I had 14 children and I’ve been homeschooling for more than 35 years- I’ve gone through some curriculum! Here are some things I’ve learned along the way about choosing curriculum.
#1- There isn’t one perfect curriculum that works for every child.
So you chose curriculum last year for your oldest and this year the next one is coming up, so they can just use what the oldest child used. Simple. Easy. Maybe…..
Each child is so unique. I found that sometimes a curriculum I used for many of kids with success brought extreme discouragement to a younger child. Kids think differently. Some are very logical. To them, the math’s and sciences make perfect sense, but oh, the English language…. Or, words come easy to one child. They can sit down and create an interesting story or letter, where another child can sit and look at the paper and stress over having to come up with just the right words to communicate what they want to say .
It’s okay that kids learn and think differently. It’s a temptation to get exasperated when your child learns differently from you. You think something makes perfect sense and is incredibly easy, but your child is overwhelmed by it.
Learn to step back and observe how he learns and how he thinks.
#2- If it looks difficult to use, you probably don’t want it.
Some curriculum require lots of study and preparation by the parents. They appear to be very difficult to teach. I steer away from such curriculum. I prefer to find those who break difficult concepts down into understandable, manageable tasks.
#3 – If it looks boring to you, it may just look boring to your kids too
Color helps to engage most kids. Stories are engaging and easy to remember rather than unrelated facts. We all have to learn to do things we’d rather not have to do, but if you can find a way to make learning fun, choose it. History, for instance, taught by stories of the lives of real people (like here and here) is unforgettable.
#4- It’s ok, to switch in the middle of the year
Get what you think is best for your child, but if you find otherwise, don’t feel like you can’t switch. You want to challenge your child, but not overwhelm them. Remember your child’s love for learning is so much more important than the money you spent on the curriculum or just feeling like you have to plow through and finish what you started. If it’s counterproductive, save it for another child or sell it to someone who can use it.
#5- Ask for input from your child. What works for you? What looks interesting to you? What looks boring? What helps you to learn? One of my sons who struggled with spelling finally told me, “Mom, those spelling books don’t help me at all. I do the exercises and promptly forget how to spell the words.” So in asking him what he thought would work, he came up with a plan. He wanted me to dictate paragraphs from a book that interested him. He would write down what I said. That worked for him! I never would have thought of doing it that way. Sometimes I would order a couple different books for a subject, let my child look through them and choose which one he/she thought would be the best tool to help them learn.