As a new homeschooling family, we’ve really struggled with how to make the “right” decisions with curriculum. We made a huge error with a curriculum in a box program for this year that has literally done nothing but collect dust. Ben and I have tried to use it, but he hates it so much that he just sobs when I ask him to try anything related to it. What I did last year was research, find something I thought we’d both like, and bought it.
This year? I’m not doing that. Well, I am. I’m still researching. I am listening in on discussions all over the Internet about curriculum (one very fruitful place is The Well Trained Mind K-8 Curriculum Forum). While I’m not prepared to go wholly down the path of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Editition), I do really like the discussions that happen in their forums and I’ve found some good leads on curriculum that way. Once I’ve found those leads, I review everything I can find about the curriculum I’m considering, and I search, diligently for samples at the grade level that I need.
This is where the genius is, though, I then print out a lesson at the level that Ben will be and LET HIM TRY IT OUT. We’ve found our math, spelling, and geography curricula for next year that way. We tried Singapore and he didn’t like it, but then we tried Math Mammoth and he did. I used that information to help me refine a little what I was looking at and found the spelling and geography on the first try. If he loves it, and he’s asking to get to do it, then I’ve found the right thing.
And this is what works for me. Head on over the We Are THAT Family to find out what works for others.