Tailoring a Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Your Child (And Not the Other Way Around)

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One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is having the freedom to tailor your child’s education to meet their needs, and, indeed, it is often talked about in homeschooling circles. Yet the idea of doing this may seem a bit abstract to those new to, or thinking about, homeschooling, so today I’m going to discuss how we implement this into our family.

By now most parents have heard about learning styles, such as audio, visual, and kinesthetic learning, and while knowing these styles is certainly useful in planning your homeschool path, I find it’s much easier and less intimidating just to get to know your children, observe how they like to do things, and, most importantly, get their input.

My three teenagers are largely independent in their school activities now, so I take their opinions on how they would like to approach things very seriously. All three of them like to learn in very different ways, so my hope is that these illustrations will paint a clear picture for you on what “tailoring education” actually means in practice.

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My oldest daughter is 17 and undertakes life in a very straightforward, no-nonsense way. She likes to do what has to be done quickly and efficiently and doesn’t like to mess around with what she considers to be non-essentials. Because of this, the main framework of her curriculum is textbook-driven. She will be using textbooks/workbooks for grammar, consumer math, psychology, chemistry, and a combination of workbooks and Rosetta Stone for Japanese. Since she will finish the psychology book early because she started it this past year, and since we couldn’t find textbooks she liked for her remaining subjects, she will use a combination of library books and living books that we purchased for the rest. (writing, physics, and quantum physics)

My son is 16, and he is active and very fidgety. Because of this, we’ve come up with a combination of to-the-point textbooks, hands-on activities, visual media, and outdoor exploration for his educational path. He will be using the same grammar book as his older sister because the lessons only take 5-10 minutes a day, which is perfect for a kid like him. For his algebra, we found a no-frills algebra program that is accompanied by online tutorials for every single lesson. Since he is also very visual, the mixture of the videos and the cut-to-the-chase lessons is a great fit for him. He will focus on military history by way of videos/documentaries and historical fiction, and will combine his love of nature and photography by honing his skills in wildlife photography in frequent trips to local creeks and fields. He will supplement this with a science textbook three times a week and hands-on experiments twice a week.

My second oldest daughter is 14. She loves to read, so practically her entire curriculum will be living book-related. She has opted out of using the grammar book that her older siblings have chosen and has instead decided upon a language arts series with a storyline (Please note: The link refers to this series as middle school when it is, in fact, for high school.). Her pre-algebra and algebra books are by the same author and are also literature-based. Although she will be utilizing the library for the brunt of her history and science requirements, the nice thing about her pre-algebra books is that one of them incorporates biology (she’s almost finished with this one) and the other ties in economics, so even if she can’t find anything she likes, these subjects are covered.

As you can see, even without bringing my other children into the equation, my three teens represent vastly different learning preferences from one another. While some people may assume this would be stress-inducing, I actually find so much enjoyment in collaborating with my kids and working out what our new year is going to look like. It is this freedom and flexibility that allows our children to get the learning experience they need and deserve.

So remember, there’s no need to give your kids the Myers-Briggs test to see how you should approach their education. 🙂 All you need to do is get to know them, observe how they do things, and, most importantly, ask them for their opinion. With this simple formula, there’s no telling where your homeschool year may take you!


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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

47 thoughts on “Tailoring a Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Your Child (And Not the Other Way Around)”

  1. I remember when I first started with the idea of homeschooling, posts like this terrified me. The very idea of having to smoke out my children’s individual learning styles, oh man, I did not feel equipped. I wish someone had told me it just happens. Child led learning, just happens. I didn’t have to do anything, but be present. Before I knew it, I was reading to my auditory child and showing videos to my visual learner. It just happened. They showed me what was necessary for them to retain information. I was just in the room when it happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s why I kind of cringe when people go on and on using terms like auditory, kinesthetic, etc. I know what they mean; I just was always afraid I’d identify the wrong things. I find it much easier to tell people to just spend time with their kids, get to know them, and then knowing what will appeal to them will become second nature without all the technical jargon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We are not alone 🙂 I have friends who do the exact same curriclium for all their kids so they can co-op and I’m just over here like ‘we are making up school as we go along…’ Well not that bad but non conforming and giving my kids a lot of input.
    School on my warrior friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol. My younger kids do a unit study together, but I make sure that we always do things that will appeal to all of them. And as for using the same curriculum for them all? I think I’d get bored!


  3. Aren’t you thankful that we have the opportunity to homeschool? It’s such a blessing to be able to customize our kids’ education and not leave them behind because they have different learning styles!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t homeschool but being a former teacher for 14 years, I can really see the benefits of being able to adjust the way you teach the curriculum to best fit your child’s needs. I always worked hard to do that in the classroom but it’s a lot easier to accomplish when you only have a few as opposed to 20. I could never do it as well as I would liked because there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your students were very lucky to have a teacher that cared enough to at least try. I can certainly see how that would be a problem. Thanks for stopping by and hosting the linkup!


  5. Oh this is my favorite part of homeschooling. People sometimes think of it as a problem to make education fit your kid, but it is the best part of learning we can offer as parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this peek into your homeschool planning. I’ll have to start soon for my 14 and 16 year old. My 18 year old will start at the community college this year.

    Please drop by and say hello!
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    …doing what I can with what I’ve got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!

    Liked by 1 person

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