Curriculum generally comes right after “socialization” when people are thinking about homeschooling and it’s just as unimportant in the big picture as making sure you’re kid is properly socialized. When you go to research the history of education you’ll find that it generally begins at the advent of writing, as if no learning took place prior to man’s ability to write things down. If you watch the cool documentary, “How Beer Saved the World” it’s amazing all the learning that took place prior to writing stuff down. The theory in this documentary is that writing and tracking inventory began with beer and I don’t remember a whisper of that in any school I went to. What about you?
There are so many awesome things to learn about and if you’re going to homeschool make sure you put learning things over seat work and “doing school.”
All that to say we do use curriculum and we do take breaks from each of them depending on the ages and issues our individual kids are experiencing. I’m going to share on this page 1-what we use and then attach links to the 2-why we use it and 3-how we use it. When you’re asking other homeschoolers what they use make sure you include the why and how it’s being used. Tons of curriculum gets purchase with great intentions and never gets used. Let’s start with the single thing we’ve been using the longest with out changing.
Bible – there have been attempts at curriculums, Awanas, church children’s programming but over time we’ve found that actually just reading our Bible and drawing pictures or discussing is the simplest and easiest thing to do.
Writing – 17 years ago when my oldest was 11 and I realized that I didn’t really know how to write and none of the curriculums I found were helping me as the teacher I went to the South Texas Homeschool Associations convention and decided I’d spend the day in a series of writing workshops but at the end of the first one I’d written a simple paragraph and suddenly understood the simplicity of the writing process. Andrew Pudewa, a homeschool dad and founder of Institute for Excellence in Writing is our go to for writing. Over the years his company has continued to develop things like phonics, videos and a variety of other things we’ve used.
Math – At that same convention 17 years ago I attended a Math workshop that made sense to me, I invested for all 4 kids at a huge $$$ amount and was super excited but they kept complaining so we changed math curriculums many times up until we adopted and I told Michael that the original Math U See was what worked best for me as the teacher and it has prompts to remind you that subjects like clocks and measuring are best learned with real life application.
Science – We picked up on Apologia probably 10 years ago and have been using both the jr high/highschool level and then we added the Young Explorers series. However, the author of these books got bumped from his own company and has developed a new series that we’ll also be using, while pulling from his previous books that we own. BUT then we just stated Matt Power’s Permaculture Student and wow is that way more fun! Instead of doing experiments with marshmallows and gum drops we’re harvesting real food from our own effort!
History, Literature, Geography, Worldviews, Government, Arts & Activities- The winner is – Tapestry of Grace – I spent a year developing an ancient roads program for our homeschool co-op and someone showed us this in 2005 and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, if you look it over and think you’re going to do everything listed it will eat your lunch! We pull out our favorite parts.
Languages – We’ve used some online resources and Memoria Press but none of my kids are terribly interested in languages. We’ve found languages work better in a group due to the conversational nature of the topic.
Other – that great unknown subject that your child has yet to show an interest in.
Scouting – this subject has driven much of the best of our homeschooling adventure, career development options and friendships. I’m just struggling with the structure and cost that goes with it as I’m getting older. We’ve attempted some small things but haven’t figured out how to maintain a consistent adventure with friends without having people pay. Pretty sad but . . . . maybe this problem will lead us to an awesome solution! For more than 10 years we’ve been using the above curriculum with small detours into other things. There are a few great reasons to stick with the curriculum that you purchased. 1- it’s paid for, 2-you know more about it then the new one, 3-your kids know the flow, 4-you’ve probably purchased stuff to go with it. By staying the course you are reducing both your costs and learning curve. Check out the individual links for the subjects to see the why and the how of our homeschool.