More and more parents these days are opting for homeschooling as an alternative to public schools and even private institutions. There is a comfort in knowing that you are in control of how and what your child or children will learn.
If you choose to home school, the first step is to find a homeschool curriculum that is going to best fit your needs and the learning style of your child. When searching, many parents find a challenge in selecting the best and most effective curriculum. To help you and your child get on the right home schooling path, we are going to go over how to choose a homeschool curriculum, and give you a preview of what a good homeschool curriculum should look like.
How to Choose a Homeschool Cirriculum
Step 1: Determine What Subjects They Need
Before you pick out or buy a curriculum for your child, it is helpful to review the homeschool laws within your state. This is going to help you determine what subjects your child is required to learn, and when. The subjects that are probably going to be required throughout your child’s homeschool duration are:
- Sciences (Biology, Physics, Chemistry)
Step 2: Develop Goals
To reach an end result or any learning objective, you are going to want to set up some specific and detailed goals for your child. Ask yourself some questions, such as: what your main objectives are for your child’s learning environment. Here are the age ranges pertaining to each grade.
- 5 to 7 year olds (Grade 1 to 2)
- 7 to 11 year olds (Grades 3 to 6)
- 11 to 14 year olds (Grades 7 to 9)
- 14 to 16 year olds (Grades 10 to 11)
- 16 to 18 year olds (Grades 12 to 13)
Step 3: Determine your child’s style
Every child will have a specific and different learning style. Observe your child’s learning style for awhile and determine how they best take in and process the information that they are given. This will help you choose a curriculum that is best going to fit their educational needs.
Step 4: Choose a method
There are a variety of different homeschooling methods and styles that you can find online. Of course you can mix and match your own, but here are some examples:
- Charlotte Mason
- Computer Based/Online
- Literature Based
- Thomas Jefferson
- Unit Study
Step 5: Choose a method of instruction
You can choose to teach your child at home by encouraging to use the internet, participating in online schooling activities, or through one on one teaching. Look through different home schooling methods of instruction and determine which one is going to fit you and your child the best.
Step 6: Read reviews
If you are stuck in choosing an online homeschool curriculum for your child, one of the best things that you can do is read reviews online. People always have plenty of things to say about things that they buy online, so you will not be short of advice and opinions.
Step 7: Attend a homeschool curriculum fair or convention
There are plenty of other parents, tutors, and teachers out there who engage in homeschooling as well. Look up some homeschool fairs or conventions in your area and attend them. This will give you a good change to view any curriculum material before you purchase it, and ask any relevant questions that you might have.
Step 8: Decide on a curriculum
After you have done your research, you can finally select and purchase the homeschool curriculum that you have chosen. Once you have your homeschool curriculum with you, there are some tips to keep in mind:
- Be aware that you can tailor and change your chosen program to meet your family or child’s needs. Do not feel obligated to have your child do everything in the curriculum if you do not want them to engage in busywork or other activities that you feel are unnecessary.
- If you like certain things about a few different homeschool curriculums, you can decide to purchase some material for different subjects from a variety of companies. This is known as “eclectic homeschooling”, which will give you and your child more curriculum flexibility and options.
- Even though you have already chosen a homeschool curriculum, always browse through popular homeschooling catalogs and be on the lookout for new programs and new materials.
Sample Homeschool Curriculum
For First Grades: First graders should be exposed to a curriculum that enables them to excel in reading, language arts, and math. They should:
- Know the names and sounds of all the consonants and vowels in the alphabet.
- Understand basic phonics concepts and consonant combinations.
- Be able to follow along with reading material and summarize simple stories with pictures.
- Have an understanding of basic composition and sentence structure.
- Be able to count to 100 by 1’s and skip counting.
- Know addition math facts.
- Add and subtract small numbers.
- Understand the value of money.
- Know basic units of measurement such as time and weight.
For Seventh Graders: By this age, homeschoolers should show progress in reading, writing, and language arts. Before completion of seventh grade, students should:
- Develop writing skills that are streamlined and complex.
- Be able to constructively critique their own writing, as well as the writing of others.
- Use proper punctuation, grammar, and syntax skills in their writing.
- Recognize and apply grade-level appropriate vocabulary in their writing and speaking.
- Read with proper fluency and focus.
- Have a solid understanding of the basic principles of algebra.
- Know how to properly graph and solve linear equations.
- Understand and apply the basic concepts of geometry.
- Apply math concepts to their everyday activities.
- Control what material your children learn, when they learn it, and the speed of their learning.
- Show and demonstrate to your children that learning is a fun and exciting experience.
- Build intimate and meaningful relationships with your children that you would not have been able to otherwise.
- Tailor your teaching to fit your children’s learning styles and for your personal preferences of what you believe is best for learning.
- Provide your children with in-depth and personal attention for any subject with which they struggle or excel. This one on one attention may not have been provided by a regular school teacher.
- Create weekly schedules that fits your needs and the needs of your child to allow the both of you to do things without the constraint of a traditional classroom schedule.
- Readily transfer the values and beliefs that you have about education to your children and address any questions that they might have about learning.
- Protect your children from any negative influences that they could encounter outside the home or at school.
- Nurture your children’s natural talents, such as: musical, artistic, or mathematical so that they may thrive in grow in the areas that they are strong in.
- Help your children mature through the difficult times in their lives without them being subject to peer pressure.
Take Control of Your Child’s Education
Homeschooling can have a profound effect on both you and your child. It can provide rich rewards for students, and many parents and teachers believe that homeschool can make children smarter. To get started with homeschooling, enroll in this course that will show you how to engage your child in the learning process and provide an effective learning environment.