How Do I Find The Best Homeschool Curriculum?
Posted by nick_niesen on October 27th, 2010
Being a parent is a huge and very important job! You provide your children loving care for their physical needs as well as their emotional and spiritual needs. You are the one they look to for love, help, care and concern. You fix boo-boo's, read stories and chase away scary closet monsters at night. You play games, tell stories, and if you are like a lot of parents, you prepare and then send your children to school.
But wait! You have made the awesome, wonderful, and sometimes scary decision to homeschool.. So that means YOU'RE THE TEACHER! But what do you teach? Many homeschool parents are always in the market for the best homeschool curriculum. What is home school curriculum? It is organized "classes" or subjects prepared for you by an outside company. They are generally teacher's manuals, workbooks, quizzes, tests, and study material for you and your child. You CAN homeschool without using curriculum, but due to the extreme amount of work, time and effort, and preparations that it would take; most homeschool parents choose to use curriculum.
Now, whether you are new to home schooling or have been doing it for years, parents are always looking for the best home school curriculum. During your journey, you will find curriculum you love, curriculum you hate, and curriculum that is just ok. The idea is to know what you are looking for in a curriculum. This way you can better judge if it is right for you and your family. I will outline 5 important steps to finding the best homeschool curriculum.
1.) Know what you like and what you don't (and what your kids like and don't)
This step is the most important step to finding the best home school curriculum. You need to know what motivates you, what motivates your kids and what doesn't. For example, my son HATES boring black and white worksheets. He loves math, but hates black and white worksheets. Once I figured this out, I could look for the best home school curriculum for him for math. We found it! It is a math curriculum that has lots of colors and even some pictures. It is essentially the same work and the same problems, but once I knew what motivates him and what doesn't; I could find the best curriculum for him.
2.) What subjects do you want to teach?
This sounds easy.. But wait until you get your first home school curriculum catalog! If you are anything like I was/am, you will get lost in all the wonderful things you can buy to help you teach your children. There's French, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, math, science, reading, handwriting, calligraphy, printing, phonics, history, history of the bible, ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, civil war, pilgrims, history of the wars, dictionary skills, public speaking, spelling, vocabulary, and the list goes on and on and on!!!!! And who wouldn't want to teach their kids all of those things? I know I would! So narrow it down and figure out what subjects you want to teach. This will help you find the best home school curriculum.
3.) Do you want curriculum for a Christian perspective or a worldly perspective?
Just about every subject that you can teach your child can be taught from either a Christian or a worldly perspective. There are some great Christ centered companies! It is important to decide what you are looking for before hand. If you want only Christian curriculum, you can narrow your search and skip all the companies who do not present their curriculum in this manner. And if you want more of a worldly view you can do the same. This is a very important step to finding the best home school curriculum.
4.) Look for a good return policy!
As a rule, I do not buy it unless I can return it. Keep in mind that most of the time you do not have these books in your hand when you choose them. You are essentially reading a "sales pitch" for each and every piece of curriculum being offered in that catalogue. They all sound great! But I can tell you from personal experience, they are not all great! So look for a company that will let you return items if they are not what you had in mind. Curriculum is not cheap! It is REALLY not cheap if you buy something you don't like, and you can not return it. There are companies that will let you return materials within a certain period of time. I would highly recommend them over any others!
All of these steps are very important for choosing the best homeschool curriculum. But above all I would recommend step 5.
5.) Pray about it!
Ask the Lord for direction and guidance. Seek his face! This is a very important thing you are doing for your children. And it is not possible to do it well without God. So go to Him! Pray about each and every subject. Pray about what curriculum you should choose. God will bless this decision. He will help you choose the best homeschool curriculum. Trust Him and pray, pray, pray!
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