Tuesday

Curriculum?

You thought about homeschooling, and now you’ve officially made a decision to homeschool.

Where do you go from here? You need a curriculum. But HOW on earth do you find one?

Where do you start? It’s all a bit overwhelming. I’d like to offer you some help here. I’m not perfect. I’m not even sure my way is the best way, but it’s what I’ve got.

I’ve helped several people in their search for curriculum as they started their homeschooling journey. I think my bias is evident in the fact that almost all of them have chosen Sonlight. I say that only to warn you that I am biased.

Before I write about how to set out to find the “perfect” curriculum, though, I’d like to take up a blog telling you why there is no “perfect” curriculum. Even our main curriculum, Sonlight, has an article online and in their catalog telling you the “25 reasons Sonlight is not for you”. They recognize that not everyone will want to use their curriculum. That goes for every provider out there. The ONLY one “curriculum” that I think belongs in EVERY homeschool is the Bible.

Again, I’m biased. What can I say?

Despite my love of Sonlight, even I have looked at other types of curriculum. My most recent search began when my oldest developed a disdain for division. I’m pretty sure she thinks it’s from the devil. She gets her thoughts on that from her dad. Still, she needed to learn it & Horizons just wasn’t cutting it. Enter Math-U-See, and we have a child beginning to grasp the concept of division.

And you must know this!

Don’t let anyone fool you! You will probably use more than one type of curriculum for your children throughout your homeschooling years. AND THAT’S OKAY!!!! We were very blessed in that we found in Sonlight something that has thus far worked very well for us and I foresee working throughout our homeschooling years. However, we have added to Sonlight as it suits our needs.

We changed from Saxon (the then recommended math program) to Horizons because we were all going to die of boredom from Saxon. Shortly thereafter, Horizons became the main math program for Sonlight. We recently added in Math-U-See for my oldest. However, we’re still doing Horizons with her and our other 2 children. My oldest is a science sponge and can’t get enough of it. We went through Sonlight science levels K-4 with her before we’d finished Core K. (I’m doing the Sonlight 1 science with my other 2 children right now.) My oldest daughter then started doing Abeka science and health through 6th grade, went on to part of the Christian Kids Explore series and is now doing Apologia’s elementary science program and is reading the Cartoon Guide to Chemistry for fun. We also just started a unit study (our first) on the Human Body which we’re doing lapbooking for (again…a first). We also just started a study on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which we plan to continue on as a full government/extended American history study. We’re doing this on Saturdays with daddy. We're also utilizing our extensive collection of books for both studies. And yes. We STILL use Sonlight.

My point? You have to be open to the idea of change. You have to be willing to adapt. (I’d say it several more and different ways, but I think you get the point.) After all, isn’t part of the reason we homeschool so we can teach our children where they are? They may be right in line with their counterparts in “regular” school, slower than them, or faster than them.

That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling.

If my daughter needs to take longer in division, she can. She can spend a year on it if she needs to. At the same time she’s spending a year on division, she can go through several years worth of science. She can be the messiest writer there is, but be able to fully read and comprehend my college nursing textbooks at 8. She can be the messiest writer there is (did I mention her writing is messy?), but be in the process of writing a book that she intends to have published.
Even within your family, all of your children aren’t likely to learn in exactly the same manner or at exactly the same time. You can have one child that reads at 4 and another who doesn’t read until she’s almost 7 (but now reads on a level almost equal to her sister…with a little help on my nursing books).

Before you even start looking for curriculum, remember that what you choose today doesn’t have to be what you will use tomorrow. You know what I mean.

It’s okay to change!

It’s also okay to expand your schooling using free resources that are on the web. I’d have been totally lost on lapbooking and unit studies had it not been for friends that sent me to the web. I’ve found nearly all I need for both of our unit studies for free online. (We do also have TONS…and I’m not exaggerating…of books at home on nearly every subject.) My latest count on Library Thing is almost 1100…and I’m not even a quarter (if that) of the way done. We have a LOT of books! They are the lifeblood of my children’s education. They love reading! That’s why we love Sonlight!

I promise this is NOT a paid infomercial for Sonlight. I’m not getting free books…or even free chocolate for saying this. I’m really that biased. (But it would be okay if someone from Sonlight wanted to send me chocolate…I mean books…no…I want the chocolate.) I’ll have to send them this blog post and see if I can’t score some chocolate.

I’ll close now and we’ll talk about how to find the “perfect” curriculum…for YOUR family…in my next homeschooling blog.

Just remember: you don’t have to keep, or even like, what you start out using.

-Me

3 comments:

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

**You have to be willing to adapt.

Great homeschool advice...I needed to hear that again tonight. Thanks.

Luke said...

Amy,

I can't send you chocolates or books--wish I could, but I'm just the Sonlight blogging guy [smile]--but I want to let you know that you could become a Sonlight Affiliate. This in no way requires you to start advertising for Sonlight, but it does allow you to potentially get some monetary thanks for spreading your love of Sonlight... and perhaps make it possible for you to buy yourself some chocolate [smile].

Again, I really wish I could send you chocolate, and I'm guessing that a link to chocolate isn't exactly what you want, but it's the best I can do [smile].

And I love reading posts about how Sonlight has been a blessing to families. Thanks for sharing your successes and tweaks!

~Luke

Amy said...

De'Etta-I'm honored. I consider you an expert in the "field".

Luke-Thanks for the chocolate link. It was *exactly* what I was hoping for. LOL I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I had actually planned on going ABOVE you! I mean, come on! This is CHOCOLATE we're talking about! We women don't mess around with our chocolate! :-)

And thank for the heads-up about the SL affiliate program. I'll check that out!

-Amy

 
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