Lately I have had some angst building as it relates to curriculum choices and comparisons. There are opinions to go around on what is best, what works best and what is liked the most or what is preferred by many. However, at the end of the day, isn’t the reason why you are homeschooling so that you can make your own choices as to what your dc learn??? If that is the bottom line then get out of the box of thinking that any one curriculum is going to meet all of your needs…it isn’t. One curriculum is not going to make all of your children, if schooling multiple children, happy. One curriculum is not going to make you happy.
There are choices upon choices upon choices in the homeschooling arena and with choice comes opinions upon opinions upon opinions. I think it is helpful to hear others thoughts/opinions but you still must take it with a grain of salt because that person is not you and their kids are not your kids. I have seen that so much opinion following only leads to people buying things that came highly recommended by so and so to find out that they don’t like it and neither do their children. Get out of the box of following everyone’s opinions.
Maybe at the end of the day, I am just thrifty (cheap) because I am not willing to follow the latest whim and purchase just because x number of people like it. I need workarounds and I like trying to find workarounds because when we decided to homeschool it wasn’t expected to be an easy process, I expect bumps and some of those bumps are me finding a workaround because I do not like to waste money.
Over the last few days, I did not feel as if our reading curriculum was getting my dd to where I think she should be so I was doing some research on the net and came across a resource that I subsequently checked out of the library. I liked it so much, I purchased the updated version from Barnes & Noble today with my teacher discount…what was it – The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists. This book has all of the current reading programs on the market combined into 1 book that will take my dc through high school and college. Not only does it include phonics, it includes phongrams, homophones, homographs, vocab builders (prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, greek and latin roots), word families, content words, books to read at different stages, writing, ideas for teaching, comprehesion, study skills, test skills, spelling, grammar, sing language examples, braille alphabet, morse code, hieroglyphics, games and additional references. All for less than $25. I had to get out of the box of thinking that one way of teaching them per some curriculum was going to be the end all be all.
Now, I am going to include some readers and based upon my dd tendency to figure out from the pictures with the BOB books, I am going to download the FREE McGuffey Readers from Project Gutenberg. Yes, I did say FREE, here is the Primer. The readers are pretty and nice but seriously after the children learn to read, are they really going to come back and read the pretty reader that you spent so much money for….no. Get out of the box of always wanting to keep up with the Joneses and buy, buy, buy…instead be wise, wise, wise. You are teaching your children more than the 3 R’s when you constantly spend unwisely…
My boxers have really been in a bunch over this because I think that even though well-intentioned, the opinions can lead some new homeschoolers down a path that they later regret. If you are new to homeschooling, take your time to look around and read as much as you can and figure out what you want to be the underlying philosphy (foundation) of your homeschooling efforts. Once you have solidified that foundation, then figure out what you want your dc to learn/know and then begin doing some research on what is out there and even challenge yourself to design your own curriculum. Every method around suggests using living books, go walk the shelves at the library, talk with the librarians (I find them to be quite helpful and willing to assist homeschoolers), and see what is available for your family. When you are comfortable with your research/investigation, make a list of what you would like to purchase. Put the list away for at least 2 weeks and during that time just pray over your list/choices and I guarantee when you pull your list you will scratch some items off of the list. Or make your highball list and your lowball list…you will be surprised how much you can eliminate when you switch time for money.
Another issue that is related to this is the concern that the chosen curriculum will not meet college standards or will not prepare the dc properly. As a homeschooler and a parent you want the best for your children well maybe you need to get out of the box of what is currently offered and move up to some college texts. Yes, you can get the teacher editions as most of us belong to some card carrying homeschool group so speak with the publisher and as a homeschooler use your professional homeschool voice and get what is best for your child.
For me once I move beyond our biblical foundation to educate our children, I see the world as our oyster and we are free to choose/develop a curriculum that best meets our needs but also as the teacher/parent I am to not rely solely on that curriculum, I am to supplement it with whatever I feel necessary to make sure that my student/child understands it. There isn’t a curriculum in the world that you will ever be 100% happy with but you can be happy with knowing that you have found what is better for you and your family and you have taken the time to add to it to make it best for you and your family.