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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