Friday, August 12, 2011

How I Choose my Homeschool Curriculum

A few months back someone requested more information on how I go about choosing my curriculum for homeschool. My son is 14 years old today, and I've been reflecting on our homeschool journey. I've changed so much from how I approached things in the beginning.

We started our homeschool experience in New York State which is a highly regulated state, though not as rigid as some others. I was required to submit an IHIP at the beginning of each year which is a detailed plan of books/curriculum and my strategy for fulfilling all the requirements for each of my students for the year according to New York state regulations. Each quarter I submitted a report itemizing how each of my school age children have fulfilled what was described in the IHIP for that quarter. At the end of the year, I submitted a written assessment in narrative form detailing how we obtained our objectives and what the academic performance of each of my children were. I lived in a district where the deputy superintendent expected everything submitted on time, but I never received any feedback about what I had done. Today that same district has become very particular about dissecting the IHIP and expecting revisions.

I shared that to show why I may have been uptight in the beginning in my approach to picking out curriculum. I had read many books on homeschool philosophy which described a freedom to finally do what I wanted, but in my district I always felt like someone was watching and waiting for me to mess up. Thankfully, I rose to the occasion and worked hard. Over time I owned our homeschool and found ways to stay compliant while meeting the goals and objectives my family had.

Back then, I shopped according to grade level having very little knowledge about the scope and sequence (criteria for what each child should be taught at which academic level). These days I familiarize myself with the body of knowledge I need to cover--then shop for resources. Sometimes I find much of what I need in one place, but I usually end up putting together an eclectic group of materials. I've found the library and internet to be a huge resource. Lately I've been exploring ambleside.com which is a website built by homeschool moms linking curriculum and books online based on the Charlotte Mason method of education--for free! I had no idea so many complete works may be found for FREE on the internet. Homeschooling is becoming easier and easier than ever before.

I recently put up an in depth video about my process in choosing curriculum on the YouTube channel. Check it out here.

2 comments:

  1. this as well as your last 2 post have been right on time for me. i just want to sit down with you and pick your brain apart! =) i was wondering, what would be your number 1 piece of advice for a mom about to start homeschooling a kindergartner?

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  2. Realize that homeschool is not like teaching in a classroom. You have the opportunity to sit one on one with your child and still be fully Mommy AND fully their teacher. This is HUGE! Who loves them more than you and you have the freedom to address every aspect of their school day--including character and discipline. Don't forget to enjoy them and the material.

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