I remember the first time choosing homeschool curriculum for Grasshopper. We attended a homeschool convention with an amazing trade show filled with vendors all claiming to be the best. All of these choices had great merit. However, being a rookie, I was only slightly aware that these choices spoke to different teaching/learning styles.
I also had it in my head that homeschooling would be a lot like school, just at home. Not only is this not true, but buying into this idea can prevent you from fully embracing all of the amazing things about homeschooling. I’ll leave that for another post on another day.
In my search for the curriculum I felt would be best for Grasshopper while sticking to our limited budget we purchased an all-in-one curriculum package. It was easy to use. The teacher’s manual had everything laid out, just pull the worksheet for the day and you were ready to go! It was a truly turn key product, which I really needed our first year.
Why The All-In-One Package Didn’t Work For Us
This was not a bad program. I think for the right family it’s a great option. I would even use their math and penmanship courses again for lower grade levels if the opportunity presents itself. The problem we encountered was that it did not match my teaching style, or Grasshopper’s learning style. Worksheets were not doing it for him, and the program relied very heavily on worksheets.
I did stick with the program for the year with the exception of spelling. Partly for budgetary reasons, but also because I am slightly headstrong. I had it in my head that this was the best fit and I was going to make it work! Grasshopper still learned what he needed to, we made it through. We’re on to another year and we’ve moved on to a completely different approach to homeschooling.
Eclectic Curriculum Approach
We learned that a curriculum that allows for movement and projects is what works best for us. I also enjoy living books, a way to make history come to life through stories. Our homeschool has moved to a more eclectic style. I am using some Charlotte Mason style classes, one on the computer, some heavy on the multi-sensory and hands-on techniques. We’re also using the Library more, and have used educational/documentary movies.
Going with an eclectic style has been pretty refreshing around here. Our homeschool no longer looks like school at home. We are mixing things up which is perfect for Grasshopper’s ADHD because it isn’t just worksheet after worksheet anymore.
Tips To Discover Your Teaching Style
If you haven’t already read 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy I highly recommend it. The first part of the book explains teaching and learning styles. It also helps you discover your teaching style and your kid’s learning styles. After discovering these things there is a wealth of information in their for different curriculum options.