We are nearing the end of our twelfth year homeschooling. It’s been quite a journey so far. I still have plenty to learn and am both excited by that and daunted. After twelve years of doing something you’d think there would be no more struggle.
But every year is different. I’ve never taught a high school-er, a sixth grader, a fourth grader, a first grader and a kindergartner all at the same time before this year so there are things I’ve learned by doing it, just as I’ve learned something new every other year.
The biggest thing I learned this year is that I finally have realized what the best homeschool curriculum is!
Again…exciting and daunting news.
See, I want the best.
So, when it comes to homeschool curriculum… I want the very best there is available. For all subjects. For all levels. For all ages.
When first starting out, I did some research (though not to the degree that people who really love research do, I get overwhelmed quickly). I talked to other homeschool moms. I thought about what worked when I was in the public classroom (I was a teacher for the deaf before having children). I didn’t look on the Internet because twelve years ago only Al Gore and the elite had it.
In the last five years or so, I’ve started looking again. The curriculum we had been using for reading and history wasn’t jiving with me any longer and I wanted to find something else.
Enter Internet research.
Enter overwhelming feelings for me.
Wow, oh, wow… there were even more options than there were twelve years ago (and even twelve years ago my jaw dropped when I walked into my first homeschool book fair!). I dove into the world of living book and unit studies for history (the way we like to study those subjects) and found many new curriculum. I saw lots of good and great and awesome programs. Figuring out “the best” was frustrating.
As Faith joined the ranks of our school, I had to start looking for other options again, but for different reasons. This too was overwhelming at times.
I have found some amazing curriculum out there. Truly.
I have found lots of people who give opinions on the best curriculum for each subject. I believe many of them. Scholars chime in and I’m further convinced. BUT…I finally realized something.
No matter how amazing in presentation and perfect for the brain and involved in all learning modalities and integrated with Scripture and efficient for mom to use…
if I can’t fit it into my school day, it’s no longer the best.
The very best curriculum is the one that works best for your family.
Say I find a Greek curriculum that teaches kids Koine Greek in a way that they understand it for their whole life. It gives them a solid understanding and appreciation. They can read a Greek Bible fluently by the time they are twelve.
BUT… if that curriculum demands one-on-one time for an hour every day, five days a week, then it is no longer the best curriculum for us. It might have been four kids ago, but it’s not now.
I do not have time to spend a hour one-on-one with every subject with every child or even one subject. Not.going.to.happen.
If each child had reading, writing, history, science and a foreign language only that would be five hours a day with each child. Not possible in the time-space continuum since I have six children (and hope for more).
Or if a curriculum require that we fork over a month’s salary…
Or if a curriculum requires two hours of prep a week (in any fashion) for me…
Or if a curriculum requires that we build a three story barn to learn the applicable geometry and algebra and who knows what else…
Or if a curriculum doesn’t fit our homeschooling philosophy…
A curriculum may be touted as the very best by every academic wiz and homeschool parent on the planet, but if I can not actually use it with success then how can it be the best?
This year, I lay down the hope and desire and expectation to teach every subject with the very best curriculum out there. I lay it down at the idol of “academic excellence”.
Instead, I choose to raise my children to love and serve the LORD, to know and love their family and I will do my best to encourage them in every subject they are interested in learning and give them solid foundations in the ones My Sweetie and I require they have in our homeschool.
And I will seek out the best curriculum for our school.
It may look different every year. That’s exciting and daunting.
But, believe it or not, it’s a relief to accept this.
The best homeschool curriculum is the one that works for you!