One would think that after 26 years of homeschooling 8 kids, I’d have no problem choosing our homeschool curriculum.
- Every kid is different, so every year is different.
- There are lots of new and amazing curricula available every year.
Next year, I’ll have 2 high schoolers and 1 middle schooler. One high schooler is gifted and the other profoundly dyslexic, dysgraphic, and ADHD.
Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
I read through my curriculum guide (which I will be updating), perused the Homeschool Legal Defense website, referenced our state’s Department of Education website, and did a bunch of Google searches.
As I thought through my options, I began to get a little overwhelmed. As I tried to organize my thoughts, I came up with these 3 factors to consider when purchasing a homeschool curriculum.
Don’t just choose a curriculum at your student’s grade level.
Seriously evaluate what level they are operating on before choosing a curriculum. Being able to customize our kids’ learning experiences is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling – especially for kids with learning differences who tend to learn at a different pace than traditional learners.
Choosing curriculum will depend a lot on the individual student’s ability. Students have a wide range of abilities just as there is a wide range of severity of learning difficulties.
In researching for the right curriculum for my profoundly dyslexic, dysgraphic, and ADHD son, I had to take into consideration the fact that his level of ability was not close to a typical student of his age.
So not only were his skills not close to typical grade level, his ADHD causes him to be unable to focus for long periods of time. The fact that he is easily bored needs to be factored in.
Even though a curriculum may look excellent on the surface, really taking a good honest look at whether it’s a good fit for your child’s ability is important. You don’t want October to roll around and you’re fighting your kid every day to do their school work.
Most curriculum companies have excellent customer service. I highly recommend contacting them for assistance in choosing the correct level of their curriculum to meet the needs of your unique child.
It’s more important to teach them at their level than it is for teaching them at their grade level. We want their learning to meaningful and give them an appropriate challenge.
How much of your time will the curriculum require?
Seriously consider how much time you realistically have to support your child with their learning.
If a curriculum requires a lot of reading and writing, it may require a lot of help from you and will probably require at least some modification – altering the curriculum to better meet your child’s needs. Choosing a curriculum with video or audio components can alleviate some of this pressure.
Essentially, the more independent your child is with completing their schoolwork, the more flexible you can be with which curriculum to choose. Most parents don’t have time to sit with one child for a large part of each day. Either they have other children to teach or life just gets busy. If the time commitment a curriculum takes is more than you realistically have, your student’s coursework will suffer.
Carefully consider or take a realistic look at how much time you would need to spend each week supporting your student with any curriculum.
Your child’s goals for after high school will have an impact on the curriculum you choose.
There are a variety of options for our kids after they graduate from high school. Some will go straight to a 4-year University, others will go to a 2-year school or community college. Still others may choose to go to a trade school or apprenticeship program or go straight to work.
The curriculum you choose will depend to varying degrees on what your child plans to do after high school. Most high schoolers don’t really know what they want to do. Our family always likes to start the high school years, if possible, with the college prep route (with heftier requirements) and pivot as we go.
A practical example of how goals affect curriculum choice is with math. College entrance requirements for math are generally Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2. So if your child is ready for Algebra in high school you would just have them take Algebra. In 10th grade, if Geometry is doable, have them take Geometry and so on throughout the high school years. However, if your child is unable at any point to take these courses in the time frame needed, stop and teach them at their level – knowing that that choice will impact their options for after high school.
Another example is with science. Four-year universities require labs with science. If your child is unable to complete labs and lab reports, don’t do them (or all of them) and know that going straight to a 4-year university (depending on the school) likely won’t be an option.
More Help Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
I’ll be writing more about my curriculum research. For now, here are some posts and resources to help you choose your own homeschool curriculum:
What are your biggest struggles choosing homeschool curriculum?