Since I am in the process of choosing curriculum for a new student, I thought I would post my thoughts on the curriculum choosing process. It is easy to spend tons of money trying to get just the right thing for your student(s), and I hope this will help the next time someone is looking for curriculum in their home.
#1 PRAY!- if God has led you to homeschool your child, He will also lead you to the best curriculum for that child. Teaching a child is not something to be taken lightly, and just like any big decision we face we should listen to what God has to say about it.
#2 Do your research- While we wait for God’s word, it does not take away from Him to know what different curriculums offer. Is it Biblical or secular? How hands on do you need to be as a parent? How much preparation is involved? All these questions, and more, need to be taken into consideration.
#3 Every family is different- Remember while you do your research, that just because something works for one family doesn’t mean it will work for you. And, as I am learning more recently, just because something works for one child doesn’t mean it will work for another. I purchased a reading curriculum last year because Danger Girl was struggling in this area and the curriculum had been praised by so many other parents I thought it was bound to work for us. Danger Girl was bored to tears. I ended up going back to what we were originally using.
#4 Your child should get some say- Don’t misunderstand what I say here. The decision of what your child learns is ultimately up to you. That being said, children will be more invested in their learning if they get a say in how they learn. If your child thinks something is boring, take that into consideration. If they are interested in something in particular, take that into consideration as well.
#5 You will learn as you go- I am only in my second official year of school, but I did learn a lot my first year. For instance, I learned there are some subjects I can teach without a boxed curriculum. I also learned that you may not necessarily need to change curriculum if your student is struggling. It may be that they aren’t ready yet. Sometimes it works to set something aside and come back to it later. Advice from others is also helpful. While you should not make decisions solely based on this, you shouldn’t completely discount advice either.
This is my perspective as a newbie homeschooler. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I want to share the knowledge I’ve gleaned so far in the hopes it can help others make fewer mistakes than I have so far.