You have gathered your calendar, homeschool catalogs, and motivation. We are now ready to tackle to wide world of curriculum choices! Twenty years ago, homeschoolers didn’t have many curriculum choices, even ten years ago was pretty limited. Today the modern homeschooler has a stack of homeschool catalogs plus the plethora of digital materials available. How do you narrow it down to what is right for your family?
The best way to combat the overwhelming curriculum choices is to have a clear vision for your homeschool year. Knowing what your goals and plans are for the year ahead, help you say no to curriculum and activities that are good, but don’t fit your goals. Sit down with your spouse and pray over what God wants to accomplish in your homeschool this coming year. Our family is focusing on building community this year through Classical Conversations, PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) and church. Our educational goals include Ancient History, Geology, and improving our reading and writing skills. This narrows down what curriculum I will be looking for.
Now there is still a load of choices in those subject areas, so I can now narrow it down more by examining my calendar. How much time do we have to devote to each area in our lives? School time, field trip time, outside activities, chores, and other time commitments all fill my calendar. Since we are participating in Classical Conversations, a whole day is given to that. We live on a farm and we spend a lot of time outside, so heavy book work is not something I am looking for. We are looking for flexibility and hands on curriculum.
We are a large family on one income, so budget definitely plays a part in curriculum choices. I also am looking for something that I can easily incorporate with different age levels. These two are huge definers of my homeschool shopping!
Unit studies are great for multi-age learning, but we chose to go with Classical Conversations as it fits with our love of simplicity, our Christian values, and our need for a multi-generational learning model. Now that I have found my base for our homeschool year, I can fill in the holes with curriculum that follows our plan.
Not everyone has the time or the will power to research and dig through piles of catalogs or search the endless list of online resources. I have homeschooled for 16 years and love researching! So I have already done the work for you! I’ve tried most options and methods, I’ve talked to moms who have used various other homeschool methods and I’ve read catalogs front to back. If the thought of missing out on the perfect curriculum overwhelms you or you just don’t know where to start, let me help! I offer FREE curriculum planning so that you can focus on your little ones, not fret over too many choices.
Types of Curriculum
I don’t have space or time to get into all the different options and methods, nor do I want to overwhelm you. But quickly there are unit studies, boxed packages, online classes, classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, and eclectic. There is literally something for every learning style and every teaching personality! Do not fret, homeschooling is possible and doable without the stress. And before any curriculum choices are made, read Teaching from Rest and The Unhurried Homeschooler to set the scene.