Budgeting for curriculum is on every homeschool mom’s list, but don’t you just hate it when you buy something you end up not using?
What to consider BEFORE buying new curriculum:
- Hand-me-downs don’t always fit. Chances are each of your kids will have a different learning style, and what works with one may not work with the others. Don’t justify an extravagant expense by thinking you will use it again.
- However, finding curriculum that multiple ages can use together not only streamlines your day, but it also provides opportunities for kids to work together and build relationships (science/nature study, history, and electives are well-suited for this).
- Mom’s learning style is just as important as the kids’. Make sure the style feels right or you will dread pulling out the books and your lack of enthusiasm will reflect into your kids. If you hate math, use a curriculum that teaches it for you. If you are not a hands-on person, do not plan to build the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows or sew Revolutionary War costumes for history.
- Less is more, except when more is more. Do you really need all the supplements? Will you read all of the novels? Does the library have some of the books, or are the e-books free online? Keep in mind, though, that sometimes having the extra bells and whistles is a huge time-saver, such as watching the experiments on DVD or listening to the geography or history lessons in the car.
- Buy at least one thing the kids can work on independently, no matter what grade they are in. If you teach with living books, having one workbook on hand can help out when you have to take school on-the-go. You never know when you might be waiting at the doctor’s office for half a day while Grandma has her cataract surgery.
- Be realistic about the time you have and pare down to the basics. Although it sounds impressive, will you really have time for Latin, Spanish, music history, art appreciation, anthropology, computer programming, and Turkish in between running errands, English, and math?
- Younger kids need time to play and discover the world and do not need as much curriculum as you might think. Keep it simple and fun; algebra will come soon enough.
- Be the boss of your curriculum and do not let it rule you. You DO NOT have to check off all the boxes. Really. Even “real” teachers never finish a curriculum in a school year. (Shh! It’s a secret!)
- Do not read catalogs like they are magazines. Companies are trying to sell you their product, and testimonials are not the same thing as reviews.
- Library cards are free. Unless you’re going to be using a book over and over again, consider borrowing it from the library to save both money and space on your shelves. If you’re thinking you’ll want to have a book later on down the line as your younger kids get older, remember that many books are revised and updated over the years, and your current books might be out of date when you revisit them again.
There’s my top ten list. What would YOU add?