Some of the most commonly asked questions among new homeschoolers surround the curriculum dilemma. What are the options and what do I need? How do I tell what’s right for my child and their learning style? How do I know if something isn’t working and when to make a change? And many families who are choosing a private educator to assist them wonder, further, whether and on what level their educator should assist with curriculum selection.
The biggest problem with homeschool curriculum is not a lack of choices. On the contrary, there are so many options to choose from that it can be a very overwhelming and confusing endeavor. But there is help.
How to Narrow Down Your Choices
Curricula, like shoes, are not one-size-fits-all. So the first step is to narrow down the crowd, and you start by examining your philosophy of education. By asking yourself a few fundamental questions about what you want for your child’s education, you can weed out many choices that just don’t fit your needs.
These questions can be straightforward, like “Do I want my child to have a faith-based or secular education?” or they can be more complex, like “What worldview do I want presented?” or “What balance of child-led learning versus educator-led instruction do I want?” Your answers to questions like these will be your first guide.
Next, based on your answers, you will typically fall into one or more homeschooling styles that closely reflect your educational values and goals. Some popular styles include Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic, Unschooling, and Classical, just to name a few. Since curricula are usually closely aligned with a style, or perhaps a couple of styles, this will also point you in the direction of products that will fit your needs.
But even with the plethora of choices that this information will eliminate, there will still be many questions to consider, such as:
- How much technology or screen time do you want to incorporate?
- What is the balance of seat work versus hands-on activities you want?
- What is your child’s learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or a combination)
- Are there any learning or visual difficulties to accommodate?
- What subjects do you want to cover?
- How much time per day do you want to be devoted to formal study?
- Is my child at the same grade level in every subject or do I need to address differentiated levels?
Such a complex choice as homeschool curriculum doesn’t have a simple answer, but the more you know about your needs and wants the better. It will help to ask yourself as many of these types of questions as you can and write down your answers before you begin to look at all of your options. That way, you will be able to quickly exclude options that don’t fit your needs.
A Few Good Places to Start
Although the choices in curricula are limitless and often highly specialized, there are a few places to begin your search that have a wide variety of products to suit any style andoffer thorough reviews and descriptions:
When to Make a Change
Finally deciding on your child’s curriculum is exciting! And once you have made what seems like the perfect choice, it can be disenchanting if the implementation of that curriculum doesn’t go as planned. But that’s OK.
Your child is an ever growing and changing individual, and what is right for them will change and evolve as well. No one, years and sometimes months later, has stuck with exactly the same curriculum they chose in the beginning. If something isn’t working for your child or your family, it may be time to make a change. And that’s not failure, that’s growth.
Incorporating Your Private Educator
If you homeschool using a private educator, they are an integral partner in your child’s education and can provide valuable input regarding curriculum. Particularly as the school year progresses, your educator’s feedback will help you determine if a particular piece of curriculum is working or needs to be adjusted or, perhaps, changed entirely.
Your educator should also be able to conduct research on appropriate options for your preferred homeschooling style or your child’s learning style, suggest additions or changes to current curriculum that may be beneficial, and, perhaps, even create specific content for you.
Another Option to Get Help
For more in-depth, personalized assistance curating curriculum that is a perfect match for your child, you may want to consider hiring a homeschool consultant.
A homeschool consultant will be experienced in all of the homeschooling styles and curriculum options on the market. And they are experts at not only matching individuals with content that meets their needs but, also, at providing guidance on implementing the curriculum and telling when and if a change is needed.
To find out more about homeschooling with a private educator, the benefits and your options, visit our Private Educator pageor contact us to learn more.