I have been piecing my own curriculum together for years using the resources that I post about on this blog, but it didn’t occur to me to share my planning methods until a reader posed a question.
Faith asked: “Do you make up your own curriculum using various resources and an over all guideline? How does that work for you?”
I am so excited to spend this week showing you how I
throw it all together create a plan for my kiddos each year.
Before we jump into planning, there are a few things that I want you to ponder.
Things to Consider Before Searching for Curriculum
State Requirements – What does your state demand from you? Do your children undergo testing each year? Take this into consideration when choosing your courses.
Styles/Methods – What do you want your days to look like? Give some thought to how you want to study each subject. Maybe you like the classical focus on history, or want to dip your toes into living math. There is no need to put a label on your subjects, but you do need to have an idea in mind before your curriculum search begins.
Your Family’s Preferences – Do you break out into a cold sweat at the mention of lots of crafts & activities? It’s probably not a good idea to use unit studies for every subject. Do you have a kinesthetic child who can’t sit still? It will be torture for both of you to use workbooks for everything. Don’t choose a course just because it is free (unless free is your only option). Choose wisely and tailor it to your family’s needs & wants.
Your Focus – Now that we have been homeschooling for several years, I have noticed that each of our years has had a focus. Two years ago we concentrated on history, a year ago we tackled grammar, and this year we crunched some numbers in math. We will be focusing on writing & spelling in the coming year. We have still done all of our other subjects, but I made that one subject a priority – the one we did no matter what! You might want to focus on something that has been falling through the cracks, like music or art, and give it a high priority for a year.
Your Schedule – Take a realistic look at your schedule. If you want a simple, relaxed school day, don’t cram every waking minute with lessons & activities. I am guilty of trying to plan too much and eventually overwhelming everybody. Draw up a loose schedule of your week and fill in your core subjects. Then realistically fit in the extras around those subjects. It is up to you to decide which are core subjects & which are extras – what is your focus? (Don’t try to map out your actual schedule this early in the game – save that for after you pick your courses. All you want to decide now is how much time/how many days in your week you want to designate to each subject.)
Above all, ask God to guide you and trust where He leads.
More posts in this series:
- Part 2: 10 Reasons I Create My Own Curriculum
- Part 3: Planning with LiveBinders
- Part 4: Mapping Out Your School Year