Before You Buy That
I started homeschooling almost twenty-five years ago, and in many ways, it was much simpler then. Curriculum choices were limited, and that made it easier to choose.
Today, with the explosion of the homeschooling movement and
an estimated 1.5 million children who are home educated,* the
number of options is staggering, enough to bring most homeschool moms to their knees. How can we possibly choose the
perfect course of study for our families?
Well, the bad news is this: you can’t. That’s because there is
no single perfect curriculum. It’s tempting to believe that if
we keep analyzing, comparing, and searching we’ll find one
that fits the quintessential ideal. Right? Wrong.
A friend of mine, who used to sell books at homeschool
curriculum fairs, reports that desperate mothers often came
to her for advice on buying the “ideal” academic program.
What could she tell them? Everything depends on a particular family’s goals, methods, learning styles, and a dozen other
For example, when I wrote my book Real-Life Homeschooling:
The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home, I
found a sharp divide between those who loved Saxon math and
those who hated it. Children are different. Families are different,
and what works for you this year may not work next year.
Is the curriculum you’re considering a bad one or a good one
for a particular child? To get some idea of an answer, a homeschool mom might ask herself questions like:
Is my child’s learning style visual, tactile, or auditory?
Reading-based, or more hands-on?
What do other families whose children are similar to
mine use for their math/grammar/history/science
How does ____ work for a family I know or have read
about? What do they like and dislike about it?
By Rhonda Barfield