Tuesday, January 17, 2012

choosing curriculum

It is easy to get wrapped up in choosing curriculum for homeschooling.  I never realized how many options were out there.  Back when I had many stereotypes in my head about homeschooling, I honestly thought the only curriculum was the ultra-conservative abeka or bob jones   Come to find out there are more styles of curriculum then I could ever imagine.

I’m sure that most homeschoolers have already bought their curriculum for the year, since most people start school in the fall.  I, on the other hand, tend to start my year in January.  I plan to homeschool all year, which will allow us to take breaks whenever we need them.  After the holidays, when a new year is upon us, I always want to start new.  Now, that isn’t to say that you can’t switch up a program that you started in September, but for me I like to get all new books, and start fresh J

There are a lot of ways that you can approach choosing (or not choosing) a curriculum.  It all starts with your educational philosophy, which I mentioned briefly in my post on deciding to homeschool.  I found a really great resource for figuring out your own personal curriculum choices here.  It definitely asks the right questions and puts you on the path to understanding more about what your style of teaching is, and what you want it to be.  Of course, you always have to keep in mind your child and their personality as well.

Because I like reading/reading aloud to my kids, and because my kids will sit and listen to books for long periods of time, I really felt like I should focus my curriculum search on literature based curriculum.  I found a few that I really liked, and ultimately decided on Sonlight.  I like the focus on history, because I love history, and I do view homeschooling as my second chance to learn as much as I possibly can J

I think that there are a lot of options out there though.  I have read that some people use the library almost entirely for their book selections.  I would love to do that, but most of the books I want, I have to request from inter-library loan, and while that is an amazing program, it seems like I always have to wait a while to get the books.  I do plan to supplement our core curriculum with a lot of books.  And I may take 2 years to get through this core anyways, depending on Emma’s advancing with the material.  And if she finds something she is really interested in while we are working, I won’t be afraid to put everything on hold and dive straight into the subject that interests her. 

While in my mind I need to have a curriculum to make sure she is learning what she needs to learn, I think I am most looking forward to her finding what she is passionate about.  I am excited to have her come to me and say she loves trains, or planes, or butterflies, and then finding as many resources to let her really  dive into learning.  Can you unschool and use a curriculum at the same time?  Or is that too backwards? 

I am planning on using Sonlight for the core.  I like that Sonlight carries other programs for other subjects.  Being able to choose from a few different math or handwriting programs is important to me.  But, I don’t necessarily want to search through every single program available out there.  I trust that the people behind Sonlight have done the research and pulled the best programs available.  We will be starting Core A with Emma in February.  We are currently finishing up the P 4/5 program for the second time, and she is really enjoying it.

Do you have a “curriculum” that you use?  Do you tend to take book lists and head to the library?

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