5 Days of Homeschool 101: Day One -- Curriculum Choices Q&A

The state of Nebraska requires homeschoolers to renew their status as homeschoolers by July 15th every year. This means that I have to plan what we will do far in advance of our August 15th start date.  Six kiddos means that we have quite a bit to think about, so how do we plan what they will use? Do all of my kids use the same curriculum for their time in each grade? And how do we afford our curriculum choices?  I'll attempt to answer these questions for you!

Do all of your children use the same curriculum?

No. This is the beauty of homeschooling. Unlike traditional schools, we have complete flexibility to stop using things that don't make sense for us, or that don't work well with a particular student. We can choose to switch gears mid-year, as well. Since no two children are the same, their studies will not be either.

How do you find out about new curriculum choices?

I usually learn about things relating to our homeschool the same way you do: social media, family, friends, articles in magazines, catalogs, and by seeing something shiny and saying "oooh! I have to have that!" I will say, that once I find a company that I fall in love with (Veritas Press, Memoria Press, Alpha Omega, and Critical Thinking Company are some of my faves), I will sign up to get their mailers, catalogs, and email newsletters so that I can be sure to hear about new things that they come up with.

Facebook groups are very useful for me. If I find a group of like-minded homeschoolers, I can usually hear what they have to say about products and books, and then decide if it's something I might like to try.

When do you decide that it's worth investing in a new curriculum?

I usually like to order one or two pieces of a big kit before investing. I might try ordering from the scratch and dent or clearance section of a homeschool seller before making my decision. I also could decide to borrow a copy from a friend or purchase used from eBay or a Facebook group. Once I have done the first few lessons or at least have looked through it to see the contents, I'm usually decided. This is not to say that I haven't been wrong. More on that below.

How will you know that a curriculum will work for a child?

I'll be honest. In the beginning, when kids are younger, you might not know what will work for them. Two of my kids love working independently and do very well with self-study. Two need a little extra help with their reading. One can work independently, but craves interaction. You really have to know your child's learning style, where they can grow, and what's not worth fighting over. This can take until about age 8 or 9, so be prepared to try a few things in the beginning and get it wrong! Once they get into Junior High and HS, however, you should have your kid figured out to get the curriculum that works best for them -- even if it's not something you've ever used with older kids.

Do you have additional curriculum questions for me? Ask them here, or head over to our Facebook page! May you have a blessed homeschool year!