Ten Criteria I Use For Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

I know many of you are in the middle of planning out next school year, which includes making final decisions on which homeschool curriculum to use. While every person does it differently, I do have people ask me frequently how I decide what we are going to use. Here are the top 10 criteria I look for when I choose our curriculum:

1. Does it have a Biblical worldview? Since everything was created by God, every subject we learn teaches us a little bit about God. I look for curriculum that reinforces a Biblical worldview and godly character whenever possible.

2. How does it approach/handle other worldviews? While I want the curriculum to be God-centered, I am very careful to make sure I am teaching other worldviews as well. The last thing I want is to teach my kids in a Christian ‘bubble’ where they know only our beliefs. It is extremely important to me that their education includes what others believe as well, and discussions on these beliefs. I lean towards material that is apologetic (gives a defense for Biblical truths) – especially for science and history.

3. How much preparation is involved? I work, and while I do have some time to fit in preparation before the lessons are presented, I found over the years that this causes problems for me if it’s too involved. I look for curriculum that has lower teacher prep, or prep that can be done all at once for the year (like gathering specific art supplies).

4. Is it written to the students? My goal in teaching is to create lifelong, independent learners. Each school year, I expect a little more independence and responsibility from the kids in an effort to teach them how to teach themselves. I find that material written to the students rather than to me is better for establishing this habit.

5. Does it have a mix of different learning styles? I have one visual and one auditory learner, but it’s important to me that they experience all the different learning styles frequently. While I try to tailor some things to their specific styles, in the real world you can’t always get information in the way you learn best.

6. Are the lessons varied in their presentation? I know it’s easy for me to get bored if every single lesson and assignment is just like the last, so I know my kids will too. I look for a mix of projects, reports, oral presentations, experiments, worksheets, etc. This obviously isn’t possible for every subject, but where we can mix it up we do.

7. Is there a good teacher’s manual? It’s been a long time since I was in middle school, and certain things like animal classification and finding the coefficient of friction have frankly left my brain. I always evaluate the answer keys or teacher manuals to make sure that there are sufficient explanations so that I can help them if they get stuck. (And I’m always surprised when I start to remember things I thought I had long forgot!)

8. Will it motivate them to learn? My daughter is very much like me when it comes to math. It’s practically impossible to get us excited about it. And my son likes writing about as much as he likes stepping on nails. I know they will never love every subject, but I do try to find curriculum that will at least not make it drudgery.

9. How does it fit in with their interests? Again, this doesn’t apply to every subject, but where I can I choose material that interests them. My equestrian daughter did a literature study using horse books a few years ago, and my surfer dude is doing a kids marine biology course for science next year.

10. Will this work through high school? For our core subjects, when possible I look to the publisher’s high school curriculum to see if I like it. I prefer not to jump from publisher to publisher each year, so if I like the high school material I do consider that when making my final decision. (I’m never married to any curriculum, but I do generally try to stick with what’s working).

 

See other posts like this at Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Comments

  1. You help me with my overwhelming curriculum choice. Thanks

  2. So glad to help! 🙂