Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Joys of Curriculum Planning!

When two homeschooling moms meet, you can count on the conversation following a pretty predictable path. "Oh, you homeschool? That's awesome! So do we!" And within the following thirty seconds (usually less), one or the other mother will burst out with:
"So, which curriculum do you use?"
Thereafter follows an intense and frenzied thirty-minute-minimum conversation in which the two mothers compare curricula, detail which curricula they use, have used, and plan to use for each of their children, and usually branch out into philosophical comparisons of the different homeschooling methodologies, and which they prefer and why.

Any husband or child so foolish to interrupt said conversation will receive a hard stare and a firm, "In a minute, dear!" before the mom dives back into the conversation.

Though I may seem to be exaggerating, I'm really not. Curriculum is a huge discussion topic for home educators, all the more so because there are hundreds if not thousands of curriculum choices on the market today. Combined with the fact that (almost) every family combines many different curricula - different by subject and often by child - there is a dizzying array of choices.

(This did not used to be the case in the early days of home education. I have one (wonderful!) home education book from the 1980's which states something like, "When it comes to curricula, you have two main choices: A Beka and Bob Jones Press." I still laugh uproariously when I come to that sentence, because modern-day home educators could spend their entire lives evaluating curricula and still not come to the bottom of the choice lists.)

Unfortunately, though there are many awesome choices on the market, I am someone who does not do well with too many choices. I tend to become anxious, frantic, and guilt-ridden when confronted with all of the choices out there.
"Oh, no. She uses such-and-such curriculum. Maybe that's THE ONE that we should be using instead of what we're doing now. Maybe we need to switch. Oh dear God, what if I'm using the wrong curriculum and ruining my children forever? (*insert nervous nail-biting episode*)
Thus, curriculum choices are an anxious matter for me, and not something that I particularly enjoy. I much prefer having choices made and sealed. When I ordered our math curriculum this week (spending an exorbitant amount on it, I might add, none of which counts for tax write-offs), I breathed a sigh of relief. No more worrying about math choices! (Now it's just down to language arts.)

With that in mind, I thought I'd share my current basic curriculum outline with you all. It is extremely incomplete, and nothing is set in stone. At this point, it changes on a weekly if not a daily basis - it's a work in progress. But this is a general plan that we are working on (and working on improving). If you have any questions, fire away... and if you more-experienced home educators have any suggestions, please share them! (Really. Bring on the suggestions.)

Here it is!

[Click to enlarge image.]

I am currently planning on starting the 2013-2014 school year a week from tomorrow (June 3rd). This is something akin to utter madness, as we are going to have a crazy month of family visits, birthday celebrations, the AFHE home education convention, and other insanity - not to mention the fact that we will not have our language arts curriculum until the home education convention (we are planning to make a final decision and purchase there). However, to make our plan of an "April Summer" happen, we simply have got to start soon, or it's not going to happen.

I'm hoping to share lots of our plans between now and then!

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