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choosing a curriculum

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
HOW! There are so many out there! :-) I hear son light is great, but its so expensive. Do they have a place where you can see a bunch of curriculum ? Like a h s conference? Those seem to be in the summer??

Can anyone point me to a curriculum or a few that work with right brain, art minded kids.
post #2 of 8

Before settling for a one package curriculum, I'd strongly suggest going to the FUN-Books website and spending some time browsing all the amazing things that can be used for subjects across the spectrum - especially in view of your concern for art minded kids. I always liked the idea that different sources specialize in subjects whereas a curriculum company is trying to do it all. And besides that, I found that we didn't need nearly as much as I'd originally thought - and that it's all chemistry in regard to what's going to work well for an individual child. 

You can see lots of curricula and related resources at homeschool conferences, but they can differ hugely, and they tend to come along mostly in the summertime. Here's an example of an incredible conference that provides fun and educational activities for the whole family, and is packed full of helpful talks, workshops, and information, as well as the vendor hall:
Adventures in Homeschooling 2013. If you can find a conference like that one, you'll have a whole lot more helpful information and support than you can even imagine. 


post #3 of 8

What ages are you looking at?  As my children have gotten older, there are things I really want a curriculum for.  However, I would never be satisfied with an all inclusive curriculum.  I understand that SonLight allows for some variety, but I am 100% piecemeal here.  


For the right brain artsy type, I would stay away from a lot of the curriculums because I think it becomes narrow minded and the child often ends up with worksheets.  However, I do have one of these children and we have really liked:  

Real Science Odyssey http://www.pandiapress.com/?page_id=50 (this uses a variety of library materials and lots of hands on labs)


Draw, Write, Now http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Write-Book-Critters-Storybook-Draw-Write-Now/dp/0963930710/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352090671&sr=1-1&keywords=draw+write+now  (this is a "drawing" book, but also offers copywork as well as the opportunity to spin off into stories or tie in with other lessons)


All About Spelling http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/ was a good start for this child.  Manipulating tiles vs just writing words was an excellent way for her to see how each sound played out in a word.


Using manipulatives was important for her in math.  She also does math on paper.  We really like all sorts of math games as well.  The Right Start Math Games Kit works well for us.  Also, she only learned to tell time because we used a geared clock and passed it back and forth in our own made up game.  She also only learned to count money with real money.  The paper worksheets for those topics were completely useless.  Pretending to run a store was a great way for her to learn.  Similarly, all sorts of measurements are done hands on.  Measuring, comparing, equating, etc can be done without a book.  


And for social studies, she has liked it when we use the library, read stories, and do hands on projects.  She has liked the History Pockets books, though I honestly find them just OK.  We pick and choose the activities that we do.  


Keep in mind that this child is only in fourth grade now.  So this is about early elementary and what worked for us.  



post #4 of 8

I think that if you are considering homeschooling, the first thing to do is learn about different ways to approach it.  Scratch that - that is the second thing to do.  The FIRST thing is to make yourself a list of reasons you'd want to homeschool and what you want to get out of it.


As far as costs go, you can often find things used to save money.

post #5 of 8

Pretty overwhelming in the beginning, isn't it?

First, take a deep breath.  Next, figure out what you want.  Do you want a curriculum that is all done for you in a box?  Do you mind piecing it together from different resources?  How much would you be willing to spend?  Do you want them sitting at the table with workbooks for a lot of time a day?  Do you want more of a hands on experience?  Do you have laws where you live on what they learn and when?  

I wish that I would have asked myself these questions BEFORE I went shopping for curriculum.  We did go with Sonlight because the books are just amazing!  We don't follow an schedules but we do have the books on our shelves and read them frequently.  We use Right Start for math because it is hands on and teaches them in a different way.  It helps them understand why things are happening instead of memorizing facts.  Growing up I didn't understand math.  My kids do and love it.

We mostly unschool though.  We only do things that the kids love and they lead pretty much everything.  I incorporate ideas and projects but they love what we do.  If they didn't love what we do, I would change it.  

For geography we throw around a stuffed globe and name countries, provinces and continents.  For history...we read a lot! 

I really like the Charlotte Mason philosophy.  

My only advice is to say not to rush out and get curriculum.  I have wasted a lot of money doing that.  Figure out things first and go from there.  What works for one family may not work for another.  Good luck and HAVE FUN! :)

post #6 of 8
Originally Posted by homeschoolingmama View Post

My only advice is to say not to rush out and get curriculum.  I have wasted a lot of money doing that.  Figure out things first and go from there.  What works for one family may not work for another.  Good luck and HAVE FUN! :)


Absolutely. This is something I've heard many times over the years. Rushing to buy things is more often than not a waste of money. Even worse, it often puts a parent in the position of trying to force something on children that really isn't suitable for them, and that leads to anxiety for both the parent and the child.


The most helpful thing in starting out is to relax into it, reading fun or interesting things to the children, playing games with them, doing little nature experiments with them, going for pleasant walks, listening to interesting audio stories, beginning to explore interests, and noticing they way the tend to learn best as they go along. Meanwhile, lots of resources for specific subjects can be found at the library - look in the juvenile non-fiction section - and you can discover through trial and error what clicks with a child.


There's honestly no hurry - homeschooling doesn't take up all those hours it does in schools, because you're not trying to coordinate dozens of different children's needs all at once. Most people change course a number of times, and it all works out fine - what doesn't work so well is to make a commitment from the beginning and then struggle through it till you realize it just isn't working. - Lillian

post #7 of 8


post #8 of 8

well, you certainly can go to a homeschool convention and see TONS of curriculum! however, i would not recommend it. i've been to one convention only & it was as a new homeschooler (when my little girl was 4). i found the entire experience completely overwhelming & i've never been back. my daughter is 11 now, lol.


what helped me most was forums. i asked questions a lot, but mainly, i read even more. i i would read threads about any and all curriculum, weighing the pros and cons.  i also enjoyed reading all of the reviews at homeschoolreviews.com


i could gauge a lot about a curriculum based on those reviews & it helped me start to sift through the many things out there. i also figured out our budget.  homeschooling can be a money pit, so be slow to buy.


have fun & just don't get overwhelmedsmile.gif

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