I remember when I was still using a virtual school, I asked a friend of mine, “How do you decide what resources to use, it seems so overwhelming!” Now, I find myself comfortably working through all the curriculum resources, weeding out what is not of interest to our family, and finding what will work, in sha Allah.
First in the world of homeschooling resources, is finding curriculum that aligns with your worldview. Without any Islamic homeschool publishers, this can take a bit of time, but after the first year, you start to become more familiar with various publishers, you get to know which ones will work, which ones don’t, and which ones you need to look at individual pieces. IEW, for example, is generally a secular resource, but some of their materials are marked with a small cross to mark that it contains distinctly Christian content. I learned the hard way that you don’t ignore that symbol.
Math and language arts are generally easier to find a variety of resources that pose no personal conflict, but history and science can be a bit more tough. While finding secular publishers helps a lot, science should still be overseen, as there are atheist or humanist leanings in many secular science curriculum.
Some people love Saxon math, and some people loathe it. Some people love Math U See, and some don’t. What’s most important is what works for your child, because you may have different styles, and honestly, this may take a bit of trial and error. Use places like Homeschool School Reviews and Cathy Duffy Reviews to get a feel for the pros and cons of any given curriculum, and get your hands on a copy, if you can! Many homeschool groups are eager for curriculum share days, and this has been a wonderful resource for our family to get to know curriculum I never would have considered in the past, but we now plan on using.
Also remember, your child’s style can change through time, and that’s okay. Just keep trying to teach the way they learn, and in sha Allah they will continue to enjoy learning, and continue making progress.
Oh, I drool over the idea of signing my oldest daughter up for a Pennsylvania Homeschoolers online class, but with each class over $500, it is just too costly. I keep trying to justify it, but with 3 (soon 4, in sha Allah) kids, spending that kind of money on one class for one kid just doesn’t make sense. Again, after you’ve been homeschooling for a couple of years, you start to find ways to get good deals. Get on mailing lists of your favorite publishers to get notified of sales, and I truly believe every homeschool family should be signed up for Homeschool Buyers Co-op and Educents. With these two deal sites, you will both get familiar with more homeschool publishers, and you’ll be able to get great deals to make your homeschool dollars stretch further. Sometimes you’ll be stuck between two different curriculums, unsure of what to pick. At least for me, if one of them goes on sale, then it wins over.
Keep watch of blogs in the late summer when everyone posts their curriculum choices. I normally watch for the following year, to learn the options available for my growing student. iHomeschool Network has a, ‘Not Back to School Blog Hop’ each year, and one week focuses on curriculum posts. In 2014 there were 275 entries! Now, many of them will include Christian resources, but there is still a wealth of resources available, with most people explaining why they chose that resource for their student. Check it out!
I’ve found that as I look for curriculum, I go through a period where my list gets quite large for one subject, but then I’m able to narrow it down pretty quickly, usually getting to just 1-3 resources to choose from. Give yourself some time, and work on one subject at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. You’ll figure it out, and in sha Allah it will go great!
Does sifting through homeschool curriculum intimidate you? What are some tips you have to share?