The one question I’ve been asked over and over has been, “How on earth do I figure out what to teach my kids?” It may seem like there are so many options that there’s no way to go about narrowing them down. In reality though, it’s not that hard!
Step 1: Find out what the requirements are for your state. For example, we live in the state of Georgia. We are required to teach Math, Reading, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. That is all I need to find to start planning our school year. Sure, I’ll add more subjects as we go along, but this is the basis of the curriculum we use in our homeschool.
Step 2: Figure out the homeschool method that you feel would work the best for your family and your children’s personalities. We have a post that covers eight of the most common homeschool methods that would be a great place to start. You can also Google “Homeschool Method Quizzes” that you can complete to see what methods line up closely with your family.
Step 3: Once you’ve figured out what method of homeschooling you lean towards, begin to look for curriculums that line up to the method you’ve chosen. You can Google “Your chosen method + the subject you are looking for” and start looking into the curriculums you come across. You can also search Pinterest using the same method. Another search to use is “Your chosen method + the subject you are looking for + reviews” to find what other homeschool parents have to say. You are always welcome to visit the Crazy Homeschool Life Pinterest boards for ideas as well!
Step 4a: When you’ve narrowed down your curriculum, find out if there is a second-hand homeschool store near you, a homeschool convention, or ask around on homeschool groups for a chance to get your hands on the curriculum you are interested in so you can look through it. Look for the scope (list of what is covered by the curriculum) and the sequence (the order in which the scope is covered) to get a good overview of what the curriculum covers. As you look through the curriculum, make sure you agree with the methods and information covered. If you don’t, keep looking. If you have a feeling that it’s not going to work, there is no point in fighting through a curriculum that doesn’t fit your family!
Step 4b: If you can’t get your hands on the curriculum, look for reviews. There are thousands of homeschooling blogs all over the web. Many of them will review curriculum and give you their thoughts on how well it works. Go through several reviews and see what the reviewer liked or didn’t like about the curriculum. Look for a curriculum that has consistent reviews and seems to work well for other families. Look at the lifestyle of the family that is reviewing the curriculum, as well. If they have a totally different lifestyle than you do, the curriculum may not work as well for your family. When you find one that looks like it will work well, it’s time to order what you will need.
Step 5: Order your curriculum. This may seem like a piece of cake, but don’t just order the curriculum from the publisher, or order the entire package that comes along with the curriculum! There are times that the publisher’s prices are higher than other curriculum sellers. Again, Google the curriculum to find the best price, also keeping the cost of shipping in mind. You may also not need all the bells and whistles that can be ordered along with the core books. For example, we use Story of the World for our main history spine. However, there are activity books, audio discs, test books, and more that can be added to the main text. We have discovered the coloring pages, maps, and tests work very well for us, but that we have no use for the audio discs. They would be a waste of money for us. Just because a curriculum has a sparkly addition, it doesn’t mean you have to be held to using it.
Step 6: Once your curriculum arrives, it’s time to work on planning. Some people plan week by week, or month by month. That doesn’t work well for me! I plan a year at a time. You’ve got to find what works for you! Even if you are planning week by week, it’s always a good idea to sit down and read the curriculum before you’ve started working through it with your child. This helps you have a firm idea on where you’re going with the curriculum, and helps you find any potential problems before you’re in the middle of reading time!!
Keep an eye out for the next post in our new homeschooler’s series where I will cover how I plan for our homeschool one year at a time!
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