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.