Read part 1 of this mini-series here: Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM part 1; the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly!
Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM;
picking out the good from the bad & the ugly!
Out of stock . . .
Delayed . . .
Back-ordered . . .
Homeschool Curriculum companies are struggling to keep up with the “Suddenly-Homeschooling” demand this fall . . . and that even goes for the sucky ones (of which there are many)! This isn’t surprising when you look at the numbers. In some states, Homeschooling is up by as much as 800% this fall! Who could have seen that coming? This year has just been full of surprises, hasn’t it?
The curriculum creators our family has chosen to supplement our lesson plans this year (which I will reveal in tomorrow’s post) have transitioned just since the spring from a single warehouse to three larger warehouses— all in an attempt to keep up with the printing demands. They are furiously re-stocking yet are still back-ordered for almost their entire curriculum line! Thankfully, they are offering the FIRST 4 WEEKS of CURRICULUM for K-8th as FREE & printable PDFs (yes, I will include that link tomorrow) while they fell a few more acres of forest to take to their printing presses. And this is just ONE company.
So, how to find a good curriculum among all the madness? And what to do if the curriculum you want is currently out of stock? Is it better just to take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves and go DIY? I’ve done my absolute best to help all of us in answering that question today.
Which to BUY? OR DIY?
You may want to purchase teaching curriculum if . . .
- You have no idea where to start in teaching your kid(s)
- You are stressed or get easily overwhelmed or just have too much going on
- You are working (from home or otherwise)
- You feel you need daily step-by-step guidance
- Your child enjoys traditional learning methods
- You lack confidence in teaching your child(ren) one or more contents/subjects
You may want to forego purchasing a teaching curriculum and go fully DIY if . . .
- You plan on Homeschooling in one of the following methods/styles: Montessori, Waldorf, or Unschooling/Project-Based Learning
- Your child hates traditional learning methods (such as worksheets, homework, etc.)
- You love creative projects and going grass-roots
- You think you can do a better job than a standardized teaching curriculum (by the way . . . you probably can)
- You want your child(ren) to have a unique, hands-on learning environment
Please note: If a mix of both of the above categories describes your family, then you may benefit from our family’s “Curriculum Compromise” for this year which I am super excited about and will outline for you in tomorrow’s post!
When Choosing a Teaching Curriculum, toss out any options that receive a “no” for any of the following questions:
- DOES IT HAVE CURB APPEAL?
- Do you want to look at this curriculum? Is it inviting and intriguing to look at?
- You and your kids are going to be staring at this material about five days a week for the next year. If you don’t want to look at it now, there is no way you will be able to stomach it three months from now. Trust me.
- IS IT BEAUITFUL & INSPIRING?
- In case you didn’t weed enough out with that first question . . . beauty cannot be underestimated!! Teaching curriculum is more often than not: ugly, garish, printed junk. In my opinion, all educational materials we give to our children should be natural, aesthetically pleasing, and artistically inspiring. . . including curriculum!
- A holistic education must nurture every part of the child, and that begins with his or her senses being awakened and invited by whatever material is presented. It is just as any chef or foodie will tell you: we eat with our eyes first. If the school materials, manipulatives, resources, and curriculum we set before our children are not beautiful, inviting, intriguing, and inspiring, we have lost the love of learning before we have even begun.
- Please note: Curriculum that showcases computer-generated, cartoony illustrations may initially catch your child’s eye, but let me assure you: these images will not nourish your child’s mind or spirit. A beautiful, inspiring curriculum should have rich content, and should be supported by rich and beautiful illustrations or art work.
- IS IT WRITTEN BY A TEACHER OR HOMESCHOOL PARENT?
- This may be the most important question. Teachers and parents know kids, they hopefully know something about educating kids, and sometimes they even like kids! They at least usually know what kids like. And they almost always know what kids DON’T like. A lot of teaching curriculum is written by people who know very little to nothing about kids . . . let alone how to inspire a love of learning.
- DOES IT ADHERE TO YOUR EDUCATIONAL BELIEFS & PRINCIPALS?
- Throw out any curriculum that does not fully support your family’s educational beliefs and principals. If you aren’t sure what your educational beliefs, principals, or Homeschool Style are, you may want to refer to my previous post: What education model fits your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE? Take our free QUIZ!
- IS IT HOLISTIC IN IT’S APPROACH? DOES IT FACILITATE MANY FORMS OF LEARNING?
- Most teaching curriculums are primarily geared toward conceptual learning through visual or auditory teaching methods. In other words, a curriculum which is primarily comprised of instructions that are printed on the page or a lesson that is taught on the board— which a child is expected to absorb purely through seeing or hearing. Precious few teaching curriculums facilitate kinesthetic or hands-on learning, even though these methods usually wield better results for the majority of students.
- Please note: even if you do find and choose a teaching curriculum that facilitates some kinesthetic or hands-on learning, I highly suggest that you supplement additional hands-on materials/manipulatives to use in conjunction with your chosen curriculum program.
- For ideas for supplementing your curriculum with hands-on materials and manipulatives, stay tuned for my upcoming post: Our Favorite Montessori Materials & Manipulatives and what in the world to do with them.
- IS IT FLEXIBLE FOR GRADE LEVEL/CONTENT/ACCELERATION OR IS IT ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL?
- The idea that a child is simultaneously ready for 2nd grade math, reading, history, and science . . . simply because he or she is eight years old is completely absurd. Your child may be a grade or two or three ahead in one subject, while he or she is “on-target” or even a grade or two or three behind in another subject!
- IS IT PARENT-FRIENDLY?
- If a curriculum won’t save you time . . . or if it is going to be the source of daily frustration, then there is simply no point in putting up with it.
There are SO many Homeschool curriculums out there! And more coming into the market every year. So, I thought I would provide you a list to save you an insane, rabbit-hole, wild-goose-chase google search. Although our curriculum choice for this year is not on this list (tune in tomorrow for that link), here is an incredible list of some of the “best” or favorite Homeschool curriculums out there:
Master Homeschool Curriculum List with links!
What to do if the curriculum you want is out-of-stock:
1.) First of all . . . DON’T PANIC.
Breathe and read to your kid(s). Seriously.
2.) DON’T SETTLE.
You will be so much better off waiting for a good, quality curriculum than having a crappy one right now. In fact, even if you never get your hands on a good curriculum, you and your kids will be better off just reading together, talking together, and doing projects together than if you force-feed your family a junky curriculum.
3.) Consider a MONTESSORI, WALDORF, LITERATURE-BASED, or UNSCHOOLING approach!
If that curriculum you want is just not coming back in stock, or if you are feeling the pressure to get going right now, or if you just can’t find a curriculum you like, you may want to consider a somewhat unconventional Homeschool approach.
*To find the education model that fits your family’s style, take my free quiz here: Find your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE!
Tune in tomorrow, or subscribe below for:
Our ~CURRICULUM COMPROMISE~ for Fall 2020
Link for 4 WEEKS OF FREE, PRINTABLE PDF CURRICULUM for K-8th grade!
Thanks for reading! And may your “Suddenly-Homeschooling” Journey be an unexpected blessing!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~
6 Replies to “Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM part 2: which to BUY? Or DIY?”
Love the words about illustrations, so true that all pictures in books and workbooks are NOT created equal. True about music lesson books too! Some honest solid advice here in this post!
Thank you! And yes, I agree about piano books! I love the old, vintage piano book illustrations.