“What curriculum should I use?”
That’s probably the #1 question I hear new homeschoolers ask.
I always want to say, “NONE!”
As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings!” I mean really, if you close your eyes and picture your “perfect world” can’t you imagine yourself like some mash-up hybrid of the Pied Piper and Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books? We could happily spend our days just wandering through the great outdoors, perusing interesting books in the local library, touring zoos and museums and historical sites, meeting fascinating people who do amazing things, and just generally “doing life” together with our children! That would be the education of a lifetime.
Sadly, that’s not how the real world works. We have to accommodate our state homeschool requirements, provide a good impression for questioning family members and nosy neighbors, and look to our children’s academic futures. But if we plan things right, we can do all that and still maintain the sense of awestruck wonder that creates lifelong lifestyle learners!
What we need isn’t curriculum so much as confidence and a game plan…a road map and a gentle shove in the right direction.
It’s fairly easy to acquire a copy of the scope and sequence public schools in your area use and their minimum requirements for graduation by checking online or simply requesting them. From there you can put together your own plan for most subjects.
Many states require “a written curriculum,” but that doesn’t necessarily mandate that you use expensive textbooks. A written curriculum might be your written plan plus a list of library books used.
A “written curriculum” also does not mean that you can ONLY use written materials. They’re a fine place to start, but you should definitely consider adding other educational opportunities:
- Online articles or demonstrations (You’d be amazed what you can find on YouTube!)
- Videos (Would you rather read about Switzerland or watch a travel video?)
- Travel and/or field trips (Even a day trip in your local area can liven up an otherwise mundane lesson.)
- Audio (Listen to the music from different eras and cultures. Music is the soul of the people.)
- Projects (Nothing like actually doing something to teach you the fine points!)
- Games (Who said school couldn’t be fun?)
You may not be able to make every lesson in every subject amazing every day, but exposing our children to the wonders of the world as often as possible will go a long way toward ensuring that our students stay “happy as kings.”