In this episode, Ty Benjamin will address the “summer slide” phenomenon, the loss of learning kids can experience during the summer because of a lack of schooling, and offer some tips to help you prevent it for your children.
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Welcome to Confidently Growing At Home, a podcast dedicated to empower and equip homeschool moms like you to feel more fulfilled, confident, and content to stay home by focusing on your spiritual and personal growth.
I’m your host, Ty Benjamin, and I want to help you become the very best version of yourself at home.
The question is, are you ready?
Hey, hey, and welcome back to the Confidently Growing At Home Podcast.
This episode is entitled, How To Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum?
So, two questions that I’ve been asked quite often lately are how do you choose the right curriculum and how do you know what to teach?
And, you know, I had these same questions when I first started back in 2017.
So, I totally get why some moms are asking those questions right now;
Because let’s just be honest, homeschooling can be very overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to figure it all out and get a grasp of everything.
So I understand why these questions are being asked right now.
And so in this episode, I’ll attempt to provide you with some questions to consider as you kind of weed your way through the options that are best for your family.
How do you choose the right curriculum?
I think we have to start by asking the question,
What does right mean to you?
Because the right curriculum is different for every family.
And so I want to present some questions for you to ask yourself when you’re considering your curriculum.
First, ask yourself, do you want an all-in-one curriculum where all grade-level subjects come from the same source, or do you want to piece the curriculum together and get different subjects from multiple resources?
I think this really makes a difference when you understand, you know, how you want to approach it.
If you just want to make one big purchase and get it all from the same place?
Or if you want to kind of explore and say, well, I want to try this company, and I like the way this company does this, or I’m gonna try that and put them together.
Either way is fine, but just understand what you want to do and explore with.
So for the first few years for myself and my family, um, I was a part of a classical homeschool community with this own curriculum.
And I used that as kind of my foundation, but I still added some other resources to help supplement where I felt the main curriculum was lacking.
And also from the very beginning, I’ve purchased a comprehensive curriculum from Sam’s club that I’ve used for both of my children.
It works great for us, and it covers all the important subjects for each grade level.
I really love it because it is very colorful. It’s very simple and straight to the point.
It covers reading comprehension, covers spelling, covers English, and it covers math for that particular grade level.
And it introduces it in a way that my children can grasp it. They understand it.
We can go deeper if we want to, but lots of times, once we do that page or two, they have it and we move on.
So I love that.
And I’ll post the link in the show notes if you’re interested in this particular all-in-one curriculum that I get from Sam’s club, no sponsorship or anything, but I love it, my kids love it…
And so if you’re interested in it, I’ll post it for you to look at it as well.
All right. So next…
Ask yourself, do you want an online or virtual curriculum or do you just want it all physically printed or workbook-style, worksheet style?
Where you have it in front of you and it’s paper and pen or pencil?
And I think you have to consider what would be best for each individual child.
You know, you have to take into consideration your child’s learning style: is it visual, is it auditory, tactile or is it a combination, right?
Do you need or do they need hands-on materials to kind of learn the subject or can they watch something and pick it up right away?
Or can they hear something and have it memorized already?
I think that’s very important to kind of assess where your child is and how they learn best and how they kind of take in information the best, right?
What makes them light up the most?
And then kind of tailor things to that particular way of learning.
I think what’s equally important also is to ask yourself how involved do you want to be in the teaching?
You know, are there subjects that you would need help with or that you would like outsourced, right?
Would you want someone else to teach certain things for you, maybe a tutor to come into your home or maybe you go to them?
Also, ask how much prep work do you really want to be doing?
And I mean, that’s an honest question, right?
Really think about how involved do you want to be in terms of teaching and in terms of preparing, you know, certain projects or activities?
I think you really have to be real with yourself on this one, you know, and ask yourself…
Well, how much can I give, or do I want to give to this area right now?
Be real with yourself because sometimes we have these grand ideas and these expectations of, you know…
What all we’re going to do and how beautiful we’re going to make it; how big we’re going to make it; how exciting we’re gonna make it;
But when it’s time to execute, we may find ourselves asking, what did I get myself into? Right?
And so just be real with yourself.
How involved do you really want to be with it?
And these are just some things to keep in mind, but you know, the beautiful thing about homeschooling is that you can mix it up.
You can have a few classes online to teach certain subjects and some subjects can be printed or workbook style.
You don’t have to choose either-or, you can do a mix, a mixture of whatever kind of combination you want.
And something else to consider is what method of homeschooling will you choose if any?
So have you looked into different styles such as the classical, um, classical method or Charlotte Mason or the, even the un-schooling, the K-12, the school-at-home where it’s kind of like a public school at home or even unit studies?
So if you’re not familiar with those, kind of do some more research on the different types of styles you can have, um, in terms of homeschooling.
And have you considered if you want a Christian curriculum or a secular curriculum because that will definitely narrow down your search?
And give you fewer options because of certain types of curriculum that you want.
Do you want your curriculum to be rich in literature with lots of reading required of your or your children, right?
Or do you want it more laid back, more worksheet style, more work workbook-style?
You know, so kind of think about that as well because that also limits your curriculum choices if you want something very literature-based.
What should you be teaching in your homeschool?
I think first and foremost, it’s important to be familiar with and understand the requirements of your state or your country.
So if you’re unsure, then you can visit sites like hslda.org.
Again, that’s hslda.org, and they will help you figure out your requirements based on where you live in the United states.
If you live outside of the states, of course, you will have to look into your particular country and what’s required of you there…
But understanding what’s needed and required of you is the first thing you need to do.
After that, then you need to determine what core subjects you’ll be covering.
And those core subjects of course will be your reading, your writing, and your math, you know, based on your grade level and ability.
So, what curriculum will you use for those subjects?
And these are subjects that you will probably want to teach or touch on in some way every school day, okay.
So your reading, your writing and your math.
So what curriculum will you choose for those and understanding these are ones that like are the foundation for each day.
And so outside of this, the next thing to do is consider what subjects do you and your children want to study and learn more about? Right?
For example, other subjects can be Bible, science, geography, history, art, music, STEAM subjects, foreign language, or whatever else you want.
So what things do you want to include or what things do your children want to learn more about?
And just kind of go from there, understanding that you don’t have to do everything every day.
So, you don’t have to do seven-plus subjects in a day.
No, you can only do three. You can only do four, you can do two if you want to.
So be mindful of how much you’re putting into a day, especially with younger children.
I mean, you don’t need that much – if you’re hitting, you know, reading, writing, and math for the most part.
But if you want to add more…then maybe on Monday, you have, you know, art, maybe Tuesday, you add science, maybe Wednesday, you do geography.
Maybe Thursday is history and maybe Friday is a free day where you do other things, maybe science projects and things like that.
But just understand you don’t have to do 7, 8, 10 subjects in one day, every day.
No, you don’t have to.
Just some things to keep in mind.
This isn’t, you know, written in stone. This isn’t where you have to do it this way.
These are some things I do; these are just some opinions from me.
But it’s also just to kind of get you thinking about, you know, what will you do for your family.
And so, for example, I’ll tell you a little bit about our days.
So we start our mornings with a Bible Devo, then we’ll have a prayer, then I’ll do two read-out-loud books, and we’ll either do a YouTube workout after that or some type of physical activity, like outside or something.
And then we take a break.
So that’s like our morning routine.
And then once we take our break, 15 – 30 minute break, now it’s time for book work.
And so we’ll sit down in the schoolroom, and I use the Notebooking method in terms of what they will do that day.
And I’ll do a podcast episode on that soon about the Notebooking method.
And this would just allow for them to see it in the notebook – “this is what I have to do today.”
And they check it off as they go along, and that works well for us.
Depending on the day, it’s either do your English, your math, do your cursive writing, um, read for 20 minutes, do your Osmo STEAM activity, and you’re done for the day.
And so that could be one day and that’s all they have to do.
It doesn’t have to be 10 things to do in a day.
So another idea is that you could Google search what subjects are being taught in public or private schools for your grade level, and you can kind of model your curriculum after that if you want to…
That’s another option if you want to kind of keep it consistent or closely resemble what they’re doing in public and private schools, you can do that.
So I think when it comes to choosing your curriculum and what subjects to teach, it’s extremely important to navigate your decisions with your family’s interests and passions and talents in mind so that everybody is heard, everybody is seen, and people’s interests and talents and strengths are being exercised.
And remember that, you know, there’s no such thing as the perfect curriculum.
And it’s okay if you find a curriculum isn’t working for you or you have to pivot or change it up, even if it’s the middle of the year.
Go ahead and do that.
Go ahead and change it up.
Go ahead and say, okay, this is not working. We’re going to stop this and we’re going to pick up something else and try this one.
Nothing wrong with that.
So don’t feel like you’re a failure or like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.‘
No, we all go through it.
We all think, ‘Oh, this is going to be a great curriculum…’
Then we get into it and it’s like, ‘Ugh, I don’t really like it…or my kids are really struggling with this.’
It’s okay to scratch it.
It. Is. Okay.
Give yourself permission to say this isn’t working… I’m going to change directions and try something new.
So give yourself grace…give your children grace.
It’s all right.
It does not have to be perfect.
We’re all figuring it out, especially as we continue to go throughout the years.
It’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time.
I feel like I had to say that to you. Okay. All right.
So again, don’t let yourself get boxed into any method, right?
So if you start off classical and you’re like, well, I want to change it up and try Charlotte Mason, go ahead and do that.
It’s your prerogative, right?
Don’t get boxed into any method, style, or curriculum because the power of homeschooling is in your ability to choose.
So I truly hope something has been said today that will help you along your homeschool journey.
And if you still feel confused or unsure about what you should do, or even if you are clear on your plan of action, be sure to take it all to God in prayer and ask Him for guidance, for clarity, and for His will to be done above all else.
I will list anything that I’ve mentioned or referenced in the show notes in case you were interested in checking them out for yourself.
And I pray God’s blessings for you and your family as we all travel along this homeschooling road.
Please be sure to subscribe and leave a review so that we can reach even more moms looking to feel more confident and capable to homeschool.
And once again, my name is Ty Benjamin, and this has been another episode of Confidently Growing At Home.
Talk to you soon.