I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of all the moms picking out adorable backpacks with matching lunchboxes and *the* outfit for the first day of school. I know “the grass is always greener” and I don’t know anything about those back to school supply lists you have to shop for, and I am grateful for that! But I just spent the better part of 4 days straight finalizing our homeschool curriculum and I can’t decide if I should cry or pass out form the exhaustion.
As usual, I’m being over dramatic. But I’m not lying about the 4 days straight. And that’s not even half of it. The math curriculum I finally chose, I’ve been reading reviews on it for over a year now!
So to say picking out homeschool curriculum is hard would be a huge understatement. The options range from free to ridiculously expensive. From all online to workbooks to un-schooling to Charlotte Mason. You’ve got independent curriculum or teacher led. And some is pick-up-and-teach and others require much more teacher prep-work. And my head is still spinning with all these terms and reviews for each different kind!
With all that in mind, now that I’m finally on the other side of the research – I thought I’d share some tips on how to pick your curriculum and survive with some sanity left. Some!
- Pick Subjects First – Start by picking the subjects you want to teach. For kindergarten we did reading, basic math and writing in workbooks, a few art projects and lots of books and play time. I was relaxed on purpose. But for 1st grade, I plan on upping my game. So I decided on Math, Science, Language Arts (reading, writing, comprehension), History and Geography. With those subjects on paper – I was able to focus my search for curriculum to cover each of those. As my children get older I plan to add in more subjects. (Texas does not have subject requirements per grade for homeschool – so be sure to check if you are in a different state!)
- Religious or Secular – Knowing this will help weed out options you don’t want to include and save you time reviewing things you don’t want to teach.
- Keep Good Notes – I have had so many suggestions on great curriculum, but didn’t write down why I liked the sound of it. Which made it difficult when I was ready to buy. And one of the biggest things about homeschool curriculum – whatever you decide on, you’ll probably change some, most or all of it anyway. Those notes are going to come in handy when you realize that math curriculum isn’t working and you need to try the opposite of it.
- Be Flexible and Buy Used (when you can) – If you join any Facebook homeschool group, they will all tell you – you will change curriculum several times. It’s totally normal. You do just have to jump in and try something and then be flexible and willing to switch if it’s not working. And what works for one child might not work for the next. So be ready to buy and sell used things that didn’t work for you.
- Find A Homeschool Group – on Facebook and ask specific questions. A group on Facebook with over 10 thousand members is going to be so helpful in learning what the difference is between Logic of English and Explode the Code and why might I want to choose one over the other for Language Arts. And the thousand other questions you will have!
After all those steps – I took the plunge and decided on our year! We are doing Shiller Math (it’s on it’s way and I can’t wait to start the day it gets here!), The Story of the World Vol 1 and Activity book for History, Usbore Science activity books and Bug Detective, Children’s Activity Atlas, and Hooked on Phonics (because it was free from my sister and I want to try it before I buy Logic of English for $200, even though it sounds amazing).
Whew! I wonder what will work and what we will change before the new year.
Now all I have left to do is plan our schedule and then teach it all…. wish us luck!!