10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Curriculum

For our family, this time of year is usually a mixture of some spring cleaning or organization, and finishing up our regular schoolyear. (We do usually homeschool year round, but most of our work is from mid-August to mid-June). As I work towards the finish line for I am also making plans for next year- going through curriculum catalogs, making to-buy lists, writing our plans for each child for the upcoming school year.

Homeschoolers are blessed to have so many good curriculum choices out there these days. But what might work wonderfully for one family might be a total bomb for another. What one mom might love, another mom will feel overwhelmed or dragged down by. So how do we know what will be a good fit for our family? Here are some questions I ask myself when evaluating a curriculum, either online or at a homeschool convention.

1. Does it glorify the Lord? This applies more to history and science, but is so important. If I have reservations about a curriculum in this area, I probably shouldn’t choose it. I want to infuse my children with the Truth. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Phil. 4:8

2. Does it fit the worldview I want to impart to my children? I want to teach my children to “not conform to the ways of this world” (Rom. 12:2a), so I choose curricula that supports a biblical worldview. Again, this applies more to history and science. This helps me weed out many “academically good” curriculum choices for these subjects out there.

3. Is it in line with my educational philosophy? If I am a strong advocate of textbooks, and I choose a Charlotte Mason spelling program (or vice versa) I may find myself discouraged and questioning my decision. That being said, I personally prefer a more eclectic approach, having different educational philosophies for different subjects. The important thing is that my choice reflects my philosophy for that subject.

4. Is it adaptable to my family? (For example, can it done over two years instead of one if that fits my family better?)

5. Does it match my teaching style? (Do I thrive on lots of hands-on activities, or maybe I need a curriculum where everything is laid out for me day-to-day?)

6. Does it match my child’s learning style? or

7. Can it be easily adapted to match my child’s learning style?

8. Is it realistic for my family this year? Babies, moves, illnesses, etc. may affect our homeschool in a given year. Sometimes the best curriculum is the one we can actually finish! 🙂

9. Can it be used with various ages? (Unless you have children very close in age, this usually applies to subjects other than the core (3 Rs) subjects.) Mommy’s teaching time is precious, so when I can combine , I do so. It is just more efficient.

10. Is it within my budget or can I easily supplement with library books? (I have a system for using the library efficiently that I will write about in a future post)

As I ask myself these questions, it helps me choose curriculum that is going to work for my family for each year. Sometimes I may be drawn to the look of a certain curriculum, but these questions help me be more objective when making decisions.

Above all, of course, I should be seeking the Lord’s wisdom and counsel. After all, it is for His glory that I am educating and discipling these precious gifts.

-Beth

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  2. Great post! This is why I feel so compelled to stick with the Charlotte Mason method and basically build up from scratch instead of go with a particular curriculum. Of course we will adjust to each child and how they learn best, but for the most part I’m taking on the daunting task of doing it all myself. (Pray for me! LOL)

    Reply

  3. Great post! I have been trying to compile our curriculum for next year so this is very useful!

    Reply

    • Thanks for visiting, Liz. Happy to hear it was useful to you. Having just returned from our local convention, I probably need to read it myself a few times again! ;).

      Reply

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