This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions by new homeschooling parents. Trying to find the right curriculum can seem like it is the most important decision you will make. While it is important to find the right curriculum, it is not the most important decision. Your homeschool journey should not revolve around a specific curriculum but rather round the joy of learning.
That said, some families work best when they are following a set curriculum that comes with clear structure and order. If you have older kids, following something more structured will help you to stay on track, especially if you are preparing them for the end of school exams.
Don’t just rush in and buy the first curriculum that sounds good, look a few different options and then make a decision.
When you are looking at curriculums, as yourself the following;
- Is it easy to use? This does not mean that the work is easy but rather that you, as the instructor, can understand what you need to do. It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out what and how to teach the work, the curriculum should make sense to you.
- How flexible is it? One of the many reasons people homeschool is because they are looking for flexibility and want to be able to personalise the way their child learns. Avoid curriculums that are too rigid and do not allow some degree of flexibility. This is one of the reasons a set curriculum won’t work for our little two, I need something I can change as and when I want to.
- Will it work with my child’s learning style? This is so important. Not all children learn the same way and if you buy a curriculum that it text heavy, you will struggle to keep your auditory learner engaged. If it requires a lot of writing and worksheets, the child who likes to move around will also battle to get through everything. If you aren’t sure what learning style your child is, take this quiz and it will help you figure it out.
- Can it be used for more than one child? If you have more than one child then this is important. If you are going to spend money on a curriculum, it would be nice if it could be used by more than one child. Some curriculum’s do allow for this have books that can be reused for different children. They also allow you to buy only the books you need and not the entire curriculum. Se7vn uses the Sonlight curriculum and she has reused some of the books for more than one child.
- Is there support? This is important. Kiara is working through Impaq and every now and we have subject questions or need help understanding certain things and they are pretty good at responding and helping us. If you are new to homeschooling then this support can be invaluable. Even if a curriculum is easy to understand and use you will probably still have questions and you want to know that support is available. The best way to find out if they do have good support is to ask other parents, read reviews and send a few emails for more more information to see how they respond.
- Does it fit your budget? Homeschooling can be cheaper than school fees but it can also get expensive pretty quickly if you buy anything and everything. You will find affordable curriculum’s and you will find more expensive ones. Just like with schools, the more expensive it it does not automatically mean it is better. Before making a decision, know what your budget is and stick to that.
When I started researching homeschooling, a mom who had been doing it for years told me to not buy anything until I knew exactly how my kids learn. It is one piece of advice I am so glad I listened to. I was all set to buy a curriculum for over R10 000 but clicked cancel order and have never looked back. If I had bought it, we probably would have abandoned it a few months in, not because it was not a good curriculum but because the rigid structure would not have worked for Jack.
I am not saying don’t buy a curriculum to follow, I am saying do your homework first and don’t rush in to anything. There is time, this is the beauty of homeschooling, there is no rush.
I bought a subscription to Twinkl. It is a resource platform that outlines curriculum’s from all over the world. It is less than R500 for the year and is a good place to start.