We spend so much money on homeschool curriculum and it takes up lots of space on our bookshelves. But it’s a poor master. When we let the curriculum take charge, our homeschool can suffer. Here’s what to do instead. Plus, check out the book giveaway at the end of this post!
Why We Hoard the Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschool curriculum brings with it the promise of a successful homeschool experience. After all, it’s created by the “experts” and many times it feels like traditional school. New homeschool moms like that bit of security and structure that a big box curriculum can bring to their journey.
We tend to want to follow curriculum exactly as planned because we spent so much time researching it and then paid out our hard-earned cash.
So we don’t like to toss it aside, even if it’s not working for the kids. Because the “experts” said it was the best curriculum ever, right?
If you’ve been homeschooling for more than one year, you’ve probably experienced this scenario personally.
Shortfalls of Curriculum
But we soon learn that no curriculum is perfect. Because all children are unique. They bring with them unique strengths, weaknesses, interests, learning styles, passions, and perspectives. There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum that will work for every kid.
Sadly, many curriculums that are still used in the homeschool world are actually created for traditional classrooms! Usually these programs cause the most problems in homeschool families because they are just not suited to a one-on-one approach or they try to replicate school-at-home so rigidly.
Curriculum can lack flexibility or rabbit-trail capabilities that we know are essential for real-life learning. It’s also known for including busywork or requiring piles of completed worksheets to show that your child is learning something. But I’ve come to learn over the years that a completed pile of worksheets does not always equal learning.
If you want to raise life-long learners, then it’s important not to let the curriculum become your master. So what should you do? Ditch the curriculum? Not necessarily.
Letting Your Children Take the Lead
Flexible, open and go homeschool curriculum can still be a great starting point for many families. Sometimes we need a gentle learning path laid out for us. Letting curriculum be the guide instead of the master is the key.
Additionally, giving ourselves the freedom to let our children’s interests take the lead can have a massive impact on the success of our homeschool experience.
Three of the best books I’ve read recently related to this relaxed approach to homeschooling are:
- Passion-Driven Education: How to Use Your Child’s Interests to Ignite a Lifelong Love of Learning by Connor Boyack
- The Call of the Wild + Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment
- Anyone Can Homeschool: Overcoming Obstacles to Home Education by Nicki Truesdell
Connor Boyack, also the author of the popular Tuttle Twins series, espouses a view of homeschooling that isn’t chained down by the curriculum company. He gives so many great examples in Passion Driven Education that show how you can tailor your homeschool to fit your kids’ varied interests. Listen to a podcast conversation with him at 4onemore.com
The Call of the Wild + Free is a breath of fresh air! It really shows the beauty of an authentic living education. Part Charlotte Mason inspired, part unschooling approach, it will give every homeschool parent inspiration for a fresh vision of what homeschooling can be. (Coming soon will be a podcast interview with Ainsley and a chance to win her book! Follow the Homeschool with Moxie podcast to stay in the loop).
Finally, Anyone Can Homeschool is a great read for every new or skeptical homeschool parent. Listen in on Nicki Truesdell’s wisdom in this episode of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast.
Win a Copy of Anyone Can Homeschool
In Nicki Truesdell’s book, Anyone Can Homeschool, this veteran homeschool mom and author says that curriculum is a poor master. She deep dives into this plus other common obstacles that many new homeschool moms face. You can enter to win a copy of her book! (Giveaway ends 11/6/20 11:45PM EST, U.S. mailing addresses only, please).
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.