There is a certain time of the year when many homeschooling families start preparing for next year’s home education plan. What happens when you find just about everything you need, for just about every subject — but one? What do you do when time is running out, and you can’t find a curriculum for a particular subject? You are not at a loss. You are at an opportunity.
If you haven’t been through this before in homeschooling, chances are, you might be there one day. You can’t find something that you are convinced will work for your child. Maybe you found an excellent curriculum, but it just doesn’t fit in the budget. This is a real issue for homeschooling families.
Don’t let not finding the perfect curriculum for a particular subject give you anxiety. Your child can ultimately have a good education without a specific curriculum, and it isn’t as hard as you may think.
Your house doesn’t need to have an expensive curriculum for you to educate your child(ren) well. Ask any homeschooler out there, and you will know that there is used curriculum just sitting around the house somewhere. Some of that curriculum may not have ever gotten used for one reason or the other.
Instead of stacking your house with the used curriculum (or unused curriculum), you can use this as an opportunity to discover other learning resources. Why fit a mold, when you can engage your kids with a variety of experiences they will thoroughly enjoy.
The key to not using a curriculum for me is planning. I really need some order to my madness, so planning is a must.
Grab your planner and keep it handy, for what to do when you can’t find curriculum for a particular subject.
Determine the topics that you need to cover in the subject.
What level is your child? What can you build on or what comes next from what they learned last year?
Consider your child’s interests.
Considering what your child is interested in is super important. For instance, if your child enjoys learning to cook and you are building your own resources for history — ensure that the topics you teach include some type of cooking for the countries you are covering.
Clearly, children have to read and still need to use practice materials they may not be fond of, but incorporating activities which intrigue your kids will help them enjoy learning.
Grab some great books and make your OWN “curriculum.”
Carrie’s daughter is headed into fifth grade in the fall and is obsessed with weather. She was able to find a lot of books on weather, but not a “curriculum” that would span for a full year. Then she stumbled upon a book about weather that was rich with information, so she created a student notebook to go with it. If you have a program on your computer that you can use to create documents, grab some books and create your own questions to go with it and make your own notebooking journal! Of course, you may have to get permission from the publisher if you plan to share it with other families, so be sure to look into their copyright policy.
Here’s the Weather Student Notebook that Carrie made for her daughter. It’s almost 200 pages of comprehension questions for written narration, vocabulary, labeling, copywork, and more. She will use it for a full year of science!
Carrie also mentioned in a previous post how her daughter is passionate about the Japanese culture. She was searching for a curriculum that had a focus on Japan. Since Japan is so small, she expanded her options by focusing on Asia and will be using a Charlotte Mason style geography curriculum, along with some components of Sonlight’s Core F, which covers the Eastern Hemisphere AND Time4Learning’s Japanese language learning curriculum. She is pulling together her OWN study of Japan by using several resources.
Determine your child’s style of learning.
Beyond popular belief, I don’t think children, or anyone for that matter, stick to only one learning style. They do, however, excel particularly more with some styles than others. Determine how your child learns best and create activities around that style.
Are your children visual learners, kinesthetic learners, or audio learners? Most kids have a mixture of two. If they are visual learners, you will want to incorporate videos, pictures, and colors in your lessons.
Kinesthetic learners will need some manipulatives to help them maneuver through activities. You don’t need to focus on these all the time but a little sprinkled throughout your lessons will help tremendously.
Do your research on the subject.
Gather information about the subjects. Information can be easily found online and saved in a file folder labeled specifically for the subject. Make sure you are up-to-date on a particular topic, especially with those subjects you aren’t familiar.
This is a good time to research particular food recipes you can cook together. My son loves sports, so my research would include sports of a specific country we are studying. If we are doing math, then I would research some printables or word problems that include that sport somehow.
Start grabbing resources.
Here is the fun part! Open your file folder and start searching the net for material.
Search YouTube or Khan Academy for videos that will go along well with your lessons. Copy the links to your planner or spreadsheet.
Are there board games or other games to incorporate in your homeschool lessons? If you are putting together a spelling or vocabulary unit, Scrabble is an awesome game to play.
Visit a used book store to gather reading material to use in your lessons.
Search for audiobooks your kids can listen to about the topics.
If you don’t already, get a library membership and make it a point to visit the library a few times during the semester to have your child practice their work in a new place and check out books for the topics.
Homeschool Giveaways is an amazing resource for you to obtain free resources and printables to help you gather for just about any subject. We can connect you with absolutely FREE material from learning colors to astronomy!
Using a specific curriculum is great for kids and is rich with a wealth of knowledge. However, when you can’t find a curriculum for a particular subject you need to teach it isn’t an end all. You might even discover that gathering your own material together may work particularly well for your family or for a particular child.
You may not find curriculum for a particular subject but you can use the world’s best planner to help you gather your homeschool lesson plans!
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!