Choosing the curriculum you will be using for an entire school year can be one of the most daunting tasks for homeschooling parents. Let us help make the decision just a little easier on you. We have some tips to help point you toward a curriculum that both you and your children will be happy with all year long.
When choosing your homeschooling curriculum there are a few important things to take into consideration.
- Personality Type: Think about how structured you run your household. Are you a pretty relaxed parent? Able to go with the flow? Maybe you're more rigid and your house runs on a daily schedule. Possibly you're a mix of both?
- Children's Learning Style: Consider also how your children learn best. Are they hands-on? Visual? Or are they able to learn simply from being read to?
- Instruction Style: How do you envision yourself teaching your children? Will it be reading straight from a text book? Will there be a lot of hands-on activities? Or maybe you want your children to do most of the learning on their own while you simply manage from the sidelines.
- Time Commitment: How much of a time commitment are you able to provide? Will you be sharing teaching duties with a spouse or a homeschooling co-op?
There are a wide variety of curriculum available to homeschooling parents today. It may take a lot of research and a bit of tweaking to get it just right but we are confident you will be able to find the perfect fit for your family with a bit of research and maybe a tough of trial and error.
For the Structured Parent
If you feel you need a structured curriculum there are some available that are all inclusive, having all subjects tied into the same schedule. Sonlight is a great example that comes with a complete schedule for a 4 day or 5 day week. The literature portion is derived from classic children's stories making this a great option for people who need to run on a structured schedule and love classic touches.
For the Semi-Structured Parent
Are you looking for a slightly less structured approach to homeschooling? Lifepak offers books that can be mixed and matched depending on which subjects you want to focus on. You can then go through the books as quickly or slowly as works for your family. If you finish part of the series simply move onto the next grade level book.
For the DIY
Have you heard of teaching through the classical approach? This is a schooling method based on what children of different ages are ready to comprehend. You will find a heavy emphasis on art, literature and grammar. This method of teaching can be very loose and easy to taper toward individual learners in the same household, although it does require some extra planning on the teacher's part. Most classical education curriculum has to be purchased in pieces and doesn't come with a daily schedule to follow.
For the Non-Teaching Parent
Maybe you don't want your child attending a public school but you aren't excited about doing the teaching either. Online private schools are a great option. You pay the tuition and provide the computer and internet connection and allow professional instructors to provide the education.
If you love the idea of an online school but aren't excited about paying hefty tuition fees check out online public school. k12.com offers free public school in many different states. Qualifications and availability varies depending on your location. Check out this map to see if you have a free online public school near you.
For the Alternative Parent
Are you looking for a completely different approach to educating your children? Unschooling is a term used to define a family that chooses homeschooling but doesn't use traditional methods or curriculum. Families that choose this method may have many different approaches, but many of them tend to focus on subjects that interest their children. Finding the educational moments in every day life along with nurturing a love for learning by integrating it into the day instead of taking time out of your day can make unschooling successful for many families.
Keep in mind that the best approach for your family is likely a mix of two or more of the above styles of schooling. It may be tough to figure out what works best for your family until the time comes to begin schooling. Ask around your local homeschooling co-op about borrowing different curricula before you purchase one for yourself. Alternately, check out a homeschooling convention where you can browse all the different curricula available. You can often find gently used materials on sale at these conventions as well.
If you find yourself in a rut mid-year don't be afraid to reevaluate and change out your schedule. It's just not worth it to you or your children to spend time on an education that isn't working for you both.
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