Home Advice Choosing the Right Homeschool Curriculum

Choosing the Right Homeschool Curriculum

Learn how to keep the stress out of homeschool.

by Rosetta Stone

Follow these tips for getting back on track when you realize you’ve chosen the wrong curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling I just knew it would be a blissful experience. I could just picture our days: Wake up early, have breakfast together, get dressed for the day, and start our lessons by 8am sharp! So, I planned accordingly. I created schedules and ironed out our homeschool lessons for the whole school year. I was ecstatic! We would be the picture perfect homeschooling family. Fully energized every day, and diligent with our perfectly put together homeschool curriculum.

Then, the homeschool year started. And nothing, I mean nothing, went the way I had expected with our curriculum.

Lessons were taking longer than expected, set up was confusing some days, the kids were just not in the mood other days, and chores weren’t done because school time was taking up most of our time. I was exhausted and miserable. It felt as if we were homeschooling all day. And many days, we were. But in my stubbornness I kept pushing forward because I wanted to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

Finally, one day I hit a breaking point. I knew things had to change.

Our curriculum wasn’t working for us.

I put our homeschool on hold until I found a curriculum that was easier to manage. This was a hard decision to make. My “type A” personality couldn’t easily wrap around the idea of pausing our already predetermined schedule. But it was a must, so I allocated one month to resolving the issue. (I work best with deadlines)

The first week of that month I dedicated my time researching curriculum for each subject. I had already decided that I wanted each subject to only require one book to teach the subject. Meaning one main text, and of course the teacher guide to go along with it. If History and Language Arts were tied together – that wouldn’t be something that would work for us. Each subject needed to be able to stand alone.

During this first week, I was able to find exactly what I was looking for. I ended up with a curriculum I loved even MORE than the boxed curriculum we had initially gone with. I ordered everything we needed that weekend.

The second week of that month I got our home and our routines back on track. This was essential to starting fresh with our new homeschool plan.

By the third week, our entire new curriculum had arrived. Over the next two weeks I planned out the lessons for the rest of the semester. Because this wasn’t a boxed curriculum with pre-planned lesson plans, it did take a bit more up front planning. But the planning played a huge factor in helping me get mentally organized.

We were able to start fresh, with a much simpler homeschool schedule, and we haven’t turned back since.

Boxed curriculum is not for everyone. It’s okay to go against the popular route and not use a pre-planned, boxed curriculum. All of us are unique, and every child has their own unique learning style. What works for your neighbors, might not work for you. Find what works best for your family. And if you need to take some time off to regroup and start over, that’s okay. In the long run, that just may be what is needed to stay sane, and successfully homeschool your children.

Here are some extra tips to help keep the stress out of homeschool

  1. Don’t start the day unless you’re fully prepared. Countless times I attempted to teach while I was exhausted, and just plain worn out. I’ve learned that some days it’s okay to start later in the day, or just take the day off. I can’t possibly teach if my mind is not at its best.
  2. You aren’t programming their minds. Homeschooling isn’t about loading the data found in the text books, into your kid’s brains. It’s about educating the whole person. If you’re teaching reading and the text in the book is boring, find a book they love to hear you read to them. Sit down with them and have them try to read from there. If counting dots in the worksheet isn’t working, take out their favorite blocks and have them practice counting with those instead. As long as they are progressing, it’s okay. Step outside of the box if necessary. You aren’t bound to the textbook.
  3. Switch it up. If you find that teaching at the kitchen table is becoming, or causing some of your kiddos to get antsy, move to another part of the house, or outside! Math can be done sitting on the porch, and books can be read lying on the living room floor.
  4. Stay off the phone while teaching, even if you’re just waiting for your child to finish a worksheet.
  5. Turn off all electronics, and leave portable electronics in your room. I’m so distractible. If I see my laptop close to me while in the middle of teaching, I’ll want to get on it to check my email “real quick”, or Facebook. It’s never a quick event, and I get sidetracked.

About The Author

Marlene is a wife to one and a mom to three. Her days are spent homeschooling her kiddos in-between hugs and snuggles. In her not so spare time she enjoys painting, or just relaxing with a cup of coffee and a good book.

The content provided in the article(s) is intended for informational purposes only. The thoughts and views expressed are solely those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views, position or policy of Rosetta Stone Ltd.(“Rosetta Stone”) or its affiliates, or those of any party other than the author. This is not a paid endorsement, and no endorsement by Rosetta Stone of the author or the publication site should be inferred. Any sites identified or linked to the Rosetta Stone site are developed by people or parties over whom Rosetta Stone exercises no control. Accordingly, Rosetta Stone neither endorses nor assumes responsibility for the content of any site in or linked to a Rosetta Stone site.

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