How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum

Raising Arrows
How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum

What you need to know about choosing a homeschool curriculum that will work for you, your children, and your life circumstances!

What you need to know about choosing a homeschool curriculum that will work for you, your children, and your life circumstances!

This post is sponsored by Teaching Textbooks.

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Every homeschool mom wants the perfect homeschooling experience. We dream of lovely read-alouds as our children sit quietly and listen with rapt attention. We imagine them reciting poetry, writing stories, and thinking deep thoughts. There are nature walks to be taken, crafts to be made, and art to be created.

And we believe that the homeschool curriculum we choose will make this all happen.

Except it doesn’t.

And when that happens, we move on to the next curriculum (or beat ourselves up for not “doing it right.”) We homeschool moms seem to always be searching for the right curriculum, the BEST curriculum, the curriculum that will give us that wonderful homeschooling experience we are looking for.

But truth be told, the BEST homeschooling curriculum isn’t the one that promises a wonderful homeschooling experience, but rather the one that delivers day in and day out a steady dose of doability.

So, how do you find this type of curriculum? Here are the things you need to consider…

1 – Consider yourself.

If you are the main teacher in your homeschool, you absolutely cannot ignore your own unique personality, strengths, passions, and preferences. You must consider yourself in the homeschool curriculum equation in order to find the best curriculum for your homeschool!

For instance, if you are not a crafty mom, you will not do well with a curriculum full of crafts! Even if you want to do more crafts in your homeschool, that kind of curriculum is not the answer. You are better off finding a curriculum with a few crafts or no crafts and then supplementing with ideas from Pinterest than you are trying to manage a curriculum that has crafts every single day or several times a week.

When you don’t consider yourself as you buy homeschool curriculum, you may quickly burn out and feel guilty after only a few weeks because you expected the curriculum to make you someone you are not and create an experience that overrides your natural tendencies.

The curriculum needs YOU to facilitate the material, and if it isn’t a natural fit for you as the homeschool teacher, you will always struggle against it, leaving your kids with a less-than-stellar homeschool experience.

So, definitely be aware of how your brain works, and the things you are passionate about when building the best curriculum for your family!

For me, this means using Teaching Textbooks for math in our homeschool. If I am being completely honest with myself (very important when choosing curriculum!), I do not want a teacher-intensive math program because I don’t particularly like math. Teaching Textbooks does the work for me, keeps me apprised of how the kids are doing, and offers tutoring when my kids need help; therefore, it is the BEST curriculum for me!

READ >> Large Family Mom Review of Teaching Textbooks

2 – Consider your children.

In my mind, your children’s likes and dislikes are secondary to your own because a homeschool curriculum you like will often become a homeschool curriculum your kids like because your enjoyment will be contagious!

But, obviously, your children are not cookie cutters of you, so there may come a point when you need to consider their likes, dislikes, personalities, and passions just as you consider your own in order to find the best curriculum.

For instance, you may have a child who is a very auditory learner, and you need to consider what they require to thrive in your homeschool. While you could spend all your time reading their lessons to them, you could also look into audiobooks or a video curriculum.

What you need to know about choosing a homeschool curriculum that will work for you, your children, and your life circumstances!

Considering your children when it comes to curriculum may also require you to let go of some expectations or preconceived notions about what makes for a “good educational experience.” While it is important for your children to try new things, challenge themselves, and not give up when lessons are difficult, it is also important for you to acknowledge that not all children are the same and your homeschooling goal is not to make them the same!

Using the example above, you may feel like you aren’t doing the “right thing” if you let your child learn via an audiobook rather than making them read the text. While we should definitely encourage reading, we should not get hung up on “rules” that hinder our child’s learning simply because they aren’t the “norm.” We all grow up and realize how we learn best and then do the majority of our researching via that learning style. Why not help your child hone their learning style now!

Alternate between assigning your child physical books and audiobooks in their homeschool lessons. Many curricula offer audio versions of their textbooks, and you can get a lot of FREE audiobooks at your local library and online!

3 – Consider your goal.

Why are you homeschooling?

Do you know the answer (or answers) to this question? Knowing the answer will help you find the best curriculum for your family because you will have your MISSION at the forefront of your mind as you are choosing curriculum!

If you are homeschooling because you are looking for a definitively Christian education, then you are going to want to have deep Bible lessons at the top of your priority list.

If you are looking for an academically rigorous education, you will need to define what that means to you and then look for curricula that fits your definition.

If you are looking for an organic approach to education, you’ll want a curriculum that is more relaxed and uses conversation to gauge your child’s knowledge of a topic.

Knowing your homeschooling goal will help guide you to the best curriculum for that goal!

4 – Consider your path.

You might think “goal” and “path” are the same thing, but they are not. Your goal definitely has a path you plan to follow, but your actual path may look quite different from what you planned!

This is because God has a unique path for all of us, and He determines our steps, so when it comes to finding the best curriculum for your family, the path you are on is a HUGE factor.

For instance, when our daughter died in 2008, our family’s path dramatically changed, and as a result, our homeschooling dramatically changed. We decided to slow down and pay attention to the little things in life, while always putting our family first. We ended up homeschooling year round so we could take off whenever we wanted to and not feel guilty or “behind.”

We also started using Teaching Textbooks and other “automated” curricula in order to take some of the educational “weight” off of me, giving me more time for the subjects I was passionate about sharing with my children. It made for a less stressed mommy, who had more time and energy for her children.

You don’t often get to choose your path, but you should always consider your path when choosing curriculum. If you are in “baby season,” choose a curriculum that is less teacher intensive. If you are in “moving season,” choose a curriculum that is compact and doesn’t require you to have a lot of books on hand. If you are in a season of sickness, pare down and avoid curriculum with a lot of extra projects and crafts, so as to conserve your energy for the path you are on.

You aren’t on this path by accident, but rather by design. Embrace it, and choose curriculum that walks alongside you.

A few more things to help you on your quest to find the best homeschool curriculum:

  • Be honest with yourself. All of the considerations above require you to be honest with yourself. You can’t pretend you are on a different path or pretend your children are like someone else’s children. You can’t pretend your brain operates the same way as Susie Homeschool Mom’s down the street, and you can’t pretend your life is just like hers either. Get used to being honest before your God about who you are and Who He is and your curriculum choices will get a lot less complicated!
  • Humble yourself and pray your way through this. God is faithful to answer when you pray for guidance. Never underestimate the power of a homeschool mom’s ardent prayers!
  • Be confident! Be confident in your choices because they respect and honor your children, your life, and your God! No excuses, no apologies, no fear!

Speaking of no fear…
Teaching Textbooks has a fantastic FREE TRIAL that won’t stress you out or pin you in to something you don’t want! It has helped us on our own homeschooling journey, and I am happy to share it with you! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Teaching Textbooks Free Trial

How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum