How do I choose a curriculum?
Having the freedom to choose how your child learns is so exciting! Here are some steps to consider:
- Reflect on how your child prefers to learn. Would they prefer to read a recipe or watch a video of how to make the recipe? Do they listen to podcasts or stories? How your child prefers to learn will become more apparent as the child gets older and is something to keep in mind for upper elementary and high school student’s curriculum that is completed independently. Remember, you may love learning from reading an article, but your child may prefer watching an instruction video.
- Ensure that your curriculum plan covers the four primary areas of learning: mathematics, language arts (reading, writing, speaking), science and technology, and social studies (history and geography). Consider possible electives your child may enjoy, such as other languages, art, music, coding, etc.
- Plan for having part of their learning to be independent from you once your child is through the primary grades. Some ideas include: spelling dictation with an app, an online math curriculum that includes grading, history in audio format, or learning to sew from a neighbour.
- Incorporate learning in groups. This social time can include homeschool co-ops, groups lessons, online courses, and group field trips.
For people who would like to follow a premade curriculum, there are many options. You can purchase whole grade levels together, or pick and choose your subjects one at a time. Some curricula are designed to do as a family so you can group your students together. This may mean that your 7 and 10 year old both learn about ancient Egypt at the same time from the same curriculum, with your older child completing something extra targeted at their learning level.
Canadian homeschool curriculum providers have excellent resources and book descriptions on their websites. For those not using Canadian curriculum, Cathy Duffy is a trusted American homeschool curriculum reviewer.
What is effective for one family is not necessarily effective for another, so you will want to do your own research. Conferences and groups are an ideal place to ask about, compare and shop for curriculum.
Lastly, no matter how much research you do, some curricula may simply not be a good fit for your family or for each child in your family. The good news is that you’re homeschooling! You can change it up next year, or sooner if required!