We’ve looked at some of the basic factors that you should consider when choosing a homeschool curriculum. One of the biggest factors that affects your curriculum choice is the homeschool method you’re using.
Certain homeschool methods (such as classical homeschooling, Waldorf, and Montessori) are very structured and require you to follow a designated path with an established curriculum. Other homeschool methods are more flexible (relaxed homeschooling, unit studies, unschooling, eclectic homeschooling), and allow you greater freedom of choice when selecting books, materials, and curriculum.
What method of homeschooling will you be following? This is the first choice to make after committing to homeschooling. As mentioned above, certain homeschool methods follow a fairly tight curriculum. The classical method, for instance, dictates a lot of specific topics in each of the three stages of grammar, logic and rhetoric. It deals in the more traditional basics of reading, writing, spelling and math to build a good educational foundation in the grammar stage. The classical homeschool method then progresses on to the logic stage where language, logic, history and science come into play. The last stage—the rhetoric stage—is more about working within the mind, using developed skills to form and defend opinions expressed in writing and speech formats.
Something else to consider is the amount of time the homeschool curriculum will require. Certain homeschool curriculum programs require a lot more hands-on time by the parent-teacher, especially in the early years. This should factor into your decision on which method you’re going to follow. How much time do you have to devote to homeschooling? Reading about the various methods should give you a good idea of how much time will be required for each type. Cross-match the amount of time needed with your schedule to determine when and how long you can teach.
Even in the most rigorous of homeschool methods, the time needed from the parent-teacher lessens as your child ages. Early elementary teaching can be just an hour or two a day, whereas high school students will need five or six hours. The difference comes into play when you analyze how much time you need to play a direct part. In the early years it’s going to be close to be nearly a 100% time commitment, whereas in high school teaching, you’re going to become more of a monitor of the work done, with very little time required by you. You will be mainly laying out the course work and assignments, checking on their progress, and grading the work when completed.
Some methods of teaching don’t require very much in the way of purchasing outside products and curriculum. These methods rely more on library books, Internet use, or fashioning their own learning tools. Some choose to buy certain learning aids to add a little variety to the school day. They want to mix it up a little to keep things fresh and keep the student from getting bored.
Some homeschool parents choose to take snippets from various methods of teaching and put them together to form hybrid methods of teaching. For example, these methods might take the basic portion of the classical method and add in some Internet studies or video aids. Some parents like to add real-life studies like cooking, carpentry, computer science, or nature studies to their selected curriculum. There is virtually no end to the number of ways you can put together a homeschooling curriculum. It’s a matter of personal choice that combines your personal situation with the end goal of what you want your child to learn.
The most important thing is to have fun, enjoy your kids, and learn as much as possible. Don’t stress too much when choosing a homeschool curriculum. You can always change and adapt as necessary.