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What Everybody Needs to Know About Homeschool Curriculum
A lot of homeschoolers are guilty of agonizing way too much over curriculum options! It’s so overwhelming to see all the vast array of choices and styles out there, and it’s so easy to start thinking that if we just choose the right one – everything will be sunshine and roses this school year.
Here’s the thing, though:
Curriculum is only a tool; a guideline to help us in our efforts to educate our children.
No matter how much we wish it, it’s never going to transform our homeschool day, every day. Some days are going to be long and full of arguments and drama anyway, because that’s how kids roll. Some days the guilty party might be us.
What can homeschool curriculum do for us?
Curriculum can offer a conveniently laid-out plan of attack for the subject we want to approach. If I want to teach, say, the history of the United States, I can find curricula that have chosen the aspects they feel should be covered. It will lay them in order, and give me the tools to share those topics with my children. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with every one they put in there or do every single thing.
It can suggest activities, crafts, or writing ideas (just to name a few) that I might want to try. And it will save me time looking up or planning those things.
Homeschool curriculum can be a guiding voice to direct my children, as in an online math course with videos. So that I am not always the Evil Mother Who Makes Him Do Math When She Knows He Hates It.
Curriculum can offer a new approach to a topic when the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t working for my child’s learning style.
What our homeschool curriculum can’t do is make us actually sit down and use it.
Curriculum is just a tool. A convenient guideline.
It’s not a set of rules that must be followed.
It’s not going to take over the hard work of getting a child to stop leaving the table every time we turn around.
It’s not judging us when we tweak something it says to do. Or if we skip over entire sections because we’re confident that our child has a grasp on that topic already.
The most important thing that it will not do is to sit down with our children, encourage them to try, praise them for their efforts, and be a hand to hold along the path. That one is all on us and no matter how amazing our curriculum choice is, it’s not going to do anything if we leave it gathering dust on a shelf.
So when you get sucked into the giant annual catalog sent by a company whose job it is to make these shiny new products sound amazing, ask yourself if you really need to order this latest promise being made……..or do you just need to set a time, a place, and a family rhythm with the curricula you already own and start working through it regularly?
I think most of the time we know which one of these is the case. Curriculum is a tool, not a rule.