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My Dilemma of Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

Updated on June 4, 2013

Our homeschool curriculum journey

It is so hard to choose curriculum. What pressure!

There really is a lot out there to choose from and I haven't come across two people who agree on the same curriculum for where we are at right now. It's a very important decision. A good curriculum will make my life a lot easier, save me planning and research time, and last through multiple children.

Where we've been so far

When I first started homeschooling my son it was easy. There were workbooks, sticker books, computer games, videos, flashcards, toys, puzzles...everywhere I looked there was something to buy that could teach him something. I spent too much money but I felt preschool was easy.

Kindergarten was a little harder. We purchased the Saxon Math K teacher's manual and a reading lesson book at a used book sale at a church last Spring. (See picture and link to amazon book search. I loved and recommend this book, just because of the results that we got with our four year old son. It is scripted and is not focused on the fluff of color and art to get a child's attention) We also purchased the manipulatives to go with the Saxon curriculum. So it was all new and exciting. For the most part my son did really well, but we hit a few bumps in the road when it became apparent that this was work! (By bumps I mean for him and myself both). Completely worth the time and little struggles to watch him learn so much so fast! Kids are such sponges at this age.

Cover of newest edition from book search
Cover of newest edition from book search

Reading Curriculum Starting Point Suggestion

Where we are now

We flew through the Kindergarten material! Now math is harder to get through (not the content just the format) and I'm wondering if I need to reevaluate if the Saxon scripted curriculum is the right choice for us. We started writing stories and spelling words from spelling lists. We haven't been doing science as much as we used to and I know he loves that so I'll have to get back on it soon.

Most of all, my son now reads everything he can so I'm not sure what level we're on now. At first we used to have him "practice" his reading and show off to anyone who came over to visit (family mostly). Then I remember the first time he read the name of a store as we were driving in the car (I'll add the name when I drive by the place next time...I'm drawing a blank on it right now). So I made sure we started going to the Library more with trips just focused on letting him read and find things he's interested in. I still pick out a stack that I like, I can't help it.

Now I've brought bookshelves into our living room where were do our homeschooling. I love to see him go through the books, sit down and go through them instead of running to the Wii or turning on the TV. The other day I saw him really focused on a book and noticed he was reading all of the words on the page (a level 3 DK reader book from the Library- on Star Wars of course). I stood and listened to him whisper and read a page to himself. Then like I do I ran to get my phone to video tape it and by the time I did he went back to his usual intense browsing of the pictures. I can't believe how much joy I get from seeing his progress! I'm sure it's mostly because I'm his mom and I'm proud, but it's because I'm a teacher and because I'm his homeschool teacher that my joy and pride in my son is so intensified. I love it!

Tried and True

But I really want to choose curriculum that has been successful for many years (even decades). I've seen too many schools follow the latest learning fad and then phase out their textbooks just a few years later as it turned out to not be as helpful to students. Especially with math because I just don't feel like the basics need to change in a subject that is so based on facts and proven theorems and formulas.

I really like Art Robinson's curriculum and we purchased that for our family, which was our biggest educational purchase yet. I really like it because of how well his children have done, his reasoning for the methods of his curriculum, and the focus on reading as a medium for children to pursue and take charge of their own learning. So I'd recommend it to anyone, but be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to read through the curriculum introduction and reasoning to appreciate the system. It will probably change some of your views on how you will homeschool, it did for me. The hardest part will be to allow my son to become a self-learner when I'm so used to knowing EVERYTHING he's doing and learning 24/7. But it is important and I'm working on it.

It's been helpful for me to remember that old does not necessarily mean outdated. In fact the quality of education, in my opinion has decreased (even though, or maybe because, our technology access to endless resources has increased- but that might be an altogether different hub/posting). There is value in material that has stood the test of time to still be available years and decades later.

The Robinson family. Website photo.
The Robinson family. Website photo. | Source

Where we're headed now

At the end of next month (June) we'll be attending our first homeschooling conference with multiple families that are friends of ours. So I'm hoping I'll have a lot more to share about this topic soon.

Choosing homeschooling curriculum is still a topic I'm learning about and forming opinions on, but this is what I've learned so far in case it helps someone else further along their process of searching for the right curriculum of their own.

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