Chapter 3:

Deciding on the Right Home School Curriculum

Developing or choosing the right home school curriculum can be nerve-wrecking especially if you are new to this whole homeschooling system. There are numerous homeschool curricula online, which makes it an overwhelming experience to find the right one.

There are a few areas that you need to analyse before deciding on a particular school curriculum. Here are a few essential tips to help you pick out the most suitable homeschool curriculum for your little one. Take out a pen and paper to note down your observations which you can analyse later on.

1. Determine why you opted for homeschooling

Public and private schools provide good education, so why have you decided to homeschool your kid?

  • Are you not happy with the current educational system in your State?
  • Do you want to emphasize on developing a deeper parent child relationship?
  • Do you want to pass on your morals and principles to your little one?
  • Is it because you want to provide a more convenient environment for your child?
  • Or are you afraid of your child getting into bad influences?
  • Do you want your kid to give more importance to any particular area of study?

These are some of the common reasons why families opt for homeschooling. This will provide a clearer picture of your vision for your little boy or girl. Before you choose a homeschooling curriculum find out what you are expecting from homeschooling. This will help you pick out a curriculum that will support and help you achieve your goal.

2. Narrow down on your curriculum needs

  • What are your expectations from a homeschooling curriculum?
  • Do you want a religious, secular or a non-religious curriculum?
  • Do you want an independent homeschooling curriculum or do you want one that involves a lot of parent interaction?
  • Do you want a pre-planned homeschool curriculum or do you want a customized one?
  • Are you looking for online and offline learning or is it only any one of them?

Narrowing down on your curriculum needs completely depends on you. It depends on the number of children, your all other obligations and commitments. Don’t jump into buying a home school curriculum without knowing your needs.

3. Determine your kid’s learning style

Different children have different learning styles. If you observe your kids you will see that they are very comfortable with a particular learning style. Learning styles can be categorized into 3, which include –

  • The Auditory learners: These learners gather knowledge or information largely through talking and listening.
  • The Visual learners: These champs need to see visuals or images to grab a concept quickly and effectively.
  • Kinesthetic/tactile learners: They learn and understand by feeling or touching. These kids learn through body language and gestures.

Just like us, children too have their individual preferences to learn new concepts. Often parents get irritated and give up on homeschooling because they are not able to keep their children engaged. But if you are able to spot your kid’s learning style keep them interested and engaged won’t be an issue.

So choosing a program that is compatible with your child’s learning style will bring out the best in him/her.

4. Research and study about the different homeschooling methods

Homeschooling does not have to be like a conventional schooling system. Flexibility is the uniqueness of homeschooling. You can make use of different types of homeschooling methods for different subjects. It is not necessary that you homeschool your kids with textbooks and worksheets. You can begin with a more ordered teaching pattern and gradually adopt a more relaxed approach depending on the child’s progression.

There are 9 popular types of homeschooling methods such as

  1. Charlotte Mason
  2. classical
  3. computer based/online
  4. eclectic
  5. Montessori
  6. relaxed
  7. unit study
  8. unschooling
  9. Waldorf

Your curriculum choice will be determined by your homeschooling style. There are several free tools and surveys that are available online which can help you identify the homeschooling style that will suit you the most along with the most suitable curriculum.

5. The number of subjects that you will be teaching

Some States have mandatory subjects for children. You need to narrow down on all the subjects that you want your little one to learn. You should know that you don’t have to teach each subject every day. You can allot for time for subjects that your kid is struggling with while spending less time for the ones the child is comfortable with.

The basic subjects that need to taught are the 3 R’s – Arithmetic’s, Writing and Reading. You can always include other subjects like history, science, geography etc depending on your needs. There are several hundred subjects available. You need to discuss with your child to pick up the subjects that will support and further develop your kid’s natural skills and talents.

6. Determine your budget

Education comes at a significant cost. Curriculums can be expensive. You will have to spend money on study materials and supplies. Depending on the number of children and their grade levels you will have to decide on a budget. There are several free online home school curriculum with which you can teach numerous subjects for free. You can save money by making use of your local library and shopping for books and tools at book fairs. Some of the free online homeschooling programs include

  • K12
  • Ambleside Online
  • Connections Academy
  • Free World U
  • Letter of the Week
  • Easy Peasy All in One
  • Starfall

7. Research well before you make a purchase

Go through different reviews of parents, get references and recommendations about the various types of curriculum. This will make your decision making process quicker. The most popular curriculums may not always be the best choice for everyone. Every family is different and have their unique preferences and natural skills.

Take your own time in reading reviews and analysing the pros and cons and how it will benefit your child. Ask support members or post questions on forums to get a better idea about any curriculum.