Each home school year, there comes a time to plan for the following school year. Although not quite finished with one year, you may find yourself looking ahead to the next year. This is a good thing. Planning ahead saves you a good amount of stress, especially in the area of homeschool curriculum.
A good time to start planning for next year is after the Christmas and New Year holidays, after you and your children have settled back into your routines. February is usually the time I find myself thinking of next school year. However, there are other times during the year that might be better for you.
As you think ahead, think of each of your children individually. Each child learns differently and has different needs. Sometimes the curriculum you used with your older children will not work as well with a younger child. Try to keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses that your child possesses.
Next, you also need to think about yourself. Just as learning styles vary from child to child, teaching styles vary from parent to parent. Do you want to teach your children every lesson or do you want them to haves some lessons via DVD or do you want your child to complete self-study or thematic units with siblings? The options seem almost limitless when it comes to curriculum, so you have many choices out there. If you find yourself lost in the sea of curricula, there are some excellent resources out there to help you with your choices. A good place to start is at Cathy Duffy’s website or with her book, “100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.”
Now, once you have reflected on your children’s learning styles and your teaching styles, you may find that the curricula that you are currently using seems to still be a great fit. There is nothing wrong with that. If what you are using is still working effectively, you should continue to use that. But if it is not, there are still plenty of choices out there to assist you.
If your current curriculum is not working for all of your children or no longer feels like the right fit, you may want to move onto different curriculum options. The Internet can be very helpful in this area as you can find reviews and a plethora of information about many of the curricula available. During the research you complete, you will be trying to narrow down your curricula choices to the ones that are the best fit for you and your children.
Once you have decided which curricula you desire to use, you can now start looking for it. Decide first, whether you want new or if used will be okay. Start your search by first asking other homeschoolers that you know if they have anything that you are interested in. That way you can get a chance to look it over before you purchase. Also, you may find some families that are willing to sell you the things that they are no longer using. This can be a huge time and money saver. If you are not able to find anyone that can help you nearby, see if you can find an online store that will show you sample pages of the curricula or an actual home school store, so that you can flip through the pages and really see if what you had in mind will definitely work. By starting your curricula planning early, you will have time to peruse your options and then shop for the best deal.
Take your time with curriculum planning and start early, well before your new school year is ready to begin. In doing so, you will be able to be certain you have made the best choices for your homeschooling year and you will have plenty of time to shop around for the best deals. In the end, you will have saved yourself not only time, but money as well.
Copyright © Alicia Tucker, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
About the Author: Alicia Tucker is a homeschool mom of 3 children, after having worked in public schools in NJ and SC for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Sociology, as well as a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Technology. Alicia is also Moms of Faith’s lead prayer warrior and columnist.