Having the right curriculum can either make or break your homeschool. Am I right? Getting sucked into the belief that your homeschool resources of choice must be used as written is one of the most debilitating things that can happen to your homeschool routine.
Don’t do it.
While some homeschoolers feel perfectly at home using life as their curriculum, most of us prefer to at least have something we can fall back on. Unfortunately, it can be far too easy to get so hung up on staying on track, doing every single activity, and covering every single page that the freedom that homeschooling should bring will feel like an unattainable feat.
The good news is, there are ways you can take advantage of the many homeschooling resources out there by using them as your tool rather than your master.
I’m here to help you with that today.
How to Use Your Curriculum As a Tool, Not Your Master
(This post contains affiliate links.)
1. Ignore the curriculum’s daily schedule.
No matter whether the curriculum is a textbook, unit study, or literature-based resource, chances are, it comes with some sort of daily schedule. As tempting as it can be to try to follow these schedules, the fact is, they are optional and should be treated as such.
The curriculum writers don’t know your family, they don’t know how much your children can handle, and they surely don’t know your daily responsibilities. The schedules they offer are examples of how the curriculum can be used. They are not set in stone.
2. Choose only the parts you want to do.
There is no law – written or unwritten – that states that you must do every single section, every single activity, and every single page of your homeschool curriculum. If you come across a section in your textbook that you’ve already covered or you don’t feel is necessary, skip it.
If your literature-based curriculum contains a few books you know your children will struggle to pay attention to, find a suitable substitute, or move on.
If your unit study has too many activities that are time-consuming, don’t do them. Unit studies aren’t written to be used that way, anyway. Plan to do only those that you know both you and your children could handle and would be interested in.
No curriculum police will show up at your door. I promise.
3. Be flexible with the included lessons.
I’m going to say right off the bat that I am not usually one who uses prewritten curriculum lessons, unless I am using Beautiful Feet Books. Their lessons are actually sensible.
In my own experience, I’ve found that most lessons are written as unrealistically as the schedules. There just isn’t a whole lot of leg room.
I realize that a good many homeschool parents prefer to use the lessons but tend to get overwhelmed from time to time. Beyond taking advantage of #2 and just deciding not to do everything, there is another option:
Break the lessons up into shorter lessons. Just because the manual says “Lesson 1” or “Day 1” doesn’t mean that you’re bound to completing it in only one day. If it’s too much for one day, split it in half and do the rest the following day.
And what happens if you end up not completing the curriculum in a year because you’ve done it that way? That’s up to you. You can choose to simply end it there and move on, or you can pick up where you left off the following year.
Yes, it’s really that easy.
4. Use the table of contents as a guide and ditch the rest.
Sometimes you may purchase a curriculum for the reassurance of knowing that you’ve got some sort of resource, even if you don’t like it very much. In those cases, that textbook table of contents can be as good as gold. Just make a list of all the topics and subtopics mentioned, and you’re set!
With a little creativity and some time spent at the library, you can easily ensure you’ve covered everything your textbook would have tackled, but by using living books and other activities, instead.
Homeschooling can be one of the most freeing things your family will ever do. Take advantage of that flexibility and remember – curriculum is your tool, not your master.
Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’d like to support this ministry, consider supporting me on Patreon.
Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!