Choosing a Curriculum
Multiple authors: Used With Permission
Alpha Omega publications gives an excellent overview of some crucial questions to ask.
There is a world of information and curriculum out there for the Christian home school family. Be careful not to get overwhelmed all at once! It is a good idea to list your goals at the onset. For instance, some of our family goals are to raise our boys with a Christian world-view, to be close as a family, and to customize the material to fit our boys’ academic needs and interests.
You can also research “curriculum fairs” that are hosted in large metroplexes. They are great places to look at several curriculums before purchasing. It’s crucial to look through material before purchasing. The way one book is laid out will be perfect for some learning styles but awful for others, including you – the teacher. i.e. the spacing…the fonts…does it have pictures….white space…
It is also helpful to know that there are different approaches to home schooling. “School-at-home” curriculum is a subject-by-subject approach, like you would find in most schools. You work on science for 45 minutes, then Math, etc. This approach takes several hours (or more) each day, and can be less intimidating for the parent. You can do it all on the Internet, from CD ROM, from books, or even as a part of a “class room” with a teacher and counselors. There are really great resources out there.
In “Unit studies” almost all your subjects are centered around a theme, with the possible exception of math and phonics for younger children. For example, one study we did was on LIGHT. We read about the Light of the World (Bible), we studied prisms (science), we drew rainbows (art), we read about light houses (history / literature / geography). You get the idea. This approach usually takes less time, is more fun for all and seems to cement the lessons in the child’s memory. There are great resources out there that can guide you in this method, or provide all the material for you. This is also a great way to homeschool kids of different ages or abilities. You make sure each gets something to challenge their minds during the lesson, then assign different activities based on ability (i.e. the preschooler colors the rainbow, the older child learns the names of the colors in order).
Don’t feel that you need to stick to one method for 12 years! Many families mix and match curriculum and experiences. Your child will have different needs, as the family as a whole will also.