You may not know this, but Papa the Farmer was homeschooled long before homeschooling had ever become popular. Me on the other hand… not only was I a product of public school, but I had a degree in teaching! So when he casually mentioned that we would be homeschooling our children I was… not impressed (to say the least). “What do you mean, you want the baby to be truant?” I asked. “We need to send this baby to ‘real school'” So, when I was 7 months pregnant with our first baby, Papa the Farmer packed me up and sent me to my very first homeschool curriculum book fair.
I left the book fair completely overwhelmed and ready to cry. Or throw up. Or both. There were so many curriculum choices “out there” and each one was marketed as “the best.” I was so worried that if I didn't pick the “perfect” curriculum I would be scarring my child for life. How would I ever choose just one curriculum when everything looked so wonderful?
In the years between then and now I have developed a few guidelines to help me make great curriculum choices for our family. Without further ado, here they are:
Apply the Philippians 4:8 Rule – Teach Only What Is True.
I want my children to have confidence that what I teach them is true and what comes out of my mouth can be trusted. We have made the decision that while our children are still young they do not need to learn anything that is not true. We don't teach fairy tales, myths or legends. We also only select material that is compatible with a Christ Centered Worldview.
Talk to Other Homeschooling Parents.
What is their experience with a particular curriculum? What did they like about it? What did they not like about it? If you don't know other homeschoolers, read online reviews!
Select Something that Matches Your Child's Learning Style AND Your Teaching Style.
This one is so, so important! I am the kind of teacher who gets bored with workbooks and wants to be doing something super-creative each day. FarmGirl is not like that. She wants to be handed a workbook so that she can work through it systematically. This gives her a feeling of accomplishment. I don't mind letting her use occasional workbooks, but if I am going to teach well, I need to be teaching with activities. So we mix it up. Some subjects primarily use workbooks and others are based on hands-on activities. While the students needs are primary, Mama has to be interested in what she is teaching to do a good job presenting the materials.
Remember, There is No Perfect Curriculum.
They all have their good points and their not-so-good points. If you're stressed about trying to find the “perfect” curriculum, you're not ever going to find it. The best we can hope for is to find a curriculum that works well for our family.
Later this week I want to show you more about the curriculum we use.
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