Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips

Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips | Things you must know before you buy the first book. Questions to know and ask yourself and your kids. #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschool Homeschool Curriculum Shopping Tips ~ Episode 333

Shopping for homeschool curriculum is never easy.  In this episode, we discuss must-know-tips for homeschool curriculum shopping and an insider’s available to homeschool podcast network subscribers. (So be sure to sign up for the ezine!)

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Fast forward and many years of homeschooling gone by and I realized the best time to consider purchasing curriculum was in June. I could finish my school year, take a look back and see what worked and what did not. I was blessed to find homeschool math curriculum we loved (I share these brands on the podcast), and these helped us in many ways to accomplish what was often considered the hardest subject. My kids loved to do the hardest subject first so that the rest of the day seemed easy by comparison. In fact, they would get up early to complete Math before breakfast.

Here is a quick list of questions to ask yourself before you buy the first book!

  1. What are my kid’s ages/ grades?
  2. Do I have a budget per subject or an overall budget?
  3. Do I want to focus on hands-on curriculum or text/ workbooks?
  4. How will my kids relate to the books I purchase?
  5. Do I want to add outside sources? Co-ops or online classes?

Often the best ideas are those that come to you after prayer. One year I was so tired of what I felt was zipping through the curriculum. I had purchased several years of a popular science text and when I found the next “new year,” which we began in January started with birds again and we had finished an exhaustive unit on birds the previous year I knew we had to regroup, skip around the book and then I found myself added unit studies which my children immensely enjoyed.

Consider doing some unit studies with the middle grades. Your kids will thank you I promise. This allows you to delve into a subject and really study it from top to bottom. A unit study on birds can turn into a study of migration patterns, bird watching, identification, the study of habitats and so much more. Or, a study on geology can turn into rock collections (which we still have) and rocks from all over the world. (We had our relatives bring us back rocks from their trips to Europe).

Look at the following to help you further narrow down your curriculum choices:

  1. Look at your child’s learning style—if your child is an auditory learner, loves having books read, listens to audios, etc. it isn’t the best to have this child do textbooks.
  2. Look at expert reviews. The only one I highly recommend is CathyDuffyReviews.com – Cathy is a long time homeschooler. She graduated three boys from homeschooling and set out years ago to look at curriculum with a critical eye. Now a disclaimer here, many of my books are on her top 100 and 102 Curriculum Picks. The Creation science series, accompanying study guides, and Teaching Science and Having Fun. You can get all of these books for less than $30 when one of them costs $18.95 retail. These are digital but you can read them, print out the experiment sheets and planning guides and use them for K-12. Looking at reviews can also tell you if it is something that will work with your homeschool.
  3. Listen to podcasts. What are some recommendations made by those in the know!
    1. Three Homeschool Curriculum Essentials
    2. When Your Curriculum Is Wrong For Your Teens
    3. Best Curriculum For Your Family
    4. Movies For Homeschool Curriculum
  4. Visit a homeschool conventions
    1. Homeschool convention attendance has changed in recent years. With everything available online and the expense involved to attend it is often the last thing on a homeschool moms list. However, it is important to attend for many reasons. The most important is encouragement.
    2. It can be overwhelming which is why I have created a standalone curriculum buying guide that will be helpful. It will be available for free for my email subscribers. After the giveaway is over, it is always available on my MediaAngelsMembership.com website.
  5. Get on email lists from your favorite publisher – get to know them.
    1. Many publishers have samples on their website.
    2. If they don’t many will send you some via email.
    3. Join their Facebook or discussion groups to ask questions or ask questions of other users.

My favorite curriculum shopping happened when I decided to use an eclectic approach and I began with topics we wanted to study, and I created my own yearlong study. It was so much fun. I shopped for books that were topic related. We used these books for many, many years. For example, a Creation Science focus requires books to be purchased as you won’t find these in the library (although you can try for interlibrary loans).

When you use topics that interest your children guess what? They are so excited about school and they want to get started each day. Another thing to consider is to focus on your faith.

We did many Bible studies and one of the things we enjoyed was doing a family Bible study that I created, Homeschooling with Proverbs. This study consisted of audios that were focused on each book of Proverbs and we loved it! I had studied Proverbs quickly in the past but there were so many nuggets of truth that were so applicable to homeschooling! I created study sheets, journal pages and dig deeper sections. Each audio (there are three per lesson) is geared to different age levels. This is a standalone digital product on my MediaAngelsMembership.com website.

You can look at online learning. I am not a fan of putting kids in front of a computer for all their subjects, however when they struggle or if you are not interested in teaching a particular subject this can be valuable. We used a DVD for higher math – our favorite was Chalk Dust. Mr. D. Math one of my previous podcasters on this network has a higher math online program as well.

When it came to history I felt my American History was lacking so I partnered with my brother in law who was History Professor of the Year two times in West Virginia where he taught. His online courses were so wonderful that my daughter is now a history major in college.

These classes focused on teaching the US Constitution and the lives of the American Presidents. We also have an American Government Classes. These were taught in real time but recorded so they can be enjoyed by families throughout the years.

There are classes taught by:

  1. North Star Academy
  2. Bright Ideas Press
  3. Luma Learn (you can even teach a class if you feel qualified!)

Of course, there are many others, but these are the ones I personally know about that are high quality and geared to homeschool students.

Whatever curriculum you select keep your kids, your schedule and your sanity in mind. You will be glad you did! If you have a favorite curriculum share it with me!

 

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