Confused by all the homeschool curriculum choices? Choose the perfect homeschool curriculum for a large family with these seven simple steps!
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The key to choosing homeschool curriculum is knowing your children, the way your home runs, and knowing yourself. We know that just because a curriculum or method works for one child, that does not mean it will work for another. The same is true with larger families. One style of teaching or curriculum may work well for one family and not the next.
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How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum for a Large Family
What does each individual child need?
Even though we are homeschooling our children together, they each have very individual needs and learning styles. Some have strengths in areas where others have weaknesses. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do any of your children have learning disabilities?
- Do you have special needs children?
- What are each child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What is each child’s learning style?
- Do you have gifted children that need to be challenged?
What are your homeschool needs as a family?
Even though our children may be in different grades or age groups, they may be able to work together on some subjects? Sometimes an older child can help a younger child with phonics, reading or early math.
- Can any of your children work independently?
- Are their pairs that work well together?
- Do you have an older child that likes to work with the younger ones?
- Do your children get along well enough to work together?
- What subjects could be overlapped one room schoolhouse style?
- Could they be split and grouped by age ranges for certain subjects?
What homeschooling space do your have to work with?
This is a more logistical consideration, but it is important nonetheless. Some curricula require lots of read aloud time while others require heavy independent work. Some require lots of hands-on activities while others offer more of a written or workbook approach. Still others require the gathering of lots of resources while others could be completely online or in a DVD format.
- Do you have a space that will accommodate you and all of your students at the same time?
- Do you have storage space for materials?
- Do you have outdoor spaces for nature walks?
- Do you have equipment for online or DVD driven courses?
Family Style Homeschool Curriculum Options
Assuming for the sake of time and expense, you will choose a curriculum with a multi-age or one room schoolhouse approach, you will need to search out the available options and determine the one that is the best fit for your family. There are several curriculum companies that offer at least one multi-age option. Some of our favorites are:
- My Father’s World (This has been our base for 10 years)
- Mystery of History
- History Revealed
- Apologia Science
How much does homeschool curriculum cost?
The price of curriculum varies as much as the kinds of curricula available. Budget is always an important factor in choosing homeschool curriculum, especially for a larger family. There are three approaches you can take when purchasing curriculum:
- Purchase a separate curriculum for each child.
- Purchase separate grade level packages from the same vendor than can be handed down to other children.
- Purchase a multi age level curriculum that can be used for all children at once.
Parents always have the option to evaluate each child and purchase curriculum tailored to each child’s learning style and preferences. As I said before, there are many options.
You can also find one vendor that offers a product that you like and purchase the different curriculum packs for each age you are schooling. Many times these packs will have non-consumable materials that can be handed down through the years. This will save some expense.
The third option is by far the most budget friendly, and offers the most time savings in the daily routine. Purchasing a multi-age curriculum allows you to teach subjects like history, science, bible, art and music appreciation to multiple age levels at one time, thus decreasing your time spent teaching.
How long does it take to homeschool?
We could all use more time in the day for homeschooling. It seems that I am never able to accomplish all that I want to with my children in a given day or even a school year. Evaluating my time and schedule before each school year helps me choose the curriculum that I will attempt to incorporate for a given year. Before purchasing a curriculum, ask yourself these questions:
- How many hours each day to I have to be actively engaged in the homeschooling process?
- How many hours does each child have?
- Which subjects can be managed independently by each child?
- Which subjects require my active involvement with each child?
I keep in mind all that I need to accomplish in my homeschool day by providing each child with a simple weekly assignment sheet. This helps the older children manage some of their activities without me.
What is your homeschool style?
When choosing a curriculum it is important to know your own personality. Some curricula offer a clearly defined, rigid schedule where others are more flexible. Some are designed almost entirely around literature. Sometimes the best fitting curriculum for a family is the one that lends itself well to mom’s personality.
- Are you a read aloud mom?
- Do you need heavy structure to keep your day moving?
- Do you work best in a less restricted schedule?
- Do you need a strong lesson plan for each day?
- Do you work better one on one with your children or in a group?
Homeschool Curriculum We Use and Recommend
Free Printable Homeschool Assignment Calendar
How many children are you choosing curriculum for this year? I would love to hear about your choices in the comments on in my facebook community here.