Notgrass history, Compass Classroom Visual Latin, All About Learning Press reading and Saxon Math are just some of the number of curricula choices homeschoolers now have when it comes to putting together a school year. In one way that is good, because it is a homeschooler buyer’s market. On the other hand, today there are so many companies vying for our attention to their material. We have to sift through until we find the right product that works for our children. When it comes to choosing curricula for school, it may often feel like you are just rolling the dice and crossing your fingers for the best option to come up.

For some, choosing curricula is the most difficult part of homeschooling. What to use? Planning cannot begin until you have the answer to that question. Are you feeling perplexed? It happens. Choosing curricula for your school year is a lot of work, but can be fun if you have some direction on how to begin the process.

Pray
In everything homeschool you do, pray. It will take you a long way. Homeschooling is not easy, but it can be very manageable with prayer. The days of accomplishment and joy will be just that and the challenging days will be full of hope for the next day.

Decide What to Teach
If you are in the elementary school years, this is the time to complete the basics as well as explore as many areas of interest of your child. First realize there are only so many hours in one day or one week. You cannot teach everything nor will your child be able to learn everything. There is still time while in middle school and high school to choose subjects of interests, but there are more basic requirements and the need to complete courses for credit. Determine your school period (traditional or year-round) and decide what subjects will fit well into that time. If you have a high school student, use the HomeLife Academy planning sheets {http://homelifeacademy.com/highschool/Default.aspx?id=32} to note the required courses for your child.

Family Values and Education Style
Have you created a school mission and/or have a style of education? The focus on both will let you know what curricula you should seek. Most companies have slants in a number of directions that cater to a religious (or not) perspective (ex: Christian, Catholic, secular, etc.) and style (ex: Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Montessori, Unschooling, etc.) of education. If you have not yet defined the style of instruction you plan, take some time to read about the different approaches {http://www.homeschool.com/Approaches/} to home education. You do not have to decide for the entirety of your homeschool experience. Having an idea which way your child best learns and you best teach will help you choose material to promote a productive environment.

Time Involvement
Is teacher-led or independent better for the family? The number of children and the age(s) you are educating may be the factors that determine the direction for your school. One of the best experiences of home education is being with your child while he learns. Seeing the twinkle in his eyes or the smile on his face when something makes sense is priceless. The earlier years of homeschooling may allow you to be more involved in your child’s instruction. As he advances in grade, you may want to lean more towards curricula where your child is able to spread his wings and work independently. Combining both teacher-led and independent for middle and high school students keeps you connected while also letting your child take a more active role in his education.

Cost
Set a budget for your homeschool year and, if needed, for each child. Homeschooling can be as expensive or as affordable as you make it. A budget will keep you accountable and help you to make smart decisions when it comes to spending money. Granted, your child’s education is very important, but a huge price tag is not going to determine their success. Shopping new is nice, but there is no shame in buying used. Plan ahead, so you can find good deals on items you will need in the upcoming school year and for the future.

Consumable Versus Reproducible
In this digital age, homeschoolers have a number of ways to receive the material they use in school. Having a pre-printed, physical product in hand from a company is still very appealing to homeschoolers. The only limitation is most workbooks that go along with curriculum are consumable (for use by one and only one child). If you have multiple children, a digital version (reproducible for your family only) may be a better option, because the curriculum company allows you to make multiple copies. Although printing can be expensive, you may save in the long run by printing your own of only what you need. Remember digital products of all kind are not to be resold after use.

Read Reviews
With all of the curricula choices, someone, somewhere has used the product at least once. What homeschooler does not have an opinion? Ask fellow homeschoolers about a product you are considering to learn their experience using the curriculum. Some online resources you may consider for reviews are Schoolhouse Review Crew and The Curriculum Choice, which have reviews completed by other homeschool parents who have used the products. Who better to get advice from regarding a curriculum? Another resource is Cathy Duffy Reviews, whose list has grown to 102 top picks.


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©2016 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher http://homelifeacademy.com/.