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Choose a Homeschool Curriculum That Fits

or if I knew then, what I know now…

The question of curriculum choice has been a big one with our homeschool. We’ve made a few mistakes along the way, costing us both in time and money. If I could do it all again, I’d listen to my gut more and not jump on the latest rage in the forums and the blogs.

For a homeschooling family starting out, here are some tips to help narrow down your choices and guide you to the best curriculum choice.

What is important to you?

Think about why you chose to homeschool your child. What is the most important benefit in your opinion? Are you concerned about the quality of your child’s education? Do you want to combine your child’s education with religious and/or moral instruction? Is it important to you that your child be accepted into a good college, or are you more concerned with teaching your child to be financially independent or to have respect for the environment? Are you uncomfortable with self-directed learning or do you want your child to have freedom or more involvement in their education?

What is truly important to you and how do you want to impart that knowledge to your child?

Answering these questions can help lead you in the right direction in regards to what curriculum to choose. Also keep in mind the legal requirements of the state you live in.

Consider your family situation

Do you have several children or are you pregnant or caring for elderly relatives? Do you work part time or have little support with homeschooling? Are you a single parent?

If you have a complicated situation it’s going to be especially challenging for you to spend a lot of time educating your child. A curriculum that requires minimal teacher preparation and supervision might be best, for instance the ‘All in One’ style of homeschool curriculum that operates like ‘school in a box’ versus unit studies that require more prep work on your part.

What about your financial situation? If you are short on funds, you may lean towards an eclectic or unschooling style rather than a conventional curriculum. You can find homeschool materials cheaply or even free via the Internet, and even yard sales, thrift stores and online auctions. Conversely, if money is no object, you can go all out and pick a curriculum that includes all the craft and science project materials as well as hard bound books your child will be reading during the year. Teacher support via Internet or phone may be available also.

Consider your philosophy

Do you believe in a classical education philosophy that involves copywork and memorization, or are you a proponent of a more experiential, hands on or informal style of learning? If you choose a curriculum that doesn’t mesh with your beliefs about education, you’ll find yourself hemmed in and frustrated and likely your child will be unhappy with the choice too.

There is no one best choice for homeschooling your child. I congratulate you for being willing to invest the time and energy to educate your child at home. Don’t stress out too much about curriculum choices. As a home schooling parent you are free to change things whenever you want or need to. Finding the right curriculum for you and your child isnít that hard once you know what you truly want from your home schooling experience.

How have you made your curriculum choices?

Too Many Books, Too Little Time: Adding Audio to Your Homeschool

It is ironic that the advent of the audio book online has not fully replaced printed books. Instead audio books have only highlighted the joy we get from books in general. They have become a part of our homeschool and looking back, I can’t imagine our home without them.

Anyone who doubts that it is possible to truly appreciate a novel by listening, rather than physically reading need only watch my daughter on a quiet afternoon. With audio books, she’s transported into the world of Oz or go exploring Peter and Wendy or discover new adventures alongside Tigger and Pooh.

A Part of Our Homeschool Day

The best thing about audio books is that is too much less effort than it is to read. You can do other things while you have and audio book on, much like listening to music, such as driving or doing the household chores. Audio books are especially great for long trips. Many families have extended their home school into their car. For us, its long trips on the train or on the ferry when we go into town.

Another added benefit of online audio books is the easy downloading. There’s no shipping charges or trips to the shops to keep our audio library up-to-date. I recommend Audible because you can Get A Free Audiobook Download with a 30 Day Trial. – and they have over 100,000 titles. I highly recommend Green Eggs and Ham Audio Book. This one has been a favorite in our home. Belle loves to listen and follow along with her copy.


History Repeats Itself

My mother’s generation had grown up listening to stories told on the radio. She was more than willing to listen to audio books online – in fact, she found it a pleasure as she could sit quite comfortably, do her cross stitch or even do the gardening while she listens to the recordings.

Today, the audio book concept has embraced leading edge technology which has made the product much more accessible to the general public than ever before. The vast array of audio books available can now be easily downloaded from the web and its formats incorporated into any digital listening device such as cell phones, MP3 players and iPods. In view of this, it is highly likely that the next generation might even gain an appreciation for a classical authors such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare.

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