edited to add additional information
This is the time of year that I enter what I like to call research and development phase. I am thinking toward the next school year and starting to consider what we might use. I spend time weighing the possibilities and praying about them. It’s also the time that some are deciding to enter the homeschool world for the next school year and are thinking about how to do it. With all the curriculum options available to homeschoolers now, how do you decide which one you should use? There are a number of schooling philosophies available, just to name a few, Charlotte Mason, Classical Method, Montessori, Traditional, Unit Studies, Unschooling, Delight Directed Learning and Relaxed Homeschooling. There are a number of curriculum that subscribe to each method. And every publisher thinks that they have the curriculum that is the best out there. It’s difficult to read about each one and not be convinced that it’s the next best thing. So how do you decide what to choose?
First and foremost, PRAY. Pray for wisdom, pray for God to show you what your priorities are for your school year for each child. Pray that He would help you discern from those priorities what curriculum would meet those needs. And then right down all possibilities.
There are many books out there that help a new homeschooler understand all the philosophies and how to figure out if it’s for you. Cathy Duffy’s, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style. This book is a great introduction to each of the philosophies. She also helps you discern what is important to you and what your teaching style is.
Consider your student and their strengths and weaknesses. I have children that need a lot of review due to a long term memory deficit. I have children that get a concept the first time they hear it and it’s painful to review it to death. Some love workbooks and one loves them as long as I write in them. Some don’t mind color workbook pages and one gets overwhelmed by color and needs boring black and white. My girls like to color and my oldest son will color one of every 10 pages I print out for him. But when I just stop printing out coloring pages for him he decides he wants to color of course. So I print them out and one day he might color them.
Keep in mind that what works for your friend and her children may not work for you and your children.
added: When deciding on curriculum options for our family I go to www.homeschoolreviews.com to read what others have said about it. Both their negatives and positives have helped me. Sometimes one persons negative is another’s positive. And I can usually get a better idea if something is going to work for us after reading about how it worked for someone else.
To help you get some of these thoughts on paper you can print out these forms from www.donnayoung.org. You can write out some goals or objectives for your student on this form:
And then you can use this form to list out some possibilities and start counting cost.
I use these every year when I am trying to decide what to do with each of the children.
What do you do to make all that you’ve chosen work? Well stay tuned for part 2 on planners.