When we first began homeschooling, curriculum was sort-of an afterthought.
After three years in public school, the mechanics of homeschooling were what concerned me most, not what we were actually learning.
It seems strange now, but it looking back, it makes sense.
When you are teaching in a traditional school, there aren’t really a ton of choices. You take the old, beat-up textbook and do the best you can with it.
It wasn’t until about mid-way through our first year that I began to realize that our choices extended far beyond the one program that my only homeschooling friend was using.
At first, it was exciting, especially for this teacher at heart, never met an office supply or workbook that she didn’t love mom.
Slowly though, the fun wore off and the reality set-in. As my children continued to struggle with various learning differences, I began to feel overwhelmed by the choices and options. I began to worry that I might miss something that could be helpful. I started to doubt and change our curriculum much more than was reasonable or financially responsible.
I have learned a lot since then.
(Nine years of teaching the same two boys will do that.)
I’ve learned what works for both and what works for only one or the other. I’ve learned what works for me, as their teacher.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that how we use, or even don’t use, a curriculum matters far more than I ever realized those first few years.
Special Needs Homeschool Curriculum: Where To Start
Later this week, I will be sharing our curriculum choices for this school year.
My youngest is technically in 6th grade, although he is all over the place in terms of his abilities in various subjects.
My oldest is technically a 10th grader (ouch, that stings a little) and is also all over the place in terms of his abilities in various subjects.
I am really, really excited about our plans for this year. Everyone is a little healthier, a little happier and little more ready to learn than we have been in the last two, difficult years.
The truth is, I am really excited to share it with you!
But before I do, I wanted to remind you of a few small, but important caveats.
You know your family best, no matter what.
What works for one family, even one as cool as mine (wink), will not work for every family.
There is nothing wrong with meeting your children where they are, no matter what the grade level on the textbook says. If your child needs a second grade reader even though he is 12, so be it. The age and grade level guidelines are just that, guidelines. Don’t let them make you feel bad.
I think the best place to start is exactly where you are right now – finding out what works and doesn’t work for other moms and making the best decision you can for your kiddos’ learning styles and needs.
It is as simple and as complicated as that.
Questions To Consider When Selecting Homeschool Curriculum
If you’d like more specifics and want to take a peek at what we are actually using this year for our middle and high school homeschool curriculum, please check back later this week. I will be sharing not only what I selected, but more specifically, why I choose what I did based on my boys’ needs.
You will also be able to find the links here as the posts are published –
Looking for more homeschool curriculum ideas and support?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.