A huge part of homeschooling is the choice of resources that we use to either teach or supplement learning. I think I’ve established in other articles here that we’re not a very typical homeschool, mostly using a delight-directed, or child-led, approach that borders on unschooling. But does that mean we don’t have shelves (or boxes) filled with homeschool curriculum? Not at all. I have been a curriculum reviewer for several years now. You’ll find many reviews right here on the blog for everything from books to apps to year-long resources, online programs, and even games and toys. I have publicly admitted to being a curriculum junkie. But here’s an even bigger confession I need to make . . .
We have never used a homeschool curriculum as is.
We have loved Apologia Elementary Science, but we’ve not actually completed even one book cover to cover in 14 lessons (or any other set schedule). We have utilized many pre-written unit studies from Amanda Bennett, but we’ve not ever actually completed one from start to finish. Ben has learned writing, grammar, and vocabulary from the likes of IEW, Writing with Sharon Watson, Compass Classroom, and others, but never have we finished a year-long curriculum as is.
So what do we do then?
We use all of these wonderful resources as just that — resources.
When Ben wanted to learn about oceans, we pulled out the Exploring Creation with Zoology: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day book from Apologia, Amanda Bennett’s unit studies on Dolphins, Whales, Sharks, and Seashells, Shining Dawn Book’s Remarkable Rain and Captivating Clouds, and printed off some notebooking pages and a few lapbook pieces from Homeschool Share. We filled his book basket with picture books, chapter books, an atlas, an encyclopedia from Usborne, and nonfiction books about oceans and animals. We watched amazing You Tube videos, checked out DVDs from the library, and visited the zoo and aquarium. Ben put together an amazing ocean puzzle and created a diorama.
Over and over again, this is how we have used the curriculum that most people would just work through as written. We’ve used history curriculum such as The Mystery of History, Notgrass America the Beautiful, and History Revealed — all at the same time. We’ve grabbed Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy while dissecting rats and frogs on the iPad and comparing organs. Is it a systematic way to learn? Not really. Does it work for us? Absolutely!
This method may not work for everyone. It might not work for you. But if the idea appeals to you, don’t be afraid to try. Remember that as a homeschool teacher, you should never be ruled by your curriculum. It is there to serve you. Use it in whatever way works best with your students.
I know — you’re nervous about gaps. Well . . . then you should know, I don’t believe in gaps. I believe in loving learning. I believe in teaching our kids how to learn and why they should want to learn. If you have students who know how to retrieve, process and assimilate information, there can never be gaps.
Go forth and teach, sweet homeschool momma. Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous. Be free. Make sure your homeschool curriculum is serving you.
Don’t be a slave to your homeschool curriculum.
Your kids will thank you.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum with a Free Printable Guide.