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5 Must-Knows BEFORE Selecting Homeschool Curriculum

Rachael Carman|March 23, 2017

It can be daunting to attend a homeschool convention and start to select homeschool curriculum. The first time I walked into a homeschool conference, I gasped and said, “I don’t know where to start!” It can be very intimidating.

I want to share five key things you need to know before you begin to select your homeschool curriculum.

1. You need to know God.

You need to know He has your back and He has a plan. You need to know He is faithful. Knowing Him will give you the peace, assurance, confidence, and grace needed to homeschool.

2. You need to know yourself.

Although you may feel very alone on some days, you are not. The God of the universe is right there with you. In every frustrating or glorious moment, He is there with you. Homeschooling is a lot less about what you are capable of and completely about what He can do through you when you submit to Him. I didn’t want to homeschool, but I have been amazed at how God has done incredible things through me. If you are joining the ranks of homeschooling parents, welcome! We should never limit God by what we can or cannot do.

3. You need to know your children.

In my book How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids, I talk about getting to know our children. When we pulled our oldest son out of public school after 13 days, I realized I didn’t know him. I hadn’t invested in him because I was so looking forward to someone else dealing with him. The first advice I received from a homeschooling friend was, “Spend time getting to know your son.” I just wanted to run out and buy the curriculum. I wanted a list of books to purchase. That list doesn’t exist. There is not a super list out there. Your list begins and ends with time on your face before God and getting to know your children. It’s the best way you can go into that conference hall and know what homeschool resources to select.

4. You need to know your objectives.

In the public system, the primary objective is that children fill in circles well and effectively. My objectives are that my children know God and serve Him every day of their lives, that they are articulate and well-read, and that they can write and do fundamental things. So, you need to outline your objectives. Different curriculums are going to meet different objectives. The combination of knowing God, yourself, your children, and your objectives will give you the confidence to walk into that curriculum fair.

5. You need to explore and know your curriculum options.

This is no longer the homeschool fair of 1970. Once upon a time, all the curriculum options available to homeschooling families could fit on one table. In fact, back in the early days of homeschooling, many were having to do some dumpster diving behind schools to get textbooks. This is not true anymore. We have become such a growing market that textbook companies are marketing to us.

You need to know the different modes of education and what will work best in your circumstance and for your family. I am an advocate for home education. I am all about parent-directed learning. This means what we do in our home school does not look like what you do at your house, and this is as it should be. We should all do what fits our family function, our children, and the life goals we have for each child. Furthermore, we come in and out of seasons. Some seasons require we batten down the hatches and get a lot done, and in some seasons life happens — someone gets sick, there is a death in the family, or there is a big project to finish.

Having been a public school educator myself, I can’t remember a time we ever finished the book. We can obsess about finishing each homeschool curriculum book, but that should not be the plan. We need to focus on quality and not necessarily quantity when teaching our children.

Focus on quality, not quantity, when selecting homeschool curriculum for your family, as well. Enter into that curriculum fair confidently because you have done your homework beforehand – knowing God, yourself, your children, your objectives, and the curriculum options available. Go deep with your children as you explore the educational options you have together, and enjoy the experience!

Woman's headshotRachael Carman is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart’s desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael leads the Real Refreshment Retreat’s weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.  She is the author of How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids, How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, and co-author of How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus. Enjoy more encouragement and inspiration from Rachael by visiting her blog at