In my last post, I described our relaxed, eclectic homeschool approach as a recipe–one that starts with a Charlotte Mason and Waldorf foundation, throws in a a generous helping of unit studies, sprinkles in some classical education, and occasionally gets ignored in favor of periodic unschooling. This recipe also changes often with seasons, interests, and with the phases in our lives. We are far from purists of any of these approaches, choosing rather to take what we love about each and combine them in a way that fits our homeschool rhythm perfectly.
Choosing curriculum for the year can be an exciting–and daunting–task. There are so many considerations: learning style, teaching style, homeschooling style or philosophy, subjects you want to cover, and (of course) budget. I think we can all agree that, given unlimited funds to put toward home education, we would have no problem spending it. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case, and most homeschooling families (that I know) are on a pretty modest budget. So what do you do when it comes time to make those curriculum decisions and you’ve got less to work with than you’d like?
Let’s get one thing out in the open, right from the start:
Curriculum is there to work for you. You are NOT bound to work for it.
No, you do NOT have to follow it, verbatim, as-prescribed, day-by-day, task-by-task. No, you are not going to mess up your child’s entire education if you veer from it from time to time. No, you are not “ruining everything” if you ditch it after six weeks because it’s making you or your child miserable.
August and September are such exciting months for the homeschooling community–the promise of the year ahead; the planning (and the planners!); the shiny, new curriculum; the beautiful stacks of books all over the house; and the arrangement and decorating of homeschool spaces. Even year-round homeschoolers like me can’t help but get caught up in the anticipation of it all. But with this excitement can also come worry, questions, analysis-paralysis, and a whole heaping spoonful of self-doubt, especially for brand-new homeschoolers.