As I sit here in the early morning, watching the sun rise through my window,…
How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum For You
Choosing a homeschool curriculum can feel like a daunting task. Whether you’re a beginner homeschooler or not, once you open the door to start searching for a homeschooling curriculum, it gets overwhelming very quickly.
There are so many different homeschool curricula out there. It’s easy to get lost in all of the choices. I sometimes feel almost stuck in a box, like I have to think about these things, even if I didn’t think they were that important before.
Topics such as:
Homeschool STEM curriculum
Homeschool curriculum packages
Free homeschool curriculum
Online homeschool curriculum
Elementary, middle school, high school curriculum choices
Added to the plethora of choices are different methods:
The list goes on and on and you find yourself getting caught up in the noise. You go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, ones labeled Pinterest, Facebook groups, blogs. There is so much information out there today and it can be very hard to wade through.
But you don’t let that curb your enthusiasm. You research it all, ask all the questions and pull the plug. You buy the homeschool curriculum and happily implement it in your homeschool.
Everything seems to be going fine! You’re several weeks in, children are happy with their personalized school subjects and your homeschool is happily buzzing along.
But something inside of you doesn’t feel right.
You have to spend extra time learning the math so you can teach it.
You want to have a schedule laid out, but don’t, because the overall homeschool curriculum was best for your child. So you stay up late at night figuring it out.
But other things have to be sacrificed, equally important things, like meal planning or laundry. However, you trudge along because it’s what is best for your child. You are miserable, but your child is learning, and isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?
Which homeschool curriculum is best for my child?
After two decades of homeschooling, I have learned that this question is the wrong question to ask.
Here is the most important idea that I have learned over all of my years of homeschooling:
If the curriculum doesn’t fit YOU, it won’t work in your homeschool.
Any homeschool curriculum is your tool and should work for you. Not the other way around. Your personality, your background, and what you can and can’t tolerate all matter when it comes to choosing the right curriculum. If you cannot implement the curriculum, then you will not be successful with it.
It will sit on the shelf.
Information that just sits on the shelf does not get learned by your children. Your children will not learn by osmosis.
It could be the top homeschool curriculum that everyone is raving about. It still doesn’t matter. It has to fit you, the homeschooling parent or it simply won’t work.
You are the one that makes your house run. You are the one putting in the time and energy to homeschool your children. You need systems that work for you and homeschooling curriculum is simply another system that needs to be put in place in order to keep things running smoothly.
I know your children are so important to you. You want what’s best for them, and that’s what makes you such a great mom!
This new revelation may feel a little selfish, especially in our child-centered culture. But it’s not. Again, you will not be able to teach your children with a homeschool curriculum that you don’t like.
Your kids are not going to choose to homeschool over playing, sleeping, or any other activity, therefore they won’t school themselves. While homeschooling is a great educational option for our kids, to them it’s still school and they are not going to choose to do it.
So you have to be the one to get everyone to the table, get the books out and do it. If you have to have an internal battle every morning because you don’t like the book you’re reading or because the spelling is boring or because you can’t teach the math to your high schooler, it won’t get done.
We are far too busy and have way too much on our minds to be fighting this battle every day.
So please understand that this is vitally important to the success of your homeschool. I know that nobody is talking about this, mostly because as moms, we just suck it all up and deal with things that aren’t perfect.
If we find the best homeschooling curriculum out there but hate it, we just deal with it for whatever reason. I am giving you permission to set that down and realize that you are the key to your children’s education.
You deserve to love the curriculum, too.
Read more about self-care for homeschooling moms.
Need some homeschool motivational tips?
The Best Homeschool Curriculum for You
So how do you know what works for you? Especially if you’ve never done this before?
I will admit that some of this is going to be trial and error. You may go through a few curricula before you find one that works for you.
But every time you find one that doesn’t, don’t get discouraged. It’s out there. With all the homeschool curriculum options we have today, I can almost guarantee you’ll find one that will work.
It’s important to figure out what you’re looking for before you start looking. I have devised a list of questions you can use to analyze yourself, your lifestyle, and what’s important to you so you can choose the best homeschool curriculum for you.
These are the same questions I ask myself, even after over 20 years of homeschooling! Every time I want to switch curriculum or we move into a new phase, such as high school, I go back to these questions and reevaluate what I need.
Life Outside Of Homeschooling
- How busy are we as a family?
- How important is it to me that we leave the house daily or do other activities?
- Am I willing to sacrifice this and move to weekly commitments instead of daily?
- Do I have a baby or am I expecting in the school year? How will this influence what I can get done? What am I willing to do in terms of scheduling the baby (or not) around my homeschool?
- Do I have a job or other volunteer position that makes it difficult to teach my children in a more direct way?
My Personality and Strengths
- Do I enjoy pulling pieces together and creating new systems for my family? How much do I enjoy this?
- Creating printables, calendars, worksheets, makes me extremely happy? Or causes me anxiety?
- Do I need a schedule laid out for me or do I enjoy creating my own schedule?
- How stressed will it make me if we get off schedule? Can I roll with it or not?
- Do I know what do to if I buy a scheduled curriculum and can’t handle what they’re asking of us?
- Am I OK not finishing the entire curriculum in one year and skipping things or having it move into the next school year?
- Do I need loose ends tied up neatly?
Finances and Resources
- How much money do I have to spend on curriculum, books and school supplies?
- Am I willing to try to find cheaper alternatives, costing me time? Or do I want to just buy it one time and be done?
- What other things am I willing to sacrifice (if any) in order to buy homeschool curriculum?
- List them and talk it over with your husband.
- If this curriculum doesn’t work for me, what is the commitment to it?
- Can I easily get out of a purchase?
- Will I be able to resell it easily?
- Will it be simple to move on from it or is it so involved it will cause confusion for all of us?
How I Feel About School Subjects
- What do I want my children to learn?
- What is the most important thing? History? Latin? Science? How the world works? Real life skills?
- Do I enjoy reading books, am I a strong reader?
- Can I enjoy a homeschool curriculum that delves deep into a subject I am unfamiliar with, such as Latin? Am I up for the challenge or is it too much for me right now?
- What is one area that I am lacking in that I want my children to learn?
- What are my weaknesses surrounding this issue and how will this affect how I teach?
Most Important Ways to Spend the Days with My Children
- How important are lazy, simple days with my children?
- Or do I value structure and routine?
- What do I think about children doing what they want, learning what they want?
- What do I think about telling my children what they’re going to learn regardless of what they think?
- How old are my children? Do they have the ability to make these decisions?
- How hard am I willing to try to keep them on track if we are more relaxed?
- How hard am I willing to work to train them to a more structured day?
- What is important to me?
- What are my values regarding this idea?
Being Honest About My Needs
- What DO I need?
- What do I hope to get from homeschooling my children? What are my goals for myself?
- How can this curriculum meet my needs? Does it give me the creative outlet that I need? Does it provide me with the structure that I need?
- Will I get burnt out using this for whatever reason?
- Does it challenge me in an appropriate way or is it too much for me to deal with right now?
These are the questions you should ask yourself when choosing or switching homeschool curriculum. It will help you in so many ways!
Curious about what we use? Start here.
Choosing a homeschool curriculum can be daunting and the focus tends to be on the children, rightly so. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that you–the teacher–are just as important. You should also be enjoying your homeschooling days. Excitement is contagious and if you’re excited, your children will be, too.
And on the hard days–because there WILL be some–you at least won’t be questioning your curriculum. You can have the freedom to just acknowledge it was a bad day and tomorrow will be better, but you won’t be tempted to abandon your curriculum over it.
And sometimes we do need to move on from a curriculum, but you can do so with confidence that you’re making the right decision for your entire family, including YOU!
Read all of my homeschool curriculum reviews to see if these fit with your answers above.
How about some free homeschooling curriculum?
Thank you for your time spent here! I love having you around!