How to Choose the Right Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family
Updated: Dec 10, 2022
Defining homeschooling and curriculum
Homeschooling is defined as the process of educating children at home, typically by parents or tutors, rather than sending them to school. There are many reasons why parents may choose to homeschool their children, including religious beliefs, dissatisfaction with the local school system, or a desire for more personalized attention, and more quality family time together. There are a variety of curriculum options available to homeschoolers. Some parents opt to use a traditional textbook-based approach, an online sourced curriculum, and others prefer a more hands-on, child-led learning style. Often times, families will do a combination of the above listed options. The important thing is that parents select a curriculum that meets the individual needs of their child.
Homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for both children and parents. It allows families to spend time together and learn about new topics in creative ways. With careful planning and selection of the right curriculum, homeschooling can provide an excellent education for any child and many opportunities for families to explore learning together while creating fond memories. The ability to see your child's eyes light up when they learn and master something new is priceless.
The Different Types of Curriculum approaches
There are always going to be advantages and disadvantages to each type of curriculum. Here are the top 3 approaches:
Traditional Approach: This is the most common, which typically involves lectures and rote learning. This type of curriculum can be very effective in teaching basic facts and concepts, but it may not be as effective in promoting higher-level thinking skills.
Inquiry-Based Approach: Focuses on encouraging students to ask questions and explore ideas. This type of curriculum can be more effective in promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Therefore, teaching them how to learn and think, and not what to think and do. This provides the student the ability to work through a learning process in order to draw their own conclusions, rather than being told the final answer. However, it may require more time and resources to implement effectively.
Project-Based Approach: Emphasizes real-world applications of concepts learned in class. This type of curriculum can be very engaging for students and can promote higher-level thinking skills.
5 Most Popular Methods of Homeschooling
Homeschooling is a popular alternative to traditional education and is growing by the numbers daily across the world. However, choosing the right homeschool curriculum can be difficult for parents. With so many options available, it can be hard to understand which method will work best for your child. Do not be afraid to try different methods in order to see which method will work best for your child. Many families will try a variety of methods before they land on 1 or 2 that works best for their family. It is common that you use multiple methods depending on each child's specific needs.
Here are five examples of homeschool methods and their pros and cons:
Classical homeschooling is the most traditional method. This approach uses a mixture of learning styles. It is a great way to teach children the basics and then have them learn more in-depth information through studying topics they enjoy. Classical homeschooling also includes classical music, which many believe improves brain development. Classical homeschooling is a very structured method of education that focuses on grammar and memorization in the early years. Learning at this level is more of an apprenticeship. The child learns by doing and the parent is the teacher. There are many classical homeschoolers that will follow a Classical curriculum such as Sonlight or Classical Conversations.
Charlotte Mason homeschooling has become quite the buzz word in homeschooling. It is a very gentle method that focuses on learning by doing and through literature. The child is the center of the learning process and can choose what he or she wants to learn about. This method is great for children that are advanced in math or language arts. It is also an excellent way to bring up a child with a love for reading and literature. The main goal of this method is to foster a love for learning as well as an appreciation of the arts and humanities.
Unit Studies homeschooling is a great way to learn science, history and literature all in one. There is a focus on a particular subject that the child studies in depth over a period of time. Instead of having separate textbooks for each subject. Unit studies ties all subjects into one. For instance, when learning about North America, you will study about geography, states/capitals, history, plants/animals, people, government, authors, etc. at the same time. Each unit is studied at different time intervals, such as, 1 week, 1 month per unit, 1 semester, or 1 year.
Eclectic homeschooling is mixing different types of homeschooling techniques. This will help you have a well rounded education for your children. This is also a popular method for families who like a little bit of everything.
Self-Directed homeschooling is when the student is the teacher. The child decides what he or she wants to learn, when they want to learn it and how they want to learn it.
Ultimately, the best homeschool curriculum for your family will depend on your unique needs and preferences. There are many different homeschool methods you can use to educate your child at home. These five methods are the most common, but there are many others available, which may be more appropriate or desirable for your family.
What to Consider When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum
Curriculum choice is a very important decision for parents to make. When choosing a homeschool curriculum, consider the following factors:
What is your family’s educational philosophy?
What are your goals for your children’s education?
What academic method may work best for your child?
What are my state's requirements for educating my child?
What core subjects need to be taught?
What elective subjects would you like to learn about?
Budget for school supplies, curriculum, and other resources.
What learning style works best for your child? (If you do not know yet, it is ok! Just keep trying until you see what works best!)
What subject areas does your student need to work on? Is it reading or writing? If so, find a curriculum that specifically targets areas of weakness or look for outside help (classes or tutors).
How does your child like to learn? Books/worksheets, hands on, watching videos, all online, etc.
What type of schedule will your family be operating by? Schooling for 4 or 5 days a week. In the morning, afternoon, evening, or all night?
Once you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, you can start narrowing down your options. Every child is different, and what works for one might not work for another. If you have a hands-on learner, look for curricula that incorporate lots of activities and experiments. If your child is more of a visual learner, look for curricula with lots of pictures and diagrams. And if your child is more of an auditory learner, look for programs with lots of audio components.
Choosing the best homeschool curriculum can be a difficult process. Fortunately, you don t need to make all of your decisions at once. You can take things one step at a time, and even change your mind later on if necessary. It is common for families to change curriculum options a during the year. No matter what curriculum you end up choosing, just remember why you are homeschooling. Not all answers will be known right away. It is a process. Take one day at a time and pray daily for guidance. Here's to happy travels on your homeschooling journey!