It is time to start thinking about what curriculum you and your family will be using for the coming school year. Picking your curriculum whether you have been homeschooling for years, or this is your first year, there is a lot to think about when you pick secular homeschool curriculum.
Secular Homeschool Curriculum – How to Choose One
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I don’t know if you’ll find the perfect secular homeschool curriculum right off, or ever, but let’s see what we can do. I have spent a lot of time looking at curriculum options, there are a lot.
How Much does it Cost
Cost tends to be the deal breaker when shopping for curriculum. It can get really expensive if you are buying all brand new, and all the materials the company sells. I understand, and I can’t afford to buy a brand new curriculum each year for each of my kids either.
There are other options:
- buying used curriculum from websites or Facebook homeschooling groups
- borrowing books from the library
Don’t even look at what a curriculum has to offer before looking at the price. Look at the price of shipping too.
You don’t have to go broke to educate your children. Take a look at the price of a curriculum first, before you fall in love with it. If it is out of your price range, move on.
Secular Homeschool Curriculum Canada – Here in Canada we have to look at the US price, convert it to CAD, and then we tend to get sticker shock over the shipping cost. OUCH!
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How to Save on You Curriculum
I had my eye on BookShark, but it was kind of out of my price range, especially if I didn’t want to spend more than our school board reimburses us.
BookShark has their Instructor Guides sold separately so you can use their curriculum guide, but not buy the books or any other extras. You can then borrow from the library or buy second-hand. You still get the great BookShark curriculum guide (which books to use) and planning done for you. The Instructor Guide is where you will find your secular homeschool schedule.
Independent or Teacher Lead Curriculum
How old are your kids? Are they ready for independent learning or are you still very much involved in every part of it?
This is really important to find out, otherwise you might find yourself sitting down with your child unexpectedly while you are trying to work on your business or with another of your children.
Teaching Method or Approach
What learning approach will you be following? Through time I’ve learned that we are eclectic homeschoolers. I think that the most beneficial thing we did in our first two years of homeschooling was to just be.
We did book work, we did unschooling and whatever else. It helped us find our groove, find what worked for us. We didn’t waste curriculum this way which was perfect for our budget and found out what kind of “work” works best for our family right now.
Computer-based homeschool curriculum or book work is the first big question for me. For the last few years I didn’t want much of any of their school work to do on the computer. But as they have grown things have changed. We have been using Teaching Textbooks, CTCMath, and Write at Home.
I wanted to focus on penmanship and hands-on. Bookshark has been great for this. Some of the books have links you can follow online for more information/education but you don’t have to. Literature based curriculum is right up our alley.
A Secular Homeschool Curriculum that You’ll Use
Here is the big one: are you going to use that big shiny, new curriculum? You don’t want to have the biggest, shiniest curriculum just because Jane down the street is using it.
If you are part of a homeschool group ask the other homeschool parents what they use and if you could take a look at it if it is something you think you may be interested in.
Homeschool conventions are great for looking at a curriculum before making buying, just try to not buy everything! I’m big on seeing before purchasing, flipping through the pages, reading a lesson plan.
Don’t jump into a curriculum. Yes, there are ways to make a curriculum work for you even if it ends up not being everything you dreamt it would be, but save yourself the stress, and heartache in the beginning.