RAR #198: Which Curriculum Should I Use? (and other questions with life-changing answers)
“Which curriculum should I use?" It’s the question I get asked most often.
I suspect there’s another layer just underneath the surface of that question. A layer that sounds a bit like, “I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t want to screw this up. Can you just tell me which curriculum is the best, so I don’t mess this really important thing up?”
At least, that’s the kind of thing that went through my mind back in my early homeschooling days, when I asked that question myself.
I'm answering this very question on today's podcast episode.
Click the play button below, or scroll down to keep reading.
A Little Clarity
I’ve been at this homeschooling gig for a while now. Our oldest is 20, our second is graduating this year—and while we’re at the end-of-the-homeschooling-line with those two, we’re still homeschooling four kids; the youngest are eight.
There are miles to go before we sleep.
But something happens with time and experience. We get a little perspective, a little clarity.
We realize the questions we’ve been asking aren’t the most important questions, after all.
And so, when asked which curriculum someone should use, I respond: ““The best curriculum is the one you like using. The one that makes your job easier, lighter, and more enjoyable in this season of life.”
That “season of life” thing matters, by the way.
The curriculum you like using (and that you can manage to get to most days) while you’re sleep-deprived with babies and teething toddlers is different than the curriculum you’ll like using when your kids are older, and you’ve gotten a full night’s rest.
Trust me on this.
It All Works, More or Less
Here’s the thing about homeschooling today: there is an abundance of curriculum resources at your fingertips. Most of it is pretty good. Most of it will get the job done.
If our goal is to enliven the hearts, minds, and souls of our kids (and that is our goal, right?), then most any curriculum can help us do that. It turns out that the curriculum itself matters much less than we might have thought.
The disposition of the teacher, though?
That matters far more.
Any history or science curriculum in the hands of a parent who is cheerful, relaxed, and eager to enliven the heart, mind, and soul of her student can do the trick.
Homeschoolers have been graduating kids through various teaching styles, using a wide variety of curriculum, for decades upon decades. Charlotte Mason, unit studies, classical, unschooling, literature-based, textbook-based, eclectic …
There are as many styles of homeschooling as there are homeschooling families, and the good news is: they all work.
Homeschooling works because real education is about connecting. Connecting with each other, connecting to ideas, connecting what we know to what we’re about to find out.
So the question,