When it comes to curriculum the homeschool market is saturated. There is way too much to choose from. On top of that, I am a curriculum junkie (defined as having a hard time staying away from curriculum), so I struggle. I love checking out new curriculum, which is one of the main reasons why I am part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. So, how do I manage and navigate this abundance of curriculum choices? Here are my top three guidelines:
Our style of Homeschooling
We are classical in style and philosophy. Though we are also relaxed in practice, our pedagogy follows a classical bent. So when choosing and perusing curriculum I seem to always gravitates toward classical oriented companies and enjoy their products. This year it seems that I have hit the jackpot with Classical Academic Press; as a lot of our choices are coming from there.
Still figuring out your homeschooling style and method, check my post on Homeschooling Methods.
Our goals are to train our kids in good study habits and disciplines, so we tend to use curriculum that are rigorous. Our home values critical thinking and good literacy, so our curriculum choices are heavy on the Language Arts and critical thinking.
My kids' learning style
When they were younger this was very important. My oldest hated worksheets and writing, so I steered away from them. As he grew older I was able to add more of those type of curriculum in our schooling. That said, he is quite auditory, so I made use of that a lot. My youngest on the other hand does better with worksheet type curriculum, so I try to choose those kinds for him, as opposed to living books types. Knowing the orientation of your children can be a factor too, in helping you decide what subjects to focus on. My oldest is Language Ats and History (Humanities), my youngest Math and Logic. So these types of curriculum take priority in our line up.
Here is a post I wrote a few years back on Learning Styles.
Even though we know what we would like to get for our kids, price is still a big factor in our final choices. I shop with the first guidelines in mind, and then narrow down according to price and what we can afford. Another aspect to consider is how economical is it in the long range, especially if you have a few children to homeschool.
All of this said, a few other things I do to make my curriculum decisions are:
- Check samples. I rarely buy anything without seeing a sample. I need to see what it looks like before investing. I know what my kids will work with or not.
- Read reviews, not just one, but a few, looking for people I trust and are withing the same homeschooling style as mine, or values as mine..
I have lots of reviews on this site, so feel free to check them out. If you want to know where our choices are leaning this coming year you can look at our Middle School Plans for Grade 7 post.
My favorite places to check on curriculum are :
Cathy Duffy Curriculum Review
Schoolhouse Review Crew
Local Used Curriculum Sales. Here are two coming up: Used Books and Curriculum Fair and Small Business Expo in Barrie on June 6th, TEACH, on June 12th in Brantford.
As we enter the curriculum buying season, take a deep breath, pray and know in advance what you are looking for, and your limitations, that will definitely help you navigate through the abundance and choices available to you.
This month, instead of a giveaway we are offering a Homeschool Curriculum Purchase worksheet. Hop on over to the Canadian Homeschooler to access it; and happy shopping!