Choosing your home school curriculum is by far the most important foundation of homeschooling. I strongly suggest buying a prepackaged curriculum for your base curriculum. A prepackaged curriculum will give you lesson by lesson, step-by-step, strategies, and resources for your lesson plans. Let’s face it, we’re not superheroes. We can’t possibly know everything in every grade level and every subject area. A prepackaged curriculum will give you a great ‘core’ foundation on which to teach your child.
Make sure to get a curriculum that encompasses all core subject areas for your children. Core subject areas include math, science, social studies, language arts, and reading. A bonus would be to find a program that includes music, art, and P.E. as well.
Make sure that all lesson plans are included in your prepackaged curriculum. Some curriculum even includes workbooks, testing, and select materials. Many companies will even allow you to view samples of their curriculum prior to purchase.
Know what you are getting into upfront. Will there be extra curriculum or materials to purchase? What about workbooks? Are they included? Ask the company to provide you a complete list of what is included in the curriculum or kit that you are buying.
Keep in mind that the curriculum will be your biggest expense in your home school budget and sometimes cheaper is not always better. Research the value that you will be getting for your money with all curriculums you are interested in.
People ask me if they can homeschool their children without buying a prepackaged curriculum. The answer is “YES”. However, I would highly advise against it. As a former teacher in the public school district, I realize that having a strong curriculum foundation base is key to your child’s education.
Supplemental curriculum or lesson plan swapping and sharing is excellent to add to your children’s curriculum. Use your core prepackaged curriculum and then add your own ideas or other lesson plans to help reinforce the learning process. For example, your curriculum has you do a lesson plan with your child on graphing. You research other graphing ideas and find a lesson plan on graphing M&M’s. This sounds like fun, and now you can do both graphing projects with your child to reinforce the learning process.
Remember that the curriculum that you choose is just a foundation or building block to help guide you through the teaching process with your children. You know your child the best. Adapt lesson plans to their interests in a more enjoyable learning experience.