Before getting to the ways to choose the best homeschooling curriculum, it is imperative to understand that there are no prepared sets of subjects and books as options. The greatest advantage that homeschooling has over traditional schooling is that parents can choose the subjects and study procedures that best fit their children. Therefore, the first question every homeschool parent should ask is, “what curriculum is the best fit for my child?”
There is a five-step action plan for choosing the best curriculum which we we will show you below. As you read these steps, keep in mind:
- the situation of the child
- the situation of the parents
- the situation at hand – for instance the environment around the child, parents’ working hours, traveling etc.
You also need to ensure that homeschooling remains interactive and does not translate to lesser, or no, exposure to technology for your child as compared to traditional homeschooling. Then there is also the factoring in of the budget. A more expensive curriculum does not necessarily mean it is better than a cheaper one, or vice versa. Focus on the objectives you have for your child from homeschooling and then factor in other considerations.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Child’s Learning Style
This is the most important step for deciding on the curriculum. You can have the best books and the most useful subjects, but if your child’s interests and learning styles are not in harmony with that coursework, he will lose considerably on the benefits of homeschooling. Some children learn better through visualizations and experimentations while some prefer to read and re-read the written content. Both cases bring about the same educational results, but the coursework is poles apart in an experimental approach Vs a theoretical approach.
Become Fully Aware of Your Own Teaching Style
Since in homeschooling it becomes the parents’ job to be the teachers, considering your own teaching style is equally important. Even if there are online classes from professional educationists, there will be considerable input from the parents’ side and therefore the chosen curriculum needs to reflect that too. For instance, if your child is a visual learner but you are not very good at drawing graphs or charts, it might benefit you to get a mobile app or to have flash cards etc. to incorporate your teaching style to your child’s learning style.
Include Your Child in the Process of Choosing Curriculum
This step is crucial to ensure that your child does not lose interest in studying as there will be no usual school pressures to keep him or her going otherwise. Letting your child pick up the subjects they wish to learn and the activities they wish to incorporate within their learning program will have two main benefits:
- it will make your child feel more autonomous and provide a strong and natural motivating factor towards studying
- if they have chosen their favorite subjects, they will also be more willing to study the necessary but not so interesting subjects that you choose for them
Streamline Your Priorities for Your Child’s Education
This is where the homeschooling curriculum not only becomes significantly different from the traditional schooling curriculum but it will also vary from family to family. This means that even if you know several families who are homeschooling their children, do not blindly take their curriculum instead of designing your own for your child. Understanding the priorities means that you need to design the curriculum based on focus areas – for example would you prefer to spend the next year teaching your child more mathematics or would you rather have him or her read more books. Alternatively, would you prefer to add more subjects to the overall curriculum or it would be better for your child to get more expansive education on an already studied subject, and so on.
Choose the Study Timetable
While traditional schooling systems might have eight teachers for eight subjects, you will most likely be teaching your child all subjects yourself. The overwhelming amount of information unloaded on children in schools has already been a point of contention, so in homeschooling you have the option to resolve both these issues at once. Set up a timetable where you know exactly how many hours per day you can give to your child and divide the subjects in a way that neither your child nor you become lost in all the information. Carefully decide on how much time you can effectively teach and how many hours your children can spend in effective learning per day.