Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 3 ~Back to Homeschool Blog Hop ~ Choosing Curriculum

Let me be quite frank with you here. For many, many, many years we did NOT use a curriculum for any subject other than math. So if you’re looking for curriculum advice from a curriculum junkie, you might want to click on one of the many links at the end of the post and see who else is talking about choosing curriculum.

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop, Choosing Curriculum

Now, If you’re still here, please allow me to explain. When our girls were in the Elementary grades, we had neither the inclination nor the money to spend on a boxed curriculum, or even on pieces of curriculum. Instead, we went to the library … every single week! I looked thorough many of the books they had about language arts, but ended up just watching Grammar Rock with the girls instead. We are relaxed homeschoolers. We follow Charlotte Mason’s ideas about living books, narration, and short - yet focused - lessons. So much of what I desired to share with our girls was available at our local library for free. Why stress out about what you don’t have when you don't even need it?

As the girls got older (about 5th or 6th grade,) I went to a couple used books sales and purchased a few pieces of quality curriculum to use with the girls. How did I choose? I talked with friends and other homeschoolers, and I looked through Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top picks for Homeschool Curriculum … also borrowed from our library. :) I also looked online at book lists. A great site for book lists is If you’re wanting to offer your children a Charlotte Mason style education, I recommend you read Karen Andreola’s A Charlotte Mason Companion.

Regardless of what kind of teaching style you plan to employ, it really helps you to choose appropriate curriculum or resources if you know how your children best learn. My best recommendation for learning about learning styles is my dear friend Diana Waring. You can learn so much from her talks, blog posts, and books. 

In the past we’ve used worksheets, workbooks, textbooks, living books, lap books, notebooking journals, games, and field guides. Because the possibilities are endless - let me  encourage you to start small. For the past few years we’ve been blessed to be a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and have had the opportunity to use so many more curriculum choices than we would have been able to afford on our own. These review opportunities give us the chance to tell you more about the curriculum than you would find on the vendor’s websites. If you’re wondering about a specific curriculum, click over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s webpage and see if it has been reviewed recently.

My overall guidance is this: don’t spend more money than you have, and don’t buy what you won’t need. Start small. If you have a subject that you personally find difficult to teach (say grammar,) then focus on getting a curriculum to help you with that. There are tons of websites with free worksheets for just about everything you could think of for elementary grades, and several that have worksheets for upper grades. 

Consider being out of the box. Find DVDs at your library, or documentaries on Netflix and watch your way through history or social studies. National Geographic has some fun ones, so does the History Channel. You can offer your home educated children so much more than the standard box of books found in a public school. 

I’ll list a few of our favorite curriculum companies/ resources below. Spend enough time to find something that works and is FUN for your children. One more thing - be willing to sell what doesn’t work well for your family and try again. Have fun exploring all the great options out there for curriculum!

Diana Waring: Exploring History Through Music
Diana Waring: History Revealed
Heirloom Audio Productions

English (Grammar or Literature):
The Logic of English
Analytical Grammar
Sharon Watson
IEW’s  - Fix-It! Grammar

Answers in Genesis: God’s Design Series
Bridget Ardoin’s: Science for High School
Fascinating Education

Rod & Staff’s elementary math workbooks
VideoText Interactive Algebra

ARTistic Pursuits
See the Light

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Marcy @ Ben and Me

Rebecca @ Raventhreads
Annette @ In All You Do

Aurie @ Our Good Life
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Katie @ DailyLife
Melissa @ Mom's Plans
Annette @ A Net In Time

Crystal @ Crystal Starr
Shawna @ Tenacity Divine
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning 
Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road

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