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Curriculum: So Many Choices!

571 Views 9 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  momtokea
We are finishing up our first year of homeschooling here - my daughter left first grade in November. We're having a great time, and are very pleased with her progress, and how things are going. Our style is definitely eclectic right now - Oak Meadow + a few workbooks + lots of self-planned units to take advantage of my kid's interests. I really like being eclectic:

But! I am already thinking about curriculum choices for next year, and I can't help but wonder - What else is out there? What else could I pull in?? It's just that there are so many choices, and there are so many types of choices - classical, Waldorf, unit studies, Charlotte Mason, unschooling etc.! And add to that, all the different math and history and language and spelling curriculums, too!!

I wish there was a bookstore where I could browse and decide (tho this would be dangerous to my budget!), but there isn't one with a lot of hs curriculum in my area (at least that I know of - I'm in Central Maine, but would be willing to drive 1+ hour).

Anyway, I'm wondering how people manage to decide on a curriculum and not get "curriculum envy" when they hear what someone else is doing? Full disclosure - I was a high school teacher before my kids were born, I have a Masters degree in education, and I love curriculum and planning, so I know that's part of my "problem".

Any suggestions?
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Do you have a group near you? If so, you can arrange for a curriculum night.

We're eclectic too. I tend to narrow by kid's learning style->philosophy we most identify with -> most bang for the buck -> his final decision. And TRY not to look at what everyone else has after I send off my order, lol!
I have purchased from some. I like how they have it all sort of set up where it's all clear and easy to understand. I don't really favor any particular company or curriculum name. I use whatever works each year and sometimes it varies from year to year.
I'm years away from homeschooling, and I'm already daunted! So many options. Right now I'm leaning classical in the long run, but I'd like something less intense for the younger years. I've found this site very useful (I'm a new member, but I've been lurking for a while!). Another resource that I've found useful is a magazine called Secular Homeschooling Magazine. I guess it would depend if you're secular, though
It seems to be a one woman operation, more or less, but she has reviews of products in each issue, and they are very in depth and there's only been 5 issues of the magazine but I've already discovered some pretty cool resources that I have bookmarked for later.
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are you sure you don't have a homeschool store near you? in my town - we have 4 within an hour's drive. if not - most curriculums offer samples online that give a good idea of how it works. lastly, i never buy anything without first reading reviews at - it helps me in my final decision a lot. hth.
I do get a little excited at the thought of purchasing new curriculum, mainly books for reading though. I have a rule - if they have it at the library, I can't purchase unless it's a resource book.

After 3 yrs. I'm comfortable with our philosophy (Classical) which dictates our needs to a certain degree. I'm also part of a co-op (Classical Conversations) so some of my decisions get made with CC in mind. It's actually a relief to have some kind of footing being part of a group. I go way overboard if I don't have focus.

I do need to go to a book fair this year. I need to see some of the materials for dd - she's K so it's a new area for me

I'm settling into Saxon and Singapore math to balance each other out. We do history chronologically so I like the Veritas Press timeline cards, Story of the World and reference books. Grammar and writing I do at CC. We use Essentials of English Language and Our Mother Tongue along with IEW - love love love those. Science is iffy for me right now. I'm just getting books to go along with our CC studies. We'll be starting Latin this year so I'm getting Christiana Latina I. Oooh, handwriting will be new. We're switching to Getty Dubay so new books! I want the Startwrite software, too.
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Have you looked for a curriculum fair near you? I have two within a four hour drive of me, one in May and one in August. I've only been once, but to look at everything and see the books in person, talk to the vendors, it was totally worth the three hour trip. I hope to someday go to the big one that's 4 hours away...Sonlight, WinterPromise...all of the guys I really are drawn to are at that one.

And yes, you could totally spend hours and HOURS browsing on the internet looking at samples and such. It's really overwhelming and all of it sounds fun on some level, but I try to stick with what works with my kiddos and is in my price range.
I think you have to pick what resonates in your soul. Sometimes if you get a homeschooling book from the library, like "The UnOfficial Guide to Homeschooling" that kind of has a one or two page description on each "kind" of homeschooling, see where you linger and what resonates and then maybe that is where you further investigate. Homeschool curriculum fairs are great, although sometimes you may not find a lof of curriculum at these things like correspond to such types of homeschooling as Waldorf or Montessori. My Waldorf homeschooling group has curriculum fairs because we all order so much over the Internet and there is not a lot of opportunity for preview, so we have to rely on each other to share reviews

If you are finding everything and anything resonates with you, that can be hard. Some of the homeschooling styles are very divergent from one another and are formed with different assumptions of childhood development. I myself enjoy only having one "kind" of homeschooling to worry about because I find being eclectic to be difficult because it is just too many things to look at and see....LOL.
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I have a masters in education and I'm a curriculum junkie too.

BUT . . . once I found Enki I knew that was right at this time for us. I (we) are loving it. And it's challenging every "old" part of me and opening up my eyes and heart about what is *really* important in education.
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