Choosing a curriculum is very overwhelming. HELP!!

Discuss the pros and cons of various curriculums, or get help on which to choose!

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Choosing a curriculum is very overwhelming. HELP!!

Postby jslcbb » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:44 am

I have been trying to choose a curriculum for a 5th and 2nd grader. I will be new at homeschooling, and I have no idea about how to choose a curriculum. There are so many choices and it is very overwhelming. How do you go about choosing the right one? Do I need totaly seperate ones for both kids? Are all subjucts included? I just feel lost at this point. Please help.

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Postby Redhead » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:36 pm

I remember when I first started as an English Department Head, and I had to find new curriculum for our middle school English courses. Oh my goodness, I thought my head might explode! Then, when I had to decide for my preschoolers, I really thought my head HAD exploded. LOL

I would recommend going to a homeschool book fair if one is in your area. We have one in the area I'm from every Mother's Day weekend. It's a great place to check out most of the major curricula companies and ask any questions you may have. If you don't have a book fair in your area, you can see the vendor list from the one in mine and visit their sites to view sample pages:

Fortunately, for elementary, the basics are pretty much going to be the same from curricula to curricula. You may have different reading choices or different methods, but the basic ideas (spelling, vocabulary, addition, subtraction, etc.) are all the same. It's when you get to middle school and up that you'll find things diverging, and you'll have to gauge your individual child's abilties more closely to determine how to advance him/her.

Some people choose one curriculum manufacturer for all subjects; others will buy their subjects separately, depending on how they want to teach certain areas (like math or English or science).

You might try figuring out what kind of learners your kids are. Do they seem to learn best from hands-on kinds of things or do they learn best with interactive technologies (i.e. computer or DVD). Do they really enjoy reading-- or hate it (some curricula-- like Sonlight-- are very literature intensive)? If you think they would benefit from more of a classroom at home kind of environment, then you might look for a major curricula provider like Abeka or Bob Jones.

Keep in mind, though, that no decision you make is set in stone. If you try a curriculum and find it wasn't a great fit, then you can always get something different the next time you buy. Learning is often about trial and error, and with three kids of different ages, you're going to have your share of hits and misses in choosing curriculum.

I hope this helps. It's honestly hard to say what else to do other than see how your kids seem to learn best and aim for a curriculum that matches up best with that. Most companies will talk extensively with you online or on the phone, and I haven't met one yet that has ever treated me like I was an idiot for saying, "Here's how my child learns--- what does your curriculum offer that would fit that?"

Good luck and breathe deeply!
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil." C.S. Lewis

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Re: Choosing a curriculum is very overwhelming. HELP!!

Postby Ramona » Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:20 pm

I LOVE all the great reviews of everything and tips on how to decide in *Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started Homeschooling*! I could never have waded through it all 12 years ago without her Big Book of Home Learning.


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