choosing which curriculum to use

Choosing which curriculum to homeschool with  is a huge decision, and a very personal one.  While the available options may be very similar, each family approaches the decision differently.  Your outlook may be colored by the circumstances of how your children were previously educated.  Maybe you’re pulling them out of a troubled public school system with a substandard curriculum, or your spouse lost their job and suddenly expensive private school is out of reach.  Or perhaps you’re beginning to homeschool right from the starting line, in kindergarten, and don’t know where to start.

One option that some families transitioning away from public school prefer is commonly referred to as “e-school”.  This is basically a public school curriculum done from home on a computer.  There are several private companies that each state contracts with to provide these services. Often, the state even pays for children to have a computer at home for doing their schoolwork.

However, most homeschoolers choose their own curriculum from the multitude available.  Some choices include curriculum-in-a-box options where the texts and workbooks for an entire grade level are bundled together.   The great part about picking and choosing your own curriculum is that you can choose a math book from a publisher known to be strong in that subject, and a science program from a publisher respected for its science texts.  You can also have a child working at grade level in one subject and either up or down a grade in another subject, so that your child’s curriculum is tailored to their needs.

Year-round homeschooling

Which is better?  Year-round homeschooling, or giving the kids the summer off?   The first several weeks of public school each fall are spent reviewing the previous year’s material, and this trend is evident in some homeschooling curricula as well.  So while some school districts have gone to year-round schooling just to help eliminate the expense of empty buildings and downtime in the summer, you have to wonder if maybe some of them figured out it was more efficient for the kids too!  Kids learn better in a continuous fashion, not with starts and stops in their education.

Homeschoolers have wonderful flexibility in their schedules.  Sometimes it may be necessary to take some time off due to family issues, or travel, or maybe just whenever that burned out feeling sets in and everyone needs a break.  It’s much easier to take some occasional time off when you’re not worried about falling too far behind, and if you’re homeschooling year-round, you have plenty of buffer time to allow for breaks.