Conference season is around the corner! The exhibit hall is full of wonderful curriculum and resources for you to peruse and purchase. But sometimes the choices are overwhelming, especially when we consider the unique needs of each of our children. Somehow, we hope that if we scour through the curriculum exhibits, we will hit the jack pot and choose the very best one.
Back in the day, when we began to homeschool, there were no Canadian conferences, no Google, no Facebook groups – only word of mouth and one homeschool magazine, The Teaching Home. As an Early Childhood Educator, I was set on finding curriculum that would instill a love of learning. I was already running a small home day care and was creating units for our circle time with the kiddos. We were having fun together, but ‘real school’ and ‘real learning’ was around the corner. Or was it?
Our first curriculum ‘hall’ introduction, was at a homeschool picnic with a few families about ½ hour away. Let’s just say that we left there scared! What were we thinking? Some homeschoolers were talking about studying the butterfly as it flew by, with no curriculum at all. Someone else handed us a BJU Press (Bob Jones) Homeschool Catalogue and recommended that we order the Kindergarten curriculum. The choice seemed like a no-brainer! Obviously (or so it seemed to me), we order from BJU for our oldest child. I placed the order.
And thus, the homeschool curriculum journey began. Each year (or was it every few months?) I would hear about a different curriculum that sounded better than the first. And what worked for our oldest, didn’t seem to be as helpful for the second or third or fourth or fifth child. And somehow, in spite of changing curriculum many times over, our children excelled! Did they learn because of the great curriculum choices or because I was a good teacher or did they learn in spite of me? Wow! Isn’t that a refreshing thought?
However, along the way, I did learn a thing or two. I thought I’d share my 5 top tips, just in time for you to head into the curriculum hall.
5 Top Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
- You will not find one perfect curriculum that will work for all of your children, for all of their home school years. What works for one, may not be as ideal for another. You may have to purchase something different for a second child.
- Consider your child’s learning style AND your teaching style when you choose curriculum. You have to like it, because you are the teacher, but ultimately, your child has to be interested in it. You are in this together 🙂
- Focus on the 3 R’s – Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic. These are the essentials. Again, there isn’t ONE perfect curriculum. What works for one family, may not be ideal for another. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Just remember this…don’t get bogged down. If there are tears, try a new approach!
- The rest of the subjects can be taught in many different ways and in many different years. Share your interests and knowledge with your children. Perhaps your whole family can study one topic at the same time, at different levels. (Unit Study) Have fun exploring the world together!
- Reading books and play games are wonderful curriculum supplements, crammed full of excellent learning opportunities. It’s so easy and so fun! The games we played and books we read are some of our kids most memorable homeschool moments.
And finally, remember this: Education happens through the living of life, not just at your dining room table.