Question: How do I pick a curriculum? What if I get the wrong one?
This is probably the hardest question for any homeschooler, not just newbies. There are hundreds of curriculum options out there and frankly…curriculum isn’t cheap. So how do you begin to choose? Let’s take this one step at a time and decide what style of homeschool are you trying to create.
Developed by Rudolph Steiner, this approach is based in rhythm, learning through play, and a gentle holistic manner of teaching. Waldorf is child led and does not introduce formal education until around 3rd grade. Although it is a beautiful philosophy, it is a lot of prep work and a lot of research into Steiner’s teachings.
This method bases learning off the the teaching style outlined by Charlotte Mason. It focuses on the whole child, living books, and appreciation for the liberal arts. You’ll be reading poetry, studying composers and artists, and enjoying Shakespeare.
Created by Maria Montessori, this approach is child centered and encourages self motivation. Like Waldorf and Charlotte Mason, this philosophy focuses on teaching the whole child.
This is also called ‘Boxed Curriculum”. Simply put, it is all of the textbooks, teachers manuals, and such for every standard subject. It is as close to a public school set-up as you can get and is often very guided. But be warned, this is most often the most expensive option.
Do you like Latin? Yes? Great! Just kidding…sort of. Classical style is what it sounds like. Very traditional styled learning and heavily book based. Classical curriculums can come as a boxed curriculum which makes it easy to assemble, but I do suggest utilizing your library for many of the literature used…unless you want a big house library, then be my guest.
So…you like a bit of everything? Or maybe just a mix of two or three similar styles. Guess what? That’s the majority of homeschoolers out there. While this is a popular option, it can be more difficult to put together as a first timer. I personally pull my favorite parts from different styles and create my own curriculum but this isn’t always for the faint of heart.
The title is pretty self explanitory, but digital homeschoolers are those who use online curriculum or digital public school programs. Typically, all of the supplies are digital and the work is done online and turned into a teacher for grading and guidance. This is one of the most hands off methods of homeschooling.
Now once you pick your style, you can start looking into publishers, joining groups that utilize the same philosophy, and ASK OTHER HOMESCHOOLERS. Yes. Ask those who have already walked the path. Get incite and opinions from others….are you secular? Do you want religious studies as a base? Do you only like physical books? Have a mix of ages? Don’t be afraid to ask people who have already used a particular curriculum how it worked for them.
So, you’ve picked your style…asked others….and now you bought your curriculum. But what if it isn’t perfect?!?! Oh, believe me when I tell you nothing will be perfect. You’ll tweak things, skip things, try something else….that’s normal. The most important thing is that you are enjoying it and your kids are too. Homeschooling is fun and creative. Stop stressing about thinking you’re not doing enough or the curriculum isn’t perfect. Explore, enjoy, and if something doesn’t work….change it.