Choosing Your Homeschool Curriculum

With so many companies publishing curriculum products, putting together your child's curriculum can be overwhelming. On the plus side, many curriculum publishers and online curriculum providers offer free placement tests to help you place your child in a suitable grade or purchase course materials appropriate for your child's educational level. Here are a few things to consider before deciding on curriculum.

  • Your educational philosophy. What are your personal beliefs and views about education? Are you looking for curriculum that is faith-based, completely secular, or somewhere in between? Do you want to incorporate your personal views into your child's education? Will you be implementing a specific curriculum method, or do you plan to develop your own?

  • Your teaching ability. What is your educational background? Maybe you have exceptional math skills or perhaps a bachelor's degree in history. Maybe your science skills are a little on the weak side. How organized are you? Consider your abilities and limitations when deciding on a curriculum product or program.

  • Your child's learning style. How does your child learn best? When learning a new concept or skill, does your child prefer to see a demonstration, listen to an explanation, or actively take part? The curriculum you choose can consist of any combination of books and workbooks, audio and video discs, co-op classes, virtual online classes, and web-based, interactive lessons. Choose a curriculum that compliments your child's learning style.

  • Your child's learning ability. How much instruction does your child need? Can your child work independently? Online courses and web-based curriculum products may be perfect for a self-motivated child, but they may not the best choice for a child who requires one-on-one instruction and guidance.

  • Your time. How much time do you have to devote to planning your children's schedule, teaching the material, and grading or reviewing their work? Do you have children at different grade levels? Maybe planning is something you would prefer to leave to curriculum developers. You may want to consider curriculum that provides lesson plans, automatic grading, or tailored assessments.

  • Your budget. You can find curriculum products and programs ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. Keeping time constraints in mind, you can even put together your own curriculum using the library, used books, and/or low cost or free resources. Consider curriculum that fits your budget.

There is no perfect curriculum, and every homeschool adventure is subject to a learning curve. You may not realize your limitations or which curriculum format works best for your child in the beginning. In addition, your teaching style and your child's aptitude will evolve as time goes on. The most important thing to remember is to make adjustments to the curriculum and not to your child if the curriculum fails to meet your expectations or your child's needs.

  • Published 26 January 2010
  • Updated 09 January 2022

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