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Things to Consider When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum for Your Kids

Updated on September 24, 2014


A growing number of parents choosing to remove their children from public, or private schooling and educating themselves, has resulted in increased competition. As late as the 1980s, there were only a few curricula to choose from when it came to homeschooling. Now, a plethora of entrepreneurs with an educational background have delved into the industry of creating programs for child education.

A homeschooled child with his building project.
A homeschooled child with his building project. | Source


Before you pick a curriculum, you will need to determine the length of time you are going to be homeschooling your kids. For instance, if you have moved during the school year, and have not determined a school you deem suitable to place them in, you may elect to home school them just for that year. Or, perhaps a career choice will not enable you to do it long term. There are short term curricula available, so you will not have to purchase a full K-12 program.

Choosing a visually oriented curriculum for a child who learns better by hearing can result in frustration for both teacher and student.
Choosing a visually oriented curriculum for a child who learns better by hearing can result in frustration for both teacher and student. | Source

How Your Child Learns Best

One drawback to a mass classroom is that there is one instructor who teaches a class uniformly. The problem to that approach is, the brain of each human individual is not uniform. They have different strengths and weaknesses. This includes learning orientation. Some learn better by aural communication. Some are more proficient at visual and reading. An audio oriented teacher with a visually oriented student could result in under-performance and delayed learning for an otherwise intelligent child. It is important to assess how your child learns fastest, and take that into account when picking a curriculum.

Your Own Preferred Method of Learning

When people teach anything to others, be it an art, a craft, math, or science, they tend to teach it the way they prefer to learn. However, that may or may not match with your child's method of learning.

One solution to this is to purchase two different curricula, if there are subjects you are weak in or need to brush up on, before you can teach it to your child.

This also includes learning surroundings. For instance, you may find background music distracting to your ability to study or learn. Your child, on the other hand, may perform better with that in the background. I, personally, find absolute silence quite distracting, which is why you always found me in the non-silent floors of the library in college.

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Educational Philosophy

There are basic philosophies to teaching your child, which fall into one of the following categories.

Progressivism tends to primarily focus on the applicability of what you are learning to society. Making a skill or craft, or knowledge in general valuable to others is what constitutes an effective education.

Second, there is perennialism. This philosophy focuses on ideas, or rather "the big picture". It considers an educated person to have a deep understanding of abstract thoughts and concepts. They believe if you can develop your thinking skills well enough, then you can learn to accomplish anything. They believe that a good education consists of "enlightenment".

A third philosophy is known as essentialism. This adheres to the thought that there is a core body of knowledge that a person must master in order to be educated. It is somewhat related to progressivism in that it chooses this core or essentials based on their applicability. But it tends to be concerned with what is called "well roundedness”, or versatility. It primarily focuses on subjects it considers to be just that, "essential". It is subject and information oriented.

Behaviorism adheres to changes in behavior via repetition of action and/or communication. It utilizes immediate rewards and corrections for corresponding desired and non-desired habits and responses. This tends to be a popular method of teaching languages and arithmetic.

Finally, the primary focus of existentialism is introspection, and finding one's true purpose and meaning in life. To find what resonates with one's desires and talents. Moral teaching and conditioning is a core part of this approach to education.

Most people will not rely on only one of these to either learn or teach, but everyone will have primary leanings towards one of these five.


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