Choosing Homeschool Curriculum (that you won’t regret buying!)
Have you ever excitedly purchased new homeschool curriculum only to find yourself trying to re-sell it at a significant loss a few weeks later? Or maybe you find yourself wanting to try something new every few months because what you have just doesn’t quite work as well as you’d envisioned. Maybe you dread having to make a curriculum selection due to the cost and unknowns of how effective it will actually be for your child.
Whether you love to buy homeschool curriculum (hello Facebook Group Guru, knowledgeable about all things Media Mail Shipping and PayPal!) or the idea stresses you out, these tips can help you save time and money.
7 Tips for Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum
1. Start with the big picture. Our free homeschool planner has some pages to help you with this. Think about what you’d like your child to know by the end of their elementary, middle school, and high school years. What strengths do you hope they’ll have? Do you want them to have any specific biblical knowledge? Track their learning across these big ideas to make sure time doesn’t slip away without them learning those things that you most value.
2. Think about your child’s learning style. If you’re not sure what learning style best fits your child, check out our Homeschool Learning Styles Quick Guide here. Choose curricula that will fit well with your child’s learning style.
3. Think about your capabilities realistically. Sure, in a perfect world, you can teach every subject thoroughly with passion and insight. But what can you truly do well in addition to all of your other responsibilities? If you have young children, how much time can you realistically devote to direct instruction in a day? If math was not your cup of tea, should you be the one teaching your child Calculus? Take an honest assessment of your life as it is now, not as you’d like it to be, then make your decisions based on that reality.
4. Talk to other homeschool parents, especially those whose kids are at a stage ahead of yours. But don’t just talk to any homeschool mom or dad! Try to find one whose kids inspire you. You know the ones I mean, the kids who make you say, “I hope my kids turn out like that!” What curricula did they use? What subjects did mom/dad emphasize?
5. Take note of how much time is needed each day for a particular curriculum or instructional model. How much hands-on mom time is needed? How much of the child’s time should be spent on this curriculum in a day? In a week?
6. Read reviews looking for the positives. What do people like about this curriculum? In what ways have they found it to be beneficial? Think about what they’re saying and how their reactions fit with your personality and that of your child. Do the things they like about the curriculum sound like they fit your lifestyle?
7. Read reviews looking for the negatives. Note that not all negative reviews should deter you. Is the review negative because the method employed by the curriculum clashed with that family’s schedule or that child’s learning style? If so, it may be that the curriculum wasn’t a good fit for them but may be a good fit for you! Or perhaps you’ll see that the people who didn’t like the curriculum were actually seeking the same thing you are, and you should steer clear.
With thoughtful planning, you can choose the best homeschool curriculum for your child.
There is no way to guarantee that you’ll love the curriculum you choose, even if your best friend says it’s the best thing ever. But, with thoughtful consideration and a smart game plan, you can set yourself up for a successful year with homeschool curriculum that you love!