Do you know what one of the first questions people ask themselves and others when they decide to homeschool? This question comes up often in homeschooling groups too. The question is, “what homeschooling curriculum should I use?” “What curriculum are you guys using for this or that?” The answer to this question is not straightforward for most people. This post will not go in-depth about any specific curriculum. My intention is to help you to avoid wasting time, money, and effort on a curriculum that may not be a good fit for you and your family, especially as an Enterprising Homeschool Mom. There are some key details each family has to consider before running out and buying a homeschool curriculum.
#1 Homeschooling is Not One Size Fits All
Unlike many public, private, and charter schools where all the students in the same grade level are using the same curriculum without regard to how the student learns best. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to fit the curriculum to the child and your family’s needs. Plus you may have to decide whether you want a complete curriculum that includes all of the primary subjects or select a different resource for each subject.
Since our students are not one size fits all, some students even fall into different grade levels for different subjects. There are tons of curriculum options out there and the ones that you choose don’t have to be what your immediate or Facebook group friends are using. Especially, without taking everything into consideration what will be the best fit for your child.
#2 Why Do You Homeschool
We all decided to homeschool for various reasons. One common cause I hear across the homeschooling community is that parents would like to have some control and input into what their child learns, how, and when. You also want to consider the values and beliefs of your family and decide whether you want a curriculum to help reinforce those. I’ve used both secular and faith-based curriculum over the years to reinforce our family’s Christian values. Most importantly, I consider the quality of the content and the ease of use since I can always incorporate faith-based lessons and actions throughout the day.
#3 How Much Time Do You Have To Homeschool
Some homeschooling moms are business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, or work-from-home moms, as well. We all get the same amount of time each day. However, some family dynamics are different than others. Over the years of being a homeschooling mom, I’ve had changes in my circumstances that required me to give more or less time to homeschooling. From the birth of a new child, helping a sick loved one, losing income, starting a new business or venture, each required some adjustments to how we homeschool.
When I was reluctant to change my approach to meet our needs, I was stressed out. I put pressure on myself, my children to hurry up and get through the day’s activities. Then I would reflect and remember how all of this goes against my vision of homeschooling my children. I want to share with you some strategies that I’ve used over the years to keep homeschooling when I had less time to dedicate to teaching every topic to my child.
#4 How Much Preparation Time Does It Require
I must admit, I’m not the most organized person by nature, but I’m working on getting better at this. Therefore, I like straightforward resources that don’t require a lot of preparation and time to use them consistently. I’ve bought some good curriculum over the years that came with the separate student and teacher’s manuals. Unfortunately, I didn’t start using it or didn’t finish using it. Since my children spend at least half of their homeschooling day learning online, I realized that I only need workbooks or worksheets with straightforward explanations and examples that my kids can get started on many times without me. Then I just check-in and help them, as needed. I mostly purchase workbooks, but when I need to print worksheets, I can cut costs with my HP Instant Ink Subscription.
#5 How Does Your Child Learn Best
When I started homeschooling my oldest two boys, I had a traditional school setting and structure. It made me feel the most comfortable and confident that they were learning how the children in school were learning. I put a lot of pressure on myself and them. The thing is homeschooling doesn’t have to resemble public school and you are up for a lot of frustration if you don’t take into account how your child learns and what structure they prefer to learn in. Once I had two more sons it became very stressful to go against the grain.
My children prefer to be self-directed and spend some time learning online at their own pace rather than me standing in front of a board or sitting next to them teaching most of the school day. From time to time, I like to do some traditional schooling or one-room schoolhouse style and my older boys ages 13 and 15 complain and exclaim that they want to go it on their own. Although my younger two boys, ages 6 and 8 have some structured learning activities (on and offline) they are still learning a lot through play. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy a full curriculum that has separate teacher and student books that they can’t really use without me. The benefit of allowing my kids to be more self-directed helps me to have some extra time to be an Enterprising Homeschooling Mom!
Bonus Options For Parents with Less Time to Homeschool Due to Work or Life Circumstances:
- Outsource some of your homeschooling to educational websites, apps, workshops, co-ops, live or recorded classes, and courses. You don’t have to do it all.
- Teach your children independence! Help your learners become self-starters.
- Consider a self-directed learning approach by allowing your children to have some input in their curriculum and activities. They will be more likely to do them without a lot of nudging, and you will be a lot less frustrated and stressed out.
- Consider an unschooling approach to learning.
- Each strategy does not have to be definite. Depending on your child’s needs and your family structure, you may need to use different approaches and resources at various times to make homeschooling accessible, enjoyable, simple, practical, and as stress-free as possible.
There are tons of curriculum choices available to homeschoolers. What works for one child or family may not work for yours. Homeschooling your child or children gives you the opportunity to fit the curriculum to the child and the way they learn best. You don’t have to use what others are using if it doesn’t work for your child or your family’s dynamic.