So we all know that the general consensus is these weird home schoolers don't get the needed socialization. Gasp! My kids aren't exposed to all these other kids that may or may not share any of their values or interests. The nerve! However I'd like to tell you that THIS IS NOT THE BIGGEST ISSUE in the home school world. If you're considering the home school route, there is something you need to know and it involves curriculum. I'm whispering the word because it's SCARY!
I like to make curriculum selections now (or spring timeish) for the following school year. This way I have plenty of time to make my choices and then I can use the summer to plan. Also if I forget anything (you'd be amazed) then I have time to get it ordered before we begin. The thing is selecting and ordering curriculum takes way longer than planning! Crazy right?!?! Well if you aren't a home school parent then this probably sounds strange to you. Let me break it down.
THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES!
Oh mercy! There are endless choices in every subject. Well first you have to decide which subjects you will cover for each grade level. Then you have to begin to delve into the selections available for said subjects. Then you have to make decisions like:
Christian or secular?
Lots of planning required, little planning, or no planning?
Do you want to teach, do you want a teacher on DVD, or do you want a style that teaches your child through written word?
Textbook, computer, workbook, DVD?
Do you have a specific method you want? Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Un-schooling (I won't go there)?
Are you going to buy an all inclusive curriculum package? Are you going to piece and part from different places?
Next year will be our 5th year to home school. I sort of thought I had this whole curriculum buying thing down pat. However I've always known that Apple and Speedy have very different learning styles (and personalities and interests and abilities and hair color and.....well you get the idea) so that is coming into play as Speedy enters 1st grade. Some of the things we used for Apple just won't work for him. Also he isn't in the same place that she was at the same age. Specifically he is farther ahead in math than she was but he is behind her mark in reading (He's still a grade level ahead on HOP. She was just always 2-3 levels ahead. And still is. Proud mommy here!). So that leaves me looking at some other options for him.
On the other hand, Apple is getting older. Things we have suspected about her personality are really coming to fruition. She really is "artsy"! Like really. She NEEDS/ CRAVES new things and new experiences. She's bored easily with the same ole same ole. For Apple to thrive she needs color and excitement and the ability to inject her own thoughts and mark on things. Basically she's bored with some of the things we've been using the last 4 years. It isn't enough to just order her the next level of the curriculum we have been using (at least not in every subject). She needs to stretch her wings and try new things.
What does that mean for me? Many hours at the computer trying to make the best selections. As always our budget is TIGHT. Did you hear me squeak? It's tight. I can't afford to pay full price for most thing so I scour second hand home school sites. I also look for sales and coupon codes (which seem to be nearly non-existent in the home school world). I've attended some Facebook and Twitter parties in hopes of winning some of the items on my list. I'm always on the hunt for items I could review and then incorporate into our school room.
The thing is I can get really anxious while making these choices. I mean I don't want to make the wrong decision. My children's education hangs in the balance. As does the mood and attitude around here during school time. This is just one of those times when I have to take a deep breath, relax, and pray for God's guidance. I know He will help me because I'm doing this for Him. We home school so our kids can spend their day learning in an environment where He comes first. Morals and values are ranked as highly as reading and writing. Character is as important as math. And curriculum choices are overwhelming and may give me a headache but they are part of my job. My job to raise my kids and give them the best education I can.
BRING IT ON.