when you buy new homeschool curriculum: 5 clever suggestions

When you buy new homeschool curriculum, how do you know what you should buy?

This all depends on how we understand what an education is anyway.

“…Education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”

Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element

If this is education, then the hunt for the perfect curriculum will not be required.

And in my experience, finding that perfect curriculum will be as elusive as the Rosetta Stone. (Wait, I saw the Rosetta Stone in a London museum. Okay, it’ll be as elusive as my attempt to write this simile.) So how do we decide how to buy new homeschool curriculum?

Much curriculum exists. A perfect curriculum does not.

One can learn snippets of information from…

  • textbooks,
  • Wikipedia,
  • biographies and memoirs,
  • experiments and observation,
  • apprenticeship positions
  • creativity is enabled by solitude, mixed with play.

But a perfect curriculum, you’re not going to find it.

Madelyn Rachel reading on the floor

When you buy new homeschool curriculum, choose a curriculum for a specific child.

You’re choosing to educate a child, not an anonymous roomful of children.

Keep the child in mind. Because halfway through the study season, your child might get bored with the curriculum. That’s okay. (ps so might you). That’s okay too. You also may have learned that you bought a whole bunch of stuff that you like, but your child does not.

Lesson learned: you’ll continue to learn about how she learns. Your starting point should be your child.

Madelyn reading Horrible Histories

Observe their learning tendencies.

Pay attention to how they approach their learning when you buy new homeschool curriculum

We learn many things about our children and how they learn too.

Just as we learned there is no textbook for parenting, there’s no textbook for homeschooling. (Okay, actually, there are, but they weren’t written for your child.)

Writing with a pencil crayon and Zach's baby

What are your child’s interests?

Perhaps he’s really interested in dinosaurs.

  • Could you add and subtract dinosaurs?
  • Could you read about dinosaurs?
  • Does he like to draw?
  • Would he like to paper mache dinosaurs? (Ha, good luck cleaning that up.)
  • Do you like to bake? Shape salty pretzels into dinosaur shapes.

Unit studies of nearly every topic are easy to find. Incorporate their interests, and they’ll engage more closely. (Just check Pinterest for ideas).

Child-led learning is a useful way to determine your new homeschool curriculum choice.

Zach Madelyn Rachel playing Professor Noggins

Spend a lot of money, waste a lot of money.

I know there’s a library around the corner, there is a roomful of boxes with the curriculum I purchased in my early years of homeschooling, and there are more online resources than I’ll ever need. Maybe the kids are tired of reading our Apologia Aquatic book, and they want to pursue a little anatomy. We can do that, and later on, we can go back to it.

When we deschool our homeschools, we instill more freedom, individualization, and purpose in our homeschools (& lives).

I love sifting through books and curricula, games, and tables of homeschool offerings. For the few years our kids are with us, we’ll personalize an education, help them build achievement, and build on their individual talents.

And we’ll try, just try, to choose the best curriculum for them.

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