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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How we choose our curriculum

I have only been officially home schooling for two years. The first year we started, Maddie was in preschool and I didn't use a curriculum. I figured I could help her learn her letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. without the use of a curriculum. Preschool went just fine without someone holding my hand. Then, we approached Kindergarten, this time I wanted a curriculum, I wanted to make sure we would not miss any holes in her education. This is when I got overwhelmed.

My head was swarming with every kind and type of curriculum. There were unit studies, text books, online classes. There was Abeca, Horizon, Alpha and Omega, there is My Father's World and LOTS, LOTS more companies and families who are selling curriculum to choose from. One family says they absolutely LOVES their curriculum, another family who has a completely different one says they love theirs too! Equally confusing! Then I have a friend who uses four or five different companies for each different study they are doing. Ufta! How was I to know which direction to go. Then I had the fear of starting a curriculum and it NOT fitting our family or maybe needing to do something different. Thus, spending money on something that wouldn't work.

Thankfully, my husband and I had sat down and talked and written out what we wanted in an education. We knew we wanted a classical style of education, we knew we wanted it to be hands on and applicable, we wanted it to be affordable. We wanted it to be able to teach to our Kindergartner-first grader, as well as be able to fit our soon to be preschoolers. We wanted culture in our education. We wanted our kids to explore not only the places around the world, but the people in those places. Matching faces with the places! Sitting down with your spouse would be the first place I would start! Make out a list of things you want in an education and things you might have in mind you do NOT want to do. This will help you narrow your choices as you look at all your options.

The second thing I did was sit down and have a heart to heart chat with the Lord. I shared my overwhelming feelings, I asked for his guidance and direction in choosing a curriculum. I asked for a neon sign in which direction to go. Literally the next day, a brochure came in the mail from a company called My Father's World. As I was reading through the kindergarten curriculum it had a biblical basis, check. It had lesson plans all planned out for me, ready to use, another check. It is based on unit studies, which means I could water it down for my preschoolers, check. It came with a classical cd and we were to learn composes as well as the pieces, another qualification from our list. As I checked off each one, I prayed about this curriculum. If we bought the deluxe package we would then have all the science experiments we would need too. Which meant I would not have to go looking for other things to piece with our curriculum. I could if I had time, but it wasn't a requirement. Another check! After showing the brochure to my husband, he and I prayed about it, and we knew this was what we were suppose to use.

We are in the middle of our Kindergarten year and I am so thankful we choose this curriculum. I am so thankful I didn't try to pick it on my own and invited God in the process. I can easily incorporate my preschoolers into each lesson, while helping them understand it at their level. The activities and biblical concepts are fantastic. Each reading lesson, math lesson, etc. flows into the other.

We choose our curriculum with prayer, careful consideration of our desires for educating our children, and by doing our homework. Requesting brochures from different companies, talking with friends who home school, and trusting the Lord.

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