Do You Need to Change Curriculum?

Get rid of doubt about your curriculum!Have you been home schooling for a year or two and worried about your results? Have you been wondering if you (gasp!) bought the wrong curriculum? Have you wished someone, who was NOT a salesperson, would explain all the curriculum choices to you in an unbiased way? Are you ready for THE TRUTH about curriculum?

At this time of year, every mom wonders about her success. She is not failing. She may even have forever decided which curriculum is best for her home.

Still, she wonders. Am I right? Am I just stubborn? Could our school be better? Is this a good time to switch?

I have tried all the types and have loved them all. Each type is just right for a particular set of circumstances and each type we will discuss is good. I will not tell you to use what I use, because what works for me might sour your homeschool.

Also, do not forget you may have the perfect curriculum for your children. God can show you what is best for you.

The following days will discuss aspects of typical curriculum and should help you as you try to figure out whether or not you need to start with something new. It should clear your mind so you can think more like a pro. As you read the coming descriptions, I hope you will be able to see yourself, your children, and your situation clearly.

You may decide to stay put, but you’ll know you were right in the first place. However, if you see you need to move on, it can be with renewed confidence.

Please note: this thread will not include the name of every curriculum company out there. I am glad home scholars number over two million. Such a large people group, the largest school district in the country, commands a large market. This means, though, it would be impossible to know all the good resources, let alone list all the possibilities. Therefore, I will list the oldest and easiest to find, to give you some idea of what each category is like.

The shopping is still up to you. Go to home school conventions. Go to book sales, even used book sales. Go to curriculum shows. Ask around at your support group.

Before we go any further let me say, “All good curriculum is good. The tried and true providers are tried and true.” Every question in this decision has to do with three factors:

  • What is your teaching style?
  • What are your children’s learning styles?
  • What is your home’s style?

So think about those three until tomorrow, then get back with us, here, and we’ll start with tradition and move to the space age! If you cannot understand something on this topic, ask in the comment box. I am happy to help home schoolers keep going. Most of all, pray. God knows what you need and He knows how to show you what it is.

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12 thoughts on “Do You Need to Change Curriculum?

  1. LeahS says:

    Great topic! I’ve seen folks trudge along with a curriculum which doesn’t fit them because they paid for it. Not a good reason. 😦
    Thanks.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      I know what you mean, Leah! Thanks for the confirmation!
      And I’ve seen people change curriculum every semester, confusing their children, because of being unsure. I hope to alleviate both problems, here. 🙂

  2. Tess says:

    I pieced together a curriculum (new to homeschooling) but next year would like to go with an all in one. I love lists, organization, things being laid out for me and I’m not into coming up with all my stuff on my own. What would you recommend for me? (In the fall I’ll have a 5th grader, 1st grader and pre-K’er- all boys.)

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Tess,
      Thank you for the honor of helping you with your questions and your home school! I’d like to begin with asking if you’d rather discuss this via email, but I’ll give you a few suggestions right here. (I’ll assume you have no problem with blatantly Christian content.)
      First, it’s really great you’ve realized you want a curriculum that is easy on the mom. That probably rules out the Unit Studies types, and all the prep time and research.
      This leaves workbooks or books.
      1. Text books are less expensive (although most hardback text companies provide lots of workbook material for the earlier grades) and Rod and Staff textbooks are probably the least expensive. Hardbacks from moral companies are durable and reusable, which would be great if you have space to store them for several years as your little ones grow into big brother’s big books.
      Textbooks are also tidier. They store easily on shelves and the work, itself, stores easily inside 3-ring binders or manila envelopes.
      2. Workbooks are just a bit easier on everyone, if you are having trouble making the transition, don’t feel “teacherly enough” or have to deal with learning problems. If you are unsure, yet, about your students’ learning levels, they are also probably better on the whole process, from buying to using, since they usually come with placement tests, so you can obtain the precise level of material in each subject. That means if your child is ahead in English, he can be placed maybe in sixth, but perhaps needs to go over a few fourth-grade concepts before hopping into fifth for math. We never know, when we take them out of the public, how much they actually learned. Actually, if you want, you can obtain several placement tests on line for no charge, and print and administer them to learn more about your child’s needs, if you want. If you desire to go this way, I would suggest the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) for high quality and a really easy time of it. Possibly a bit less expensive might be the Christian Light Education (CLE). Both of these cover K-12 in workbook form and offer the placement tests.
      3. The Robinson Curriculum is the very least expensive, at first, one or two hundred dollars for 12 years worth, and you never have to buy another thing, but since it’s all on CD and must be printed, the costs come later in paper and ink. That is probably not what you would enjoy, printing everyone’s everything every day, for 180 days…but some do like it and it is all there.

      If your middle guy is not yet reading, and your family has a scholarly bent, I highly recommend the Rod & Staff first grade as being sober-minded, thorough, and advanced. If he is probably going to be a needy one, slow to pick up reading, I would probably look very long and hard at the CLE. Just my call, if he were mine, learning to read. It’s important.

      I would also use Rod & Staff for its excellent pre-school materials. In fact, they are simply delightful and fun books and activities that do not tax the child who is so very young, but do advance an understanding of the very basics. I think I would have those books around even if I were using a different curriculum; they are so fun and useful. And you cannot beat the price of about $20 per year. Total.

      Hope this helps! I totally do not mind answering questions, either here, or on my “Contact Me” page (the last tab at the top of this site.)

      Have a lovely evening!

  3. Karen says:

    Making the choice to change reading curriculums last year during my son’s Kindergarten year (we are in a compulsory at age five state) was one of the scariest things I’ve done. It wasn’t expensive, but it came highly recommended, and I just felt like it was *my* fault that he cried whenever I pulled it out. After switching to another curriculum that really works for my son, it drove home the point that not everything (no matter how wonderfully it worked for so-and-so) works for everyone. The beauty of homeschooling is the, admittedly overwhelming, number of choices. We are very eclectic this year, because my son is advanced in some areas, average in others, but we use resources that we enjoy, or, in the case of subjects he doesn’t care for, are to the point enough that he receives the information but doesn’t hate life because they take forever. It has required adjustment on my part, as well, because I am a naturally artistic person, and my son hates arts and crafts. Hates them. I require some fine arts, but don’t push too much on him. I think knowing when/why to give up on a particular curriculum is an inspired idea for a topic…particularly this time of year when the urge to ditch everything and play outside all day rears its head.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Karen,
      Thanks so much for this very true comment, and WELCOME to Home’s Cool! 🙂

      I hope you clicked on the “tomorrow” link and continued reading for the rest of these five pages! You are right about the beauty of home schooling: It is YOUR school and YOU can do whatever YOU want! 😀

      I also am a very artistic person and very literate and not so very mathy. Some of mine were like me, others like their dad. Three of them were blessed (?) with strong affinity in both areas, one becoming a professional artist, another becoming an accountant, and the other, a scientist. Amazing. However, the scientist WANTED to be a pilot at first, the accountant wanted to be an architect/musician, and the one who did pursue an art career ended up being a wonderfully mathematical people-person for a car dealership. Ha!

      Never mind; they are all moral, hard-working adults who love the Lord. Can’t complain! 😉

      Thanks, again, for stopping by and do visit again! 🙂

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Thanks, Jennifer!
      I certainly do think making a change can mean all the difference, but making an intelligent, well-informed change based on unbiased information is even better. It instills confidence in the mom, which arms her for the long trek to the light at the end of the tunnel. 😀
      WELCOME to Home’s Cool! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! I hope you visit again, soon. 🙂

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