I would like to welcome Amanda to the blog today. She offered to share a post with you my lovely readers on 4 Important Tips for Choosing the Perfect Homeschool Curriculum. Doesn’t that sound interesting? Don’t you just want to dive in and learn more?
You’ve decided to homeschool!
Congrats! This is such an exciting and scary time for you I’m sure.
Once a parent decides to homeschool their first thought is to find a curriculum. But it shouldn’t be.
When you decide to start homeschooling, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into your homeschool before you even begin thinking about which homeschool curriculum you will use.
Today I’m going to share 4 important tips that you need to consider before you even begin looking for the perfect homeschool curriculum.
After you go through these, you may even begin to wonder if a curriculum is really necessary or how to even use a curriculum in the right way.
No worries! These 4 tips will help you get a better understanding of what your homeschool day will look like and what you will want to teach.
It’s Not All About the Curriculum
choice in curriculumFirst, let’s talk about what a curriculum is and how it can best serve you on your homeschooling journey.
A curriculum is essentially a roadmap with an end destination that will most likely have a million and one pit stops along the way.
Learning is not linear. If it was, we wouldn’t have a choice in curriculum because they would all be the same.
Every child will have different interests and be ready to learn different skills at different times. We each have our own unique learning timeline.
The experiences we have and the environment we grow up in is what shapes that unique learning timeline. This is why every curriculum is different.
How to Choose the Perfect Homeschool Curriculum
Instead of looking at arbitrary assessment markers, like standards and grade levels, we’re going to deep dive into your child and your goals. Follow the 4 tips below and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of your child and how you want your homeschool journey to go.
Tip #1: Define Your Goals
The very first thing you want to think about are the goals you want for your children. I recommend setting only 3-4 goals per year. To do this, you’ll first start by thinking about where your child is in each important skill (math, reading, and writing). Then set specific goals that will help them move forward in that skill.
I cannot emphasize this enough…
Do not go look at school standards or grade level requirements. They are not developmentally appropriate, nor do they take into consideration your child’s unique learning timeline.
The only way to enhance your child’s skill is to move forward one small step at a time.
With the homeschool parents that I work with, I suggest setting one goal for math, one for writing, and one for reading. Each one of those goals should move them forward and enhance their skill in some way.
Now that you know your goals for your child, you can begin looking for a curriculum that will help you meet those goals.
Tip #2: Figure Out Your Educational Philosophy
We are not going to identify with one particular method of homeschooling here.
I want you to take a few minutes to reflect on your past educational experiences. What was school or education like for you?
Then spend time reflecting on what you want education to mean to your child.
Take your answers to create your own educational philosophy. This will take bits and pieces of different educational methods. Once you have your educational philosophy, you will have a better understanding of what type (or method) of homeschool curriculum you can focus on.
Do you see how using these tips are already eliminating so many choices in homeschool curriculum? And we’re not even done yet!
Tip #3: Understand Your Child’s Learning Style
I see many homeschool parents get confused about their child’s learning style. They tend to look for a curriculum that’s very heavy in learning with their preferred learning style.
But here’s the thing…
Every child learns best through hands-on experiences, especially in the early elementary ages. It doesn’t matter what their learning style may be.
But it is important to know your child’s learning style and combine it with hands-on experiences.
I recommend finding a curriculum that uses your child’s preferred learning style as the main method for learning then follows that with hands-on experiences to help make that new knowledge concrete.
But here’s the catch…
A curriculum should not focus on just one learning style. A good curriculum will incorporate multiple learning styles. Just because your child may have a preferred learning style, doesn’t mean they can’t learn with another learning style. It would get boring if every lesson was taught in the same way.
Teaching in multiple learning styles also gives your child a chance to look at topics/skills from a different viewpoint.
So I may have confused you there…
The bottom line is to find a curriculum where the main way of learning follows your child’s preferred learning style, but also incorporates hands-on activities and other methods of learning.
Tip #4 Discover Your Ideal Homeschool Day
This one is similar to figuring out your educational philosophy, but it takes into account the fact that you’re home.
Spend some time reflecting on what your ideal homeschool day would look like. It’s important to know what this is.
Obviously, having a perfect homeschool day isn’t going to happen often. Kids are kids!
But if your curriculum doesn’t allow for you to even attempt your ideal homeschool day, then you’ll never get that dream come true. This one is all about having the possibility to experience your ideal homeschool day.
Make sure your curriculum will allow for that possibility.
By going through and reflecting all these 4 tips before looking at a homeschool curriculum, you should be able to eliminate a lot of choices.
What about you?
Did you enjoy Amanda’s post on 4 Important Tips for Choosing the Perfect Homeschool Curriculum? Are there any tips you think she missed? How do you go about choosing curriculum?
Amanda helps homeschoolers raise self-motivated learners by bringing the adventure of learning right into your living room. She’s the creator of The Captivated Learner and The Learning Lifestyle. Amanda is a single, entrepreneur, homeschooling mama of two kiddos. You can follow her on Facebook.