How to Choose Curriculum That Fits Your Homeschool Style

curriculum homeschool types methods planning Apr 10, 2023
How To Choose Curriculum That Fits Your Homeschool Style

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. ~Proverbs 4:5

Feeling intimidated by the enormous volume of choices in homeschool curriculum? We hear you thinking, “A list of helpful questions to ask myself before I buy would be helpful!”, so we made one!  We used these as guiding questions for ourselves when we were in the process of deciding on curriculum. Bookmark this blog to refer back to it while researching. Trust us, they’ll bring clarity and an increased ability to discern what could work for your family.


#1. What are the requirements of the state of residence?

Some states require specific subjects to be taught, others require a testing schedule and/or a specific number of school days. Each state is unique, so find out state requirements for yourself. Do your research firsthand! Do NOT rely on advice from a fellow homeschooling mom or a comment on social media. Contact your local school board and/or state department of education to get the requirements yourself. Click here to find your state requirements using the interactive map from the US Dept of Education.


#2. What are the age and ability levels of your kid(s)? 

You don’t need us to tell you that regardless of age, each child has varying abilities according to each subject. Take advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling offers and be creative. Be reassured that it’s ok to go up or down in level to match the mastery and interest of certain subjects. EX: A math-minded 6-year-old can work in the same curriculum as their 8-year-old sibling.

Have multiple children? Consider reusing resources. Passing down curriculum to the next in line creates a sweet bit of nostalgic bonding and saves money.  Perhaps this would be items purchased as new, and then save money on others by purchasing used. 

For preschool curriculum, consider if formal plans are even needed or can be creative play, movement, and learning through experience. Think about these early years as a time to save money and utilize the resources of the community. Click here to get our ideas for PreK Reading and Writing

Have older kids? The few years before high school is the time to start discussing future plans in addition to looking at the credit hours needed for graduation. Not that decisions need to be made in stone, but research the opportunities available that match their interests and passions. 

Are they college-bound, military material, technical school ready, or eager to join the workforce right away?

Think of it in terms of creating levels of goals:

  • Dream and reach far
  • Something more easily attainable
  • A starting point for future growth 

Multiple goals can be within these three categories and it can be a fluid list changing as they grow into their calling. It’s also a good time to search for a mentorship, apprenticeship, and/or volunteer opportunities, which will help fine-tune their decisions and rank their goals.  Encourage vision-casting. It’s an exciting time to keep “the world is your oyster” mentality while praying over and listening for God’s word about the goals they set.

In this way, confidence and preparation is solidified, and there is clarity as to what is needed in the way of subjects chosen for graduation requirements, prerequisites, scholarships, and interview and application processes that align with goals.  


#3.  Do you want to teach some subjects together? 

Certain subjects present more easily the opportunity to be taught as family subjects. Consider this for Bible/Scripture Memorization, History/Geography, Literature, PE, Art and Music. These foster a time to learn from each other and the ability to add project-based group experiences that enhance cooperation

The littles will love sitting together to learn, and for the older kids, it gives a chance to nurture these sibling relationships.

This concept also lends well to creating a community of support by seeking out adventurous learning experiences with other homeschool families. Check out our blog about some of our experiences to get inspired. 


#4. What are your child’s strengths, interests, and challenges?

This makes a big impact and could be the #1 reason families enter into the world of homeschooling. Embrace the ability to truly individualize and build a custom education that gets everyone excited and lends to building a lifelong love of learning.

Start by getting everyone involved in the decision-making process. From daily plans, to big events, and even which curriculum is chosen. What do your kids want to learn? Ask them what they want to study and where/when they feel most inspired to do so. This not only makes learning exciting and vibrant but instills buy-in and perseverance when things get rough. 

Once the brainstorm is done and ideas are formed, teach them to research curriculum, as well. It’s important to look at an offering with a critical eye and visualize if it’s actually doable. In addition, budgeting skills come into play in a real way here.

One example: If a child knows they prefer being more active, they’ll want to steer away from a lot of seat work and worksheets to choose more movement and discussion-based activities.

Perhaps there are media resources and free experiences in the community, coupled with journaling. Add a rich literature selection that matches the content theme, and it’s a seamless and exciting way to learn that matches their style. 

To refine these ideas, listen to our podcast: “How to find Your Homeschool Style”

#5. Do you prefer religious or secular curriculum?

For either, examine the beliefs of the authors to understand their intent and motivation of their teachings. Look at multiple reviews to completely grasp what is being covered and from what viewpoint. 

Review the way the curriculum stacks up to personal faith then decide if the quality of the content covered is worth dealing with the differences. Some curriculum is worth it and also offers a chance to nurture empathy and compassion for others. It also prepares for how to handle differences in others -- building bridges instead of creating division in the community at large.

These questions are a great place to start. For even more helpful advice along with the second half of this list (as well as our personal experiences related to the topic of choosing curriculum), join us for our interactive webinar, “How To Choose Homeschool Curriculum." This is a live, interactive, virtual gathering where we give answers to specific questions tailored to your child's needs and learning styles.

We also host gatherings like this each week, because it's our vision to enhance your child's learning experience with valuable insights and tips that will help you make informed decisions about your child's education. Don't wait to get this valuable support!  We can not only help with choosing next year's curriculum, but many of your other homeschool decisions as well. 

Reach out to us with questions, concerns, and situations which you need motivational strategies to become your child's BEST teacher. We've got answers!

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