Homeschool Planning – How do you Choose Curriculum

One of the most exciting yet complicated parts of
homeschooling is that there are so many wonderful curriculum choices and
learning styles available to us.  It is
wonderful because we are able to completely tailor a child’s education based on
specific homeschooling philosophies and learning styles.  The hard part is that there are seemingly
endless ways to teach a child, and finding the right curriculum can be
If you came here looking for a complete curriculum list that
will work perfectly for your child, you will not find that here.  In fact, I am not going to be sharing my
homeschool curriculum choices in this post at all!  Instead, I want to talk about my process for
deciding on an educational philosophy and learning processes for my kids.
Homeschool Planning - How do you Choose Curriculum

When I decided to start homeschooling, way back when my
oldest was the ripe old age of 20 months, I decided on a literature based
curriculum.  The reasoning was very
simple, I love reading, and my daughter loved listening to stories.  It seemed like a very gentle and easy way to
introduce schooling to my child – and at that point I had exhausted myself on
fairy tales…
Because we started so early with reading aloud to my
children, and reading for very long periods of time, I essentially trained my
kids to listen to long stories at a very young age.  Now, that does not mean that everyone will
love to sit and read/listen to stories for hours on end – but that is the
genius of homeschooling, your family doesn’t have to do that, you can choose
something different.
As we have added more kids to the mix, and as they get
older, we tend to have to adjust everything every year; three kids at three
completely different levels can make a literature based curriculum difficult,
however, I know that my kids learn really well when they listen to and read
good books, so I want to continue that. 
I cannot give you a rundown on all the different types of
homeschool philosophies, but I can direct you to a resource that has helped me
immensely as I have grown in our homeschool journey – simplehomeschool.net.  There are so many passionate people who blog
about homeschooling, and about their way of homeschooling, I could never do all
the philosophies justice.
I can let you know that we fall into a very eclectic mix of
homeschool philosophies.  I find value in
some “school at home,” – math for example – but we tend to lean heavily on
literature based and interest led homeschooling philosophies the most. 
When most people hear interest led, I think they actually
hear “no oversight,” however that is far from the case.  Figuring out what your child’s interests are,
fleshing them out, and then searching out experiences and curriculum to help
that interest grow and develop is no easy task.
For quite some time I was incredibly focused on interest led
learning, but I was directing most of the interests – which works pretty well
when your kids are very little, but not so much when they become their own
to choose the right curriculum to foster a love of learning in a specific
interest is complicated and takes trial and error.
That was hard for me to swallow.  When I meticulously research curriculum or
books or projects for my kids, and then they fall flat, it can feel like
failure, but it isn’t.  Instead I have
decided to look at it as a learning experience for myself.
Realizing that it is smarter to just drop a certain piece
from our homeschool has caused the clouds to be lifted.
If I keep pushing the kids to get through something that
they do not like, it pushes them away from the love of learning that I am
hoping to foster.
Now, that is not to say that we never have hard days.  There are always hard days.  And just because we have a hard day does not
mean that we should completely drop something off the schedule, but if those
hard days become weeks and weeks of strife, then it is time to re-evaluate.
Homeschool Planning - How do you Choose Curriculum

My kids love to read, and I find them free reading a lot of
the day in their rooms, with books they have pulled off of our shelves.  They like to read on their own schedule, and
of their own choosing.  When I assign
specific chapters in specific books, I usually find resistance from my oldest –
she would rather read a different book. 
But, 9 times out of 10, when she finally starts the book, she enjoys it
and will often read beyond her allotted chapters.
the *right* curriculum
As I have said above, there are so many different ways to
teach a child the same material.  Once
you know what kind of learning style your child has – do they like more
projects, hands-on learning, are they content to listen to books and stories on
end, do they prefer a more visual approach and can learn a lot from watching a
documentary? – you can look at your objectives for the year and start narrowing
down curriculum choices.
I tend to start with my oldest when choosing
curriculum.  She is 9, she has been
homeschooling the longest, and the information that we are studying is new to
all of us, not just to her.  Every year
of homeschooling my oldest is like my first year of teaching all over again –
second guessing everything and wanting to make sure I cover all of my
bases.  You would think at this point
that I would be a rock star at curriculum choices, since I have been doing it
so long, but as I said before, it is all trial and error.  A little less error since I know what really
motivates her, and what she struggles with, but still trial and error.
I know that she loves to write long stories, but is not at
the stage of easily self-editing while writing made me realize a writing
program that allows for longer projects, but is in partnership with me, will be
a perfect fit for her this year.
Because we use a literature based approach for a large
portion of our subjects, when it comes to curriculum planning for my middle guy
it is a little different.  I have to
think back to when I used the same books for Emma and remember whether he was
interested enough to sit and listen, or if it was a book he didn’t really pay
attention to.  There are a few favorites
every year that we tend to read over and over, and I know that I do not need to
include those in our regular schedule, since we have read them before.  There may be pieces of the books that we will
cover again, but I tend to look for more read alouds at the library for Jack,
so that we can listen to something a little different.  As a boy, he has completely different
expectations about characters in the books we read than Emma who loves a female
I have found that looking at other bloggers curriculum
choices is incredibly helpful, and have found some wonderful options while reading
blog posts.  I would definitely search
out bloggers in your particular homeschooling philosophy – just google *philosophy*
homeschooling bloggers.  And don’t be
afraid to make a mistake!  We are not
perfect, and it is OK to drop something and decide on something new at any
point during the year. 
your goals for homeschooling to begin with.

What is
your favorite subject?  Which learning
philosophy do you most connect to?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *