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Homeschooling Information

Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

With so many companies publishing curriculum products and organizations offering homeschool curriculum programs, choosing one can be overwhelming. Most curriculum publishers and schools offer free placement tests to help you place your child in a suitable grade or purchase course material appropriate for your child's educational level, but there are other things to consider before deciding on a curriculum.

  1. Your child's learning style.  How does your child learn? When learning a new concept or skill, does your child prefer to see a visual demonstration, listen to a verbal explanation, or just try it for him/herself? The curriculum you choose can consist of any combination of books and workbooks, audio and video CD/DVDs, virtual online classes, and/or interactive multimedia lessons. Choose a curriculum that compliments your child's learning style.

  2. Your child's learning ability.  How much instruction does your child need?  Can your child work independently? Online courses and curriculum products that include fully explained lessons tend to require very little instruction from the parent and can be perfect for a child who is self-motivated and has set learning goals. These may not the best choice for a child who requires one-on-one instruction and guidance.

  3. Your educational philosophy.  What are your views and beliefs about education? Are you looking for curriculum that is religion-based, completely secular, or somewhere in between? How do you plan to incorporate your views into your child's education? Do you want to take a traditional or a progressive approach? There are many different approaches to homeschooling.

  4. Your teaching ability.  How organized are you? Do you prefer (or need) structure? How much time do you have for planning and teaching?  What do you do well--or not so well? Maybe you have exceptional math skills or perhaps a bachelor's degree in history. Maybe your grammar skills are a little on the weak side. Consider your abilities and limitations when choosing a curriculum.

  5. Your budget. You can find curriculum ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. You can even put together your own curriculum using used books and low cost (or free) online resources. The amount of money spent on curriculum is not indicative of its educational value.

There is no perfect curriculum and every homeschool adventure is subject to a learning curve. You may not realize your limitations or your child's strengths or weaknesses in the beginning, but as you continue to homeschool you will discover what works and what doesn't.  The most important thing to remember is to make adjustments to the curriculum, not to your child, when the curriculum fails to meet your expectations or your child's needs.

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