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.
(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?