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Homeschooling your kids can be a confusing time; especially if you’re just starting your research into how to start homeschooling your kids. Not only do you need to research state laws, but you also need to choose a homeschool curriculum, make a schedule and more. For us, the curriculum portion of getting started was the hardest. Emma learns very differently than most homeschool curriculum options allow for, so I had a hard time finding one that truly worked for her. Ultimately, what worked best was when I learned how to plan my own curriculum. If you’re having the same issues with the curriculum you’re using or if you’re unsure if your child will flourish under a boxed curriculum, taking the time to learn how to plan your own homeschool curriculum can be the difference between a child who does well and a child who still struggles.
As I said earlier, Emma didn’t do well with boxed curriculum options and the one thing I wish someone had told me when I was first learning how to start homeschool was that it didn’t really matter which curriculum she used. What mattered was whether she was learning easily or not. Because I didn’t understand that, I spent well over $1,000 on curriculum options that did nothing more than sit on the shelf. In our case, what worked best was when I learned how to create homeschool curriculum. Learning how to plan your own homeschool curriculum may end up being what works best for your family as well.
How to Plan Your Own Homeschool Curriculum (and Why You Should)
Maybe you haven’t gotten to the point in your homeschool planning where you’re ready to plan curriculum. If you’re extremely new to homeschooling, I highly recommend that you head over HERE and read my post on how to start homeschooling your kids. It is packed with every step you might need to take in order to get your homeschool off and running while making sure you stay compliant with any state laws you may have.
If you’re ready to start learning how to plan your own homeschool curriculum, read on. The steps below will guide you through planning your curriculum and making sure that your kids earn well while still having fun.
Decide what your homeschool budget looks like –
The very first thing you do when you try to plan your own homeschool curriculum is to set a budget. Homeschool supplies, especially boxed curriculum options, can be incredibly expensive so making sure that you do everything you can to learn how to homeschool on a budget is incredibly important. Even if you’re not using an entire set of a boxed curriculum, you may want to use part of one which will still be costly. If your homeschool budget ends up being tighter than you expected, don’t worry too much. You can still homeschool your kids (Six Dollar Family). There are ways to homeschool your kids for free using any curriculum you want. I explain that in THIS post right here. We also have a HUGE list of free homeschool curriculum options right HERE as well as a list of 45 places to buy cheap homeschool curriculum right HERE for you to look through as well. I try to keep it updated often, but if you catch something that is no longer valid, please let me know.
Plan which subjects your kids will study –
First and foremost, you’ll need to make certain that the subjects you’re teaching are compliant with your local or state laws. A quick Google search can help you do that. Once that is done, you’ll want to decide what to learn based on your child’s age, interest level, learning levels and more. Start with the basics; reading, writing, math, grammar and social studies then build your curriculum from there. For instance, my Emma wanted to learn how to be a better baker. She is a fantastic cook, but baking was something that always gave her trouble. When she asked, we added a dedicated Home Ec class to her daily school schedule. That is the beauty of planning your own homeschool curriculum, your kids can learn what they are interested in as well as the basic classes they will need in life.
While you’re planning their subjects, make sure to set educational goals for the year for each of your children. While homeschooling is about free learning, you will want to set a handful of goals so you know how each child is progressing.
Buy any supplies your kids will need –
After you know which subjects your kids will be studying, you’ll need to gather any supplies that you may need. As you planned the core subjects first, you should purchase the needed items for those classes first as well. Pick up your chosen homeschool curriculum for your basic subjects to begin. If you’re unsure about which curriculum options might work for your family, we have a small list of boxed homeschool curriculum sets in this post HERE.
One of the most common misconceptions about homeschooling is that the amount of school supplies a child needs drops. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. Because you no longer have a teacher, other parents or school district providing part of the supplies, your costs will very likely jump up a bit. In addition to buying basic school supplies, you’ll also want to make certain you pick up any educational supplements your child will need. This can include things such as flash cards, wall maps, educational workbooks, educational games, math manipulative and more.
Pick up a homeschool planner –
The one thing you will realize very early on when learning how to plan your own homeschool curriculum is that you will have to be absolutely organized. To help yourself stay that way, make certain that you buy a homeschool planner as well as a lesson plan book. Not only will it help you keep track of curriculum, but you’ll be able to track field trips, appointments and homeschool attendance. Plus, your planner and lesson plan book can be used to help document your homeschool progress in your homeschool portfolio if your state requires one.
Organize Your Homeschool Supplies
If your homeschool supplies aren’t organized, it won’t matter what you have purchased and what you haven’t. To start, buy a couple of smaller bookshelves to hold your curriculum books and any reading books you have for your kids. If there is one thing an experienced homeschool Mom knows, its that books can quickly get out of hand if you’re not staying on top of keeping them organized. Once you have that done, small plastic totes or a rolling teachers cart can help you keep smaller manipulative and supplements neat and organized. There are also these 35 ways to organize your home on a budget right HERE that would be helpful in certain areas too.
Enjoy the ride –
One of the biggest perks of homeschooling and of learning how to plan your own homeschool curriculum is getting to see your child’s imagination and world open up to new possibilities, subjects and what is usually a life long love of learning. AS a parent, you will absolutely love watching this in action! It is amazing to watch as your little ones learn something new, master a new task or find a new interest. Don’t make the mistake of being too busy planning your own homeschool curriculum or learning how to start homeschooling (Six Dollar Family) to enjoy the ride. Sit back, take a deep breath and do what you you are setting out to do – teach your babies.
Originally Posted 7/2015 – Updated 6/2018