I must admit, homeschool buying season is one of my most favorite times of the year! I absolutely love shopping for new curriculum and don’t even get me started on school supplies. Yes, I’m THAT homeschool mom. I automatically start hearing the words “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”.
BUT- I have to keep myself in check because I tend to get a bit carried away. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the curriculum frenzy. You have to be smart and have a plan…otherwise, you will purchase curriculum that won’t work for your children. Ask me how I know?!
To be sure you’re making smart curriculum choices, ask yourself these 10 questions…
Does it mesh with your child’s learning style? If not, it doesn’t matter how much it appeals to you and how well the vendors market it, it simply won’t work for you.
Does it mesh with your teaching style? Is it set up in a way you would feel comfortable teaching? I ask this question, because just ask my children need to understand the material, I also have to understand how to teach the material.
Is it in your price range? This is where I struggle. I have to remember the budget. It may be an awesome curriculum that is well worth the money, but if it uses our entire homeschool budget, where am I going to find the money for the rest of our supplies?
Does the publisher share the similar beliefs and values as your family? If you’re looking for a Christian-based curriculum, a secular publisher probably isn’t the right choice you and vice versa, if you’re looking for a secular curriculum, you probably wouldn’t choose a Christian publisher.
Have you tried a similar curriculum before? How did it work for your family?
Do you want to try to teach multiple grade levels with the same curriculum? There are some companies (My Father’s World, for example) where you can use one curriculum to teach multiple grade levels. You would just supplement additional subjects tailored to each child as needed (math, reading, etc).
Have you read reviews of this product? I don’t rely solely on the vendors to tell me about a curriculum. I like to find out the opinions of homeschoolers who have tried it.
What type of curriculum are you looking for? Instructor-led or independent? Online or workbook based? Keep these requirements in the front of your mind while shopping.
Will you be reusing this curriculum for other children? If so, you may not be concerned about paying a little more for it.
Are you comfortable with the idea of setting aside the curriculum you’ve chosen if it is simply not working for your family? This is a big question to consider. I’ve heard stories of homeschooling parents who knew a curriculum was not working for their children but would not switch to something else. Please don’t buy a curriculum that controls you. You must make the curriculum work for you, you aren’t working for it. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve invested. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Continuing with it does nothing more than cause stress for you and your children. Homeschooling is a learning process. Some things work, some don’t. Pray about it and move on.