Monday, 8 August 2016

Help! What is Homeschool Curriculum?

 Curriculum a subject that has become as wide as the oceans and can be a rather daunting tide to wade through when you're starting out. I was fortunate enough to begin home educating back in day when online hadn't even been invented yet and all my information was found through visiting friends.  I spent months visiting many patient and gracious home educating families to see what they did, how they did what they did and asking many many questions.  After months of searching my husband asked in desperation "What ARE we going to use?" because I would come home every week with something new and say "This is definitely the one!"

Through this experience I began a love affair with homeschool curriculum which lead to me joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew in 2013 as a homeschool Curriculum Reviewer. I enjoyed my first year looking over curriculum so much I reapplied and did a few more years on the crew as a reviewer (2014, 2015) This year I've been working for the Crew helping with their blog and done a few reviews on my blog of products I'm passionate about.


Whether you are new to home educating, looking into possibly homeschooling your children or a veteran homeschooler the word curriculum is one you will often hear.

What is Curriculum?
  • noun: curriculum; plural noun: curricula; plural noun: curriculums
  • the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college. "course components of the school curriculum" synonyms: syllabus, course of study/studies, programme of study/studies, educational programme, subjects, modules
Do I need a Curriculum to home educate?
NO!   In essence many curriculums out there are what someone else has created to meet a need within their own homeschool.  Other parents have liked what they see and asked to copy it and from this a new curriculum is birthed.   The rule of thumb for EVERY home educator to remember is: Curriculum can become a your best friend or your dreaded task master.  Curriculum needs to serve YOU.  Not you the curriculum.

How do I find the RIGHT curriculum?
When it comes to it you need to consider a few things which come with experience and you need to ask yourself a few questions before you begin.
  1. What are the country/state legal requirements for me to home educate my children. In some countries this will determine the type of curriculum you may need to use.
  2. IF you are bringing your children from traditional school to home take some time to detox school from your system, build new routines and get to know your students.  Find out where they are at and build a relationship with them. Find your own personal rhythm. This will go a long way in helping you determine what will work for your family. In homeschooling we educate according to where our child is at in each subject area.  In other words my 5th grade student may be doing third grade math, seventh grade spelling and fifth grade history. 
  3. Choose something that you will enjoy doing.  As the saying goes "If Mama aint happy no one is going to be happy"
  4. Remember Curriculum is NOT set in stone.  Use what you've chosen for four months.  Write down what you like and what you don't and then let that guide your choice for a new path.
HELP! I'm overwhelmed with where to start...
  1. Ignore Google, go and buy an ice cream and relax.
  2. Go to the library find a couple of twaddle free books (here is a list of our 6 favourites) and Read Aloud Together Everyday. (You can find a list of my book list resources here.)
  3. Become equipped: Know What YOU think and Why.
  4. Request a couple of curriculum catalogs: Sonlight, Rainbow Resources and Christian Book Depository. Take some time to read them become acquainted with what you like and the terminology.
  5. Set a budget and then purchase what you need.  This can be from numerous sources OR you can buy a complete curriculum in a box.  IF you have the time then attend a local curriculum fair. 
  6. If you can't attend a fair then be sure to check out the following posts:
Curriculum Choices 
Click on any of the graphics below to find out more about some curriculum options for that subject.



What if there is NO money for curriculum ?
No problem.  There is a lot of FREE curriculum available today courtesy of many clever home educating families and the internet.

One word of caution don't become overwhelmed!  Pinterest is another fabulous resource and there are many wonderful homeschool people on their who share amazing ideas and resources but don't measure your own success based upon their polished presentations!

I have written more on this topic here: HELP There's NO money for Curriculum! 



You CAN homeschool for FREE
Here are some links to get you started, click on any of the graphics to find out more:
On Pinterest
For more information on Curriculum and home educating the Schoolhouse Review Crew will be sharing their thoughts and linking up below.


5 Days of Homeschool 101

10 comments:

  1. This is a great 101 for people new to homeschooling. Thanks! (Found via the TOS hop.)

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    1. You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by :)

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  2. Great article! Love that we should start our search with ice cream. Why didn't I think of that?

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    Replies
    1. Ice Cream solves many many homeschool dilemma's :)

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  3. This is an awesome post! You inspire me!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Margaret :) Have a great week ahead

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  4. This has lots of good information, Chareen!

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  5. What a fantastic article full of all sorts of amazing advice. Great job and thank you. Definitely something to share with others who are starting out. - Lori

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