So you've researched your state requirements, prepared your paperwork now what?
A curriculum is the course of study that your child(ren) will work through. Although some parents would like to be completely in charge of their child's education, it may be better to incorporate a curriculum because it allows for your child to learn required information at an age appropriate level. In other words, the child is learning what he or she would be learning in a traditional school, or more.
There are many types of curriculums. Your state laws may require that you have an approved by the state curriculum. If this is necessary, be sure to look for this information any program that you use. You may want to put together your own curriculum, but it can be far easier and give you more options if you purchase a premade curriculum.
In this report we will look at some of the options you have for curriculum selection. You may be happy to learn just how many options you have available to you. Do not get overwhelmed; just do some detailed research and never rush the process.
TIPS FOR SELECTION
Take some time to browse through the available curriculums available both online and through offline retailers. You want to get as much information about these programs as possible. In short, your goal is to be able to see not only what is included in the curriculum but also what format it is being taught in. Even more so, you may need to consider both your short-term goals and requirements and your long-term goals. Encompassing these key aspects is critical to selecting a curriculum that will benefit both you and your child's education.
Keep each of these in mind as you look for the right homeschooling curriculum.
CHILD'S NEEDS AND STRENGTHS
One of the good things about a homeschooling curriculum is just how flexible it can be to meet your child's specific educational requirements and needs. In particular, your child's strengthens can be added to while other aspects can be strengthened.
Some of the companies offering a homeschooling curriculum will provide you with excellent tools to aid you in learning where your child's strengths and needs are. These are done through aptitude tests which may be mailed into the organization or, which is becoming more popular, these tests can be done right online. This is an easy way to learn where your child stands in home schooling.
Determine what areas of education your child excels in.
Learn where your child's weaknesses or opportunities may lie.
Learn about the areas that your child is most interested in and seems to enjoy.
Find out the way that your child learns, such as through hands on activities or through reading.
Find out where your child stands on his or her religious or world view needs, which is often a focus of many homeschooling programs.
All of these aspects are critical to expand on. You will find that most of the homeschooling curriculum companies help you to examine these specific areas so that your child can obtain a better level of education from them.
RESEARCH TEACHING OPTIONS
The student is a key component of the process of selecting a homeschooling curriculum, but so is the parent. You may have your own wishes, ideas and plans that you wish to add to the homeschooling process. That is fantastic and it is an opportunity for you to do exceedingly well. The key is, though, that you need to find methods that work for your child and your needs.
Look at the various types of programs available. Inspect them for the aspects that help to make them a good option for you and your child.
What method of teaching is used? This could be a structured style which is just like school in the home or it could be in the un-schooling style, which is based on where the child's particular interests are.
Consider accelerated learning programs designed for students who are exceptionally gifted. Parents may not want to place their child in these programs unless they have tested for them, in the first year. This could hold back students who may not grasp the information at a fast enough pace.
Determine if there is use of computer aided learning, which is becoming more popular in many upper levels of education for students.
Teaching options are often readily displayed in the programs. You are sure to find a range of different options to consider. If you are unsure about what you should select, take some time to learn what other parents are doing and how well it is working for their particular child's needs. This can help you to assure your child, and yourself, that you can homeschool around a method that matches everyone's particular needs and desires.
EXPLORE YOUR TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Your teaching philosophy is important to understand. Many aspects play a role in this area.
Take some time to explore your own ideas and feelings on your child's education. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Do you like the approach of learning through textbooks?
Do you feel that you have the ability to design your own curriculum and meet state required standards? Do you feel comfortable with purchasing from a variety of publishers?
Do you feel children need good lecturing, and as such, will you want to spend more time with hands on teaching with your child?
What about literature? Do you think that it should play a significant role in your child's education? Rather, do you want your child to learn history from biographies and textbooks?
How do you view life's ups and downs? Are they learning experiences or mistakes?
How much time and energy do you honestly have to put into a lot of hands-on style of experiments and projects?
Do you want your child to learn independently, rather than working hand in hand with you?
Your selection of a curriculum can be enhanced after you have explored these very personal opinions of how your child will learn. There are no right or wrong answers here, just questions you should ask yourself.
Now that you have some basic information, head out and start looking at your options for curriculums. Research them and really work to understand where your options are. Do not make a decision just yet, but narrow down your options based on the ideas that you know have in your mind.
It is important to realize that there are no perfect curriculums out there. You will have to go through a period of trial and error until you find one that seems to work the best for you. In fact, most people do go through a period of time where they are switching from one curriculum to another, because they are unsure which is the better fit for the child and for the parent. But, it is important to avoid too many switches. If something is really wrong or not working, do look elsewhere. But, for the most part, unless there is some specific reason, you should stick with the program you have selected. This will give your student the best opportunity to learn because of the continuity.
Also, do not feel like you have to purchase the most expensive products on the market. You do not have to spend a lot of money to get a high quality curriculum for your home schooling. Rather, what you may want to focus on is choosing a program that you can really get behind and believe in. There are excellent sources for information and planning.
Visit the local library: you will find books to teach just about every topic that you want to cover there.
Use the local historical society for history lessons and educational information for social studies and sciences.
Do not overlook museums who work for many aspects of education from science to history to art and health.
Many of these organizations have programs for homeschooling parents, too, which means they will work hand in hand with you to meet your child's specific goals and needs.
Also, do not turn away older curriculums that you may be given by other parents or from associations you begin to be part of. The fact is, curriculums that were used last year or the year before are still well worth using today. Some parents will pass down the curriculums within the family and they may even use them several times with several children.
On the other hand, do not be fooled into believing that what your friend, family member or someone else is using is going to be the right choice for you. This is not always the case and in some situations, trying to use someone else's product is just not going to work for your child. The same goes for within the family unit. The curriculum used by your oldest child may not work well for your youngest, simply because of the different needs and learning systems that are in place from one child to the next.
While later on we will mention some more specifics on this topic, it is important to point out now that homeschooling conferences are one of the best ways to learn more about the curriculum options available for your child. Many times, parents will attend these conferences and come back with a wealth of tools, samples and even full curriculums that they love because of the unique approaches available to them.
It is always a good idea to visit these homeschooling conferences or special events whenever they are available within your city or state. Many people will find that they can get lots of options to consider. More so, one of the best things about these programs is that you can easily browse through the curriculum on your own, in your hands, before you purchase anything. That way, you can see exactly how it is structured and what it has to offer to you.
Most of the time, you will also find that these conferences will offer a wealth of support and guidance to the homeschooling family to use. If your family is new to homeschooling, these groups are an ideal place to visit. You will find outstanding inspirational speakers who can help you to feel good about the hard work it takes to homeschool. And, in some cases, you can even find good home schooling curriculum products available for sale that are used or older models. So, yes, you can save money on these as well!
Now that you have a good idea of what it takes to purchase a home schooling curriculum, what if you decide you do not want to go through that process and instead want something that is a bit more "free."
The good news is that there are some excellent programs available to you online. You will find a range of products to select from, but it is always important to use good judgment with free products found online.
Does this product actually help my child to achieve their goals?
Who is promoting this product?
Does it incorporate my beliefs and my teaching preferences?
Is it valuable enough to invest my child's time into it?
Is this the best product for my son or daughter?
The good news is that there are some excellent products available to help parents that are well worth your time. As long as you ask those questions, you are sure to find yourself in a wonderful position.
Online, you will find free homeschooling curriculums available to you. Some of these products are a good choice, but you will want to investigate them thoroughly.
You will find a range of printable items available online, too. These can be activities that help to reinforce what you wish your child to learn through worksheet style programs, arts and crafts or simply educational packages.