Back to School! Um…wait. I Homeschool.

mhe8QSeSummer’s over! Time to get back to school! For those in public or private school, uniforms are being purchased and supplies are sitting in nice orderly stacks just waiting to be used. Right now they’re neat and tidy – not a mark out of place. No torn covers or bent pages. Those crayons and pens and notebooks have worlds of untapped possibilities. It’s exciting!

But I homeschool, so things are different now. Instead of rainbows of crayons and colors, my get back to school involves plotting schedules and choosing curriculum. The organized and savvy homeschooling parents have already chosen their curriculum and many of them are already into their school modes. Confession: I’m not one of those people. I still feel, three years into this, like I’m trying to find my way and figure out the best path for my family. And it’s tough!

We had a plan for this year and then a few weeks ago life intervened in a way that made us re-evaluate that plan.  So it was back to the internet to wade through piles and piles of websites to see which curriculum would work for our kids.

We’ve used Abeka, Switched on Schoolhouse, Khan Academy and a smattering of other curriculum as we’ve made this three year journey. The thing we have learned with each of those is how much we don’t know.  As much as I learn, there’s always so much more to wade through….

That realization has been underscored as I research through tons of curriculum choices yet again. One of my biggest frustrations has been that each of these curriculums has their own language. Do I want a mode or a package or a grade? Is a module one year? Or one month? How much does it cover? The cost looks right but is that for a whole year?? Or will I pay that four times this year in order to get a year in?? *smh* It’s mind boggling when you consider it.

I’ve chosen curriculum previously based on claims made by the publisher and once I was in it, I found out that both my kids and I were way over our heads. There aren’t a lot of ‘try it out’ options that really let you see what your year, your responsibilities and your kid’s lives are going to be like in each curriculum. I’ve discovered you don’t really know until you’re in it. And quite frankly, that doesn’t work well for me. Financially we’ve spent a lot of money on curriculum that, had we known and understood it going in, we would have never attempted. Now we have books and workbooks and lots of experience, but it didn’t ‘do what it said on the tin’ so to speak. So we’re here again.

This year, we aren’t diving into one big curriculum to cover all. We’ve decided to take pieces and parts from some and put them together with other things. Math will be Khan Academy. (It’s online and it’s free!) Science will be part Khan and part Abeka and Switched on Schoolhouse. We like Khan’s plan but it’s a world view, so we’re supplementing with the aforementioned curriculum we have lying around the house. We have handwriting planned and I’m looking into Explode the Code for Grammar.

The history and literature are what’s tripping me up. That’ ironic for me since I’m a writer and history was my minor. I’m having a hard time figuring out where to go. It might be precisely because I love those subjects so much that I’ve invested so fully in making sure we get the right one. There are a few I’m considering. Diana Waring has an interesting approach and I appreciate what I’m seeing on her website. I love Sonlight but just honestly can’t afford the costs there. That saddens me. It would be so nice to be able to just do that for my kids – but it’s not an option. So looking at Ambleside Online because I know it’s similar. It just seems to be a lot of work tracking down all of the books and figuring out each level. So that’s where I’m still struggling a bit with the final decisions.

So now it’s your turn! What has your curriculum journey been like? What curriculum are you using and what made you decide that it was the right one for you?  Can’t wait to hear!