Whether it is your first year of homeschooling or you are a veteran, it is very easy to get caught up in the massive amount of curriculum out there available to homeschoolers and get overwhelmed when trying to figure out how to choose your homeschool curriculum. If you’re new to homeschooling, you can pull together your own curriculum a piece at a time or buy a curriculum in a box and many box sets even offer several options for every subject. You can choose to do thematic units or just cover each subject on its own. There’s literally a sea of information out there. I have a few ideas for you to help make choosing your curriculum a little easier.
Set a budget – First and foremost sit down and set a budget, decide how much you want to spend this year on books, supplies, manipulatives, and school tools. Give each category a set amount, play with it as you begin to get more comfortable with your choices. There is no sense in looking at a $1000 package if $100 is your budget, that will cut down on some of the confusion right at the start.
Find Your Child’s Learning Style – There are a wealth of books that you can buy or check out of the library that will help you discover your child’s learning style; Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. You can also find online resources as well. This will help you to predetermine if one curriculum will work over another. Speak with the reps for the company and ask what learning style it fits best.
Attend a Convention – One frustration I have run into with curriculum is that I cant pick it up and physically look at. I have to go by whats online and word of mouth, I haven’t been able to make a convention yet. If possible I would recommend visiting a convention if for no other reason than this. Multitudes of companies are set up with their product spread out for the soul purpose of you checking it out. They can be pricey but the knowledge you gain there (they also have speakers, classes, etc.) can make it worthwhile. I would go with a list of curriculum I am already interested in and have done some research on but be open to new.
Consider Buying Used Curriculum – There are many used curriculum groups on Facebook, a quick search may even show one right in your area. There are even many for sale groups for specific curriculum. If you can’t find a for sale group by typing in the name of the curriculum you are looking at, search for a message board or support Facebook page. I have been able to get nearly new quality curriculum for more than 60% off the original price.
Do Your Research – When choosing a curriculum you are going to want to do as much research as possible. This can come in the form of word of mouth, ordering catalogs from every company you think you may be interested in, message boards, speaking online or on the phone with reps from a company, or looking at your homeschooling friends books.
Remember that nothing is permanent, do your homework, but If something just isn’t working for you and your child you may need to switch gears. The beauty of homeschool is that you can change, go at your own pace, and make mistakes. Don’t stick with something that is not working.