped out for me?
- Do I have time and/or desire to prepare lessons?
- Do I want to gather or purchase materials for lessons?
- Do I need the curriculum to work for more than one child at a time?
State requirements for subjects/content
Make sure you’re targeting the content you are responsible for covering each academic year that’s mandated by your state.
Some curricula come with hefty price tags. If you are piecing together your curricula from several publishing companies, those prices can add up quickly too. Think about your priorities if you’re trying to stick within a budget.
Steps for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
1. Read/listen to reviews about curriculums.
Getting a summary of the pros and cons of a resource you’re considering can save you tons of time. One great way to do this is to talk to other homeschoolers. Ask them for recommendations and whether you can take a look at their books. Most homeschoolers are very willing to share what they like and don’t like about the curriculum they’re using.
Cathy Duffy Reviews is a website where you can find reviews of curriculums that are marketed for homeschoolers. Cathy Duffy’s latest publication, a book called 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, is structured in a way that helps you search by homeschool method, learning styles, and other features, like prep-time.
2. Determine what books must be purchased vs. those that can be borrowed.
For books and materials you don’t want to purchase, you can
- Take advantage of your local public library.
- Swap books with other homeschoolers you know.
- Use free online resources.
3. Make necessary purchases.
If you’re looking to save money, check out library book sales and used curriculum sales in your area. You need to set aside a good chunk of time to search through tables of books, but if you like to treasure hunt and find bargains, these types of sales are for you.