Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Homeschool Helps - Choosing Curriculum

When the time comes for us to make a decision about what we are going to purchase, we do spend a lot of time researching the different types of curriculum. There are so many types for every learning style just one day of research can be overwhelming and confusing. When I start out on my quest to research different types of curriculum, I ask myself questions.
  • What is my goal for my child in this subject? 
  • Do I want to use a method that breaks everything into sections and once it is taught, it isn’t touched on again? Or do I want a curriculum that builds on itself over the course of time reinforcing previous concepts and ideas while teaching new ones. (Personally I prefer the latter almost all of the time.) 
  • Do I want a curriculum that throws in the Bible and God where it can or do I want a curriculum that is God centered? (Again the latter choice wins out.) 
  • How important is it that my child is able to throw out facts in this subject? 
  • Do I want a curriculum that encourages them to think on their own and find answers themselves? 
  • When do I want them to learn this subject? 
  • How will they respond to this approach? 
There are more questions I ask. Your list will reflect your children and where you are in your homeschooling journey.
We actually do not buy a lot of curriculum. We do use some text books but they are actually the supplement to our kids’ education. We want our kids to understand that you do not need a textbook to learn. We use the library and check out many reference books. We also allow our kids to learn through experiences more than reading about experiences when we can. And lapbooking has become a huge part of our science and history curriculum. I also love taking the Bible and turning it into English, grammar, copy work, writing practice and even history lessons. I have heard it said that all you really need is a Bible, a math book and a library card, there is a lot of truth to this statement.
Here are some great resources to help you on your way to finding curriculum that works for you.

Heart of the Matter Online has a lot of great articles written by moms who have used different products along with so much more. It is one of my favorite homeschooling sites.

Homeschool Curriculum and Support also has a huge list of articles written by moms also.

Preschoolers and Peace this year did a series about curriculum for the different subjects along side another blogger. Kendra analyzed what she had used for the different subjects. This is by far one of my favorites because she doesn't just have one type of curriculum that she uses. Also she has what is called circle time. It is not like what you would see in a preschool but something so much better. Last year I started doing a circle time and it changed the way I homeschool.

Life With My 3 Boybarians is hosting a Not Back-to-School Blog Hop this week about curriculum. Homeschool moms are posting what they are using - just scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on a few links to read what homeschool moms are using this year.  So many moms are participating, I am so excited to read what other moms have chosen to use this year.

I love researching curriculum best by talking to other moms. Moms know what works and what doesn't because they have been there done that. I do not trust curriculum reviews from "experts" or curriculum books that were not written by moms who really know. I also love getting a lot of points of view from different moms because no mom and no child is the same. So I figure that if I talk to a bunch of moms I will get a really good idea about what each type of curriculum will offer my kids.


  1. Hi Jonna, I use Saxon Math. They use manipulatives and a lot of hands on activities my kids really enjoy. Tomorrow, I am posting about all the curriculum I plan on using this year.

  2. I think it is so cool that Jonna found you through me & Di & that she is looking to you for some advice. She is awesome! And you are awesome for chatting with a strager to you but a friend of mine, thank you!

    We are contemplating homeschooling in the future, but my husband is concerned with my lack of teaching experience & thinks if it worked for us, why not our kids. Was this something that you & your husband agreed on from the start or was there convincing to be done on your part? Also how do you afford it? I think it sucks that my tax $ is going into public school and my kids may never attend one. Why not private christian school?

  3. Sara,
    Thanks and your welcome.
    Daddy Reg and I did agree together. We were originally going to do private school but then God changed our minds. We homeschool the kids for the same reasons that we keep our children in church with us, it is God's original design for families. And schools today are nothing close to what schools of yesterday were. My sister’s kids are in public school and I watch them a lot, which has convinced me to the core that homeschooling is the right choice. The only thing you need to be a great teacher is to be teachable. You will get all the experience you need as you go along. Seriously, I know some amazing homeschool moms who didn't have any experience teaching. But you are teaching your son every day, so you are already getting your experience. I have learned how to get my curriculum cheaply and I have also cut out a lot of the text books. That really helps with the money issues. In order to homeschool you and your husband need to be in complete agreement before you start. Check out my post about how I started homeschooling for more.

  4. Thanks, you have great advice. I'm glad you are willing to share what you know with others. It's helpful and shows you care. Your recommendations for curriculum in the recent blog are the ones I keep hearing good things about too! It's great to hear from someone who has used the stuff.... so thanks!


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