The Right Fit

I have a confession to make. I’ve started doing it, again; already. I’m obsessing over curriculum for next year and we haven’t even finished this year! I’m researching, studying, and stressing over which curriculum is going to be the best fit. Only this time, we’re talking high school.

Bookshelf_Feb2010(sigh) I wish I could be one of those parents who is blessed in picking the perfect curriculum right from the get-go and using it all through their children’s learning. (Those people do exist, right?) While we’ve been pretty lucky and only had a few changes over the years, it still irks me to know I’ve wasted a few dollars.

How does one pick the right curriculum? Does such a thing even exist? If it works for one, does it have to work for all, and does it last for their entire learning experience? All great questions! I’m not an expert, but here’s what I’ve learned:

When Not to Buy – Knowing when to buy is good, knowing when not to buy is just as important. Don’t buy on impulse, out of stress or because someone else says you ‘have to’ have it. Learn what works best for your kids, pray, and buy when you’re ready.

Is it For Them or You? – Sometimes we have a tendency to pick curriculum which gets us excited, but we don’t stop to think if it fits our kids’ needs. We need to look at this curriculum from their perspective and determine if it’s the right fit.

All or Nothing – Are we buying one type of curriculum and then forcing all our children to learn the same way? If we can, we try to meet each child where they are. We’ve been blessed that most of our curriculum works for everyone, but there have been times when I’ve needed to adjust to fit a particular need. This is just one of the joys of homeschooling.

Can it Wait? – Being a planner, I like buying things in advance. One mistake I’ve made is in buying items way too early and then realizing I didn’t need them after all. While I’m all for a good deal and planning ahead, I’m learning to bookmark or ‘pin’ items I might want in the future, instead of buying immediately. As the years progress, I can come back to those and reevaluate as needed.

Pray Always! – As always, pray about this issue. When the Lord is at the center of your life, you can trust He will be faithful to direct you to the curriculum that best fits your family’s needs. Be open to what He is going to do. You’d be surprised at how often He will take you down a path you would never have dared on your own!

Be In Agreement – I don’t recommend tackling this obstacle all by yourself. Make sure your spouse is included in curriculum and course choices. Sometimes we stress over areas our better halves could work through in moments. We were created to work together, so plan a date night and hash it out. Figure out what you both are looking for and make it happen.

Bend a Little – So, you prayed over the curriculum, talked to your spouse, bought it, and somehow it just isn’t quite working out. That’s alright! Sometimes we have great materials at our disposal, we just need to tweak them a little. Other times, the particular curriculum is only good for a period of our learning experience before we move on.

The Curriculum Graveyard – This one is the hardest for me, I admit. However, sometimes curriculum just isn’t the right fit. What happened? Who knows! It might be that I’m not using it properly. It might be I wasn’t following God’s instructions and was using my own wisdom in making the choice. It might be God was using this experience to teach us a lesson which had nothing to do with the curriculum what-so-ever; the curriculum was merely a catalyst for a greater lesson. No matter; if it isn’t working, drop it! Donate it, give it to a friend, set it on fire (just kidding), or whatever else you can think of. Life is too short to waste on lessons which aren’t being learned. Don’t be afraid to admit what you’ve got isn’t doing the trick, then readjust.

I don’t know that we’ve ever come across the ‘perfect’ fit, when it comes to curriculum.  Honestly, I don’t if one exists. What I have learned is to pray about the choices we make, be one with my spouse on this matter, and to be flexible with whatever we finally go with. No matter which curriculum we’ve chosen, we’ve always learned valuable lessons through using it. Just not always in the way it was intended. (smiling)

Time to Chime In: What is the shortest amount of time you’ve spent using a particular curriculum? What made you relegate it to the curriculum graveyard?

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21 thoughts on “The Right Fit

  1. It’s refreshing to see this post as I too have already started looking toward next year’s curriculum. I have a small “graveyard” but overall not too unhappy with the selections I’ve made. I admit, we only have a couple of years until Jr. High and then High School, which is a bit intimidating, but knowing other homeschooling parents have some of the same issues is comforting and empowering.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how you phrased “Curriculum Graveyard” because that’s exactly how i feel when we end up not using certain material. It always bugs me when we have to let go of a particular resource, probably more than it bothers my kids (if it bothers them at all)!
    I have yet to use a curriculum set, but this year I started using more workbooks, literature guides, and textbooks. Only I select them from random sources, not from one particular set. I have to custom fit learning resources for each subject for each child because my two children are in different grades and different levels within their grade. (It sounds confusing, I know.)
    I’m actually a little nervous to try a whole curriculum.
    Really enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh; it hardly ever bothers my kids when we drop curriculum. (lol)

      We don’t usually use a boxed set either, preferring to pick and choose what works best. I think it works better that way. It makes sense that your children would both be at different ages and different stages within a given ‘grade level’; I think this is true of most kids.

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The graveyard? YES! I go to the conference and dilly-dally around the used curriculum booth and buy a bunch of stuff that looks awesome and there it sits! So frustrating. We started buying our curriculum before the conference comes to help me with lack of will-power. I don’t think there is a perfect curriculum. Not even close. If it was out there, I promise – I would have found it. I am always looking. I have “grass is greener” syndrome. Always comparing bla, bla, bla. My girls love AOP lifepacs. I have a love/ hate with them, but the girls just love them. Last conference I thought I would change their curriculum and got notgrass press, apologia science and a million other things that most homeschool families rave about. Epic fail on my end. So back to AOP Lifepacs we went. I want the bright colors, thick books that look real “academic” . I also have a habit of self doubt and listening to reviews. The joy of being a planner- you think it saves time. For me, it gives me more time to obsess. This year I decided NOT to look at curriculum. The girls unanimously wanted lifepacs so I bought them and am currently planning the “good stuff.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, tend to like the thick academic looking books. However, it has taken me some years to learn this does not always mean the material being covered is good or even thorough, just bigger.

      I agree; more time=more obsession! Prayerfully, we use this time to allow the Lord to lead our decisions.

      Good for you, going for what your kids want and need. It takes courage!

      Like

  4. I’m already obsessing about next year. Ms Action has decided she wants to keep homeschooling, so now I’m sending away for every catalog and trying to figure out what will be the best fit for her. I, like you, tend to buy things way too early and have a pretty decent sized Curriculum Graveyard for only having one child doing formal school, and her only in second grade lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So far, we have not really put anything into a “curriculum graveyard” over the past three years of homeschooling. (Maybe that’s because I obsessively research curriculum before we purchase or begin using it! ha ha) This is a nice post. I look forward to perusing your blog when I can find some time. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOL! My mother has a huge curriculum graveyard from her homeschooling days. She reviewed curriculum so she has more than normal. I decided that it is to my benefit. I will be able to teach my kids with a variety of these materials and books. I’ll be saving a lot of money due to my parents being pack rats and saving it all.

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  7. We tend to use free books, but I remember one curriculum that we I bought (it was a giant TASC study book which was supposed to help me get down the basic “high school stuff”) lasted about 15 minutes because it was so easy and I was so bored.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am a second generation homeschooler and my mother definitely had a “curriculum graveyard,” much of which she has tried to pass on to me 🙂 I get a lot of supplemental things from used bookstores and we use the library a lot. I made the mistake of going with Abeka my first year with my daughter because that’s what I knew, but it was a horrible fit for her personality (although perfect for mine) – now we are using Memoria Press, and we BOTH love it, so hopefully it’s something we’ll stick with!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We are so new to this homeschool thing and curriculum choices stress me out. I have bought things cause people said this is the best book ever only to discover it didn’t work. Right now we use Heart of Dakota and are enjoying it. I supplement it. Trying to decide if I should go with it again….if it ain’t broke don’t fix it or look a other options.

    Liked by 1 person

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