How to Choose a Curriculum

Venerable pioneers, those of you who have faded photographs of jean jumpers and paint chipped Flexible Flyer red wagons, do you remember those days? We had three—just three—curricula choices or we wrote our own. Incidentally, that is really why I wrote my first curricula—I did not like what was out there.

Those days, however, are over. Attend any home school convention and you will be inundated with flashy curricula.  They are everywhere. Hundreds of choices. In fact, success in homeschool teaching these days is determined more by what we don’t buy that what we buy! Effective homeschoolers have to learn to say no, or, we will have what I have in my home: a couple of bookcases of unopened curricula that “we thought” we would use or “it looked so nice.”  Right.

So how does one choose curricula? I would use the following checklist:

  • ·        Inquiry Based (Does the curriculum invite the student to engage in critical thinking, student-centered activities?)
  • ·        Age Appropriate (Does the curriculum reflect a vocabulary and sentence structure appropriate to your student(s)?)
  • ·        Colorful and Interesting (Does the curriculum appear in column? Are there pictures? Graphs? Is if printed on sturdy materials?)
  • ·        Answer Key (Does the curriculum provide an answer key?)
  • ·        Propagandistic (Does the curriculum reflect objective scholarship?)
  • ·        Need Based (Does the curriculum meet your needs?  If your child is going to college, is it preparing him to go?).
  • ·        Authorship (Check the credentials of the author of your curriculum).
  • ·        Organization (Is the curriculum organized in a user-friendly manner?)

These are exciting and important days in which we live. Never have a more critical generation—homeschooled or otherwise—grown up in America. It is important that all homeschool parents take seriously its duty of providing the best curricula to educate their children!

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