A wise person once said that a family can homeschool its children with nothing but a library. While this may be true, most parents are more comfortable with an established homeschool curriculum. Choosing a homeschool curriculum can seem like a daunting task for the brand new homeschooling parent. After the decision has been made to homeschool the children, parents are often at a loss as to how to choose the right curriculum. They soon learn that homeschool curriculum is a surprisingly large market.
Veteran homeschooling parents will cheerfully try to encourage the new homeschoolers by sharing their own choices in curriculum and giving varying opinions. Sometimes this only adds to the confusion. The best thing a new homeschooling parent can do when seeking out homeschool curriculum is to go slowly, study, consider the child's learning style, and be flexible.
Whether parents have known for years that they would homeschool their children or whether the decision was a quick one that takes a child out of a traditional school setting, they should always go slowly when choosing a homeschool curriculum. In a panic, many parents will buy the first curriculum they find; often something which seems comfortable or familiar and reminds them of their own school days. Homeschool curriculum is expensive and there are hundreds of different types and styles. Children can be taught using library books and books borrowed from friends until the right curriculum is chosen.
The best way to study the choices in homeschool curriculum is to visit a homeschool curriculum conference. All 50 states have annual conferences where curriculum representatives gather to present their books and other products. At the conference, parents can browse through homeschool curriculums at their leisure and decide which one might work for their children. Many parents pick and choose between different curriculums, using one for math, another for grammar, and so on. In addition, professionals are on hand to answer questions and give seminars.
A child's learning style should be considered when choosing a homeschool curriculum. Whether the child is primarily a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic (hands on) learner, there are curriculums which are more appropriate based on learning style.
The most important aspect about choosing a homeschool curriculum is to be flexible. New homeschooling parents often spend an exorbitant amount of money on boxes full of shiny new books, only to find partway through the school year that both parents and children simply hate the curriculum. While not all learning is fun, you might find that your chosen homeschool curriculum is simply not right for your family. If so, be willing to make a change. Begin the process again: study the options, consider your child's learning style, and be flexible. And if all else fails, use the library!