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Friday, May 16, 2014

C- Choosing Curriculum





Welcome to Week Three of my ABC series on Homeschooling. This weeks letter is the letter C. In homeschooling the Big C word is definitely Curriculum. Usually that is first time homeschoolers biggest question. What curriculum will I use?  And How do I choose? Choosing curriculum can be daunting if you don't have a plan or if you don't know your child's learning style.



What is my Child's learning Style?

Before you begin scouring the web for catalogs and curriculum I would suggest taking a look at your child's learning style. If you are new to homeschooling you might want to do a few simple learning  activities with your child to see how they learn. Try finding which ways your child seems to pick up the activity the fastest. You may find that your child is a combination of two learning styles. When I teach I try to hit the two that I know are most dominate for my child when I'm teaching.

Auditory Leaners learners learn best through listening. So activities like discussion, read aloud, audio books and repeating what they just read or want to put to memory are ways they have an easier time learning.



Visual learners are those that learn best by pictures. Using photos, charts, graphs, reading texts or watching a video might be the way this learner learns best.



Kinesthetic are those that learn with hands on activities such as crafts, building, touching , feeling and doing.



It is often helpful to figure out yours as well so that you can see how the two will cross and mix while teaching. Once you figure that out  you will want to think about what you want to teach. What topics will you teach for which grade level.  There are books on the market that tell you what your child should know at which grade levels. You can use those as a guide if you are lost. Just type in amazon What your __ Grader needs to know. Fill in your child's level.


Take advantage of your child's input as well. If you have your child's interest then learning won't seem like work at all and your child will get so much more out of it. Sit down with your child and jot down their ideas. Using this brainstorming technique you can figure out a general plan. You can then add in the things that You as their mom want them to know.




 It is still not quite time to pick out  curriculum. Before you start browsing and looking you also will want to look into various teaching styles. Perhaps
Charlotte Mason , Classical, Unit Studies, Traditional , Unschooling and Eclectic.  Homeschool Creations has created a nice article explaining all of these Teaching Styles. If you are not sure what approach you would like to take then I would suggest going over and reading about them and researching any that catch your eye.

For some it may be simpler for you to choose a box  style curriculum the first time around. You won't have to make any big decisions and can follow the curriculum as a guide. "Box Style" refers to a package deal . You just choose the grade level and the company provides you with all you will need to teach that grade level. ( with the exception of basic supplies of course ) Some examples of those are
Sonlight , My Fathers World , and BJU. Just to name a couple there are many more out there.




What I like to do is pick and choose curriculum and use the ones that work best for that particular child. One child might be great at math but struggle with literature. Whatever that reflects depends on the program I would choose. A good place to find resources is the
Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew takes 100 or more bloggers and allows them to review products in exchange for their honest reviews. If you read my blog you know I'm a reviewer. You can find all of my 2013 Reviews (there are 49) and this years 2014 Reviews. This list will continue to grow all year. I highly recommend reading reviews because you can find the bigger picture about a curriculum and see if it is a right fit.  I also started a pinterest page for
Homeschool Shopping .  This shopping list is a guide of all of my favorite curriculum hot spots. Many I have purchased from and many I want to purchase from.




To me gathering all of my catalogs and choosing my favorites is one of the many things I love about homeschooling. It is so fun to make that choice. Just remember your Call with God while doing so and make right choices that would honor Him. Making sure you pray about it before you make these decisions will probably save you a lot of heart ache in the long run. If you do start a curriculum that isn't working for you don't hesitate for a moment to stop and try something else. We all makes mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are needed for us to learn and grow as a family and as teachers. God knows what we need at that time.





Good luck choosing and if you have any questions
feel free to ask them.





Warm Blessings,


Nikki

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