During the last 22 years of homeschooling I have been asked many times, what curriculum I use to teach my children. My response, “A little bit of this and a littl ebit of that.” Eclectic homeschooling was my homeschool style. But it wasn’t at first.
I was a product of the public-school system and when I started homeschooling, I didn’t know any homeschool families other that my parents who homeschooled my siblings, 12 and 14 years younger than me. By the time they were school age, I was in college. So, I started homeschooling the way I remember being taught in public school. (By the way, I don’t’ recommend teaching that way now)
Looking back, I don’t know why I was so relaxed about preschool. I am a very organized, “give me a plan and I’ll follow or if I know what I am doing, I will make the plan and you follow” type of person. But I decided that preschool would be fun. A little bit of learning and a lot of play. She learned letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. and it worked. By the time the year was done she was more than ready for kindergarten.
The following year, when “real school”, kindergarten, came around, I knew I had to get serious. I used “curriculum in a box” for kindergarten and first grade. I purchased everything the company suggested for that grade. It all came in one box with student books, teacher’s guides, and lessons plans. Kindergarten year curriculum box had thirteen subjects it expected me to teach my child!
We were blessed with a first child who was quick to learn and enjoyed school. But I soon realized that curriculum in a box was not for us. I found myself altering the schedule, leaving out subjects and adding other things that I thought fit her learning style better.
You know your child better than the writers of the curriculum and the schedule. Trust your instincts. Linger on the subjects that take more time for your child to learn and ones that spark her interest. You have that freedom to slow down and you can move quickly through the subjects or sections that she learns fast.
Two years into homeschooling my son joined our homeschooling routine. Four years after that our third and six years after that our fourth. By the time our oldest was 12, I was officially homeschooling all four and my homeschool style had changed drastically.
Remember This Homeschool Mama
During those first eight years, I learned that one company with books made for one specific grade with teacher’s guides and lesson plans for five days a week, 36 weeks of the year did not fit our family. Every one of my children, like yours, are uniquely created with the strengths and weaknesses to best glorify God.
If there is one thing a new homeschool mom needs to remember it’s this,
Your family is unique.There is not a family on this earth that is just like yours. Your children are unique, and their learning styles and challenges are all different. Find what works for each child and your family. It may work one year and not the next. That is okay.
By our ninth year of homeschooling I was using Easy Grammar, Sonlight, Apologia, Math U See and bits and pieces of other things that I would come across that worked for that year. I learned how to adjust and alter these curriculum choices to fit each child and I loved that Sonlight was one that we could all learn together as a family. If you are teaching several grades, I encourage you to find curriculum that you can all learn together.
Find a homeschool support group.
I have told people many times that the homeschool group is more for the mom than the kids. We homeschool moms need the support and encouragement from other moms. Most of the curriculum I found that worked for us was suggested to me by another homeschool mom.
Homeschool mom, you are the expert when it comes to your child. You spend all day with your child and that is a good thing! You know their strengths and their weaknesses. You know what subjects make them cry and what subjects energize them. You know when they need a break from the subject that is just making them, and you frustrated. Homeschool allows you to take those breaks!
Don’t be afraid to alter curriculum or try something new to fit your child’s learning needs. You are the expert when it comes to your child. If astronomy is what interested him, then stay up late to see that meteor shower and sleep in the next morning. You can do that. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. I can’t say it enough; you are the expert when it comes to what they need, and you love them more than anyone.
We want what is best for our children. This is the reason most of us homeschool. Eclectic homeschooling gives you the freedom to pick and choose the style, the curriculum, and the time schedule. Enjoy this freedom!
One of these reasons I started Yellow House Book Rental was to give you a way to try new curriculum and change your curriculum choices without all the cost. Rent curriculum at a fraction of the retail cost. When you try before you buy you can rent curriculum and if you like it you can buy it, if not return it after the rental period. These are just two options that homeschool families now have at Yellow House Book Rental.
How do you chose homeschool curriculum for each of your children? I’d love to hear from you.
Enjoying the journey,
Hi! I’m Michelle, the owner and founder of Yellow House Book Rental, specializing in providing homeschool curriculum for rent or purchase, as well as counseling and guidance for homeschool families. I’m a wife of 29 years, a 22-year homeschool veteran, and mom of four amazing children ranging from 18-26. We are just about to empty the nest. Oh, how time flew! My husband and I are excited to see how the Lord will use us in this new phase of life. I’d love to be friends! Send me an email, or connect with me on social media and tell me about yourself.