I love this time of year!! Spring is near, the days are getting warmer & longer, the trees are starting to bud, the brown grass is becoming green again! But there is another reason I love this time of year…this is when I choose our curriculum for next year! For me it’s kind of like Christmas morning when it arrives; I am so excited to look through it all.
Selecting a new curriculum can be a daunting task and at one point last year I became so overwhelmed I actually cried (I had just had a baby so I’m gonna blame that on hormones). There is so much to choose from and there are a lot of great options.
If you are new to homeschooling you may be wondering how in the world do you wade through the sea of curriculum and find what is right for your children, yourself and your budget. Here are some things that have helped me. First, pray about it, seek God’s will. God was leading me to homeschool and I seek him diligently because there’s no way I could do this without Him. Secondly, I get advice from a veteran homeschool mom, I’m fortunate enough to know several. A couple of years ago I was trying to select the perfect thing for preschool; I went to a homeschool convention and talked to a salesperson from a leading name in home education. I decided to go with that, it sounded great! It was the entire kit but my husband and I walked away to discuss it because it was more than we had budgeted for. Just so happened, two veteran homeschooling moms that I knew were there so we asked them and they gave me awesome advice!! They said for preschool and kindergarten concentrate on the basics, reading and math. They told me about what they had used and what they found that worked best for their children. They saved me at least $200 and my daughter did great!! Last year pretty much the same thing happened, I got some great advice from these ladies and saved a lot of money, my daughter is five and she reads at least at a 2nd grade level! I’m not going to list everything I have used here because I think it’s important to find what works for your family because we are different & our kids learn differently but I will say the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” was recommended to us and it is AMAZING!! I followed it word for word and when we finished she was really reading!! Also, you may want to consider joining your local homeschool support group/ co-op, this is a great way to meet veteran homeschool parents and get advice.
The next thing I’d say about choosing curriculum is go to a homeschool convention if you can. This is a great place to ask questions, get tons of catalogs and really compare what’s out there. Some companies offer convention specials so you can save money and that’s always good! Don’t feel like you have to buy there though because it can be overwhelming so you may want to go home and really consider what you were presented.
You will want to evaluate your child’s skills before making your choice. This can be done formally through testing, a lot companies offer this, or more casually, I found a book that’s basically a check list of what a child should know by when. You can find this info online too. Based on your child’s current ability you can set goals for their learning for the next year. You should also consider your child’s learning style and what curriculum best fits that.
Go online and read reviews, I always do this before I purchase anything. One source I’ve found is by Cathy Duffy, she also has a book called “101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum”, I’ve not read the book but I have found the website helpful, the address is http://cathyduffyreviews.com/.
A great MUST HAVE book for homeschooling was recommended to me when we started is “Educating the Wholehearted Child” by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Many parents I know read this book over each summer before starting the new school year. Personally, it changed the way I look at home education. The Clarksons actually have a ministry devoted to helping Christian parents raise whole hearted children, their website is http://www.wholeheart.org/.
Whatever your choice, the beauty is it is your choice, homeschooling gives you the freedom to try different things, to find what works best for your children and it will not be the same for everyone because our wonderful God made us all unique. Don’t sweat it too much because if God has given you the desire to do this, He has called you and He will provide what you need.
I hope I’ve helped and not just rambled on. I welcome your questions and comments.