Curriculum Considerations for Homeschool Parents

Once you've decided to homeschool your child, your next big step is choosing a curriculum. There are many important things to consider about how you want to teach your kids and what you want them to learn. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Ask Yourself These Questions When You Decide to Homeschool Your Child

As you consider your curriculum options, start by answering the following three questions in detail:

1. Where Is My Child At?

Think about what stage your child is at, both mentally and emotionally. It’s important to choose a course of study that’s neither too hard nor too easy for the student. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adjust the curriculum to your child’s needs.

Another key component to consider in this stage is how fast your child learns. If your child is a fast learner, look for guidebooks and lesson plans that foster his fast-paced growth.

2. What Are My Goals for My Child’s Education?

Ask yourself where you want your child to be after a certain period of time – such as next year or five years from now. What are you preparing your child for? These goals should be specific and measurable.

3. What Are the Best Methods to Get There?

Now that you know what you want your child to achieve and you’ve thought about how he learns best, you can choose a curriculum that’s best suited for his needs. What options will suit his current and future needs, at his learning pace? Explore multiple options, and consider testing out several before settling on the one that you’ll stick with for the long-run.

Don’t Forget About Your Local Laws

Although homeschooling provides both you and your child freedom to learn and grow at a personal pace, you still have to follow standards – at the state and national level – to ensure your child receives a proper education. This includes keeping proper attendance and test records, as well as sharing information about textbooks and students’ schoolwork.

Look for curriculum guides and books, like the Spectrum line, that are designed to help you stay in line with national standards. Be sure to check the requirements in your area before embarking on a new curriculum journey.

Homeschooling Curriculum Tips

One way to get started with a good curriculum is to look at what other homeschool parents are doing. If you like their approach, test it out for yourself. If you aren’t fond of their ideas, you can pinpoint certain activities to avoid.

Don’t be afraid to get your child involved in choosing his own courses. Especially if he’s already attended school, he should be slightly familiar with what works for him (and what doesn’t), and he might provide some valuable insight.

For example, your child might know that he understands things better when he can see pictures and illustrations. In that case, aim for a curriculum plan that focuses on teaching through visuals. He might be more interested in reading than he is in history, so you might decide on a curriculum that emphasizes reading skills in social studies.

Be patient. It can take a year or more to really get into the groove of homeschooling — for both you and your child — so take this time to test the waters and see what type of teaching style and curriculum options your child responds to best. Remember: You don’t have to commit to anything, and you can always be flexible, especially if your child is struggling or outgrowing his curriculum.